Writing Effective Briefing Notes (P848)

Techniques for Writing Clearly and Concisely

This course will be delivered two ways:

• In person (in classroom) in Ottawa
• Live, instructor-led session online

Please check available dates in the two sections on the right, and click the corresponding REGISTER ONLINE button for your choice.

Briefing notes are an essential means for staff to inform, advise, and influence the decision-making process in public and private sector organizations.

This workshop uses practical exercises to develop skills in writing effective briefing notes. You will learn techniques for planning, drafting, summarizing complex information, improving your writing skills, and editing.

The workshop is highly interactive with frequent opportunities to receive feedback. Participants are also invited to bring samples of their work for review by the instructor.

This is a two-day workshop in Ottawa.

Space is still available for all course dates listed, unless otherwise noted.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this seminar, you will be able to:

  • Identify how the briefing note aids in decision making
  • Use your in-house templates correctly
  • Prepare a writing plan with a clear communication objective
  • Plan what information needs to be collected
  • Write the first draft from a plan
  • Summarize complex information
  • Edit to clarify and strengthen the message

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Workshop Topics

The Purpose of the Briefing Note

  • How senior managers use briefing notes to make decisions
  • How to analyze the needs and interests of the receiver
  • Consequences of incomplete, incorrect, or unclear briefing notes

The Structure of Briefing Notes

  • Briefing note templates vary from one organization to another. This course uses a generic template and relates the key learning points to participants’ own in-house templates:
    – Summary
    – Issue
    – Background/context
    – Considerations
    – Recommendation
    – Next steps
  • Overview of different types of notes:
    – Information
    – Decision
    – Analysis
    – Approval

The 4 Stages of Effective Writing

  • Pre-writing and planning
  • Drafting
  • Editing
  • Proofreading

How to Plan your Briefing Note

  • Analyzing your receiver’s needs/interests
  • Identifying central idea/main points/sub-points
  • Mind-mapping

How to Write a Summary

  • Capturing the meaning of the original text
  • Using your own words
  • Losing the detail
  • Applying the process: practical exercises

How to Formulate a Research Plan

  • Establishing time lines
  • Identifying critical paths
  • Identifying internal processes for consultation/gaining approval

How to Write Your Draft from a Plan

  • Writing your draft from a plan
  • Using clear, concise sentences
  • Developing a critical awareness
  • Practical exercises in planning and writing briefing notes
  • Feedback from the trainer

How to Improve your Writing Skills

  • Diagnostic test to identify your training needs
  • Practical exercises in punctuation, capitalization, grammar and word usage


  • Correcting grammatical errors
  • Editing to simplify and clarify the message
  • Adjusting inappropriate style and tone
  • Using quality assurance checklists to avoid errors

Register Online

Once you register the first attendee, you’ll have the ability to add additional attendees or purchase other workshops

Details Price Qty
In-Class Workshop - February 27-28, 2024show details +$1,186.50 (CAD)*  

* price includes taxes

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Who Should Attend This Course?

Anyone who needs to write briefing notes as part of their job.

Does This Course Address Your Competency Development Needs?

This training workshop addresses:

• Analytical Thinking
• Communication
• Computer and Digital Technology
• Decision Making / Decisiveness
• Document Use
• Engagement and Motivation
• Impact and Influence
• Planning / Organizing
• Policy Development
• Reading Skills
• Research, Analysis and Evaluation
• Writing Skills