An effective briefing note is a short document that quickly updates senior management on an issue or opportunity. But how do you select the right details? How do you organize the information appropriately? And how do you ensure your writing style is appropriate? You will learn all this and more in this highly interactive session


For 6 to 20 participants at your place of business

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Briefing notes and issue papers are the formal written records of the advice provided by staff to senior management. These documents play a vital role in influencing officials, stakeholders, and the media. Therefore, the authors of these documents must be skilled — not only in writing — but in analyzing, selecting, organizing, and presenting key details on specific topics.


  • Anyone whose job requires them to prepare briefing notes or issue papers for senior management


  • Identify the characteristics of effective issue/briefing notes
  • Understand how to make the structure work
  • Know what to be clear about before starting
  • Use a proven tool for sorting information
  • Edit with effective questions



  • Defining briefing notes and issue papers
  • Understanding their importance
  • Recognizing the briefing note cycle
  • Identifying personal challenges

Getting Started

  • Clarifying the objective
  • Understanding and working with the constraints
  • Following the approval process

Gathering the Details

  • Accumulating the relevant points
  • Determining the primary and secondary receivers’ questions
  • Sorting research and thoughts
  • Applying psychologics: a proven tool to ensure the primary reader is given all necessary information

Establishing the Theme

  • Remaining balanced and objective
  • Understanding the impact of words
  • Determining facts versus opinions versus argument


  • Establishing personal writing habits
  • Avoiding writer’s block
  • Eliminating redundant information, the obvious, and excessive detail
  • Making sentences easy to read
  • Checking grammar and punctuation

Focusing on the Briefing Note*

  • Reviewing the guiding principles for organizing documents
  • Keeping your reader in mind when sequencing key points

Focusing on an Issue Paper*

  • Tailoring the opening paragraph to the primary reader’s knowledge base
  • Providing explanatory material
  • Presenting the rationale, pros and cons of options
  • Closing with a powerful conclusion or recommendation

Using Design Techniques

  • Placing the proper emphasis on key points
  • Making documents readable

Summary and Evaluations

* These sections are designed according to the organization’s template.


This one-day workshop is highly interactive, using discussions and case studies.

The facilitator will work with the client in designing two relevant case studies for the participants to work on during this session.

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Course Code: WSJ701