The 411

This workshop is only available on an in-house basis. Email us for pricing and to arrange for delivery of this workshop to your team.

Meet the Instructor

Josef Jurkovic

Josef Jurkovic

Josef Jurkovic is the managing director and founding partner of the CEC. He has over 35 years of public and private sector experience across diverse areas of internal and external communications, public consultations, branding and marketing.

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The briefing note is an essential communication and decision-making tool in government and other organizations. It is written to present emerging issues, explore plans of action and inform decisions. Today’s senior managers are overloaded with ever-increasing information, and they need to know what is important as they make decisions. The ability to provide concise, clear and relevant analysis and recommendations in writing is a key skill.

Similarly, and for the same reasons, oral briefings and presentations have never been more important. The oral transmission of information, analysis and policy/action recommendations and their rationale through briefings and presentations is one the keys to efficient operation of public services and it is a key skill required in today’s hectic and changing public service environment.

Effective written and oral briefings are a necessity and a requirement for ministers, senior managers and decision makers as well as for key organizational stakeholders all of whom are faced with multiple issues and events competing for their attention.




8:45 - 9:00 Introductions and Workshop Overview
9:15 - 9:30 Why we Write Briefing Notes

Public service environment and the necessity of providing senior decision-makers with timely, accurate and concise information and advice.
9:30 - 10:00 The Importance of Plain Language

Plain language principles and tips for writing clearly and concisely. Steps to preparing a briefing note. Examples and participant exercises.
10:00 - 10:30 The Context of Your Briefing Note

Determining the Who, What, Why, and When of any briefing note.
10:30 - 10:45 BREAK
10:45 - 11:15 Structure of the Briefing Note

Participants examine the main sections of a briefing note (Issue, Key Considerations, Options, Recommendation). Using a scenario, the class discusses the possible content for each section.
11:15 - 12:30 Exercise: Writing the Briefing Note

Participants read a case study and discuss the issue. Participants work in groups to prepare a briefing note. Each group presents its completed briefing note. Participants discuss the notes and lessons learned.
12:30 - 1:15 LUNCH
1:15 - 2:15 Planning and Developing Briefings and Presentations

A strategic approach to briefings and presentations; differences between written and oral communication; audience analysis - “who am I talking to” and “what’s in it for me and them”; setting objectives for different types of briefings; determining and crafting key messages and the “residual message” – the main point or points your audience should take away from the briefing; structuring the briefing and determining content – what and how much.
2:15 - 2:30 BREAK
2:30 - 3:15 Exercise: Briefings and Presentations

5-minutes briefings/presentations by volunteers, structured peer review, discussion and instructor feedback.
3:15 - 4:00 Delivery, Use of Language and the "Snapshot" Briefing (Oral Executive Summary)

Choosing your words and using your voice; using plain language; being conversational; techniques for overcoming nervousness; dealing with questions; a system for staying “on the message”; developing and using the “Snapshot”.
4:00 - 4:15 Exercise: "Snapshot" Briefing

2-minute briefings by volunteers, structured peer review, discussion and instructor feedback.
4:15 - 4:30 Questions, Comments & Workshop Evaluation