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Sample of business memo letter

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Sample of business memo letter
November 08, 2018 Anniversary Wishes 5 comments

A memorandum (memo for short) is a short piece of writing generally written by the officers of an organization for sharing information among.

Business Memos by Topic

Purpose of the Business Memo

The primary purpose of the business memorandum (commonly referred to as a memo) is to allow timely communication to a large number of employees or other members of an organization. The business memo is generally used in place of a traditional letter for internal communication, though memos may be used to communicate with individuals from other organizations in some instances.

Memos are used for a wide variety of purposes. They may be used to convey information such as policy changes, promotions or other personnel changes, a project status update, or increased offering of products and services. They can also be used to request that employees attend a meeting or make changes to work procedures or practices, or they can address a problem, such as employee tardiness or absence, or provide feedback on a product or program.

Business Memo Tips

As you prepare to draft your memo, think about your intended audience, and send the memo only to those who need it. Also, be careful when communicating confidential information; a face-to-face meeting may be more appropriate in such circumstances.

The tone of a memo is generally fairly formal, so choose your wording appropriately. It is inappropriate to be too informal (using slang, for example), but don't be verbose or flowery, either. Conciseness and clarity in language are always best. Use active rather than passive voice whenever possible.

Memos Step by Step

Memorandums generally consist of a heading section, an opening paragraph or section, the body section, and a closing paragraph or section.


The heading section identifies the recipients of the memo, the sender, the date the memo was sent, and the subject (or purpose) of the memo. In the heading, determine to whom you are going to send the letter (that is, your audience). Include all those who really need to receive the information, but don't include anyone who doesn't—doing so just wastes their time and your money. Make sure to spell names correctly and to include the complete name and correct titles of recipients. The subject line should be specific enough to convey the main purpose of the memo (for example, "Mandatory Employee Benefits Meeting on Friday, June 4" rather than "Meeting"). The heading generally looks like this:

TO: (recipients' names and job titles)
FROM: (your name and job title)
DATE: (current date)
SUBJECT: (purpose of the memo)

You may choose to include your initials after your name and job title in the "From" line to show that you approve the contents of the memo (if you asked someone else, such as a secretary or administrative assistant) to write it on your behalf) or to authenticate the letter.


The opening paragraph or section states the purpose of the memo. It is generally quite brief—usually, no more than a few sentences. If, for example, the memo is in response to a particular problem, state the problem clearly. If, on the other hand, the purpose of the memo is to introduce a new policy or to provide a project update, briefly state that fact. Save the details of the memo for the next section. For longer memos (memos longer than about a page), the opening section might begin with a brief overview of the rest of the document (you can also include this information in a separate "Summary" section above the opening paragraph; NAME THAT CONTENT OF SUMMARY??). Memos do not begin with a salutation.


In the body (or discussion) section of the memo, include any information the reader might need to know. The most important (and most specific) information should come first, followed by less important (and more general) information. Do not include information that is not important for readers, but let them know enough that they can understand the seriousness of the problem, the reasons for the change in policy, the research that was conducted that brought the problem to your attention, the details about the promotion, problems that could occur if action is not taken, the current status of the project, et cetera. Keep in mind that memos are meant to be brief (most are not longer than a page).

If you have included an attachment, such as a graph, chart, list, or a more detailed summary of research findings, you may want to identify it here if appropriate, or you can do so in the closing section.

For longer memos, use headings to help the reader quickly grasp the main points of the memo. If your memo is longer than a page, repeat the "To" line, the date, and the subject line on and add a page number to subsequent pages. Numbered and bulleted lists also allow the reader to scan information quickly. Try to keep sentences and paragraphs short and concise.


In the closing paragraph or section, indicate your recommendations, the action you want the reader to take, or (if no particular action is necessary) end the memo on a positive note. This section can often be very brief, but don't make it so brief that the reader is unclear about what he or she is supposed to do. Make sure to include enough information to clearly convey your request. If possible, include (or reiterate) the benefits the reader will receive by completing the action (such as improving office safety by following the new policy), and indicate anything you are doing or will do to help or make it easier for the reader complete the action.

