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How to Write a Memo

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M.A. SPHR - Corporate Trainer & Consultant

Learning how to write a memo successfully can positively affect your career. Do you know that promotions are sometimes withheld based on poor memo writing? Learning how to write an effective memo may elicit better results from your co-workers.

Four Steps in Writing a Business Memo

1. Create the Heading

RE: specific subject line

CC: names of people who will be copied on the email.

Headings should include the full name (no nicknames) of the person or people who will receive the document. You should also include your full name, and the date the memo was prepared. The next part of the heading is the subject of the memo, which is usually indicated by "RE:", which stands for "regarding." Make the subject as specific as possible. Instead of a general heading such as "New Policy," choose "New Policy for Scheduling Vacations." If the menu will be copied to other people, end the heading with a CC: line.

2. Write the Body

The body of a memo includes three components:

  • Introduction: This should be a short paragraph of two or three sentences that lets people know the reason for the memo in a direct manner.
  • Recommendations or purpose: This section gets to the meat of the message using key points, highlights or background information. It may include

    supporting detail like facts and statistics, as well as examples and reasons for the memo.

  • Conclusion: The conclusion will make it clear what action needs to be taken and when it needs to be completed or reiterates the timely news included in the memo.

3. Finalize the Document

Proof the memo carefully before you send it. Make sure that is free from typos and that the document accurately conveys the point(s) you want to get across.

Use the following guidelines when evaluating what you have written and make changes as needed.

  • Audience-appropriate: Verify the document is appropriate for the education, background, company status and needs of the recipients.
  • Concise: Remove needless words and keep the memo to one page or less in most circumstances.
  • Coherent. Make sure that the memo structure is simple and logical and that each paragraph is limited to one idea.
  • Readability. Make sure to keep paragraphs short and use bullet points to list key details.
  • Terminology: Use appropriate terminology that the audience can be expected to understand.
  • Factual tone: Verify that the tone is professional and that you have not included emotionally-charged words.
  • Appearance: Ensure the finished document is visually appealing and easy to read.

If you need help downloading the template, check out these helpful tips .

4. Distribute the Document

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