A BLUF ("bottom line up front") is a paragraph where the conclusions and recommendations are placed at the beginning of the text, rather than the end, in order to facilitate rapid decision making. Traditionally, conclusions and recommendations are included at the end, following the arguments and considerations of facts. The concept is not exclusive to writing; it can also refer to conversations and interviews.
The term is common in US military writing.
The BLUF model can be routinely seen in executive summaries in reports, subject lines in e-mails, and abstracts in scholarly articles. It applies directly to the format of a résumé to prevent it being too long or wordy. In technical writing, BLUF is considered an essential skill. It has also been advocated for scholarly articles.
In conversation, the BLUF model can be used to keep conversation or answers to questions concise and focused on the immediate topic, in order to help a person talk less (such as in an interview).
The BLUF model can also be used in planning and management to ensure the purpose of plans are kept in mind, decision-maker support is more readably attainable, and measurement of impact may more easily and accurately be assessed.
BLUF is also key in medical assessment to determine quickly the most pressing problem facing a patient.
- Acronym Dictionary: BLUF
- Leaders Inc. Interview Preparation Guide
- Baltimore Sun weblogs (see comments)
- eWrite Online
- GI Jobs
- "Ten Essential Writing Skills for Help Desk Techies" (slide six)
- Being Direct 1: Martin Krieger's 'Bottom Line Up Front'
- Keys to Effective Health Promotion (based around a BLUF model)
- American Psychological Association's publication Monitor on Psychology, Volume 38, No. 1 January 2007 page 42 "Supplying therapy where it’s needed most" by Christopher Munsey