By Ken Rogerson

« Mid-career intelligence analysts selected to brief senior individuals outside their organizations face a daunting task. The skillset and training that make them strong intelligence analysts are markedly different than those needed to professionally communicate intelligence. Poor communication can result in ineffective engagements with senior leaders and lead to decision makers acting upon misused, misunderstood, or neglected intelligence. In this report, we answer the following question: before and during initial or early-stage interactions with unfamiliar principals, how can intelligence professionals best communicate complex information to decision makers to enhance their understanding of intelligence? Through interviews with 19 industry professionals with military, executive, legislative, and non-governmental experience, we identify several characteristics, considerations, and conventions that increase the likelihood of successful engagements. Characteristics of effective communicators include preparedness, credibility, flexibility, and confidence. Considerations for effective engagements include context, time, modality, and organizational perspective. Conventions for effective engagements include ensuring message clarity, delivering a penetrating message, earning trust, tailoring the communication strategy, and identifying the anchor. These findings inform a communication strategy model and workflow upon which future research can build. »

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