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When to write a memo

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When to write a memo
July 27, 2019 1st Anniversary Wishes No comments

Business memorandum or memoranda — also called memo or memos — are specially formatted written communications within your business. A memo's format.

Clear and timely communication is a key to running any business effectively.

Business memos help us let our employees or customers know about a specific situation or to inform them of a solution to an ongoing problem. Examples of when memos can be useful include when they discuss a policy change or a price increase, or when they persuade readers to take action—such as attending a meeting or changing the way things are done.

Whatever the goal, the business memo is most effective when it connects your own purpose with your readers’ interests.

If you would like to write more effective business memos, here are five tips.

1. Choose Your Audience

To make sure your memo gets read and acted upon, you need to address it appropriately. We all get inundated with junk mail, so direct your memo to the right audience. If the information is intended only for a few people, don’t direct it to the entire office.

Be careful about sending sensitive or personal information in your memo. In some cases, a memo may seem harsh or could even enflame a situation. Sometimes the best form of communication is still an old-fashioned phone call or an in-person meeting.

2. Clearly State the Purpose

A good business memo is brief and to the point.  Clearly state your purpose without going into exhaustive detail and description.

Let’s say you’re announcing that a product is being discontinued. State when production will cease and briefly cite any pertinent facts that back up the decision. You could also mention the figures from a recent sales report to back up your points.

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3. Attach Data and Documents

Fact: More people will read a concise memo.

So, what does that mean?

Attach any bulky forms or documents to the memo so that your audience can read them for more information if they’d like to do so.

If you’re asking all employees to fill out a new questionnaire, the memo can state the purpose of the survey and how the results will be used for their gain. Then you can state that the actual form is attached.

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4. Use an Appropriate Tone

The tone of the memo should reflect its purpose:

  • A memo about the company holiday party can be light and upbeat.
  • A memo about the upcoming memorial service for the company founder should be respectful and subdued.

Most memos should simply be clear and business-like.

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5. Proofread Carefully

Because memos are shorter pieces of writing, you may rush though the proofreading process. Don’t fall into this trap.

Any typos, misspellings, or other errors will detract from the purpose of the memo (and your credibility). Proofread slowly and carefully, perhaps reading the text aloud or asking a colleague to give it a look as well before you send it out.

We strongly recommend running your memo by someone professionally trained to spot errors—like Super Copy Editors. We hear it all the time: Our reputation-saving services were well worth the small price. You’d be amazed by the errors we catch that you’ve missed during a dozen different reads. Contact us now for a quick, free quote.

Pay close attention to the spelling of your recipients’ names and use correct job titles whenever appropriate.

A Few More Tips

Plenty of white space and some formatting details can improve your memo’s readability. Try short paragraphs and indented or bulleted lists to avoid a dense, copy-heavy look.

Close with a courteous tone, and if you are asking your readers to take an action step, be sure you’re clear about what you want them to do. Consider including how they should contact you or another appropriate person if they have questions.

Sample Business Memo

Here is a sample business memo and a suggested format. You can adjust this sample as necessary for your company’s needs:

To: All part-time employees
From: Daniel Smith, vice president
Date: Dec. 10, 2017
Subject: Parking concerns

Thank you for letting us know about your parking lot concerns at Monday’s meeting. I wanted to let you know of three possible solutions to the parking crunch we have been experiencing while the annex is under construction. Here are three places you can park:

1. Graham Avenue on the north side of the main building

2. Non-designated spaces behind the main parking lot

3. The orthodontist’s lot near the south side of the main building (after 5 p.m. and on weekends only)

With these added options, you should be able to find parking spots for the rest of December. If the weather cooperates, your normal spaces will be out of the construction zone around January 1.

Thanks for your patience, and please let me know if you have any concerns.

Memoranda (commonly known a memos) have been a staple of internal business communication. While email and other such communications.

TO: All Business Writers RE: How to Write an Effective Memo

when to write a memo

What is the meaning of internal memo?

The term "internal memo" is actually redundant since a memo is always an internal document.

A memo is a business document that communicates information internally in an organization. A business letter communicates information outside of an organization. Email is used both inside and outside an organization.

Here is a standard business memo format model.

Note: a business memo should not exceed two pages.

Memo Format Example


(drop down 1.5 inches from Letterhead)

Memo To: Name of Person and Title in Organization
From: Your Name
Date: Month, Day, Year
Subject: Be very specific

(NOTE: There is no salutation greeting in a memo, as there is in a letter or email.)

I propose that we purchase or lease a van to serve as a mobile bookstore. We could use this van to generate sales in the outlying towns and villages throughout the state where our retail stores are not penetrating. (Direct and brief introduction which sums up the point of the memo succinctly.)

Rationale for Van (informative heading.)
We have been aware for some time that many small towns around the state do not have adequate bookstore facilities, but the economics of the situation are such that we would not be able to open a comprehensive branch and operate it profitably. However, we could afford to stock a van with books and operate it for a few days at a time in various small towns throughout the state. As you are probably aware, the laws of this state would permit us to acquire a statewide business license fairly easily and inexpensively. (Provides brief, but full, background and feasibility information to the reader.)

With the proper advance advertising, we should be able to generate much interest in this initiative. It seems to me that this idea has much merit because of the flexibility it offers us. For example, we could tailor the length of our stay to the size of the town and the amount of business generated. Also, we could customize our inventory to the needs and interests of the particular locales. (Additional persuasive information.)

