The Briefing Note Peril

Picture this. You’ve managed to finally get that key meeting arranged. Their Head Honcho and your Big Cheese. In a room together, like a kind of business speed-date. With you and your biggest chum prospect-side playing the hopeful chaperones.

You’ve duly provided the PA to your big boss with skilfully crafted briefing notes. As requested. Long hours toiling over what must be said. How it ought be said. And what should be absolutely avoided.

Yet the meet begins, and the very first words your hear your most senior of colleagues utter is so off-script and traversing the no-go area that not only are you off the carefully manicured slopes, you’re hurtling down a totally different mountain. One without snow where career-ending moguls abound.

This is apparently how advisers to My Boy Donny felt when he spoke on the phone to the Putinictator this week.

After yet another rigged election the ex-KGB man gets to preside over his impoverished kleptocratic police state for another long winterous term.

It seems Pres. Trump had access to diligently prepared briefing notes before this phone call between world leaders.

It also seems – you couldn’t make this up – that the American didn’t bother to read them.

If he had, it is widely reported (with reasonings) that atop the notes, in capitals, the simple plea;


His first remarks? ‘Congrats, Vlad…’

What the hell though. A dealmaker is in the House. Let him shoot from his hip.

Our precious sales set-up may not get as lucky as US diplomacy.

This is a stark reminder.

Briefing notes to your partnering corner-office-dweller of choice may not be enough.

Does your top dog’s PA know what type of format gets received and remembered?

It’s 2018, people.

A doc might not get read,

An email subject line passed over.

A voicenote might fare better.

As could a 60sec vid clip via your messaging app.

But nothing can beat actually having a one-to-one, coming together in advance of the meeting where you get to stress (and test) what is essential.

bonus presentation pointer: given the Facebook personal info grab furore also hogs the feeds this week (aka”datapocalypse”!), my pic up top puts the West Wing advisers’ instruction in facebook-logo font and colours, readily applicable to a slide this week

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