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There are many types of documents needed both for business and personal communications. One of them is memo (memorandum). Before we learn how to write a memo, let’s find out what it is and how it should be properly used.
What is memo?
Memorandum is a short note sent within the same organization. It can be directed from boss to subordinates and vice versa, or from employee to employee. Its main purpose is to notify or summarize previous communication or attain preliminary agreement (unofficial one) on things. Here are some key memo characteristics. A memorandum is:
- An internal document
- A short document (no more than 1 pages long)
- A document used for routine communication within the company
So, as you see, it is a short document, that clearly states the purpose of its writing and communicates important information to those it is addressed to. At this memos are meant for the internal use only. However, at times they become public. So, when you write one, you should keep in mind the audience it has to reach (your colleagues) and those that may read it accidentally without you knowing about it.
What memos are mainly used for:
As you see, the old-school way still works and delivers some good results.
- Paper documents help you carry an important idea through, because people get overwhelmed by digital communications, such as emails. A printed copy grabs their attention.
- They get your readers focused. People become distracted, when reading emails from the PC screen. Skype and other communication apps call for their attention. But when they read the paper document, they can fully focus on its contents.
- Memo allows you to have full control over the content and the look of the document. No one can make alternations in it, as could be easily done with the digital copy.
- Makes communication more formal
- What writing skills do you need to put a memo together?
So, what it takes to write such a paper? First of all, you need to really keep it short. Some memorandums can go over 1 page, but most of them should stay within its limits. The ideal size is ½ to 1 page in length.
So, it takes some good editing skills to write it. Put together a text, go over it again and cut out the extras. Leave only the most important facts and information. The next skill you need is the knowledge of your audience. It is not written for everyone.
You should know exactly who you address in memo. So, you pick the style accordingly. Finally, you should know how to highlight the very key thoughts and ideas in it or make them more digestible. You can use tables and lots of space in between the text to make it airy and more readable. Plus, you can resort to Bold or Underlining to point out the top thoughts.
- What types of memorandums are out there?
Memos can be used for different purposes and be of different types. Let put some of them down:
- Informational (announcements)
- Action requests
- Regulations, etc.
As you may see, there are quite a lot of them. Depending on the type a memo can be shorter or longer. You may create and use default templates for the ones you send often times.
What format memo is written in?
The rule of a thumb here is to follow your company standards, if it sets them. Basically, you do not need to invent a bicycle. Just tap into the other printed docs of the organization and follow their format and style.
Next, you may use the company’s logo on your memo page. Plus, set the appropriate margins on both sides. If the organization does not provide you with the In-house style guide, you can set them 1 inch on both sides. And break down the text into the shorter paragraphs with empty lines in between.
At the top of your document write: Date, To, From and Subject and then fill out those forms accordingly. This way a person receiving your memo can quickly figure out who it is from, when it was written and why they should read it.
Writing memo is not a difficult task. However, it still requires certain skills and knowledge. If you know, how to write a memo, you can improve your communication within the company and better your work performance.