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A briefing is designed to provide information quickly and effectively about an issue–often it is used to influence decisions or offer solutions.

One key to delivering an effective briefing is to know your topic and fully understand the objectives for conducting the briefing. Unlike a speech, which is most often planned down to the final word, a successful briefing is most often delivered extemporaneously. A well-organized outline or a few strategic notes and supporting information, such as a few simple but highly relevant slides or audience handouts, are all you should carry with you to the podium.

Instructors on how to give forceful briefings, pretty much give the same advice: Establish a commanding presence. At the top of this recommendation is the importance of eye contact.

It’s crucial to maintain direct eye contact with the audience as opposed to looking over the heads of the audience or between audience members. The experts say you should attempt to pay at least some attention to each audience member, but give the most direct attention to senior-ranking members.

Other tips:

  • Speak clearly so your words are easy to understand
  • Keep a steady stance
  • Use natural hand gestures
  • Try to vary the rate, volume, force and pitch of your voice and delivery

The purpose of the brief itself should be stated directly and upfront without meandering. You may also need to clarify the important parts of the subject matter of the brief and you may also be required to make recommendations on how to proceed. But remember, if you are making a recommendation, you should explore a range of solutions before making a persuasive case for your chosen one.

Provide insight into key points and considerations so that the decision-makers are best placed to come to a conclusion. Point out areas of potential controversy and suggest the likely impact of any anticipated actions.

Also know your audience. Not all detail is appropriate for all audiences. In other words, do not bore your audience with irrelevant information. On the other hand, be sure the audience has sufficient information including background detail to make decisions regarding the subject matter. Ask yourself: What does the audience already know? What do you need to explain to them? What affects them? What interests them?

Want to know more about how to give an effective brief? Tonex offers Briefing Skills and Techniques Course, a three-day class where participants will learn how to plan, prepare, organize and deliver an effective briefing successfully.

Besides Briefing Techniques, Tonex offers nearly five dozen other courses in Business Skills.

Additionally, Tonex offers 120 different courses in a dozen categories in Leadership training. For more information, questions, comments, Contact us.

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