A good pre-event briefing includes everyone who’s there, even if it’s just a couple of people….uh..dogs

There’s maybe only four or five of you at the training. One person will do X, somebody else will do Y, it’s no big deal, right?

No. No matter how many people are at a training session, there needs to be both an in-brief and out-brief (after-action or “hotwash”) at every training day. It might seem overly rigid, but it sets a tone and establishes a best practice for when things get bigger.

The in-brief makes sure everyone knows everything that will happen that day. It’s pretty common to start a training session with one plan, but then switch people around depending on how the individual evolutions go. How can you switch people around if you haven’t briefed everybody on everything that’s happening? I’ve seen more than one training evolution get derailed because the “fill-in” didn’t know what was expected.

The out-brief is just as important, even if there are only a few people at the event. Everyone should be offered the chance to explain:

  • One thing that went well.
  • One thing they learned.
  • One thing they’ll improve or do differently in the future.

Even at small trainings, nuggets of gold can be found. Because there are fewer of you, someone is more likely to notice great work and offer positive feedback. When there are problems, people are more likely to speak up in a small group rather than “in front of everybody.”

If you’re an ops leader or training chief, don’t be afraid of looking officious. Get your people doing in-and-out briefs. They’re gold.

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