10 MOST COMMON MISTAKES TO AVOID IN A BRIEFING

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10 MOST COMMON MISTAKES TO AVOID IN A BRIEFING

Today, I want to tell you about ten most common mistakes people make when giving a briefing at the STANAG level 3 speaking and what to do to avoid them.
1. READING
Trying to read out the whole text of a briefing is the mistake which can disqualify your briefing. This is the result of writing down the whole text on a piece of paper. It results also in the lack of eye-contact with the second candidate (your audience).
What to do?
Don’t write the full text of your briefing in the piece of paper. Instead write down 2 solutions with two pluses and 2 minuses each. You may also want to write down the things you know you often forget or expressions you want to use. Don’t write full sentences. Use bullet points, numbers, arrows, letters, pictures.

3. CHANGING THE TOPIC

The change of topic is not well seen at the exam. You are supposed to follow the instruction closely.
What to do?
Don’t improve the topic by changing the situation, place, circumstances, problems described. Your imagination will not be rewarded. Just the opposite. I will be regarded as adjusting the topic to your needs or maybe an earlier prepared similar speech. So, follow the scenario presented in the topic. But don’t use the same wording – paraphrase it! Describe two solutions given in the topic, or choose one of them and invent the second.
3. TIMING
A briefing which is too long or too short is a mistake which is assessed negatively.  If it is too long and you exceed the time limit, you may be stopped and unable to finish your briefing, which results in the lack of task achievement.
What to do?
Follow the time limit provided. You have 3-4 minutes for a briefing and 1-2 minutes for questions and comments. Don’t exceed this time limit. If your briefing is shorter, it probably means you didn’t present enough pluses and minuses with justification.
4. STRUCTURE
It often happens that candidates present a very long introduction with unnecessary details while the body of the briefing is much shorter and the recommendation is missing.
What to do?
Limit your introduction to a necessary minimum. It shouldn’t be longer than 30-40 seconds. Seriously. Then, you have time for pluses and minuses with justification. Remember to recommend one of the described options and justify your choice.

5. FLUENCY

One of the errors people make is making a rehearsed introduction which is super fluent and then lack of similar fluency later.
What to do?
Again, limit the intro to the necessary minimum and focus on describing the solutions and your augmentation. This is the core of your speech. Not the introduction.

 

6. MEMORISING
Learning parts of your briefing by heart is not well evaluated. Especially when there is the disproportion in the above-mentioned fluency.
What to do?
Don’t focus on memorising the fixed expressions. Use them only to create the framework for your briefing, like in this post (check the sample briefing layout which is a framework for a briefing which does not overuse fixed expressions): https://www.stanagexpert.com/how-to-prepare-a-stanag-6001-level-3-briefing/
7. INTRODUCTION
It is also a mistake not to introduce your topic in the introduction.
What to do?
Don’t start with solutions without mentioning in the introduction what the problem and situation are. Don’t read word by word what is written on your card to introduce the topic. Use your own words and paraphrase it.

 

8. ARGUMENTATION

A frequent problem is the quality of arguments presented in the description of the solutions. There may be too many or too few advantages and disadvantages, which makes an impression that one solution is favoured by the speaker from the beginning. The arguments (pluses and minuses) are not justified (it is not said why they are considered a plus or a minus). The same arguments are repeated for both solutions (e.g. cheap-expensive, faster-slower, safer-more dangerous).
What to do?
Always give the same number of advantages and disadvantages of each solution. I believe that an optimal number is 2 pluses and 2 minuses for one solution.
Always justify each plus or minus. Say why it is an advantage or a disadvantage in a given situation even if it seems obvious to you. It may not be obvious to others. Don’t leave it for the listeners to guess.
If you need to use the same argument (solution 1 is cheap and solution 2 is expensive) use different arguments to justify it.
9. CONCLUSION
It’s a mistake to omit the conclusion, recommendation or the justification of your recommendation.
What to do?
Make sure you have a conclusion in which you recommend one of the described solutions and JUSTIFY your choice.
Make sure you have time to deliver your conclusion. If your briefing is too long, you may not have a chance to say it if you are stopped after 4 minuses have passed.
Always recommend one of the two described solutions. Don’t create a mix of the two.
10. LANGUAGE
What can disqualify your speech:
  • frequent grammatical mistakes,
  • loan translation from your native language (calque),
  • copying word order from your native language,
  • the inappropriate use of words and phrases,
  • using too many “sophisticated” words and phrases unnaturally,
  • using parts of speech wrongly (e.g. using a verb instead of a noun).
What to do?
What is evaluated in terms of language is accuracy and language resources. Accuracy means grammatical correctness and the natural and correct use of more advanced language.
Language resources are the range of vocabulary and grammar structures you know. So, avoid simplistic language and vocabulary, by using a variety of tenses if necessary, exchanging common nouns, verbs or adjectives with their “more advanced” synonyms, e.g. big >large, enormous; bad > negative; buy >purchase; people >individuals.

You can read a sample briefing here: https://www.stanagexpert.com/sample-briefing/

If you have any questions, leave a comment below the post or write an e-mail (info@stanagexpert.com).

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