The initial briefing meeting with a client can make novice researchers quake in their shoes, but AQR's 'How to boss a briefing meeting' helped them overcome that mindset.
Ah, the briefing meeting: that time when, as a newbie in the world of research, you just sit in a corner, tongue-tied, because youre scared if you open your mouth youll say something unbelievably obvious or irrelevant. Well, it was time to change that mindset, and my first AQR Breakfast Bites session of the year, "How to boss a briefing meeting", was a great means of knowing how I could confidently contribute in future briefings.
Host Kat Cunningham did a great job from the beginning by creating a supportive environment. She understood our individual concerns, mainly around lacking the confidence to engage fully in the briefing.
Having had limited experience of attending face-to-face briefing meetings, Kat did a great job of introducing me to the fundamentals of how to best prepare before a briefing meeting, as well as highlighting important behavioural tips for during the meeting:
- Give yourself the best chance to succeed by fully understanding the brief and the clients needs.
- Undertake some desk research and fully immerse yourself in the clients brand and its main competitors.
- Take some responsibility by agreeing with your team on which part of the briefing to boss, and make things easier for yourself by writing a self-help sheet to guide you through your section.
- Its vital to remember that the briefing doesnt start when you are all sat down at the table ready to discuss things. It begins as soon as you arrive at the clients office. First impressions are vital, you need to ensure that you are personable and look interested.
- Have a presence in the room. Contributing to the conversation helps to generate your status and its key that your body language portrays a person whos actively interested in the discussion and working with the client.
Kat ended the session by exposing us to a clients perspective of what is expected in a briefing. This was a great way of ending the session and it only helped to build more confidence towards my next briefing experience.
Research Manager, Ninth Seat
This article was first published in InBrief magazine, April 2019
Copyright © Association for Qualitative Research, 2019