Briefing DoD Leaders

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MFLCs across our program must be prepared to brief civilian and uniformed military leaders whenever requested. Cultivating strong briefing skills is a mission essential task for all our team members.  While it may seem intimidating at first, with deliberate practice and preparation delivering effective briefs will become second nature.  Most importantly, MFLCs who can “kick a brief” like a pro will find their trust equity banks overflowing – briefing is a key force multiplier that will lead to increased program awareness, command support, utilization and positive outcomes for those we serve.  There are two types of briefs – deliberate and extemporaneous – and our team members must be ready to succeed at both.  A discussion of Tactics, Techniques and Procedures (TTPs) and recorded examples of briefings are included to augment our briefing toolkit.

Before we talk about briefing types and techniques, let’s go over some general rules that will facilitate success in any engagement we encounter:

  • The first rule of briefing: Be bold, be brilliant, be brief!
    • Bold – Say what you mean and mean what you say. Don’t dance around issues. Leaders value honesty, transparency and passion.
    • Brilliant – Know what you’re talking about and stay in your lane. If you don’t know what it means, don’t put it on the slide. If you don’t know the answer to a question, don’t fake it, you’re not expected to know everything. Write it down, research it, and report back with the answer.
    • Brief – If you’re given 10 minutes, use 8 and leave 2 for questions. Use your time wisely and know your audience. The information you provide should be tailored to resonate with those in the room.
  • The second rule of briefing: Practice!
    • Failing to plan is planning to fail. Deliberate briefing practice is a mission essential task for our program. Remember, no one is born an expert briefer…even military leaders must develop this skill over years of service experience. If they can find the time to practice, so can you.
    • Practice is a team effort. Spend time with other members of our program and engage your MFLC leadership to assist. Prepare, execute and debrief together.
    • Practice techniques utilizing audio/video recording and timers are a great method. Scenario based practice is best – spend time practicing program briefs, command briefs, briefing trends – work together and offer constructive criticism.
  • The third rule of briefing: Be a professional!
    • Your confidence will grow with each brief you deliver. The best way to develop confidence is to seek opportunities to practice. Consider briefing as a key part of your profession and treat it as a professional requirement.
    • Look the part and speak the language. Nobody in the room will care what you have to say if they are focused on how you look. Military culture can be superficial and judgmental. If you want to be viewed as a professional – dress like one and act like one. Turn off the cell phone and leave the sandals and shorts at home. Be an active listener and learn to adopt the terms used by the community. Your insights won’t matter if they don’t know what you mean.
    • Don’t “fire and forget.” When the briefing is over, seek feedback on how to improve and debrief with team members or your leadership team to learn from each opportunity.

The two types of briefings: Deliberate and Extemporaneous

Deliberate briefings are pre-planned engagements that are often included in meetings such as Commander’s Update Briefs (CUB), Operations and Intelligence (O&I) briefs, Command Synchronization meetings (Command Sync) and many others.

  • Deliberate briefings afford ample opportunity for preparation, take advantage of this! In order to prepare effectively, it is important to ask several key questions of the leadership team and/or point of contact for the engagement:
    • Who is the target audience for the briefing?
    • What are the key information requirements?
    • What is the commander’s intent and desired endstate for the meeting?
    • How much time will I have?
    • If the brief is being included in a larger presentation “slide deck” – May I have an example slide/master slide to prepare my information in accordance with the desired template?
  • Make it your own. Focus on providing actionable information and answer the “so what” question by providing context to any topics discussed. Rather than simply identifying problems or trends, follow them by recommending solutions that you can help implement to improve to total readiness of the unit.

Extemporaneous briefings represent the ad-hoc, spur of the moment engagements that occur routinely across our program. While it is impossible to predict when these engagements will occur, it is not impossible to prepare for them! Some key points:

  • Know your MFLC “elevator pitch” – this is your succinct rundown of program highlights that can be given in 2-3 minutes when a member of the military community asks you “what does a MFLC do?”  Make sure this is tailored to the audience and to the assignment – an elevator pitch for an Adult Embedded MFLC will be different than for a CYB MFLC working in a CDC.
  • Focus on what we can do. There will be ample opportunity to discuss official program scope parameters later. First, highlight the versatility of our program and the flexibility of our services – it’s what differentiates us!

Remember – Briefings are a mission essential task that require preparation, practice and professionalism. Work with team members and program leadership to refine your skills and you’ll achieve great results!

To assist in your preparation, some examples of common briefing scenario demonstrations are included below:

Briefing Command

Click here for a mock command brief demonstrating an Adult Embedded MFLC briefing a battalion commander on the monthly command report. While this example is focused on adult support, the TTPs are applicable across our program!

More to follow…and please share suggestions on what scenarios you’d like our team to focus on!