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"TOP's" Guide to Appearing Before the Board!!!!
APPEARING BEFORE THE BOARD AND RESPONDING TO BOARD MEMBERS
Reporting to the Board:
Knock loudly on the door but enter when told to do so. Approach the president of the board using proper facing movements and position yourself in front of the president of the board approximately three paces. Halt at attention, render a hand salute, and report to the president of the board. Example: "Sergeant Major, Specialist Snuffy reporting to the President of the Board". Hold your salute until the Board president returns it. You should be loud and show Confidence. If asked to be seated, look over your shoulder, and find your seat and take appropriate movements to get to your seat. While seated, sit straight with both feet flat on the floor and your hands comfortably on your thighs. Ensure that your hands remain on your thighs and do not move and be mindful of your fingers moving. Board Members will be watching and looking for this and will see it as a sign of Lack of Discipline. Also ensure that you do not bounce your legs and feet. These are both common mistakes made during the board and are results of Nervousness.
When giving your Opening Statement ensure that you make a conscious effort to “Look Each and Every Board Member” Directly in their Eyes. This shows Confidence and they will take it as an insult if you do not acknowledge that they are also in the room. The most Common Mistake is that Soldiers only direct their Opening Statement to the Board President since the President is generally the one that asks them to do so.
Begin and End all statements to the board members by using their Rank ("Sergeant Major," "First Sergeant," "Sergeant,"). Direct your answer to the person asking the question, maintaining eye-to-eye contact at all times. Speak loudly enough so that all board members will hear you. If you feel your voice start to waiver because of nervousness, take a breath and raise your voice slightly this will usually help to steady it.
Answering board member's questions:
When answering questions; Use an Authoritative Voice and Voice Inflexion when giving the “Key Words” for the Answers to the Questions. You also need to use “Pause Points” during your Answer also. An example would be: “Sergeant Major, Leadership "IS", the process of influencing others to accomplish the mission by providing Purpose Direction and Motivation. To accomplish the unit’s mission and to improve the unit. Sergeant Major” During this example, you should raise your voice and use voice inflexion for word “Sergeant Major” and the word “IS” and a Natural Pause Point would right After the Word “IS”, the next Voice Inflexion would be for the words “Purpose, Direction and Motivation” and then the last Voice Inflexion would be at the ending for the words “Sergeant Major”. Never mumble or begin your reply with "uh", "well", "I think", or "I believe". This indicates indecisiveness and lack of Confidence. Do Not reach for unfamiliar words to articulate your thoughts and answers.
It is helpful and impressive to repeat the question as part of your answer. For example, "Sergeant, the five colors of a topographical map are..." If you answer a question and the board member asks you "are you sure?" he or she is probably trying to see if you are indecisive and will change your answer. The best thing to do is to pause and think for a second, and then give your reply. If you think you have actually given the wrong answer, simply restate the members rank and reply with the corrected answer. Conversely, if you are confident in your original answer, state the members rank and say "yes". Also, if a member responds to your answer with a follow-up probing question like "what do you mean?" or "can you explain that in depth?" they are just trying to see if you really know something about the subject or if you have just memorized answers from a study guide.
There will be Questions that you do not know the Answer to. There is no reason to get frustrated. During my experience it is very rare that a Soldier will be able to answer every question in a Board. If you are asked a question that you do not know just give the appropriate response to let the Board Member know that you do not know that Answer. This will generally not hurt you too bad on the board unless it becomes a habit and becomes your standard answer for every Question. An Example: "Sergeant, I do not know the answer to that question" or "Sergeant, I don't know the answer to that question, but I know the answer can be found in (give the appropriate ADP, ADRP, AR, FM, TM etc.)." If you don't understand the question, you can ask the board member to please repeat or rephrase it.
Leaving the Board:
Come to Position attention in step three paces in front of the board president. Render a hand salute and you will generally give the “BN” or “BDE” Motto to the president of the board. Do not forget the Motto, this will leave with a negative impression even if you answered the Questions well. Hold your salute until it has been returned. Leave the room using proper facing movements and close the door unless directed otherwise.
ORAL EXPRESSION AND ANSWERING BOARD QUESTIONS
During a board appearance your ability to articulate your knowledge is the Most Important aspect of the Board. Board members will prefer an individual who is comfortable within their own vocabulary level over a soldier who is always searching for words as this will appear to them that the Soldier lacks Confidence. Bottom line, speak normal and using Authoritative Voice and Practice, Practice, Practice!!!
Almost Every Board will usually require an opening Statement. This will “Set the Tone” for your Board Appearance. So be prepared to give your Bio and to answer the Question of why you should be an NCO or the NCO/Soldier of the Month/Quarter. These are generally the most common “Opening Statements” that the Board President will ask you.
Take time to write out your Opening Statement and Practice it often by reciting it out loud and in the Tone you will be using during the Board. The Bio should include positions held, jobs performed, military and civilian education, duty stations, significant accomplishments, and future goals. In most cases, most units will require you to type a Bio that will be a part of your Board packet and will usually provide the format.
