Last year, I was talking about the critical importance of getting to the point quickly in meetings – and in messages – and a friend who is in the Navy taught me about BLUF. That’s the acronym they use in the military for Bottom Line Up Front. In a military setting, BLUF communications allow people to grasp the essence of a situation immediately and seek details only as necessary. It’s like a Cliff Notes for every situation.
More recently, a reader wrote me with this nifty list, also from the military. Always describe:
If you’re in a meeting that is focused on getting to the bottom of an important situation, these are great guides. Encourage people to cite their headlines from the start. It not only saves time, it ensures the communicator has a point in the first place.