A memo, or memorandum is used in business to communicate informally to colleagues within the company.
Sometimes they can be used to communicate information to others who are outside the company, perhaps if your company is working in a contractual relationship with them. So for example if they were suppliers to your company or subcontractors to you.
A memo might be used to give information to people, that might affect them. For example a meeting has been arranged, plans have been changed, or weekend working is needed. Its objective is to convey something people need to know as a point of information, but does not need to be a high level formal communication.
In today’s world this communication may be via an email, and people may not even consider it a memo.
Although it is informal, it is still a business document, so the language should be business like, and concise.
In common with all business documents, speed and clarity are important. A memo should have a heading for easy reference, a paragraph introducing the topic, then the main section, and finally a summary in the closing paragraph.
If any action is required from the reader, such as response from then, state what the action is at the appropriate point in the memo, and then repeat it at the end.
For example “can I have your response by close of business please “or “Confirm numbers attending by Friday at the latest “
The heading should list all the recipients, the senders name, the date, and subject or title.
If you are sending tour memo out by email, you should make the sent list visible to everyone, unless there are any issues on privacy. This will allow recipients to see who amongst their staff or colleagues have been informed, or if they should forward the message to them.
Send your memos only to those who “need to know “, rather than out to everyone. This way, you won’t waste people’s time with information that does not affect them.
Make the title specific, for example “Urgent Sales Meeting for all Area Managers this afternoon”, rather than “Meeting”. This will ensure it gets the attention it needs.
If you are using a written memo, this is the format;-
TO: (names, job titles)
FROM: (your name and job title)
SUBJECT: (the memo title)
Do not begin a memo with a salutation such as “Dear all”, or “Hello “. There is no salutation needed.
In the Introduction, clearly state the purpose of the memo. Keep it succinct, a couple of sentences is all you need.
If the purpose of the memo is to address an issue, state the issue and briefly explain it. If the purpose is to introduce a new policy, then say so.
Give some thought to how you can best convey the required information in simple terms, keeping it brief, but still giving all the necessary facts. Perhaps explain the importance of the issue, touch on its implications, and state why the meeting is urgent and important, or why plans have changed. If you include an attachment, you could mention it and discuss it here.
As you do in any document, use paragraphs, headings and subsections for clarity. You may also want to use Bullet points and numbered points.
Again, mention any necessary response. “I welcome your feedback “or” Attendees please confirm by Friday “
Summarise, or perhaps you want to make recommendations, or remind readers what you need them to do. The reader should be clear what the call to action is, what they should do, or what next steps they should take.
“Comments by close of business Tuesday “or “Please confirm attendees by Friday 10th march “.
It is a good idea to include your own contact information, so it is available for the reader, especially if you want to encourage them to contact you
You don’t need to include a closing greeting such as “yours sincerely” or “regards” in a memo
List all attachments, such as; –
– Previous minutes
– Directions to meeting location