Briefing and Debriefing


Brief Description

Briefings are used to update consultants and other staff with newest contextual information, debriefi ngs to inform decision makers about specific situations, findings of evaluations or studies and respective recommendations. The briefing note is a key for every form of briefing, be it oral or written, face to face or distant. It should be:
  • short: one or two pages;
  • concise: use few meaningful words;
  • clear: keep it simple and to the point; always keep your reader firmly in mind;
  • reliable: the information in a briefi ng note must be accurate, sound and dependable;
  • readable: use plain language and design your briefing note for maximum readability.
(Source: SDC Learning&Networking)

History

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When to use

Briefings are used to update consultants and other staff with newest contextual information, debriefings to inform decision makers about specific situations, findings of evaluations or studies and respective recommendations. The briefing note is a key for every form of briefing, be it oral or written, face to face or distant.
(Source: SDC Learning&Networking)

How to use

Structure of a Briefing Note
A briefing note includes the purpose, the summary of the facts, and the conclusion. Current sections of a briefing are:
• Issue: A concise statement of the purpose, proposal or problem.
• Background: The details the reader needs in order to understand what follows.
• Current Status: Description of who is involved, what is happening now, etc.
• Key Considerations: A summary of important facts and considerations.
• Options: Including the pros and cons of each, or what will happen next.
• Conclusion and/or Recommendations: Clear, direct and substantiated by the facts put forward.
(Source: SDC Learning&Networking)

Tips and Lessons Learnt

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A briefing note should be:
  • short: one or two pages, and always as short as possible;
  • concise: a short document isn't necessarily concise; use every word efficiently;
  • clear: keep it simple and to the point; always keep your reader firmly in mind;
  • reliable: the information in a briefing note must be accurate, sound and dependable;
  • readable: use plain language and design your briefing note for maximum readability.
(Source: SDC Learning&Networking)

Examples & Stories

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Lukas Frey, SDC
With Briefing: “During the preparation of a planning workshop for a new country strategy it became evident that it was necessary to clearly define and discuss with the head of the division her role during the workshop. What is her function? How is her role perceived by others? These questions were addressed by the facilitator in a briefing with her before the workshop. In this way her role was clear and could be clearly communcated to the participants: a prerequisit for a successful workshop.”
With Debriefing: “For me a personal debriefing is a crucial tool for transforming the high energy level of a moment fort – like a workshop – into an ongoing process. The implementation of decisions taken and the way forward can be clearly addressed again in a small group. For the timing I recommend: At least one night’s sleep between the event and the debriefing assures a reasonable distance to the event.”

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