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What is a BLUF?

What value do your meetings create?

When you improve the productivity of your meetings, you ensure your team can answer that question.

You can capture that value by asking for their BLUF: Bottom Line Up Front.

A BLUF is a short summary placed at the very beginning of a message, like a business-oriented version of TL;DR. The BLUF covers the most important information, then the full message includes the details. This way, busy people can quickly read the bit at the top before deciding if they need to read the rest.

So how does this relate to meetings?

Productive meetings create value that you can summarize in a BLUF.
This BLUF should be the first statement in your meeting notes.

Want more productive meetings?

Plan your BLUF before the meeting!

Why? When you know what value you hope the group will take away from your meeting at the end, you're much more likely to plan a meeting that will achieve those outcomes.

Here's how:

  1. Before the meeting, write down your intended outcomes. What value is your meeting meant to create? How will you know it succeeded? 
  2. Prepare a check-out question related to those outcomes, asking the group for their BLUFs. 
  3. Write down or record their answers. Use these to create the BLUF that you send with your meeting notes.

If you've joined our workshops, you've experienced this type of checkout at the close of a session. We can then place the BLUF at beginning of the recording, so folks can decide if they want to watch the rest.

For a large group, we invite people to share their BLUF out loud or in the chat like this:

🍅 🌾 🌽 Harvest 🌽 🌾 🍅
BLUF: Bottom Line Up Front

In one phrase or short sentence:
What was your key takeaway from this meeting?

👋 Signal that you'd like to speak
OR Type in chat
🍁 🍅 🌾 🌽 🍁 🍅 🌾 🌽 🍁 🍅 🌾 🌽

See the checkout question in italics above? You should change that to fit your meeting. Here are some examples.

When you're short on time and can't get more specific, you can ask folks for their takeaways:
  • What are you leaving with here today?
  • What's your main takeaway from this meeting?

Questions that prompt the group to focus on specific types of outcomes are even more powerful.

To focus on Action, ask:
  • What will you do as a result of this conversation?
  • What's one way you'll put this information to work?
  • What promise can you make this group about what you'll do next?
  • What will it look like when you've completed what we started here today?
🎓 Learning:
  • What's the one idea you'll review before you sleep tonight to make sure you remember it?
  • What did you learn here today that really stood out?
  • What's one thing you learned that you wish more people knew?
👏 Appreciation:
  • What are you most grateful for now?
  • What's one thing someone here needs to know that you noticed and appreciated?
  • What gifts are you taking away from this meeting?
💡 Insight:
  • What happened during this meeting that changed your thinking?
  • What new perspective did you experience today that surprised you?
  • What was your "Aha!" lightbulb moment?
📣 Influence:
  • What did you pick up in this meeting that your team needs to know?
  • What should people who weren't here know about this session as they consider whether to join us in the future?
  • What are you excited to share about this meeting with others?
⚡ Energy! 🚀 Momentum! 🌿 Change! 📈 Fill in the blanks:
  • Before, I was... Now, I am...
  • I learned... Now, I wonder...
  • Last week was... Now, I predict that next week will be...

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