If some readers may not have it, then you should include your contact information, such as your work phone number or e-mail address.

Traditionally, memos have not included signature lines. The practice of doing so is becoming more common, however. In such cases, the written signature is followed below by the typed name of the sender. No closing remark such as Sincerely or Best regards is necessary.

If you have included any attachments with your memo, identify them here. For example:

Attached: May 25 Training Seminar Agenda

Formatting the Business Memo

Format the document so that paragraphs are flush left, and insert an extra hard return before the first opening paragraph, before each heading, and between paragraphs of text.



Written well, business memos are an efficient, effective way to communicate within an organization. For more information on business writing, see the articles Effective Business Writing and Writing an Effective Business Document.

A memo is a short message that businesses use to internally communicate official policy and procedures. An effective memo is concise, organized and timely.

25+ Business Memo Templates – PDF, DOC

sample of business memo letter

A memo, or memorandum, is a written document business use to communicate an announcement or notification. While memos were once the primary form of written internal communication in a business, they are now commonly sent in the form of an email.

In this article, learn more about how to write a memo with tips you can use to ensure your memos are clear, concise and effective.


What is a memo?

A memo is a short message that's typically used to communicate official business policies and procedures within a company. Memos are usually meant as a mass communication to all members of an organization rather than a one-on-one personal message.


When you should write a memo

For the most part, the purpose of writing a memo is to inform. However, memos can occasionally include a call to action or a persuasive element.

A few examples of when a memo might be useful include:

  • Informing employees about company policy or process changes
  • Providing an update on key projects or goals
  • When making an announcement about the company, such as an employee promotion or new hire
  • To remind employees about a task that needs to be completed
  • To make a request of all employees
  • When you're communicating a message that employees will refer to more than once, such as a detailed proposal or recommendation

Memos are also an efficient way to communicate brief but important messages to a wide audience within the business. This can include product changes, meeting schedules, procedure changes, policy additions, summaries of agreement terms and reminders. Additionally, you can send a memo when you want your audience to print or save the information contained in the message in some way for later reference.


Types of memos

There are a few main types of memos you can write depending on your needs and the content of your message. Below are some of the most common types of memos.

  • Report memo: Typically sent to give an update or progress report.
  • Request memo: Submitted as a request to a certain person or team. Persuasive language works well in request memos.
  • Confirmation memo: Written to confirm an agreement made between two parties.
  • Suggestive memo: Usually sent by management requesting input from employees on how to solve a certain problem.


How to write a memo

While each memo should be written to address its unique needs, there are a few steps you can follow to create a clear, highly readable document. Like many other professional business documents, memos will include an introduction, body and conclusion.

  1. Start with a header that clearly indicates that the communication is a memorandum, the intended recipients, the sender, the date and the subject.
  2. Write an introduction uses a declarative sentence to announce the main topic of the memo.
  3. Include a body paragraph has discussion points that elaborate or list the main ideas associated with the memo's topic. To make your memo easier to read, write in short paragraphs and break the information into smaller, more manageable chunks. Since the recipients will likely be scanning the memo, you should also use subheadings and bulleted lists when possible.
  4. Conclude your memo with any remaining information following the body paragraph. This is a summary of the memo and should clearly inform the reader of any actions required.
  5. Close with your name, email address and phone number in case anyone needs to contact you.

If your intended recipients will need to refer to other information, such as a graph, image or chart, you can include it as an attachment below the end of your memo.


Tips for writing an effective memo

Here are several tips to consider to improve your memo:

  • Always consider your audience when writing a memo. While an acronym or abbreviation might be commonly used in the marketing department, it could be unknown to the IT department. If you're writing a memo for the entire company, use clear and concise language accessible to everyone.
  • Use professional language and tone. When sending a company-wide, you are speaking for the organization. Use business formal language with easy-to-understand words and concepts.
  • Write a subject that is straightforward and clear. For example, if you need to send out a memo announcing the observance of a holiday, include the name and date of the holiday in your subject line. Send your memo at least a week before the event or due date so people have time to adjust their plans accordingly.


