memorandum writing examples

memorandum writing examples

Effective Strategies for Writing Memos in the Workplace

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1. Introduction to Memos

A memo is typically used by a supervisor to communicate with a mixture of people in their organization. Memos are characterized by being brief, direct, and easy to navigate. When a memo is necessary, its goal is to convey information, including a call to action, without needing a response. While an email could suffice in some cases, business memos are typically sent via email for organizational communication. However, if you need to communicate complex information, nontechnical readers should be avoided using email. Because memos are not seen as higher priority than an email, sending a memo by email is appropriate in larger organizations and when it’s essential to get evidence of receipt. When the matter is expected to be time-sensitive, a hard-copy memo may be viewed as an official notice and treated with care. In either case, the memo-writer should use a clear, actionable message to ensure that the assigned action is not lost in the communication.

We can consider memos in the workplace and how to write them effectively. While email and text messages may be the common forms of written communication in the business world today, studies show that information-rich documents have not been replaced by these new communication tools. Unlike an email that contains more informal language, a memo, or memorandum, is meant for formal business communication. Memos are used to provide a summary of important information and suggest actions. They are also used to disseminate, but with more formality, those routine matters that are required as part of a supervisor’s duties and responsibilities.

2. Key Components of a Memo

Essential Elements. Include any key documents, model, or data.

Conclusion or Summary. Restate the purpose of the memo and your main points. Emphasize the implications of your recommendations. Don’t repeat information from the background, issues, and approaches, etc. sections.

Proposed Approach and/or Next Steps. What are your recommendations? Suggest to your colleagues the best course of action given your facts and analysis. Don’t dump issues in people’s laps without offering some help. You want your colleagues to feel comfortable about following your judgment on a particular issue. Provide specific next steps; these next steps should reflect the recommendations discussed and agreed upon in the memo.

Issues or Discussion. Identify specific issues related to your purpose and summarize your discussion only. Use clearly defined headings and subheadings to guide your colleagues. This makes it easier for your colleagues to follow your thoughts. In case they have any questions, they’ll know exactly where to return to for clarification.

Background. Provide some background information. You can start off with general information and then move to specific details. Details would include specific statements or supporting statements that clarify your reasoning on a point.

Summary. Your memo’s summary section gets special attention. Many of your busy colleagues may only read the summary.

Purpose. Clearly state the purpose of the memo. Your colleagues get a large number of memos each day. They expect each memo to have a clear-cut purpose. If people cannot understand what you want them to do (or not do), people will ask questions, further eating into your time.

Relevance. Determine the relevance of your memo. Make sure your memo is relevant to your colleagues. You want them to read your memo knowing that it has a direct impact on their responsibilities.

The key components of a memo include the following:

3. Writing Clear and Concise Memos

Instead of focusing on who gets credit, information-rich memos should focus on the issues at hand. This helps keep key stakeholders informed about company issues. High standards in memos are also critical. Do not just present yourself as the office coffee drinker and stick to the information. Good managers consistently hold their staff to high standards and should demonstrate this in both their actions and their memo content. All memos should be on company letterhead and contain the sender’s contact information as well as the date. Finally, good memos should follow up on questions submitted as a result of the memo.

Clear and concise memos are not only easier and faster to read, they contain a more precise understanding of what must be done. This is especially important when lengthy reports must be summarized or when multiple items must be tackled simultaneously. In order to improve the clarity of your memo, consider attaching an extra document if your memo is longer than two pages. This approach has the added benefit of increasing the overall clarity and standard of professionalism of your memo.

4. Tips for Effective Memo Formatting

In the opening of a problem-solving memo, your purpose should be clearly stated so that the reader sees the specific problem. In closing summarizing remarks, new procedures, policy recommendations, and so forth will prompt the reader to take action. When your memo deals with a simple report or is an answer to a question or request, the purpose and action or response called for are usually implied in the opening and closing statements.

Your specific purpose will determine who should receive your memo. If the memo deals with a current company policy that is not working, the recipients probably include those responsible for the problem or responsible for following the policy. Between these extremes are other situations that will indicate other recipients. Since a memo suggests a rather full report, send it only to people whose work is directly affected.

Your specific purpose should determine the area of the company you will want to address in the memo. Is there a problem to be solved or a decision to be made? Are instructions to be given or new procedures summarized in a memo? Is a project to be launched or discontinued? Is an event to be scheduled? Is a new policy to be considered? Should employees be informed of a reorganization?

5. Examples of Well-Written Memos

In addition to these general tips, there are a few specific traits that are important for a good memo: 1) Avoid long introductions: The purpose of your memo should be quite clear from the very first sentence. Briefly specify the goal of the memo, and then get to your main argument. 2) Your most important point(s) should be clear: People have often already read many memos you’ve sent them. Be sure to make your main point(s) early and simply to command their attention. 3) Structure: You can make your memo more easily assimilated and comprehended if you serve it in a logical and obvious format. You might do this if the memo discusses multiple different things by breaking the body of the document into sections. You might also do this if the memo has a single message, to borrow force and clarity to your prose. 4) Regardless, you should use bullet points: Bullet points are often desirable because they promote brevity and may seem more easily assimilated than enormous plains of self-regulating script.

1) If you are only sending the memo to those already familiar with the subject matter, you can eliminate significant amounts of its background or explanatory content. 2) You can use the first part of a memo to share comments from other people, to cite facts or figures, or generally provide context prior to your principal points. 3) It’s a good idea to attach any supporting documents, such as reports, technical information, and spreadsheets. If the recipient does not see precisely what your memo suggests, he or she can reference these documents for supplementary information. 4) Review a memo’s conclusions. You should have a clear, logical, and forceful conclusion sentence that wraps up your views on your major points. It is usually a good idea in the end to include specific and feasible action steps. 5) All people reading the memo should know who wrote the document. They should first see your name or your department’s name.

Inaction. People contemplating the potential action may be overly keen to commit other people’s time and resources to a particular action. They may recognize more clearly the commitment and resources required once they see how these spread on paper, leading to less action or a greater commitment to a carefully selected few.

Without understanding, failure may occur if just one individual has the overall knowledge of a particular analysis. Crafting the memorandum helps both parties understand the work and the requirements of completing the proposed idea.

Understanding of a particular problem/situation is not the same in the two parties in a discussion. Writing a memorandum sets out in a professional manner the parameters of the discussion, ideas for action, and agreed budgets and timescales. There is little, if any, requirement for a rewrite of the discussion at a later date.

Individuals often need to provide written arguments after discussing a situation innocuously and make the assumption that just because you have discussed a particular situation and agreed on an outcome, that this is the correct one and that minimal written communication is required. I often find that writing a memorandum explaining the discussion, findings, and outcome can lead to an extra period of reflection and assists in verifying the overnight response to potential for action.

Guideline 1: Provide concrete examples, rather than vague generalities, when supplying content. Guideline 2: Use a persuasive tone in your response. For example, “Fewer visitors to your surgery mean that not only are you not earning the FC for that time, but also you are likely to perform fewer procedures resulting in lower total income for the time.” Guideline 3: Try to reduce the number of repetitive expressions and replace them with one illustration. Guideline 4: Use real experiences to deliver information relevant to the topic and use a professional tone in the response. Guideline 5: Effective strategies for writing memos in the workplace. Once you are ready to write a memo, these tips may help:

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