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How to do a business memo

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How to do a business memo
May 02, 2019 Anniversary Wishes 5 comments

Improve your communication at work with outstanding memos in business Decide the audience for your memo: Ask yourself, do you really need to send it to all.

The fine art of writing a business memo is actually something of a lost art.

With the rise of digital communications and an over-reliance on cell phones and quick text and emails, there doesn't seem to be much room for the venerable memo.

That's unfortunate, as a well-crafted business memo can cut through the bureaucratic red tape and get important company messages out to the right people, in a clear and concise way.

Memos are highly preferable to emails when issuing information and data on key company issues, like policy changes or the appointment of a new chief executive officer.

How to write the best memo? Short and sweet is a good place to start, and an ability to communicate your key points is a good way to finish.

Let's take a look and see how to write the best business memo.

How to Write a Memo

By definition, a memo (short for memorandum) is a business document that seeks to engage staffers inside a company and communicates important messages on key issues on meetings, company policies, and corporate business.

Writing a good memo is mostly about good formatting, solid structure, and the ability to clearly and succinctly convey the intended message.

To cover the bases on all the above fronts, let's walk through the process, step-by-step, in creating a masterful memo.

1. Add the Title

A memo's title is short and to the point, and is always placed at the top of the page. Usually, a term is used in the title (think "memo" or "memo to staff.") Ideally, you want your message to stand out amidst the pile of paperwork and emails that often inundate the modern workplace. Directing your title to the intended audience/recipient does just that.

2. Make Sure to Include the Date

The date is necessary as a time point of reference. It shows the recipient when the memo was written and, in many cases gives the memo a sense of urgency, and that its contents and instructions are to be taken seriously.

3. Designate Who Receives Memo With "To"

"To" designates who receives the memo, either an entire company department (i.e., "sales staff) or to an individual (Sally Stone, director of sales.) You can structure the "to" memo line alphabetically, or by title.

4. Make Clear Who the Memo Is "From"

This line designates the memo's author, by name and title (i.e., "from the desk of Sally Stone, director of sales.") Often, to underscore the importance of the memo, the title includes the sender's signature, by initials. Usually, this occurs when a subordinate writes the memo for a supervisor or manager - that manager will sign off on the memo to show recipients that everything in the memo is approved and requires attention or a response.

5. Add a Clear Subject

This line designates what the memo is about and should always be written clearly, concisely and compellingly. Above all else, you want your memo to stand out, and to get your message across. That process really starts with the subject line, and is intended to clearly state what the memo is about.

6. Write the Body

This section goes into more detail on what the memo is about. The goal is to get to the point quickly (i.e., "We've set up a meeting on Monday, Jan. 6 to discuss first quarter sales goals and priorities.") The first line is all-important, as it sets the table for the remainder of the memo. It's ideal to break the body of the memo down into short paragraphs - three should be the goal. Any more than that and you start losing the attention of your recipients. Remember, clear and concise is the goal with a good memo. The last paragraph should feature a call to action, i.e., something compelling to spur the recipient into taking action.

7. Sign Off With a Good Close

The last portion of the memo can include a signature from the sender at the bottom, but it doesn't have to. Just sign and date the signature, to officially "seal the deal" on the memo, and let the reader know who, exactly, the memo is coming from. It's more important, however, to end the memo with a firm call for action, letting your readers know what specific action is to be taken.

Good Memo Templates to Use

To help you write a better memo, and give you a visual example of what a good memo should like, check out these sample memos:

  • Vertex 42: This website offers a variety of different templates, including "casual" and "formal" business memos.
  • Office.com: This web page is highly useful when choosing the proper design for your memo.
  • TemplateArchive.com: This site does a great job in breaking the memo process down into easy-to-understand bites. It includes sections on templates, when to send a memo, and memo formatting.

When Do You Need to Send a Memo?

Knowing when to write an email is just as important as knowing how to write a memo. For example, there are scenarios where a short email will suffice, or an in-house digital bulletin board will get you to your correct audience.