Memo template

The following is a sample memo you can use as a guide for your next document:


To: Names of intended recipients
From: Your Name, Title
Date: Month Day, Year

Subject: Subject of the memo

Begin the memo with a sentence that describes the reason you are writing. It should be very short—about one or two sentences in length. The introduction should clearly state the purpose of the memo so the reader immediately understands what it is about. If the memo is meant to respond or follow up on a certain topic or situation, include that in the first paragraph.

  • Bullet point to list important information.
  • Bullet point to list important information.
  • Bullet point to list important information.

Use the last few sentences to conclude your memo. Make sure you include a request for any action you need people to take after reading your memo.

Thank you,
[Your name]
[Your email address]
[Your phone number]

Attachment: Attachment of image, graph or chart that your intended recipients might need.

Memos are an important form of communication within a company. Now that you understand the memorandum definition and you have some clear tips on how to write a memo, you can create memos that will effectively communicate what you need people to know.

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Memo Examples

sample of business memo letter

Have you ever wanted to disseminate information around the office or to your employees in your business? Then try coming up with a memo. Simply put, a memo is a short, concise message or document which is used for communication in an office or a business.


Memos are very important so you should know how to make a good memo template or business memo template so you can start spreading messages internally in your office or your business.

The most effective kinds of memos must be short, to the point, very organized and given on time. It should be able to give enough information that the reader won’t have any questions after reading it.

Business Memo Templates

Memo has its origin from the Latin word memorandum, which is a noun and has the same root as the word memorare. Memorare then means to mention, recount or call to mind – which is also the similar definition of the word memory. This means that it can also serve as a reminder for people of something important.

In the office or business setting, memos are given to employees internally as a form of written communication. Information which must be formally documented is usually presented in the form of a memo to highlight its importance. There is a lot to learn about memos and in this article, you will learn all about the uses and purposes for giving out memos, types of memos as well as how to make your own business memo template. Read on and be guided by all you need to know about memos.

General Purposes of a Memo

Before you start creating your own memo template, it would be useful to know what the general purposes of a memo are. Memos are formal documents used in an office or business setting to communicate with the employees.

Memos are mainly for internal communication and are very rarely given to clients, customers or the general public. It can easily be made in your computer though sample memo templates, which are available on this website.

Here are the most general purposes for giving out memos:

To Give Information on News and Events

Memos can be used to give the employees information regarding upcoming events or the latest happenings related to the company, organization, business or the office. These kinds of news and events could be as simple as gatherings or fun events which are to be hosted or as relevant as an explanation for any changes which may be happening.

It could notify employees about any staff promotions or movement in departments or branches. It could also be about new products, merchandise or services that the business offers or those which have been phased out. Any new information can be given to the employees through a memo.

To Deal with an Issue or Concern

As with all organizations or businesses, issues or concerns may come up which need to be addressed especially when these concerns have caught the attention of the management. A memo can be used to describe all the details of the issue or concern to bring to light what needs to be dealt with and keep everyone involved informed. Too many absences or tardiness of employees’ can as well as employee misconduct are examples of such concerns which call for formal memos.

For Making Requests

Memos can also be given to employees when the management needs to make requests from them. A request for consent or cooperation to do extra work, a request to attend important meetings or a request to make changes in work practices are some examples of memos made for making requests. These memos must also contain any instructions as well as all the details the employee needs to be able to fulfill the request made. You can also include benefits or rewards for carrying out the action or completing the task so that your employees would be more inclined to grant your request.

For Giving Feedback

Feedback is essential in all kinds of organizations so you can use a memo to give your feedback on any products, services or even programs which have been done in the company. The purpose of giving a memo which provides feedback is that it lets the employees know all there is to know about the quality of the products as well as their performance. This is valuable so that employees know how to improve their performance or make changes in any products or services to make them more efficient for the clients and customers.

These are the most common and general purposes of a memo. As you can see, memos really are important so you can start thinking about making your own memo template word for your business. Now let’s move on to other uses of business memos.

Professional Memo Templates

When to Use a Business Memo

Now e-mails are more popularly used to communicate within the office, but you should not discount the fact that memos are still vital and important for more formal information which needs to be documented using hard copies.

