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The BLUF Technique for Better Email Communication

A Technique for Concise and Effective Business Communication

Are you overwhelmed by your inbox? The average person receives more than 100 emails each day. But we’re not burdened just by the quantity of messages; the lack of clarity within them also wastes our valuable time and energy.

It doesn’t have to be this way. BLUF is a military communication technique that stands for “Bottom Line Up Front.”

Rather than burying the call to action in the middle or at the end of the email, BLUF ensures the recipient sees the action item plus the due date, front, and center.

Teach your team to use BLUF, and you’ll empower them to be better, more purposeful communicators, while also helping you get a handle on your inbox.

When to use the BLUF Technique

BLUF is best used when some type of action is needed from the recipient. For example:

  • Asking for a response or feedback
  • Approvals
  • Decisions

How to use the BLUF Technique

  1. Introduce your team to the technique. Resolve that you and your team will start using BLUF in emails when action is required by recipients.
  2. Begin your emails with “BLUF—” followed by the need or conclusion at the beginning of the communication in 1-2 sentences. Then, write the rest of your email. TIP* Include the BLUF— hyperlink as a quick reference for your team or a reader that isn’t familiar with the technique.
  3. Assess and provide feedback If you feel a team member’s BLUF didn’t appropriately convey the action or response required.

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