This article was first published in the Tax Journal on 4 October Since then, the content has been substantially updated and revised and now forms part of our Free Briefing on How to Create Effective Intercompany Agreements for Transfer Pricing.
How to Write a Briefing Note What is a briefing? 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.
The demands of government these days are such that senior officials must constantly learn and retain information about an enormous range of topics and issues, which change rapidly. The only way they can do this is to rely on concise, clear, reliable briefings.
What is a briefing note and when is it used? Written briefings are usually done in the form of briefing notes. A briefing note is a short paper that quickly and effectively informs a decision-maker about an issue. A useful briefing note distills often complex information into a short, well-structured document.
But briefing notes are also prepared for any topic someone needs to be informed about. Briefing notes are typically written for those senior-level decision-makers who have to keep track of many, often unrelated, issues may not be familiar with the issues and may not have any related background for whatever reason, cannot spend time doing their own research need a capsule version of the key points and considerations about an issue What are the characteristics of a good BN?
A well-prepared briefing note quickly and efficiently fills a person in on an issue. The most valuable BN is clear, concise and easy to read. To succeed, a briefing note should be: 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: Remember, any briefing note you write will only have the sections that are relevant to your purpose and audience. Issue also Topic, Purpose: A concise statement of the issue, proposal or problem.
This section should explain in one or two lines why the BN matters to the reader. It sets out in the form of a question or a statement what the rest of the note is about. Typically this section gives a brief summary of the history of the topic and other background information.
What led up to this problem or issue? How has it evolved?
Describes only the current situation, who is involved, what is happening now, the current state of the matter, issue, situation, etc. While you will have to decide what to include and what to leave out, this section should be as unbiased as possible.
Your aim is to present all the details required for the reader to be informed or to make an informed decision. Remember to substantiate any statements with evidence and to double check your facts.
Additional details may be attached as appendices. Options also Next Steps, Comments: Basically, observations about the key considerations and what they mean; a concise description either of the options and sometimes their pros and cons or of what will happen next.
Conclusions summarize what you want your reader to infer from the BN. Many readers jump immediately to this section, so be sure it covers the points you most want your reader to be clear about. Do not introduce anything new in the Conclusion.
If you are including a recommendations section, it should offer the best and most sound advice you can offer. Make sure the recommendation is clear, direct and substantiated by the facts you have put forward. Is the purpose of the briefing note clear? Is the language simple, economical and clear?
Is everything there that needs to be there? Is the BN easy to read, understand and remember? Do the sections lead logically from one to another?
Is the BN designed so that it is inviting to the reader? Is there a good balance between white spaces and text? Has the briefing note been carefully edited and proofread?• A well-crafted briefing note does not need a Summary.
The Issue and the Conclusion or Recommendation(s) should be sufficient to summarize the briefing note. Such problems seem worlds away from bitcoin, a currency based on clever cryptography which has a devoted following among mostly well-off, often anti-government and sometimes criminal geeks.
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. Ontario Healthy Communities Coalition Susan Doyle for Advocacy School 20 June Workshop objectives how easy do you find it to write?
What process do you follow when you write? your briefing note to do, your reader won't. To write a persuasive brief or an effective memo: n Clearly and succinctly state the issues; n Proofread the entire paper several times—no errors in grammar, punctuation or spelling; and n Make sure all citations are accurate and in the correct format.
Legal Issue Trail. How to Write a Briefing Note What is a briefing? Briefings, whether in the form of briefing notes, longer briefing papers, or oral briefings, are used to keep decision makers informed about .