There are many types of memos and all these types and sample memo templates can be downloaded from the internet. But before you do so, let’s learn about when you should be using a business memo in your office or organization:

When There are any Changes in Company Policies

A lot of times, companies, businesses or organizations need to change their policies especially when they see that some policies don’t work or are already outdated. In cases like these, it would be appropriate to give a memo to all employees regarding any and all changes to the company. Giving out a business memo would formalize the changes and also give all the employees information on when the changes are to take place. Business memos about changes in company policies can be given to all the employees and also placed in an area which is visible to all.

When Announcements Need to be Made

When making important announcements, such as the promotion of old employees or the introduction of new employees, giving a business memo would be appropriate. This would ensure that any important announcements not only formally announced but are also documented. You can email announcements to make it a lot easier but you should still use a formal format when creating it.

When Employees Need to be Reminded

Reminders are essential in any kind of business and when there are very important reminders to be given, you can use a business memo to spread the information. Such reminders would include a task which employees need to do before a deadline or a reminder on how employees must behave inside the office or the organization.

These are all the uses and purposes of memos and business memos. These uses should be enough to convince you that memos are crucial in companies and organizations and that you should start making use of them. Now let’s look at the different types of memos before you start creating your own memo template.

Memo Format

Types of Memos

Coming up with a business memo template for your company would be a lot easier if you learn the different types of memos and all the details about them. Once you know all this information, you can start making a memo template word or you can look at online resources and work with sample memo templates.

Here are the different types of memos worth learning about:

1. A Request Memo

This type of memo is commonly used in order to get a good response to any request made by the management thus it should be worded convincingly. An excellent request memo must contain the following information:

  • The request should be stated in a clear and concise way which the reader or employees must understand. It should be stated so as the readers won’t have any questions about it.
  • Any reasons for the request must be given too. Of course, employees must know why the request is made, otherwise, you may not get a very favorable response from them. They may not agree to fulfill a request if they don’t know why it has been made.
  • If there are any costs or expenses involved, they must be given as well, in full detail and with the proper explanation.
  • Any recommendation for carrying out the tasks, actions or requests must also be stated to guide the employees in case they do not know how they would complete the request.

All these information and statements should be stated diplomatically to ensure that the employees will agree to the request.

2. A Confirmation Memo

This type of memo is created in order to formally validate an agreement which has been made as well as document it. This type of memo is important so that both parties are sure that the agreement is to be honored. A good confirmation memo should include:

  • All the most important points which were discussed and agreed upon by both parties. You would have to be very clear and specific when stating these points.
  • Enumerate and emphasize these points clearly so you can easily gain access to them for quick reference when you need to in the future.

Before finalizing your memo, it would be a good idea to show it to everyone involved to encourage any feedback or to clear up any vague or doubtful points.

3. A Periodic Report Memo

These types of memos are disseminated regularly to give information about the company. These could be in the form of monthly or quarterly sales reports or such similar ones. Here are a few important points about these types of memos:

  • When creating this kind of memo, you’d have to make a template such as a form which just needs to be filled in so that information can just be easily entered each time.
  • The sample memo template should be created so that it can just be reused every time the memo is due.
  • It should also have a space for any descriptive or narrative comments, in case the need arises.

This is the easiest type of memo to use once you’ve already created the template as you won’t have to make it again and again.

4. A Suggestion Memo

Memos can also be used to put across different ideas and suggestions from employees or from the management. They could be suggestions on how to improve the workplace or ideas and suggestions on how to deal with issues or concerns. Here are some tips on making these types of memos:

  • Always start with good comments about the situation and then offer the ideas and suggestions for changing it.
  • Organize the ideas and suggestions by subject and make use of headings or titles to emphasize them.
  • Use concise statements and always go straight to the point to avoid confusion.

Following these tips would ensure that your memo along with the suggestions that go with it would be effective and would give a positive note to it as you give the memo to your employees.

