The primary purpose of writing a memo is to support decision-making by documenting a reference for future use. It also helps in conveying information, presenting an informal report, and proposing a solution to a problem.
A business memo is appropriate to use when making company announcements such as employee appointments, promotions and changes in company policies.
Format of a Memo
A memo normally includes the following elements −
● Organization name − in the letterhead.
● Memo Title − at the top of the page.
● Attachments − documents attached to the memo for reference.
● Summary − placed at the beginning of the memo, should condense the subject to five or ten lines. It should not contain jargon or highly technical language.
● To − Reader’s full name (include honorary titles, but keep generic titles like ‘Mr.’, ‘Ms.’ out. The ‘To’ line negates salutation usages like ‘Dear’.
● If the number of readers exceed five, mention them at the end of the memo under ‘Distribution List’ and refer to it on the ‘To’ line. For example – To: Refer Distribution List on page 14.
● From − The name and designation of the sender is mentioned here. It negates complimentary closes like ‘With Regards’.
● Date − Mentioning the date helps in tracking the memo.
● Subject − Mention the topic in a few words (5-6) but it should clearly state the purpose.
● Message − This section contains Introduction, Discussion (contains 2-3 middle paragraphs mentioning the details), and a Conclusion.
ü Introduction − States the memo’s purpose and scope. In the case of good news, bad news, refusal, rejection or approval, a short message is mentioned here before providing the details in the Discussion Section.
ü Discussion − Details of the problem, the approach to solving it, analysis, evaluation, and recommendations are mentioned here.
ü Conclusion − Rounds up the main points and provides necessary action and directions for the readers.
● Distribution list − Names on the distribution list are usually typed in alphabetical order. However, if one of the individuals clearly outranks the others, place that name first.
● Writer’s initials − A memo is completed by the writer’s initials, not his/her signature, immediately after the last sentence.