Not so brief brief

When I was in college, I had to take a public speaking course. I was taught how to stand up in front of people and not make an ass out of myself. I am not saying that I learned that, but I was taught that. And there are a few points that I remember that were key.

Time limits. If you are given a time frame to give your briefing, you should do your best to stay in that time limit. So, if you are told to be brief in your briefing, and limit yourself to three or four minutes, your briefing should not take fifteen minutes. In my class, going over your limit by that much would have cost you at least full grade. Now, I realize that higher ups, like generals, go over their time limits all the time. But when you are supposed to be summarizing what you do you your fellow office mates, it should be a summary, not an in depth production.

Know you audience. When I gave my summary briefing, I kept it short and a little humorous. I know that no one at the table is really that interested that I have to enforce the rules as dictated in the DFAS manual 37-100. Hell, I’m not even interested in that, and I do that. No, I kept it brief and at a level that the audience would better understand. I manage 38 projects and 64 billable lines and process x amount of dollars. An in depth briefing about the Army Campaign Plan, the future of brigades (which is talked about by the DCSOPS every meeting anyway), and what ever else was covered is just too much detail for a brief.

Keep it interesting if possible. I’m sorry, when you are briefing me, and my thoughts wander to what limb I would be willing to lose if I were a victim of a shark attack, you and I have problems. I will admit it; I am not the most attentive person all the time. But was seriously thinking about which limb I would want to lose if a shark had a case of mistaken identity. It’s the right arm, by the way. And to be truthful, after fifteen minutes of listening to what the briefer does, I still do not know what he does.

No one actually wants to be at these briefings, and they have become pretty pointless, but don’t drag out the time that you are up there. The longer you brief, the longer we have to sit and delay lunch. Let’s keep it to three minutes people!

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