5. The Informal Study Results Memo

Sometimes studies are informally done in organizations and companies by certain personnel and everything about it should be written on a memo to inform everyone involved. These types of memos are usually presented as a form and should contain the following:

  • The purpose of the informal study must be clearly stated (and you have to stick to it!)
  • To make your memo easily readable, you can make use of headings and subheadings to highlight or emphasize certain points. This would make your memo clear and easy to go through.
  • Just like all other memos, be concise and specific when stating your points, issues or concerns.
  • These types of memos can be written using more informal language to make it easier to read by everyone.

You can follow a format for these types of memos or you can come up with your own format, depending on what kind of study you are doing.

There you go, the 5 main types of memos which can be given in an office or an organization. Now that you have a lot of information about memos, we can move on to creating your own business memo template, which can be found in the next section.

Word Memo Templates

How to Make Your Own Business Memo Template

Now that you know the uses and purposes of business memos, as well as the different types, you can already start creating your own template. You can either start with a simple template or make others as the need arises or you can go ahead and make templates for all the different types of business memos. It’s all up to you!

Here are some steps and tips in creating an efficient and official business memo:

  • Open the software of your choice and format your page. Set the margins and pick a font which looks official. You can change font sizes when you’re editing your memo later on.
  • The first and possibly most important part of your memo is the heading. You can use the word “Memo” or “Memorandum” at the very top of your page as it would serve as the title of your document.
  • The next thing to do is address the recipient/s of the memo properly as this serves as a formal communication in the business. Make sure to use the full name/s of the recipient/s of the memo.
  • You can also add other recipients of the memo in the CC line. This doesn’t include the recipients of the memo but all other people who have to be informed of the contents of the memo.
  • You would then have to write your full name in the “From” line along with your job title.
  • The date the memo is given is also essential so you’d have to include it.
  • Now you have to place the subject line. This part would give the reader an idea of what your memo is all about.
  • All these are important parts of the heading and must be found at the very top of the page. The title should be in the middle but all the other information should be aligned at the left hand side.
  • Now that you’re done with the heading, you can add a line below it to separate it from the body of your memo.
  • Before you write the body of your memo, think about your recipients and your audience. Think about the issues, concerns as well as any questions which the readers might have so you can address them all in your memo.
  • You don’t have to place a formal greeting in a memo. You can immediately introduce what the memo is all about in the very first paragraph under the heading.
  • After the introduction, you can go on to discussing the whole issue along with any background information about it but remembers to be brief and concise. Give a detailed summary of the most important points – you can use subheadings and headings to emphasize points if you wish.
  • For longer memos, you can even include lists, graphs or charts as long as you get your point across and you’re sure that the readers will understand everything. Write down all the relevant information regarding the memo, no matter what purpose you have for making it.
  • Finalize your memo by ending it on a positive note. Once you’re done with it, you can format your memo to make sure that it is readable and well spaced. Also, make sure to proofread your memo in order to see if you’ve made any mistakes.
  • Print out your memo on an official letterhead of your company or organization and when it has been printed, write down your initials by hand. This would personalize it as memos don’t usually have a space for signature. Writing your initials next to your name would indicate that you’ve approved the memo. Once that’s done, all you have to do is choose your method of spreading your memo!

Posted on September 20, 2017In Documents

Tags:Documents, Memo

The business memo is generally used in place of a traditional letter for internal It is inappropriate to be too informal (using slang, for example), but don't be.

How a Business Memo is Different from a Business Letter

sample of business memo letter

Ch. 6: Writing Emails, Letters and Memos


We’ve previously learned that in order to choose a medium, you must consider your context, message, audience and purpose. Right now, the context is especially important because workplace communications is undergoing a shift. For the past 20 years, email has taken over many of the jobs once reserved for faxes, memos and letters. Now, instant messaging programs like Slack are taking over some of the work that email used to do. Social media has also taken over some of email’s job in the workplace. For example, many companies offer customer service over Twitter and Facebook.

Often, students want to learn the perfect way to write a memo or letter, or to have a template that they can fill out. But because the context is always changing, and because different workplaces have different practices, it’s not possible to say that there’s one correct way to write each document. Instead, we’re going to explore the different decisions that go into choosing a medium, and the different roles each medium plays in the workplace.

