• Communication Skills & Techniques

What Is a BLUF Method & Why Is It Useful in Communications?

  • Ihor Volovoy
  • 4 min read
What Is a BLUF Method & Why Is It Useful in Communications?


The term ¨BLUF¨ stands for an abbreviation ¨Bottom Line Up Front¨. This phrase means that the most important thing about the website page or text is in the beginning. This structure supposes placing the most essential information at the beginning of the text, not at the end of it. As a result, a reader can read fast and clearly understand the main point of the message.

Interestingly, such a structure of info input is widely used in military communications in the USA. The main target of it is to make the message more accurate and clear for understanding. The BLUF principle is different from a more traditional style that places the recommendations and conclusions in the end after facts and arguments.

Let´s model the situation when a client gives a task to a designer. In an example to the left, the BLUF principle is not used while it is used in the example to the right.

Without BLUF principle With BLUF principle
¨In a week, we are launching a website and planning to have an action for clients. So far we have been thinking of where to place the relevant information…

(here are the explanations)

We want you to create a banner for the website with information about action during the week

¨We want you to create a banner for the website with information about action during the week.

In a week, we are launching a website and planning to have an action for clients. So far we have been thinking of where to place the relevant information…

(here are the explanations).¨

This is a rather rough example, but a very demonstrative one. Do you feel the difference?

In the first case, we give the introductory information in the beginning. After that, we speak about the task. In the second case, we describe the task and after that elaborate on details. Here, the imagined designer understands what he or she is expected to do and better comprehends the following data. Hence, it is clear to him or her from the very beginning why everything is being told this way because they know their main task. It is logical, isn´t it?


Where is the BLUF method used?

BLUF might be utilized literally in every sphere where it is vital to deliver the main idea to the audience quickly and efficiently. Check out the following examples:

In business:

  • in business letters and presentations to make a client or investor interested;
  • in reports and analytical materials to give the readers the main idea about the content;
  • in ad materials to draw the attention of potential customers.

In education:

  • in lectures and seminars to help students better understand the topic;
  • in books and manuals to make material better and more accessible for understanding;
  • in texts and exams to provide students with an opportunity to focus on more important questions.

In journalistics:

  • in news articles to help readers get a clearer idea about the most important events;
  • in analytical materials to help find the way out in difficult situations;
  • in interviews to highlight the most interesting expressions.

Besides, the BLUF method is utilized in marketing (including email marketing), social networks, ads, presentations, and other materials. Moreover, the BLUF method might be used in common correspondence to give the most vital information to an interlocuter faster and more accurately. So you will save a lot of time.

What are the main advantages of the BLUF method?

When you place the main info at the beginning of the text, either the author or reader benefits from it:

  1. Benefits for the author: The BLUF method helps structure your thoughts and concentrate on the most important things. Thanks to it, the style of writing becomes briefer and more powerful to keep the reader´s attention. Besides, with the BLUF method, you might express your point of view or recommendation in the very beginning. So that there will be no place for misunderstanding or doubts.
  2. Benefits for the reader: The BLUF method makes the process of comprehension and understanding easier. Also, it never pushes the reader to read extra stuff or look for answers at the end of the text. Besides, the BLUF method enables the reader to have the opportunity to decide whether to learn the material further or not. So it considers the reader´s targets and interests.

How does the BLUF method work?

  1. You determine the target and audience of your message (what exactly and to whom you want to tell it).
  2. Formulate the main thought and conclusion (what you want your reader to know and do after reading your message).
  3. Place this main thought and conclusion at the beginning of your text. Make sure it is no longer than 1 or 2 sentences. You might utilize BLUF marking to highlight this part of the text.
  4. Back up your main thought and conclusion with facts, arguments, and details that should be placed in descending order of importance. Avoid extra information or repetitions.
  5. Finalize your text with a call-to-action or a resume if it is essential.

To sum up, the BLUF method supposes placing the most crucial thought in the beginning when the next data must be placed in a descending order of importance.

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What are the cases when you shouldn´t use BLUF?

The BLUF method is not a universal one despite its advantages. There are several cases when it might be rather harmful, for instance, when:

  1. You need to open the essence of the message step-by-step: In those cases, the reader will not get the author´s directives if the BLUF method is used.
  2. It is vital to intrigue the reader. You will not be intrigued by the message and it will become less interesting if the BLUF method is utilized.
  3. Your message is complicated and requires clarification. The reader might not get all the information if you use the BLUF method.

Those are the main reasons why the BLUF method is not used in fiction, scientific articles, and juristic documents. However, there might be exceptions. In these cases, step-by-step input of the information and systematic leading to thought are better.

Final thoughts

BLUF is a useful instrument that helps improve communication and deliver the main ideas and thoughts more effectively. It makes any messages clearer, shorter, and more consistent. Also, it respects and values the time of the readers. Moreover, it is used in various spheres of communication where clarity and speed of information transmission are essential.

Finally, we would like to give you some basic pieces of advice:

  1. Use the BLUF method only in those cases when it is needed.
  2. Make the main thought clear and understandable.
  3. Do not forget to provide the additional data that is required for understanding the message.
  4. Check whether the BLUF method contradicts the target of the message or not.

It is crucial to take the context and target of a message into consideration before you decide whether to apply the BLUF method or not. However, with some practice, you will easily be able to understand if there is any necessity.

Thank you for your attention!

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