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Brevity Gets the Message Heard

Journalists know – “Don’t bury the headline.” They practice the “BLUF” technique – bottom line up front. If you put the main point up front in your communication, it will be seen and heard. And be more likely to be acted upon. Want a good example?


Brevity at Work recently revised an email sent by a production supervisor to his team, about the need to implement 5 new safeguards to prevent bad product from reaching customers. In his original email of 365 words, he uses 73 words before making it clear that his readers need to take action. Picture yourself as a busy person reading this email. If you had read 50 words and didn’t see how the email applied to you, would you keep reading? Many of his readers may have never gotten the important message, because he didn’t get to the point right away. Can you imagine the consequences of not getting a message like this across?


Contrast the opener from the revised email: “To prevent bad product from leaving our factory, our team must implement 5 new safeguards immediately”. If you were a part of this supervior's team, wouldn’t you see right away how that applies to you and read on?


Wouldn't applying the same technique to the spoken word also benefit your company? For instance, if an employee with a good idea approached their manager by saying “Here’s an idea that can save us 47% on inventory costs” rather than taking 3 minutes to build up to the idea, wouldn't the manager be more inclined to hear the employee out?


By learning to apply such techniques, in your written and spoken communication, the ideas that are key to your business’s performance will be heard.

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