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Military rules for better emails

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in Office Communication,Workplace Communication

While you should aim to keep your emails short and sweet, sometimes you can’t avoid drafting a lengthy one. Ensure email recipients follow up on your messages appropriately by implementing these rules the military uses:

Start with the BLUF (bottom line up front). Include a short statement that states the purpose of the email and the action the recipient should take. It answers very quickly who, what, where, when and why, and tells people if they need to read the entire message or whether they will be required to act.

Write a better subject line. Tell recipients whether action is required. For example, include “Response Required,” “Decision Needed” or “Action Item” before the topic of the email to let them know a follow-up is necessary.

Also include a deadline for their response or action. For example, “Decision Needed by 6/25: Booth Size for ABC Conference.”

— Adapted from “Summarize Long Emails at the Top to Communicate More Effectively,” Alicia Adamczyk, Lifehacker, www.lifehacker.com.

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