Ep. 8 – Communications: Bottom Line on Top (BLOT)

It takes extra effort to be heard in this noisy world. 

One communication tool you can try is using a BLOT (Bottom Line on Top). In this 5-minute episode, Kristin outlines the benefits of finding – and using – a BLOT. This is especially helpful in written communications as the average recipient spends only four seconds before deciding if they will interact with it in that moment – or even at all. 

When communicating in the Attention Economy, make every word (and every second) count. 

Today’s episode offers a quick communication tip to try. As Episode 2 outlined, we are living in the Attention Economy and it takes extra, intentional effort to stand out in crowded email boxes and daily chatter. 

That’s why I want to focus on the concept of BLOT: Bottom Line on Top. 

I often start each episode with a BLOT, and I do it for two reasons. The first is to make sure I’m clear on the key message of the episode. The second is to give you, the listener, the courtesy of clarity from the beginning so you can decide how and when to invest your time. 

If you’re familiar with the military, there is a similar concept called BLUF: Bottom Line Up Front. 

Both are a thought practice as much as a communication approach. They each center on this philosophy: When you are reaching out to someone, be clear – up front – on what you want them to know or do. 

What is the message you want them to remember? Why them? Why now? And what is the next step needed, if any?

Our role in communicating is to be of service to the recipient. 
Clarity is kindness for the other person. 

In the digital landscape, offering someone a key point or points saves them time and energy. No one wants to read through a thread of emails. Communication shouldn’t be a scavenger hunt. And it’s also not a transcript of everything you know in your head. Nor is it an IQ test to prove that you are smart or capable. 

It’s simply an exchange of actionable information. 

For electronic messages, studies show that the average person will scan it for approximately 4 seconds before deciding if they will interact with it in that moment – or even at all. 

Another benefit of using the BLOT is that helps the recipient feel smarter. They will be better able to respond, absorb, and act upon your information, quickly. That’s a win for both of you. 

This also builds your brand in their mind. When you offer crisp, clear, and compelling messages, it sets you apart from all the other noise in their day. 

At first, our BLOT may not always be clear to us. I was talking to someone earlier today who said they struggle when writing because they feel like they are just dumping everything out of their head. And that’s okay. That’s how their brain needs to process when they begin.

In this case, think of that as a two-part process. The first is a draft that is for you. That is when you collect the thoughts, data, and ideas you want to share into one place. Then you go back and do a pass on the draft and that is for your recipient. What questions can you answer before they ask? What are you seeing that is interesting to you but probably isn’t relevant to them?

Write messy, then revise. That’s a great way to find or test your BLOT – and to have a more compelling message.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed in these busy days. Taking time to clarify your BLOT ahead of time helps you write better faster and makes you more memorable to those around you. 

Be brief, be bright, be gone. That’s a great way to be heard in a noisy world. So that’s the BLOT.

Until next time, take good care. 

Your brain is hungry. Give it some intellectual snacks in the
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I'm Kristin

I left my corporate work and dove further into how to navigate this noisy, digital, exhausted world. The result is a methodology centered on communications, productivity, and culture that blends theory with practice and helps people better enjoy the life they worked so hard to get.