Lead with the BLUF

If you want others to listen, try BLUF'ing.

US military professionals are trained to start their emails with the BLUF (Bottom Line Up Front) because it grabs attention and makes the message clear and concise.

Figure out what you want to say (your bottom line) and say it first.

But here's the hard part: What is your bottom line, and how do you pick just one?

Your bottom line is what your whole argument boils down to. Ideally, it's short, easy to grasp, and sparks curiosity.

I find it helpful to think about the specific change of mind or behavior I want to incite. It doesn't have to be a life-altering change, but it should be specific and clear.

Why BLUF works:

✨ It quickly answers your reader's top question, “Why should I care?”

✨ It gives the reader context, which makes everything else easier to understand.

✨ It helps you cut content that doesn't support your bottom line, resulting in more impact with fewer words.

— Credit: Lisa Cron's book, Wired for Story, helped me articulate the three whys above (bulleted with stars). I highly recommend it!