What is Briefing Facilitation?

May 05, 2023

by Ann Benett and Candie Hurley
What would happen in a football huddle if no one called the play? Or if all the players tried to call the play?!
We spend weeks planning the perfect briefing agenda. But if no one is identified and accountable for orchestrating the day, presenters can run long, drift off topic, regress into monologue, and deliver a generic product pitch. Sound familiar? And the customer leaves at the end of the day feeling like they were barraged with jargon and sales pitches, didn’t have a chance to get a word in, had no time to ask questions or get to their real concerns. They’re looking for a strategic partner and you came across like a transactional vendor.
Business person facilitating an executive briefingBusiness person facilitating an executive briefing
Facilitation is a strategy companies have been using to drive better briefing outcomes. It might best be defined as “purposeful interventions to keep a briefing on track with objectives”. At the end of the day customers measure the success of a briefing by how well their objectives were met. It’s important, therefore, to know what the customer’s objectives are and to reference them regularly throughout the briefing to remind the customer that they are in the driver’s seat.

Facilitation includes planned and in-the-moment strategies and tactics executed during the briefing to promote dialog, uncover objections and opportunities, and ensure achievement of the customer’s objectives. The role of the facilitator is to carefully listen and observe both verbal and non-verbal behaviors, evaluate whether the behavior is helping meet objectives, make in-the-moment decisions in partnership with the sales rep to adjust the agenda, and actively intervene to keep the meeting moving in the right direction.

The facilitator can play an important role in helping the company players look like a cohesive team instead of a series of solo presentations. Through actively introducing discussion leaders, posing questions to get the client talking, linking to comments made during opening introductions and the Customer Insight session, and recapping action items, the facilitator has an opportunity to orchestrate an experience that feels customized and conversational.

Even though the facilitator spends most of the day sitting in the “facilitator chair” it is an exhausting and exhilarating experience. It’s rewarding to be part of the success of a day that you’ve spent weeks planning!

On briefing day, the team needs a quarterback. Whether it’s a briefing professional, executive, or high-potential talent from anywhere in the business, a skilled facilitator makes a positive difference in the outcome of the briefing.