By and large, however, writing a memo is optimal in the following scenarios:

  • When you need to get a message out that makes an impression. Emails are great for getting a message out quickly, but a memo can create a message that is built to last. If your message involves a serious issue or recommendation, a memo is preferable to an email in getting your point across.
  • When formatting your message correctly is important. If your message needs to include bullet points, headings or graphs, a memo is a great vehicle to engage staffers.
  • When your message is meant to be printed out. If your message is going to wind up on a company bulletin board or in a newsletter format, or if your message will be used at a company meeting, a formal memo is the way to go.

You should avoid writing a memo when an email will suffice. That's usually the case when you have a very short message to send, or if you're on the road using your smart phone, and don't have the time to structure and format a memo.

Tips for Writing a Great Memo

Use these tips to write memos that stand out, get noticed, and are acted upon in quick fashion.

  • Stick with the corporate policy on memos. Most companies, especially larger ones, have a standard script or blueprint to follow when writing a memo. Stick close to it and use the blueprint to get your point across.
  • Keep your sentences and paragraphs short and to the point. As Ernest Hemingway once said, "brevity is key." Long, wordy memos are memos that often don't get read.
  • Use bullet points. To be more succinct and to get your point across, use bullet points to better convey your message.
  • Focus on the call to action. The end of the memo, where a call to action is included, is vital to the memo process. Concentrate on verbiage that inspires the reader and get them up and moving. Ask yourself this question: what is the top takeaway I want readers to absorb from the memo?
  • Edit for grammar. Nobody wants to read a memo littered with typos and grammatical errors. Make sure to proofread your memo and invest in good grammar software like Grammarly.

Have you ever thought how the use of memos can bring multiple benefits to your company? Although a lot of people may take a memo for granted, it is important.

Memo Examples

how to do a business memo

Business Memos by Topic

Purpose of the Business Memo

The primary purpose of the business memorandum (commonly referred to as a memo) is to allow timely communication to a large number of employees or other members of an organization. The business memo is generally used in place of a traditional letter for internal communication, though memos may be used to communicate with individuals from other organizations in some instances.

Memos are used for a wide variety of purposes. They may be used to convey information such as policy changes, promotions or other personnel changes, a project status update, or increased offering of products and services. They can also be used to request that employees attend a meeting or make changes to work procedures or practices, or they can address a problem, such as employee tardiness or absence, or provide feedback on a product or program.

Business Memo Tips

As you prepare to draft your memo, think about your intended audience, and send the memo only to those who need it. Also, be careful when communicating confidential information; a face-to-face meeting may be more appropriate in such circumstances.

The tone of a memo is generally fairly formal, so choose your wording appropriately. It is inappropriate to be too informal (using slang, for example), but don't be verbose or flowery, either. Conciseness and clarity in language are always best. Use active rather than passive voice whenever possible.

Memos Step by Step

Memorandums generally consist of a heading section, an opening paragraph or section, the body section, and a closing paragraph or section.

Heading

The heading section identifies the recipients of the memo, the sender, the date the memo was sent, and the subject (or purpose) of the memo. In the heading, determine to whom you are going to send the letter (that is, your audience). Include all those who really need to receive the information, but don't include anyone who doesn't—doing so just wastes their time and your money. Make sure to spell names correctly and to include the complete name and correct titles of recipients. The subject line should be specific enough to convey the main purpose of the memo (for example, "Mandatory Employee Benefits Meeting on Friday, June 4" rather than "Meeting"). The heading generally looks like this:

TO: (recipients' names and job titles)
FROM: (your name and job title)
DATE: (current date)
SUBJECT: (purpose of the memo)

You may choose to include your initials after your name and job title in the "From" line to show that you approve the contents of the memo (if you asked someone else, such as a secretary or administrative assistant) to write it on your behalf) or to authenticate the letter.

Opening

The opening paragraph or section states the purpose of the memo. It is generally quite brief—usually, no more than a few sentences. If, for example, the memo is in response to a particular problem, state the problem clearly. If, on the other hand, the purpose of the memo is to introduce a new policy or to provide a project update, briefly state that fact. Save the details of the memo for the next section. For longer memos (memos longer than about a page), the opening section might begin with a brief overview of the rest of the document (you can also include this information in a separate "Summary" section above the opening paragraph; NAME THAT CONTENT OF SUMMARY??). Memos do not begin with a salutation.