STUDY, PRACTICE AND PREPARATION
The best way to study is to have someone ask you the question and for you to repeat the question as close as to the actual answer to the Website as possible. The Most important thing about the Question/Answer is that you hit the “key” words in the Answer. It is also equally important that you repeat the Question that you are asked and then give the Answer back just as you would if you were responding to a Board Member. Remember it is Highly Important to Practice just as you would answer during the Board. This will seem silly at the time since you should be answering the Questions in a “Loud and Authoritative Voice”. But it is just like anything
else we do in the Army we “Train as we Fight” Right? So if you have to underline or highlight key words or phrases of the Answer so that you remember these in order to give exact answer each and every time that you respond to that Question. The most common mistake by Soldiers is that they think that they “Know” the Answer to a Particular Question, so they do not practice answering the “Easy” Questions and then shoot from the hip during the Board. This usually leads to a poor performance during the actual Board as they will stutter or slip up as they stumble on their words trying to respond to the Question “In Their Own Words”. And yes it usually happens on the easy questions because they usually just skip those during practice and studying and they have the mindset of “I already know that one and can don’t need to Practice saying that”. You should just practice
answering EVERY question no matter how easy you think it may be.
Know your unit's history, what battles or Campaigns that your unit has participated, what Unit Awards the Unit has received, the unit crest and the unit's current mission.
Know your Soldiers and their family members and ensure that their counseling packets are up to date and that their records (i.e. PT cards, Weapons Cards, etc…) are up to date also. You should be very intimate with the information that you know about your Soldiers, i.e. where they are from, children, wife’s name, other family members and what their goals are. What their weaknesses are and their strengths, i.e. their PT tests and last date they took the test, HT/WT data etc….
Be prepared to express yourself on current events and sports (world, national and local news). Pay close attention to news programs (like CNN, FOXnews and MSNBC) and read internet headlines at least a week prior to, and especially the Morning of the board as this is usually most likely time that a Board member will search the Web for Current World, National and Local news.
Practice introducing yourself and giving your BIO. Also practice answering the question of why you should be an NCO or why you should be the Soldier or NCO of the Month/Quarter. You should also practice all the Creeds, even though you may be a SPC and the MOI may state that the NCO Creed is for NCO’s, you may be asked to recite the Soldier’s creed and the NCO creed. The more you study and the more you practice the better prepared you will be.
You should ensure that your PSG and the NCO’s of your Platoon give you a Mock Board. Ensure that they all give you good, direct and honest feedback. You should also request any “Grading or Points Sheets” that the Board Members will be using during your Board. This will ensure that you are concentrating on the appropriate areas that you are being evaluated on. It would be helpful if your PSG and Mock Board members also have access to the “Grading or Points Sheets” so that they can take notes and will be better prepared to give you better feedback.
Ensure your uniform is in accordance with AR 670-1. If your Uniform has become Snug then you should invest in a new Uniform. Remember, this is an investment in your Career and the Board Members will not respond well to a Tight Fitting uniform. They will look at you as a Soldier that will be a sloppy Leader and does not care if you do not invest in a new uniform if your current Uniform does not fit. They will choose not to select you to become a Leader in their organization. Check the location of sewn-on items to ensure that they are in compliance with the Reg. Common uniform deficiencies are: brass that is scratched or dirty, dirty or scratched shoes and shoes without edge dressing, haircuts, poorly placed or frayed rank insignia and unit patch, crooked ribbons, improper spacing on badges or ribbons, sleeves or pant legs that are too long or short, or a coat that is too tight. Once uniform deficiencies are identified, send your uniform in for alterations and cleaning as soon as possible. If you are planning on attending future Soldier/NCO boards it could be worthwhile to purchase the ASU. This uniform presents an outstanding appearance and will set you apart from your peers. Ensure that your Awards and Badges match your ERB exactly as they appear on the ERB. This will raise red flags to the Board members and will open you up to unneeded questions. Especially if you are wearing ribbons that are not on the ERB or if you have ribbons on your ERB that are not on your Uniform. This will give the Board Members the appearance that you are not taking it seriously and they do not want Leaders that do not take the small things seriously.
PREPARE YOUR RECORDS EARLY FOR REVIEW.
You should get with your S1 30 days prior to your board appearance to review and update your ERB. Your PPW is available to you online through your Army Knowledge Online (AKO) account. The items you will need to check are: correspondence course completion documentation, Skill Port Certificates, Military (DA for 87’s and 1059’s for Military Courses), and civilian course/school certifications, Awards, Deployment information is correct. It's a good idea to maintain a personal paper or digital copy of your records. Bring these documentations with you for review of your ERB and iPerms with your S1 Clerk. At the records review examine your ERB, iPerms and PPW to ensure your information is correct and updated.
For More Detailed information visit www.ArmyBoardGuidance.com. This Site was created by a fellow Soldier and will Definitely assist you in how to appear and prepare for Board Appearance.
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