Conveying to people, the purpose, means and extent of a task entrusted to them is a basic exercise in communication. Learn how to brief effectively – whether a client, colleague or supplier – and you will help a project on the way to success.
Selecting A Brief
There are a number of different types of the brief. Briefs may be about action to be taken in the future, or they may be debriefing reports that explain what has happened and why. If a client is involved, the brief may be partly a report and partly an action plan, in which you give details of what you propose, including what role the client is to play. Get feedback from the person you are briefing to check if you have given enough information.
Compiling A Brief
When briefing someone verbally, agree on which of you will follow up with written confirmation of the brief. When compiling a briefing document:
-Put the aim at the top;
-Give the resources available;
-Provide a time horizon;
-Describe the method;
-If the brief is to produce a document, identify to whom this should be sent.
Even if you are delegating straightforward tasks, if you are specific, errors are less likely to be made.
Most briefs involve delegation of power. If you are responsible for seeing a task is completed and choose to nominate someone else to execute it, you are handing power to that person and must outline their area of responsibility in a brief. You should state how much you expect to be informed, and whether you will issue further instructions. If the project has a long timespan, remember to include the timing of reviews.
- Lean towards giving too much autonomy rather than little.
- Avoid over-briefing your staff, so they have a chance to use their initiative.
- If you feel a project as briefed is not working out, do a re-brief fast.