Even with all the technology available to us today, surprisingly, effective memo-writing remains an essential skill in interoffice communications. Memos may be delivered via e-mail, but they still should follow the same professional and formatting standards as those printed on paper.
Called memos for short, memorandums are routinely used within an organization to communicate a variety of ideas – from a new sick day policy, to short reports and proposals. Among their many uses, memos confirm conversations, share ideas, instruct employees, and communicate policies. Because memos either request or share important information, they need to be carefully and concisely written so that the message is clear and accurate. A poorly written memo could confuse readers, offend employees, and create a loss of time. Typically, memos are short and communicate a single subject. If you have two subjects to cover, consider writing two separate memos.
- Think of your readers and their needs.
- Be specific when making your points.
- Make your subject line short and descriptive.
- Use bullets or numbers to clarify points or lists.
- Cover only a single subject.
- Memos should be short and concise; try to keep them to one page.
- Proofread, checking for spelling and grammatical errors.
Writing a memo is not difficult and does not require much time. Just remember that a memo is in writing, which means it is permanently documented. Your memo represents you and your company; any glaring errors may cast you in a negative light among your peers and subordinates.
The Parts of a Business Memo: