Effective Memo Writing Using a Memo

OWL Sample Memo
Sample Templated Memo
Effective Memo Writing
Using a Memo
Memo, short for memorandum, is a common method of communication used in
professional situations. Memos are considered an internal communication, meaning
that they are only sent within a company and not directed to people outside of the
company, such as clients or businesses working with the company.
Memos are also intended for groups of people and not just one or two individuals.
They are generally meant to notify or inform people within the company of some
important information. Common reasons for sending a memo include the notification
of a problem, a resolution to a problem, an update on a policy or procedure, or other
company updates, such as updates regarding personnel changes.
Unlike emails or letters, memos are generally not used outside of the professional or
academic arena. People do not generally send out memos to family or friends. But,
like letters and emails, memos have a set format that should be followed. Many
companies will have specific letterhead (printed, electronic, or both) that they use for memos, and if not, using a
memo template like the ones available in Microsoft Word is generally considered standard practice.
Regardless of whether or not a template is used or whether or not the memo is electronic or printed, memos
always start with the same general format:
The subject line needs to be specific and informative, just as with an email. (See the Effective Subject Lines
article). The date should be the date on which the memo is sent even if it was written on a different day.
Memos should have a short opening that provides readers with an immediate overview of the main purpose of the
memo. This will then be followed by the body of the memo, which must be written using a professional writing style
and should carefully target the specific audience for which it is being written. Once all points are clearly and
succinctly made, then the memo should finish with a closing section that summarizes the main points of the memo
and then provides any directives that need to be given (such as next steps that need to be taken by the recipients
or that they should expect from the company).
Memos do not require salutations, signatures, or signature blocks. If attachments are included, that should be
indicated at the end of the memo.
Helpful Tip: In order to use one of the memo templates provided by Microsoft Word 2011 or newer, go to File >
New > and then search for “Memo” in the search bar at the top of the page. Three recommended templates are
the Interoffice Memo template, Memo (elegant) template, and the Memo (professional design) template. The
benefits of using templates are that they prepopulate the to, from, date, and subject fields for you and that they
contribute to a professional appearance for your memo.

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