Body

In the body (or discussion) section of the memo, include any information the reader might need to know. The most important (and most specific) information should come first, followed by less important (and more general) information. Do not include information that is not important for readers, but let them know enough that they can understand the seriousness of the problem, the reasons for the change in policy, the research that was conducted that brought the problem to your attention, the details about the promotion, problems that could occur if action is not taken, the current status of the project, et cetera. Keep in mind that memos are meant to be brief (most are not longer than a page).

If you have included an attachment, such as a graph, chart, list, or a more detailed summary of research findings, you may want to identify it here if appropriate, or you can do so in the closing section.

For longer memos, use headings to help the reader quickly grasp the main points of the memo. If your memo is longer than a page, repeat the "To" line, the date, and the subject line on and add a page number to subsequent pages. Numbered and bulleted lists also allow the reader to scan information quickly. Try to keep sentences and paragraphs short and concise.

Closing

In the closing paragraph or section, indicate your recommendations, the action you want the reader to take, or (if no particular action is necessary) end the memo on a positive note. This section can often be very brief, but don't make it so brief that the reader is unclear about what he or she is supposed to do. Make sure to include enough information to clearly convey your request. If possible, include (or reiterate) the benefits the reader will receive by completing the action (such as improving office safety by following the new policy), and indicate anything you are doing or will do to help or make it easier for the reader complete the action.

If some readers may not have it, then you should include your contact information, such as your work phone number or e-mail address.

Traditionally, memos have not included signature lines. The practice of doing so is becoming more common, however. In such cases, the written signature is followed below by the typed name of the sender. No closing remark such as Sincerely or Best regards is necessary.

If you have included any attachments with your memo, identify them here. For example:

Attached: May 25 Training Seminar Agenda

Formatting the Business Memo

Format the document so that paragraphs are flush left, and insert an extra hard return before the first opening paragraph, before each heading, and between paragraphs of text.

TO:
FROM:
DATE:
SUBJECT:

Conclusion

Written well, business memos are an efficient, effective way to communicate within an organization. For more information on business writing, see the articles Effective Business Writing and Writing an Effective Business Document.

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How to Write a Business Memo

how to do a business memo

The business memo is a standard form of written communication in academics, government, and industry. The memo is a formal method of written communication with a well established format and style. An introduction to the standards for format and style is provided below.

Memo Format

Heading

Memos generally begin with a header section that identifies the purpose of the correspondence, to whom the memo has been sent, when it was written, and who wrote it. The heading is generally formatted as follows:

To: Name and Title of recipient From: Name and Title of memo's author cc: Names and positions of any other recipients of the memo Date: Month weekday and year Re: Brief statement (10 words or less) summarizing subject of memo

Body of Business Memo

A well written memo begins with a clear and succinct purpose statement. The purpose statement usually begins with words such as "I am writing to inform you..." or "The purpose of this memo is to summarize..." Usually the author of the memo is writing not merely to inform but in order to make a formal request of some kind. Consequently, the nature of the request is also usually stated at the beginning of the memo as well. If the purpose of the memo is to provide a progress report on a project, the author is likely soliciting formal feedback from the supervisor concerning the advisor's satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the progress made to date. So, a typical purpose statement for this memo might be: "I am writing to summarize my progress on Project XYZ to date and to request your feedback concerning my performance on this project."

Once the purpose of the memo has been established the remainder of the memo should be a succinct summary of the facts relevant to the purpose of the memo. A good way to begin is by providing the reader with any necessary background information including dates if these are relevant, summarize the current work or situation and its significance, summarize the problems, if any, and finally outline the request (if relevant). If your memo is one in a series of memos, it is a good idea to indicate this and to briefly summarize any relevant information the reader may need to recall from those earlier memos.

If the purpose of the memo is to summarize one's progress on a project then a good organizational strategy would be to begin with an overview of the project, its goals and objectives, summarize the work done to date, discuss any problems that might have occurred as well as any solutions or strategies you intend to investigate, and then outline a realistic schedule for any remaining work on the project.

