How many presentations have you attended where the presenter took forever to get to the point? I’m betting it’s probably quite a few. The problem is that presenters can often be so close to their material that they can clearly see the benefits of what they’re talking about and they forget to tell the audience about them. They know what the end results will be if people learn what they’re teaching, buy what they’re selling or adopt the same point of view that they have. The audience doesn’t. That’s why speakers have to clearly communicate at the beginning of their presentations why they’ve invited people to listen to them, what they’re going to talk about and what benefits the audience will derive from the information. In other words, they should get to the point right away.
Your new secret weapon: the BLUF Statement
BLUF stands for Bottom Line Up Front, which means letting your audience know why they should listen to you. Your BLUF Statement should be delivered during the first few minutes of your speech so that people quickly become aware of the value of your presentation and the benefits they’ll derive as a result of having experienced it.
Examples of effective BLUF Statements:
In the next thirty minutes, I’m going to teach you how it’s possible to have a great vacation for just $75 a day. And you won’t be depriving yourself of a good time while keeping within this budget! You don’t have to starve yourself. You don’t have to stay in your room the whole time. You just need to adopt five simple habits. I guarantee you that by the end of this session, you’re going to look at planning your next trip in a whole new way.
We’re here to learn the ins and outs of the new accounting system. Today’s training will focus on hands-on exercises to get you up to speed with the new software. The goal is that by the end of the day, each of you will have the skills you need to be up and running on the new system. By using this software, our billings will be more efficient, we will have greater control of our cash flow, and we’ll reduce needless paperwork. By the way, I apologize in advance to those of you who will miss filling out the TPS Reports in triplicate!
As managers, we should deal calmly and fairly with all of our employees. But we’re all human, and sometimes difficult people can drive us crazy! Today we’re going to talk about some tactics you can learn to deal with difficult people. You will come to understand the benefits of encouraging and rewarding good behavior over punishing bad behavior. You’ll learn to recognize the warning signs of escalating conflict. We’ll discuss different kinds of disruptive behavior and learn how to defuse negative situations before they happen. And we will do some role play so that you can practice the techniques I’ll be teaching you. The goal is to give you the tools you need to become a better, more effective leader.
You see how that works? Your BLUF Statement is like the lead paragraph in a newspaper article. It grabs people’s attention and lets them know very early on what’s going to happen during your presentation.
Why it’s great
When you clearly articulate the purpose of your presentations and the benefits that will result, you are setting the tone for a positive experience for your audience. A strong BLUF Statement gets people excited about what they are about to hear and how it will help them. It lets people know that your session has a clear purpose. And it allows people who really shouldn’t be there to duck out gracefully at the beginning of your speech if they find out early on that the information you’re about to give doesn’t apply to them.
Start incorporating BLUF Statements into your presentations and you’ll see how they can spark interest in what you have to say, right at the outset.