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Harvard Explains It All 

Jack Cooper's newest curated series explores content produced by Harvard Business Review that provides simple explanations on important topics.

Week 2: How to Write Email with Military Precision


(1) Do you struggle keeping up with emails in your inbox?  Why?   


(2) Would it be helpful if your inbox were filled with emails using keywords in the subject lines and the BLUF (Bottom Line Up Front)? Why? 


(3) Here are some subject line action codes that are used by the military and referenced in this video.  Which of these could be most helpful?  Can you think of other action lines that might be helpful for your job responsibilities? 

  • ACTION – Compulsory for the recipient to take some action 

  • SIGN – Requires the signature of the recipient 

  • INFO – For informational purposes only, and there is no response or action required 

  • DECISION – Requires a decision by the recipient 

  • REQUEST – Seeks permission or approval by the recipient 

  • COORD – Coordination by or with the recipient is needed 


(4) What are some other tips you have that you or others could use to make emails easier to read and prioritize?  For example, marking an email as high importance when it is urgent or unsubscribing from mailing lists.   

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