Writing Memos

A memo (or memorandum, meaning “reminder”) is normally used for communicating policies, procedures, or related official business within an organization. It is often written from a one-to-all perspective (like mass communication), broadcasting a message to an audience, rather than a one-on-one, interpersonal communication. It may also be used to update a team on activities for a given project or to inform a specific group within a company of an event, action, or observance.

Memos can be tricky because they often communicate to multiple audiences who have different levels of knowledge about the context. For example, if you are communicating a new company policy, different types of employees will want to know exactly how the policy impacts them.


Memos are distinguished by a header that includes DATE, TO, FROM, and SUBJECT lines. Other lines, such as CC or BCC, may be added as needed. An RE (“Reference”) line may be used instead of SUBJECT, but this use is becoming rarer as “RE” is often mistaken as “Reply” because of its use in email.

  • DATE: List the date on which the memo is distributed.
  • TO: List the names of the recipients of the memo. If there are several recipients, it’s acceptable to use a group name, such as “All Employees” or “Personnel Committee Members.”
  • FROM: List the name and job title of the writer(s).
  • SUBJECT: Think of the SUBJECT line as the title for the memo. Make it specific so that readers can immediately identify the topic.

These headings may be double- or single-spaced, and the SUBJECT line is often in all capital letters. Furthermore, the order of the items can vary. Many organizations have their own style preferences on these issues. If not, the order listed above, double-spaced, is the most common.

The text of memos typically uses block format, with single-spaced lines, an extra space between paragraphs, and no indentions for new paragraphs. However, if a report using memo format stretches to a few pages in length, double spacing may be used to improve its readability.


Professional communication forms are organized according to one of two strategies: Direct and indirect.

  • The direct organization strategy presents the purpose of the document in the first paragraph (sometimes the first sentence) and provides supporting details in the body.
  • The indirect organization strategy opens with relevant, attention-getting details that do not directly state the purpose of the document. The purpose is revealed in the body of the message, usually sandwiched between supporting details.

The direct approach is used for good news or routine communication; the indirect approach is used for persuasive, sales, or bad news messages.

A directly stated purpose is welcome in good news or routine messages but could be viewed as abrupt or insensitive in a bad news or persuasive message. When the audience is not receptive to the message, it is best to lead up to the purpose gradually.

In both types of organization, action information (such as deadlines or contact information) or a courteous closing statement is placed in the last paragraph.

Organization StrategyDefinitionType of DocumentContent
DirectWriter arrives at purpose quickly, sometimes in the first sentence.Used for good news or routine communication (audience is receptive or neutral)PurposeDetailsAction information or courteous close
IndirectWriter gradually builds up to the purpose, which is stated in the body.Used for negative, persuasive, or sales messages (audience is not receptive)Relevant, attention-getting statementsPurpose statement is sandwiched by details.Action information or courteous close

Sample Direct Memo

Let’s take a look at a sample direct memo.

As you can see, this memo has a direct and concise opening that states the purpose of the memo. The body paragraph provides the award criteria, which will help managers follow through on the request. The conclusion provides action information, a deadline and a courteous closing message.

Now, let’s take a look at a sample indirect memo.

Sample Indirect Memo


As you can see, the introduction is relevant to the subject but doesn’t directly state the bad news, which is that the popular early weekend schedule is ending. Instead, the writer lists the reasons for the change to prepare the reader mentally for it. The bad news is then clearly stated, but it’s sandwiched between two positive statements. Note that the bad news is at the end of the paragraph, since the writer doesn’t want readers to skim the memo and miss this important information. The memo then ends with action information and a forward-looking statement.

Style and Tone

While memo reports and policy memos are examples of documents that have a more formal tone, most memos will have a conversational style—slightly informal but still professional. The audience of memos are those with whom the writer works, so the writing style usually assumes a relationship with them (and therefore a certain lack of formality); just keep in mind that the relationship is a professional one, so the writing should reflect that. Furthermore, as with all workplace documents, the audience may contain a variety of readers, and the style and tone should be appropriate for all of their technical and authority levels.

