How to Write a Briefing Paper (with Sample Briefs) - wiki…

An Introduction/Issue Section: The introductory paragraph, often titled "Issue," is by far the most important part of a briefing paper.

Briefing papers are targeted toward a specific audience and for a specific purpose.

We do more than just train your staff in format and style. We train your staff in the thinking skills required to write effective briefing material.


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Background Section: The "Background" section follows the "Issue" section of a briefing paper.

Some people write to put their thoughts on paper. Others write to discover what their thoughts are. Most people do both to varying degrees, depending on what they’re writing about. Whatever your approach, Writing for Results provides tools that will streamline the process and enhance its effectiveness.


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As a point of reference, this site often uses Government of Canada memos, letters, briefing notes and briefing books prepared for ministers and deputy ministers. However, it takes only minor changes to adapt the material to diverse governments and other organizations worldwide. It is equally easy to adapt the material to briefings prepared for a supervisor or a colleague.

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Briefings, whether in the form of briefing notes, longer briefing papers, or oral briefings, are used to keep decision makers informed about the issues they are responsible for. In government, briefings are the principal means of communication between government managers and their ministers (or other senior officials).

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Briefing notes often follow a standard format, but THERE ARE MANY VARIATIONS on that format. We will look at a variety of sample briefing notes and briefing note templates in class. The most important point to remember about the structure of briefing notes is that they have three main parts:

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A briefing note is a powerful tool of access to leaders — to influence their decisions, their actions and their understanding of issues. In this regard, writers (and their managers) face a complex challenge. They must deliver expert insight and strategic acumen with clarity, brevity and professionalism — all presented in an optimal organization, format, style and tone.

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Writing for Results Inc.'s mission is to deliver training that provides Government of Canada employees with the tools, techniques and knowledge needed to excel at preparing clear, crisp and compelling briefing notes.