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The Power Of Pre-Briefing

Written by: Paul L. Glover, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

During a recent coaching session, a Vice President informed me she had a meeting scheduled with a manufacturer supplying the bulk of the products his company sells. Because I could sense the nervousness she was experiencing as she described how difficult she thought this meeting was going to be, I suggested she and I do a Pre-Briefing for this meeting. While she used De-Briefing as an effective tool to determine how well a meeting or call had gone, she was unfamiliar with the concept of Pre-Briefing. I then explained Pre-Briefing was the rehearsal necessary before the real event that ensured, as much as possible, the interaction went in her favor.

I then listed the following elements of a successful Pre-Briefing:


1. It’s your meeting/call: You and your team prepare a written document/agenda, listing each item/issue that needs to be addressed and the decisions that need to be made during the meeting/call.

  • This provides the opportunity to consider the purpose of the meeting, not only from your perspective, but also from the other party’s perspective.

  • It also anticipates the other party’s probable responses to each item/issue to be discussed and be prepared, if necessary, to address those responses.

2. It’s not your meeting/call: Preparing a written document of the items/ issues the party that requested the meeting/call specified to be discussed helps you and your team prepare to address them appropriately. It also allows you to:

  • Identify the other party's real purpose for the meeting/call. Even if there is a stated reason for a meeting/call, there may be a hidden agenda that becomes clear during the meeting and catches you and your team by surprise. The Pre-Briefing minimizes surprises and the opportunity for the other party to get results they aren’t entitled to.

  • More effectively participate and be ready, if the opportunity presents itself, to influence or direct the meeting to ensure your items or concerns are addressed.


Since it is based on adequate meeting preparation, Pre-Briefing also provides these additional benefits:

  1. It ensures full preparation, a more complete grasp over the essential points of the agenda and increases confidence while alleviating some of the pressure of the meeting/call.

  2. It creates a specific plan to persuade/influence other participants to your point of view.

  3. It enhances the odds the meeting will be more directed by you.

  4. Your thoughts are always better defined when they are written down.

  5. Potential questions or concerns are better identified and clarified.

  6. Items that need to be discussed are not forgotten in the pressure of a meeting.

  7. You will have more focus and clarity then other party.

  8. It will make you look more professional and prepared.

  9. It eliminates kneejerk responses that create issues that have to be dealt with later.


Does Pre-Briefing require you to put in the time and effort necessary to properly prepare for the meeting/call? Absolutely! Will the extra time and energy you devote to Pre-Briefing have a significant ROI? Absolutely!


When I was a practicing trial lawyer, I always wanted to be the most prepared attorney in the courtroom. I had learned that, in most cases, the amount of preparation (normally four hours of preparation for every one hour in front of a jury) was directly connected to a successful verdict for my client.


To illustrate how seriously I take Pre-Briefing, before every trial, I did a mock trial with a jury of law students. This Pre-Briefing gave me the opportunity to gauge how effective my arguments and presentation were and to hear the other side's arguments presented by an associate.


Pre-Briefing ensured I was fully prepared to present my client's case to the best of my ability. This met I was seldom blindsided or surprised by either the evidence or the arguments the other side presented in court.


Should you be any less prepared to represent yourself, your team and your organization?


There was a commercial stressing automobile preventive maintenance by stating "You can pay me now or you can pay me later". That's the basis for Pre-Briefing. Taking the time necessary to prepare is a required element of success in any endeavor. And if you don't take that time you will pay later.


I could be wrong, but I’m not.


Want to learn more from Paul? Follow him on Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin and visit his website.


 

Paul L. Glover, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Paul is known as The No B.S. Workplace Performance Coach. For the last 30 years, his mission has been to assist Executives, Team Leaders, and their organizations in achieving their full potential.


His approach is practical, hands-on, grounded in the realities of the real world of work, and very results-oriented – but all applied with a sense of humor and panache.


Paul is also a "recovering trial lawyer," a Chicago Bears fanatic, an unabashed Starbucks addict, and the author of WorkQuake™, a book dedicated to how to thrive in the Information Economy and a Member of the Forbes Coaching Council.

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