A skilled facilitator makes a difference in the outcome of a briefing. Here’s a reminder of your top tips for facilitating:
Plan not just what you’re going to say, but what you’re going to ask. Before the briefing, prepare a list of open-ended questions you might use to get the customer talking during and after discussion modules. You may or may not need the questions, depending on how interactive the session is.
Run the briefing by the objectives, not the agenda. The agenda is simply a list of topics. Customers measure the success of a briefing by how well their objectives were met…not by how well the agenda was delivered. Keep their objectives top of mind, visually displayed in the briefing, and frequently referred to so that they know the day is all about them, not you.
Take frequent breaks. The more breaks you’ve planned the more flexibility you have as a facilitator to extend robust discussions.
Get the customer talking. Explicitly ask a customer for their thoughts/reactions after each discussion module. They may reveal objections or new opportunities that the discussion prompted. This is your chance to ping your customer as to their reactions to your products, solutions, and strategies. It will help you plan your next steps and action items in your closing remarks.
If you see something, say something. In an onsite or hybrid briefing, sit in the first chair at the front of the room so you can observe the customer’s body language. Purposefully intervene to pause the discussion leader and check in with the customer if you sense they have something to say or are looking skeptical.
Sound familiar? As we move back into the onsite briefing room and meet the challenges of hybrid briefings, let us know if you’re ready for a Facilitation Skills Refresher.