The Art of the Brief (Part 2)

One of the challenges for creative and entrepreneurial executives is what to do with all their great ideas.

SEE ALSO: The Art of The Brief (Part 1) in which I outline the concept of the Brief.

You may have heard it said, “We get out of things what we put into them”.

When it comes to communicating a significant idea, planning a major project or preparing to collaborate on an important task, I would recommend you take the time to prepare a Brief.

In this second article, I want to focus on one of the techniques I introduced in more detail.

The S.P.I.N. Approach

I would encourage you to do some preparation prior to your meeting with someone about a new idea. You may even decide to send them your brief in advance so they can likewise prepare themselves to best serve your time.

How To Brief Someone

What I’d like to do is begin by asking you some questions so that you can better understand your intentions. Once you understand your intentions, you can consider what you have discovered and start to think about your next actions. Said another way, you often need to brief yourself before you can brief others effectively.

I would recommend you either write (or audio record) a brief outline of the following kind of information:

  1. Situation
    What are the important things someone would need to know about the current situation that is relative to the idea that you have. Some facts and statistics can be useful here.
  2. Problems
    What challenges and opportunities do you want the recipient of your Brief to focus on?
  3. Implications
    What may or is likely to happen if the problems are not solved? Can you quantify the costs/opportunity costs involved?
  4. Need
    What alternative solutions or options have you considered? What is your recommendation?

Even if you don’t have the chance, or elect not to send your notes to someone before a meeting, have them with you at the time of the meeting.

Taking some time to reflect on your answers to these four above S.P.I.N. questions is a great way to fast-track the process of turning “the possible” into “the probable”. Even if your idea does not get traction and ultimately leads to a dead end, chances are you’ll save yourself 10-20 hours in an otherwise unproductive activity that could have been avoided through the process of preparing a solid brief.


There are a range of short training videos on S.P.I.N. Selling freely available on the web. Here’s one example:

Take five minutes to learn about this methodology and how you could start applying it in your business and life today.

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