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Basic Instructions & Examples:


A short Guide for writing a Memo

A memo, short for memorandum, is an essential instrument in virtually any business organization. It is a tool of relatively simple recorded communication within the internal parts of the organization, yet provides the classically perfect blend of informativeness and casualness to not become a useless scribbling, informationally or bureaucratically speaking. This is what you have to aim in the intention of writing a good memo for someone. When writing a memo, think of the words informative, direct, and to-the point.

The most important thing that should be in your mind, even before you begin writing your memo, is identifying your audience. You must be sure to know the responsibilities, constraints, authorities, and even their level of competence.

Knowing who you are going to write your memo to relates directly to your knowledge of what do they need to know. This is a very basic question in writing any memos to anyone. You are tasked with avoiding being uninformative while not giving out irrelevant informations. Would you give human resource assessments to the advertising manager?

When it is time for you to write the memo, remember this basic format:

Memo Contents

Be very strict. Anything other than relevant information should or must be omitted. This means casual comments, introductions, and greetings. Anything that detract from the memo’s purpose, which is to inform, must be detracted as well. Use simple, generic vocabulary, not complex technical jargon or showy words out of the thesaurus. Watch your attitudes as well. some of the time the recipient of your memo will be decision-makers higher than your position in the hierarchy. To keep safe, the best presentation in writing a memo is the flat, extremely-to-the-point businesslike attitude. Discipline yourself to write memos in this way, even to your colleagues (in the big picture, you are helping them by saving their time).

Uses of lists, bulleted or numbered, are useful to get points across easily and provides good readability by the reader. It is also useful in a memo too. However, there are redundant uses of lists that you must avoid. When a list contains less than three points, it is usually good if you do not use it at all, except if it lists possible alternatives. Having too many points also makes a list redundant. Being less distinctive with the points and grouping a number of them into one will help reduce the complexity of your list.

In writing recommendations of courses of actions, think about yourself. Do you have enough expertise in the particular field so that your suggestion will be useful at all? Provide clear points on the reasons and anticipate questions from the readers, and don’t make yourself sound forceful.

Lastly, remember to give all informations, good or bad. Momentarily set aside the idea from your mind that a particular information might negatively influence the memo’s reader. Honesty and informativeness are two things that can’t go without the other.