BLUF: How These 4 Letters Simplify Communication

BLUF: How These 4 Letters Simplify Communication

We spend the majority of our time communicating.

A study of U.S. workers revealed that the average person spends nearly 30% of the workday reading and answering emails. A separate study showed employees spend another 40% of their time in meetings, a portion that has risen steadily since the 1960s. Although we spend the majority of our time communicating, it turns out most of us are not particularly effective communicators. Half of the time we spend in meetings is wasted, and poor communication costs the average large organization (more than 100,000 employees) $62.4 million per year in lost productivity.

Poor communication is costing you time and money.

But it doesn’t have to. If you’re ready to save time and simplify the way you communicate, four letters can improve your effectiveness. No, not those four letters. BLUF.

What is BLUF?

BLUF is a military acronym that stands for:

  • Bottom
  • Line
  • Up
  • Front

BLUF communications note the conclusion at the beginning of the message and follow it up with the context. For example:

BLUF: I need you to approve both the design and content of the attached flyer by noon on August 10.

This flyer is for an upcoming conference at which we are exhibiting. I have included information about the upcoming classes we are offering, our contact information, and a list of the services we offer.

By putting the bottom line up front, this communication tells the receiver what is expected of them and the level of priority of the task. It also creates a more effective and concise communication ensuring that the critical information does not get overlooked.

BLUF makes you a more effective communicator

Poor communication costs you and your organization time and money. Techniques like BLUF can help you communicate fast and effectively, and studies show that organizations with effective communications produced a 47% greater return to shareholders over five years.

Need to improve communications on your team?

You can find more communications techniques in our insights and tools page, or check out our class schedule.

This post has been updated from the original version created in July 2016.

get newsletter updates

Executive coaching & development

Everything You Need to Pass Your PMP® Exam

Enroll Now

Sign Up For Our Newsletter

Practical strategies to help you thrive in Leadership, Project Management, and more.