Closing Paragraph

Memos are generally written as a request for action on the part of the reader. In general, your memo should end with a (re-)statement of your specific request.

If your memo is longer than one page in length:

Use Headings. If you are writing a lengthy memo (> 1 page) summarizing a lot of information then it is a good idea to structure your document using headings. This will make it easier for the reader to understand and follow your discussion.
Use bulleted or numbered lists. Lists are easier to scan than paragraphs. Use bulleted lists if the information is of similar importance. Use numbered lists whenever one point is more important than another point (relative hierarchy).
Use figures or tables. Trends are easiest to visualize when data are represented graphically.

Stylistic Elements

Memos are generally regarded as a formal method of communication. First impressions count here. A well written memo tells the reader not only about your technical skills but also much about your organizational and communications skills.

"More" is not better in a memo - keep it short and to the point. One page is an ideal length.

Succinct, clear prose is valued in a business memo. Use short sentences. Keep your paragraphs short.

Be sure to proof your work for correct grammar, spelling, typos, etc. before submitting your memo.

Be sure that your memo is readable. As a general rule it is a good idea to use a Helvetica, Arial, or Times Roman font and a font size of 10-point or 12-point.

If you are writing a memo that might elicit strong emotions in the reader, be careful not to use ALL CAPITAL LETTERS (reads as if you are shouting) or excessive punctuation!!!! as both of these actions are likely to enhance the likelihood that your reader will react negatively to your statements.

Here is a standard business memo format model. time that many small towns around the state do not have adequate bookstore facilities, but.

How To Write A Memo That People Will Actually Read

how to do a business memo

Have you ever wanted to disseminate information around the office or to your employees in your business? Then try coming up with a memo. Simply put, a memo is a short, concise message or document which is used for communication in an office or a business.

Contents

Memos are very important so you should know how to make a good memo template or business memo template so you can start spreading messages internally in your office or your business.

The most effective kinds of memos must be short, to the point, very organized and given on time. It should be able to give enough information that the reader won’t have any questions after reading it.

Business Memo Templates










Memo has its origin from the Latin word memorandum, which is a noun and has the same root as the word memorare. Memorare then means to mention, recount or call to mind – which is also the similar definition of the word memory. This means that it can also serve as a reminder for people of something important.

In the office or business setting, memos are given to employees internally as a form of written communication. Information which must be formally documented is usually presented in the form of a memo to highlight its importance. There is a lot to learn about memos and in this article, you will learn all about the uses and purposes for giving out memos, types of memos as well as how to make your own business memo template. Read on and be guided by all you need to know about memos.

General Purposes of a Memo

Before you start creating your own memo template, it would be useful to know what the general purposes of a memo are. Memos are formal documents used in an office or business setting to communicate with the employees.

Memos are mainly for internal communication and are very rarely given to clients, customers or the general public. It can easily be made in your computer though sample memo templates, which are available on this website.

Here are the most general purposes for giving out memos:

To Give Information on News and Events

Memos can be used to give the employees information regarding upcoming events or the latest happenings related to the company, organization, business or the office. These kinds of news and events could be as simple as gatherings or fun events which are to be hosted or as relevant as an explanation for any changes which may be happening.

It could notify employees about any staff promotions or movement in departments or branches. It could also be about new products, merchandise or services that the business offers or those which have been phased out. Any new information can be given to the employees through a memo.

To Deal with an Issue or Concern

As with all organizations or businesses, issues or concerns may come up which need to be addressed especially when these concerns have caught the attention of the management. A memo can be used to describe all the details of the issue or concern to bring to light what needs to be dealt with and keep everyone involved informed. Too many absences or tardiness of employees’ can as well as employee misconduct are examples of such concerns which call for formal memos.

For Making Requests

Memos can also be given to employees when the management needs to make requests from them. A request for consent or cooperation to do extra work, a request to attend important meetings or a request to make changes in work practices are some examples of memos made for making requests. These memos must also contain any instructions as well as all the details the employee needs to be able to fulfill the request made. You can also include benefits or rewards for carrying out the action or completing the task so that your employees would be more inclined to grant your request.

