How to write emails with military precision
For the most part, you should keep your emails as short and simple as possible. When writing emails with a limited amount of space, the military uses either the “BLIND” or “BLUF” method:
According to the handbook, this method is useful for messages to the “commander, leader or decision maker.” It must provide just enough substance to take action.
- BL: Bottom Line
- I: Impact on organization
- N: Next steps
- D: Details to support the bottom line and any significant discussion points
The BLUF (Bottom Line Up Front) method is reserved for messages that need to be even shorter. The purpose and actions required are declared at the very top. Your email doesn’t need to be structured in any specific format, but it should answer the five W’s (who, when, where, what and why).
“The reader doesn’t necessarily want to know all the background information that led to the decision,” writes Seghal. “He or she likely wants to know, ‘How does this email affect me?’ And the BLUF should answer that question every time.”