Bottom Line Up Front (BLUF)

BLUF: the practice of beginning a message with its key information.

Many emails and other digital messages have a narrative form which starts with an introduction, gives context and background and then finishes with a request or a recommendation.

This requires the recipient to scan the entire message to determine its relevance to them and answer the question “how does this affect me?”, which is tedious and inefficient for people when they receive a high volume of messages.

Bottom Line Up Front, a term and practice which originates from the military, is the practice of instead beginning a message with its key information (the “bottom line”).

An effective BLUF distills the most important information for the reader in a short and concise statement, often summarizing the who, what, where, when, and why.