For Giving Feedback

Feedback is essential in all kinds of organizations so you can use a memo to give your feedback on any products, services or even programs which have been done in the company. The purpose of giving a memo which provides feedback is that it lets the employees know all there is to know about the quality of the products as well as their performance. This is valuable so that employees know how to improve their performance or make changes in any products or services to make them more efficient for the clients and customers.

These are the most common and general purposes of a memo. As you can see, memos really are important so you can start thinking about making your own memo template word for your business. Now let’s move on to other uses of business memos.

Professional Memo Templates










When to Use a Business Memo

Now e-mails are more popularly used to communicate within the office, but you should not discount the fact that memos are still vital and important for more formal information which needs to be documented using hard copies.

There are many types of memos and all these types and sample memo templates can be downloaded from the internet. But before you do so, let’s learn about when you should be using a business memo in your office or organization:

When There are any Changes in Company Policies

A lot of times, companies, businesses or organizations need to change their policies especially when they see that some policies don’t work or are already outdated. In cases like these, it would be appropriate to give a memo to all employees regarding any and all changes to the company. Giving out a business memo would formalize the changes and also give all the employees information on when the changes are to take place. Business memos about changes in company policies can be given to all the employees and also placed in an area which is visible to all.

When Announcements Need to be Made

When making important announcements, such as the promotion of old employees or the introduction of new employees, giving a business memo would be appropriate. This would ensure that any important announcements not only formally announced but are also documented. You can email announcements to make it a lot easier but you should still use a formal format when creating it.

When Employees Need to be Reminded

Reminders are essential in any kind of business and when there are very important reminders to be given, you can use a business memo to spread the information. Such reminders would include a task which employees need to do before a deadline or a reminder on how employees must behave inside the office or the organization.

These are all the uses and purposes of memos and business memos. These uses should be enough to convince you that memos are crucial in companies and organizations and that you should start making use of them. Now let’s look at the different types of memos before you start creating your own memo template.

Memo Format










Types of Memos

Coming up with a business memo template for your company would be a lot easier if you learn the different types of memos and all the details about them. Once you know all this information, you can start making a memo template word or you can look at online resources and work with sample memo templates.

Here are the different types of memos worth learning about:

1. A Request Memo

This type of memo is commonly used in order to get a good response to any request made by the management thus it should be worded convincingly. An excellent request memo must contain the following information:

  • The request should be stated in a clear and concise way which the reader or employees must understand. It should be stated so as the readers won’t have any questions about it.
  • Any reasons for the request must be given too. Of course, employees must know why the request is made, otherwise, you may not get a very favorable response from them. They may not agree to fulfill a request if they don’t know why it has been made.
  • If there are any costs or expenses involved, they must be given as well, in full detail and with the proper explanation.
  • Any recommendation for carrying out the tasks, actions or requests must also be stated to guide the employees in case they do not know how they would complete the request.

All these information and statements should be stated diplomatically to ensure that the employees will agree to the request.

2. A Confirmation Memo

This type of memo is created in order to formally validate an agreement which has been made as well as document it. This type of memo is important so that both parties are sure that the agreement is to be honored. A good confirmation memo should include:

  • All the most important points which were discussed and agreed upon by both parties. You would have to be very clear and specific when stating these points.
  • Enumerate and emphasize these points clearly so you can easily gain access to them for quick reference when you need to in the future.

Before finalizing your memo, it would be a good idea to show it to everyone involved to encourage any feedback or to clear up any vague or doubtful points.

3. A Periodic Report Memo

These types of memos are disseminated regularly to give information about the company. These could be in the form of monthly or quarterly sales reports or such similar ones. Here are a few important points about these types of memos:

  • When creating this kind of memo, you’d have to make a template such as a form which just needs to be filled in so that information can just be easily entered each time.
  • The sample memo template should be created so that it can just be reused every time the memo is due.
  • It should also have a space for any descriptive or narrative comments, in case the need arises.

This is the easiest type of memo to use once you’ve already created the template as you won’t have to make it again and again.

