BLUF Your Communications and Avoid TL;DR

October 23, 2023
Kelly McNees

Communicating clearly and concisely is especially important for law firm marketers trying to engage incredibly busy people. Getting the attention of lawyers, clients and our own colleagues — people managing multiple deadlines and putting out last-minute fires — requires cutting through the noise to connect.

Applying the military acronym BLUF — “bottom line up front” — can help you enforce speed and clarity in your writing. The idea behind BLUF is simple: Put the most important details first.

This approach to clear communication is similar to the classic inverted pyramid structure of a news article. Both approaches focus on leading with most important details and arranging the remaining information from most to least important.

Say you’re writing a LinkedIn post for a partner to showcase your firm’s expertise in a specific practice area and need a few recent news articles on proposed legislation in this area to link to in the post.

Here’s how a less effective ask for help often plays out: You reach out to a colleague via Slack or Teams with, “Got time for a question?” They respond, “Sure,” then you reply, “It’s about XYZ legislation.” They ask, “What do you need?” and you explain, “I’m writing a LinkedIn post for [Partner’s Name] and I need two articles about the legislation to link to in the post. Who has written about it lately?” After this back and forth, your colleague sends a couple articles for you to reference.

Here’s the BLUF version: You reach out to a colleague with, “Question: Who’s written about XYZ legislation lately? I’m writing a LinkedIn post for [Partner’s Name], and I need a couple recent articles to link to.”