July 5, 2005

Bottom Line Up Front

Bottom Line Up Front: When communicating with others, try using the Bottom Line Up Front technique to make it clear what the thesis of your communication is and what action is expected of them.

Have you ever finished reading a memo or position paper and find yourself unsure what the point was or what you were expected to do about it? Do you think anyone might have felt that way after reading one of yours?

The Bottom Line Up Front technique states clearly, at the beginning of a communication piece, the crux of an issue and what you are asking the reader to do with the information. I use this method in constructing memos by including a paragraph titled "Bottom Line Up Front" write after the "Subject:" line. If the reader were to ignore the entire body of the memo, but read the Bottom Line, they would still know what issue I was addressing and what action they need to consider. The body of the memo is used to layout the situation, possible and recommended courses of action, and the consequences of various responses.

Try the Bottom Line Up Front technique the next time you need to write a memo or lengthy communication, it really helps frame the issues and bring clarity to what needs to be done.

Posted by sjudd at July 5, 2005 8:01 AM

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