4. A Suggestion Memo

Memos can also be used to put across different ideas and suggestions from employees or from the management. They could be suggestions on how to improve the workplace or ideas and suggestions on how to deal with issues or concerns. Here are some tips on making these types of memos:

  • Always start with good comments about the situation and then offer the ideas and suggestions for changing it.
  • Organize the ideas and suggestions by subject and make use of headings or titles to emphasize them.
  • Use concise statements and always go straight to the point to avoid confusion.

Following these tips would ensure that your memo along with the suggestions that go with it would be effective and would give a positive note to it as you give the memo to your employees.

5. The Informal Study Results Memo

Sometimes studies are informally done in organizations and companies by certain personnel and everything about it should be written on a memo to inform everyone involved. These types of memos are usually presented as a form and should contain the following:

  • The purpose of the informal study must be clearly stated (and you have to stick to it!)
  • To make your memo easily readable, you can make use of headings and subheadings to highlight or emphasize certain points. This would make your memo clear and easy to go through.
  • Just like all other memos, be concise and specific when stating your points, issues or concerns.
  • These types of memos can be written using more informal language to make it easier to read by everyone.

You can follow a format for these types of memos or you can come up with your own format, depending on what kind of study you are doing.

There you go, the 5 main types of memos which can be given in an office or an organization. Now that you have a lot of information about memos, we can move on to creating your own business memo template, which can be found in the next section.

Word Memo Templates










How to Make Your Own Business Memo Template

Now that you know the uses and purposes of business memos, as well as the different types, you can already start creating your own template. You can either start with a simple template or make others as the need arises or you can go ahead and make templates for all the different types of business memos. It’s all up to you!

Here are some steps and tips in creating an efficient and official business memo:

  • Open the software of your choice and format your page. Set the margins and pick a font which looks official. You can change font sizes when you’re editing your memo later on.
  • The first and possibly most important part of your memo is the heading. You can use the word “Memo” or “Memorandum” at the very top of your page as it would serve as the title of your document.
  • The next thing to do is address the recipient/s of the memo properly as this serves as a formal communication in the business. Make sure to use the full name/s of the recipient/s of the memo.
  • You can also add other recipients of the memo in the CC line. This doesn’t include the recipients of the memo but all other people who have to be informed of the contents of the memo.
  • You would then have to write your full name in the “From” line along with your job title.
  • The date the memo is given is also essential so you’d have to include it.
  • Now you have to place the subject line. This part would give the reader an idea of what your memo is all about.
  • All these are important parts of the heading and must be found at the very top of the page. The title should be in the middle but all the other information should be aligned at the left hand side.
  • Now that you’re done with the heading, you can add a line below it to separate it from the body of your memo.
  • Before you write the body of your memo, think about your recipients and your audience. Think about the issues, concerns as well as any questions which the readers might have so you can address them all in your memo.
  • You don’t have to place a formal greeting in a memo. You can immediately introduce what the memo is all about in the very first paragraph under the heading.
  • After the introduction, you can go on to discussing the whole issue along with any background information about it but remembers to be brief and concise. Give a detailed summary of the most important points – you can use subheadings and headings to emphasize points if you wish.
  • For longer memos, you can even include lists, graphs or charts as long as you get your point across and you’re sure that the readers will understand everything. Write down all the relevant information regarding the memo, no matter what purpose you have for making it.
  • Finalize your memo by ending it on a positive note. Once you’re done with it, you can format your memo to make sure that it is readable and well spaced. Also, make sure to proofread your memo in order to see if you’ve made any mistakes.
  • Print out your memo on an official letterhead of your company or organization and when it has been printed, write down your initials by hand. This would personalize it as memos don’t usually have a space for signature. Writing your initials next to your name would indicate that you’ve approved the memo. Once that’s done, all you have to do is choose your method of spreading your memo!

Posted on September 20, 2017In Documents

Tags:Documents, Memo

WATCH THE VIDEO ON THEME: The Key Forms of Business Writing: Basic Memo

The point of a memo—as opposed to a full business letter—is to convey information or make a request in the most efficient way possible.

how to do a business memo
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