Actions Request
The driver of the van would act as the salesperson, and we would, of course, have copies of our complete catalog so that mail orders could be taken as well. Please let me know your thoughts about this proposal. If you wish, I can explore the matter further and generate cost and sales estimates.(Clear closing that asks for specific action.)


Memorandum Format PDF Example

The Purdue University Online Writing Labshares thisdownloadable PDF example. It provides another strong example of proper formatting. Notice the format:

  • All text is justifed to the left side of the page. None of the first paragraphs are indented. Business documents use justified left format, while academic format indents the first paragraph.
  • Text is single spaced between lines.
  • There is double spacing between paragraphs.


How to End a Memo

Notice that there is no closing signature in a memo, as there would be in a business email or business letter. 

The best ending for a memo is a clear closing action, stated in the last paragraph. And, be very clear about what you want your reader to know or do after reading the memo, which makes it easy for your reader to respond.



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How to Write a Memo in 7 Steps

when to write a memo

By Sue Fox

Business memorandum or memoranda — also called memo or memos — are specially formatted written communications within your business. A memo’s format is typically informal (but still all-business) and public. Memos typically make announcements, discuss procedures, report on company activities, and disseminate employee information. If you have something confidential to communicate, don’t do it in a memo.

The tone of memos usually is informal and friendly. Although you don’t need to be curt, officious, or patronizing, a certain succinctness is acceptable. Structure the memo so that the most important information comes in the first paragraph and that subsequent paragraphs spell out what’s discussed in the first paragraph.

All memos are structured similarly. They have the following elements:

  • An addressee: Flush left, in capital letters, near the top of the page

  • The sender: Flush left, in caps, immediately below the addressee

  • Date: Flush left, in caps, immediately below the sender’s name

  • Subject: Flush left, in caps, immediately below the date

Use suitable paper for your memos — white bond, either note size or standard to fit most desk in-baskets.

This figure shows an example of a properly structured memo.

Some people appear to think that memos, because they’re public, are effective management tools. Although memos are effective for direction and suggestion, criticism and praise are best given in person.

Even though the majority of information today is conveyed via e-mail, you still need to use the correct style when sending a memo in the body of an e-mail. When you’re conveying larger amounts of information, send that information as a properly formatted memo attachment. The message itself can contain the correct headings, numbered items, and other formatted information that an e-mail does not allow as easily.

Turney's Tips: Memo Writing. Underlying assumptions: A memo is usually an internal working paper written to share information and/or instructions among peers.

What Is the Purpose of Issuing a Memo?

when to write a memo

The phrase “internal memo” is short for “internal memorandum.” Internal memos are used to spread information as well as make mass requests of people in a company, department or team. Internal memos bring attention to problems, and they solve problems among myriad other useful functions in an organization.

TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)

When writing an internal memo, keep it simple and get straight to the point.

Why Should You Write an Internal Memo?

An internal memo is an effective way to reach many people in an organization quickly and efficiently. With a memo you can easily do the following:

  • Clarify or analyze a subject.
  • Make recommendations.
  • Set reminders.
  • Give instructions.
  • Transmit materials.
  • Make announcements.
  • Issue reports.
  • Ask for contributions.
  • Request approvals.

The key to an effective internal memo is keeping it simple. Your message should be concise and delivered in an uncomplicated format that gets the message across clearly. An internal memorandum sample could be sending the results of a company-wide survey of the cafeteria lunches and the new, improved menu.

How Do You Format an Internal Memo?

You can quickly create your memo template in Word or find an internal memorandum sample online. The heading of an internal memorandum has four key components. The first is the recipient or recipients of the memo, preceded by “TO.” The second is the source of the memo, preceded by “FROM.” The third is the date, preceded by “DATE” and the fourth component is the subject of the memo, preceded by “SUBJECT.”

You should use the recipients' proper titles and names. For example, if Tom Maxwell is the chairman, then he should be listed as “Tom Maxwell, Chairman.” If there are too many names, you can use “All Staff” or “Department Heads” for the sake of brevity. You should also identify yourself as the source of the memo. Your name and title follow the heading “FROM.” You don’t have to sign off at the end of the memo but can add your initials next to your name as a form of authentication.

The subject of the memo should be descriptive of its content. Rather than using general terms like “Policy,” you should write a short phrase such as “New policy effective June 1, 2018.”

How Do You Write the Message of an Internal Memo?

A memo template in Word can give you formatting advice, but it won't give you advice on content. As a rule always be concise. Your internal memo should have a one-paragraph introduction which outlines the purpose of the memo. Then you should describe what prompted the memo. Focus only on what the recipients need to know and any actions they need to take in response to the memo. Still unsure of what to write? Follow this internal memorandum sample below:

Date: December 1, 2018

From: Maria Ruben

To: Staff

Re: New Hours Effective January 1, 2019

The purpose of this memo is to alert staff that the hours of the company gym are shifting. After requests from numerous employees, we've decided to extend hours beyond typical office hours for those who might end up working overtime on the new development project. The gym will now be open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Please let me know if you have any questions or comments.

Maria Ruben

Senior HR Director

Always make sure to end your memo on a courteous note and offer help, if needed. End your internal memo with a brief summary, reiterating the essential points and close with a call to action.

Whether the memo is delivering good or bad news, it's always best to be polite, accurate, to the point and offer assistance to the hard-working employees who may need it. If you're struggling with formatting or wording, try looking at some online memo templates for Word, and go from there.

How To Write an Effective Memo. This is a general guide on how to write a memo (aka “memorandum” if you wanna be technical) that: gets read. has a clear.

when to write a memo
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