you often talk about the Bottom Line Up Front technique for an effective communication and I agree with the concept (and I personally try to use it as much as I can).

What I think is that sometimes this lead to a 'reaction' from the reader / listener who's approaching the remaining part of the message without trying to understand it but just trying to find a way to answer / compete / reply.

What do you think?

Mark's picture
Admin Role Badge


Yes, you're right. There is an old joke that democracy is the second worst form of government...and all the others are tired for last. Communication is VERY hard to do very well consistently, and BLUF is - usually - the best way only because the other ways have more flaws.

BLUF does lead to a reaction at times, and that doesn't help. It's important to note that a BIG part of this is our ROLE POWER at work. Almost ANY communication we make to our teams creates a "reaction" of some sort, because we have the power to greatly influence their behavior in ways they may not like.

But, if there's going to be a reaction, it's far better that it be AFTER they hear the bottom line. Maybe something about the details won't be clear, but at least they'll know your KEY POINT.

Also, consider the listener's DISC profile. Generally, High D's and I's are MORE okay with this approach, and S's and C's will be a little more likely to want a longer, "slower" approach.

As long as you have time.


Hey - new avatar! [We Fedex'ed the package yesterday].

pmoriarty's picture
Training Badge

Having spent the last two days in all-day product development strategy meetings I would have liked it if more people presenting used BLUF, as opposed to waiting until their last slide to say how many people and how much money they'd need to accomplish what they were proposing.

It would have helped me ask better questions during their presentations if I had a better feel for the magnitude of the changes being proposed before waiting until the end.

thaGUma's picture

The old maxim:
Tell them what you are going to say
Say it
Tell them what you said.

Where there are more detail people, then perhaps word the BLUF differently. Still emphisise the main point, but alude to the backup that is going to follow.