[February 26, 2021] Enforce the 3Bs of the briefing: Be brief, Be brilliant, Be gone. We’ve all been at the traditional graduation ceremony where the speaker went on and on. We only remember that we were there and the day was a happy one. The speaker? Who was that guy anyway? The 3Bs is one of many leadership techniques that will help focus staff members and astonish the Boss.
Everyone wants to impress the Company CEO, the Unit Commander, and the Boss. Briefers will try to go long to impress. Put the 3B rule into place to ensure quality, not quantity. It’s not called a “briefing” for no reason; keep it short.
Several commanders, I worked for limited briefers to five minutes on any subject to enforce brevity, and everyone present had to stand throughout the brief. A room full of people standing and waiting for you to finish gives the briefer something to think about. I had a friend who was great at giving the evil eye stare to anybody who went long.
Rehearsals and Backbriefs:
One method of enforcing the rule of 3Bs is with rehearsals and backbriefs before the execution of a brief. Usually, an assistant to the Boss takes the briefer aside and requires a dress rehearsal in real-time. While this has several functions, like ensuring the briefer is fully prepared, it also allows the assistant to cut short unwanted or less relevant material.
This is a rule that I would also pass along new leaders in their incoming speech to the organization. Often, a new boss will want to address as many organization members as possible – first impressions matter. If the speech is long and drawn out, people will begin to tune out, which sets an unfortunate precedent for the future. You can judge a new leader by their brevity.
Make it Personal:
The point of any briefing is to have people remember what you said. A technique is to make it personal. Don’t be afraid to allow some emotion to enter into your voice, if appropriate. If the news is good, say you’re happy and proud. If you have to share something bad, make your tone and your expression match the news. Convey the message through sight and speech.
Be Clear, be Loud, and be Precise:
And, lastly, to ensure your speech is short, speak clearly, loudly, and precisely. That way, you can be confident people can hear what you say, understand it, and not have to repeat a point made earlier.