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Tips for Writing a Briefing Document

A briefing document is a good communication vehicle to keep others abreast of certain issues in a professional manner. A briefing document identifies a particular problem, with the goal of getting others to also address the issue. This type of document also usually offers a proposed solution for the presented problem.
Briefs and briefing documents are used in a variety of settings. Lawyers call them legal briefs and those in government refer to them as briefing notes. The main goal is to address an issue, persuade others to join in and/or offer a solution to the problem. Understanding how to compose a briefing document is very important in presenting your concerns in a professional manner.

Purpose of a Briefing Document

In order to utilize tips for writing a briefing document you must understand the purpose of this type of document. Briefing documents are used across many different professional genres in order to address issues in a formal way.
Not only do these documents present an issue formally, but they also allows others to agree that the issue needs to be addressed, and allow people to come to a formal resolution.
It is very important that the briefing document identify the issue in the most concise manner possible and propose a solution. In order for a briefing document to be effective in presenting information it should:

  • Be brief, hence the term briefing document
  • State all issues and solutions clearly
  • Be persuasive, as one of the purposes of a briefing document is to get others to assist agree on the issue and help with its resolution
  • Present information in an informative and practical manner.

Any issue that is mentioned should be confirmed with evidence and the solution should be feasible.

Writing a Briefing Document

Here are some tips for writing a briefing document that should be followed in order to ensure that the information is presented in the correct manner.

  1. Create structure – Your briefing document should be written in a structured format. The structure should consist of parts that include the issue or topic, background information on the issue, the current status of the issue, important details, options for resolving the issue and the conclusion or recommendations.
  2. Keep it simple – The briefing document should be no longer than two pages. Likewise, it should get directly to the matter of the issue. Make the most use of your words to get your point across without being verbose.
  3. Research for reliability – When presenting information on an issue, it is very important that all the details are factual and reliable. Other individuals will be relying on the information to determine whether or not they will support the resolution of your issue. Make sure to do research and back up any claims with evidence.
  4. Make it easily accessible – The main purpose of briefing documents is to put concerns out in the open so that they can be addressed as quickly and efficiently as possible. Most of the people reading briefing documents do not have the time to shuffle through papers or research to follow along with your proposal.

It is very important that you take the time make this document accurate, easy to read and easily accessible.

Editing Your Briefing Document

Take the time to edit your briefing document prior to presenting it to your colleagues or other professionals. Make sure that it addresses the issues clearly in a concise, clear manner. Be sure that you have all your supporting evidence within the document, that the entire document is easy to follow along and that it is clear in its intentions. Finally, you should also take the time to thoroughly proofread your briefing document for any spelling and grammar errors before presenting it to your colleagues.


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