Here’s my BLUF for this blog: I suggest that you consider a new way to begin business conversations.
BLUF stands for Bottom-Line-Up-Front. That’s right—tell me at the start where this is headed, what you need, and what is the outcome you propose.
Imagine…you’re in a conversation, a few minutes in, and you’re wondering, “Where is this going, how should I be processing this, what should I be focusing on?”
Wouldn’t it be terrific if instead, at the beginning of every important conversation or decision you had to make, you knew what the desired outcome of the other party was?
Now before you say, “Wait…I want to make my case, build my story, lay out my evidence and reel in the other party before I make my ask or share my recommendation…” consider instead: what would it be like if a defense attorney made you wait until the end of the trial to tell you if his client was innocent or guilty? Or what if a physician meandered before telling you the diagnosis? Or if you’re involved in a car accident and you wait until after you describe the details before telling your loved ones you’re OK?
The BLUF is something I’ve adopted, and I almost always ask for it when I’m being asked to make a decision. When we start any business meeting, it’s great to get everyone’s BLUF—good to know where everyone stands so we can make progress.
Give it a try today. Go easy at first; don’t destabilize the other person. Let them know that if they can share their desired outcomes at the start, you’ll be in a better position to understand and see things from their perspective.