Introduction – Briefing and Debriefing

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Key Assumptions

This course features content that has been used successfully in highly consequential activities like search and rescue and other types of emergency response.  However, because the elements of an effective briefing and debriefing are universal, I’ve broadened some of the explanations to include the typical briefings and debriefings that occur in of all types organizations every day also.

Now, let’s get square on some key definitions.  Starting out with a common understanding is a vital aspect of effective briefings, by the way.



Peace is our professionBriefings are:

  • 1-way communication
  • Mechanisms to transfer needed information or instructions from the speaker to the listener.

Briefings are not:

  • 2-way communication, questions and answers can come at the end
  • Meetings

What’s the purpose of a briefing?

The purpose of a briefing is for you to inform or instruct another person or group of people.

There are two (2) primary types of briefings: informational and instructional;

Many briefings will contain an effective blend of both types.

Each type will be explored in the topics below.


Debriefings are:

  • Facts about what you did and didn’t do
  • Opportunities to make recommendations

Debriefings are not:

  • About someone else’s activities
  • Exaggerated stories

What’s the purpose of a debriefing?

The purpose of a debriefing is to relay the outcome of an instructional briefing or other activity where the debriefer participated.

Since the debriefing is tied into what was instructed in the briefing, the content, length, and level of detail should refer back to the briefing and not a rambling narrative of what activities occurred.

Even if an impromptu debriefing is requested as the result of an activity that was not specifically briefed, there are some helpful guidelines to include when asked to debrief an activity:

  • Current status of activity
  • Unmet needs as a result of activity
  • Recommendations for further action

An expanded description of a debriefing as a result of an instructional debrief will be provided in later lessons.  These elements will be categorized as “DID”, “DIDN’T” and “DO”.

The magic behind the clarity and efficiency of this Briefing and Debriefing course are the three (3) key components of a briefing and the three (3) key components of a debriefing.briefing and debriefing chart

Each step will be shared in detail – with examples – in your upcoming lessons.

By following these guidelines, we can enjoy greater clarity and efficiency in our communications.

A link to your own downloadable pocket reference card featuring the below chart along with a helpful checklist should be on your MY Account page as well as on your original course receipt.

Okay, please complete a quick knowledge review and then let’s get started on the journey to improved communication!

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