Tag: communication

Get To The Point – Bottom Line Up Front

Get To The Point – Bottom Line Up Front

I recently read a great article to help sales professionals remember to be direct and concise in their conversations and communications with their prospects and customers. The article is by my old friend, John Care, who has written a couple books that are the premier advice books in the pre-sales technical sales world. If you have the job of being the “smart person” on the sales call, then you need to read John’s books. If you regularly have technical experts on your sales calls, I highly advise you to purchase this book for each of your team members (links below).

John’s advice is to remember the acronym BLUF. BLUF is a military acronym for “Bottom Line Up Front.” The purpose is to place the most crucial piece of your communications at the start of any discussion. Visualize that as being on a cell-phone with only 15 seconds of battery time remaining. Why use BLUF instead of the usual corporate fluff? Because it gets your message across faster and saves everyone time.

Reverse the situation and think about all the times you have patiently waited for someone to get to the point. Remember that whenever you start with the background (“once upon a time”) and take minutes to get to the point, then busy people will just ignore you. By the time you get to the Very Important Point, you have lost their attention. The same principle applies to email. Any time I need to read the History of the Universe merely to find out what the sender wants me to do – I am far less likely to take action.

If you have read my book Eliminate Your Competition, then you know that I think using acronyms and acrostic devices are critical to helping our customers and prospects remember things. These tricks also work for us on the sales team. By remember BLUF, you will be more effective in your communication. You may purchase my book Eliminate Your Competition from your favorite book retailer. The ebook version is available at the most popular retailers such as Apple, Amazon, Barnes & Noble. The paperback version is also widely available at such retailers as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books A Million.

Make sure you click through and read John’s full explanation of BLUF here. Also, don’t forget to purchase a copy of his excellent books for everyone on your technical team. These books really are the standard for pre-sales professional teams. Everyone that has that job should read John’s advice.


Header Photo by geralt (Pixabay)
Common communication mistakes that even smart salespeople make

Common communication mistakes that even smart salespeople make

Steven Pinker is the Johnstone Professor of Psychology at Harvard University. Whether you enjoy psychology or not, you will increase your understanding of how to be a great salesperson if you understand more about psychology.

Pinker has been listed among Foreign Policy magazine’s “Top 100 Public Intellectuals” and Time’s “The 100 Most Influential People in the World.” He is currently chair of the Usage Panel of The American Heritage Dictionary.

In today’s workplace where email and Slack conversations are as common as in-person meetings, the perils of miscommunication are ever-present. And no one is immune.

Pinker, author of writing manual The Sense of Style says the chief impediment to clear communication is a phenomenon called the “curse of knowledge.”

This cognitive bias basically means that “when you know something, it’s extraordinarily difficult to know what it’s like not to know it,” Pinker tells CNBC Make It. “Your own knowledge seems so obvious that you’re apt to think that everyone else knows it, too.”

According to Dr. Pinker, these four strategies can help you overcome the “curse of knowledge.”

  1. Test out your message – Practice your message to others and take their feedback.
  2. Choose your words carefully – You use words to sketch mental pictures, convey ideas and tell stories. To get your point across, consider replacing jargon, idioms and obscure metaphors with short, commonly used words and direct explanations.
  3. Take a break – Another simple way to clarify your writing is to put it aside, and then come back to it after awhile to read it again. Whether you give it a few hours or a few days, returning with fresh eyes can make a big difference.
  4. Edit savagely – Clarifying your message to others can help you be happier and more successful in life and at work, especially when you consider the alternative: miscommunication.

The link below has a much more complete discussion of this topic.

Source: Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker: The No. 1 communication mistake that even smart people make