Too InformalToo Formal, Stuffy-Sounding, WordyAppropriate Balance
Hi, everyone. Hope you had a great weekend. You know those awards we give out every so often? It’s time for those again!Variety Craft Supplies’ mission is to provide customers with affordable, quality supplies with superb customer service. Excellent customer service includes being knowledgeable about the supplies, but it also goes beyond that. It’s about having the right attitude about helping customers. It’s time to reward employees who have a customer-oriented outlook.

Direct and concise opening states the purpose of the memo.

Please submit your nominations for the quarterly Customer Service Excellence Award by April 8.  Help us identify great employees!

Common Memo Writing Situations

Memos are used in a variety of workplace communication situations, from documentation of procedures and policies to simple announcements. Below are some common types of memos:

  • Policies (changes and new)
  • Instructions
  • Procedures
  • Announcements
  • Trip reports

Distribution Medium

Memos may be distributed manually through print medium in organizations in which not all employees have access to email. Organizations with access to email may distribute memos as attachments to email.

In organizations in which email reaches every employee (or every employee in the memo’s audience), writers must determine whether to send a memo or an email message to convey their information. In cases such as this, writers should consider three factors: the nature of the message, the depth/number of its details, and its likelihood of being printed for easier reference. These types of messages should be written up in memo format and attached to an email message for fast (and environmentally friendly) distribution:

  • Messages that have an official aura, such as new policies or revisions of policies.
  • Messages containing much detail (such as instructions on how to calibrate a complicated piece of machinery).
  • Messages requiring reference away from a computer (necessitating a print copy). Print copies of emails generally use a small type that is difficult to read.

*Some articles are used across multiple genres and disciplines.

6.2 Emails

Email is typically quite familiar to most students and workers. While it may be used like text messaging, or synchronous chatting, and it can be delivered to a cell phone, email remains an asynchronous communication tool. In business, email has largely replaced print hard copy letters for external (outside the company) correspondence, as well as taking the place of memos for internal (within the company) communication (Guffey, 2008). Email can be very useful for messages that have slightly more content than a text message, but it is still best used for fairly brief messages.

Many businesses use automated e-mails to acknowledge communications from the public or to remind associates that periodic reports or payments are due. You may also be assigned to “populate” a form email in which standard paragraphs are used, but you choose from a menu of sentences to make the wording suitable for a particular transaction.

The rise of email management systems like MailChimp and Constant Contact have also made it easy to integrate graphic design elements into emails and to send emails to an entire mailing list without getting caught in a spam filter. Now, businesses send everything from newsletters to donations campaigns to holiday greetings through email.

Emails may be informal in personal contexts, but business communication requires attention to detail, awareness that your email reflects you and your company, and a professional tone so that it may be forwarded to any third party if needed. Email often serves to exchange information within organizations. Although email may have an informal feel, remember that when used for business, it needs to convey professionalism and respect. Never write or send anything that you wouldn’t want read in public or in front of your company president or CEO.

Tips for effective business emails

If you’re struggling to write an email, err on the side of not wasting the reader’s time. Many readers get hundreds of emails a day. While a reader might sit down to read a letter or a memo, they will usually spend a few seconds scanning an email for relevant information before moving on to the next one.

Unless your email is sensitive or you are breaking bad news, it’s nearly always a good idea to state the main point of the email clearly and to clearly tell the audience what you want them to do.

It may be helpful for you to think of this as building a frame around your email. In the first part of the frame, you open by telling the reader why you’re writing. Then, in the body, you give the main message. In the bottom part of the frame, you end by telling the reader what to do next. Here’s an example. The grey shaded parts represent the frame.

Frame: I’m writing to congratulate you on being named Employee of the Month.

In your nomination form, your manager noted that you’ve always had exceptional customer service skills, but last month you stood out by helping an elderly customer troubleshoot her computer issues. Your patience and dedication was inspirational to the rest of the team.

Frame: We would like to present you with a certificate and your $100 cheque at the staff meeting on Monday, June 5th. Please confirm whether or not you’ll be in attendance so we can plan accordingly.

Congratulations once again. We are lucky to have you part of our team!

First, the writers tells exactly why they’re writing. Then, they provide the supporting details. Last, they tell the reader what to do (confirm whether or not they’ll be at the meeting).

Here are some more tips for sending successful emails:

  • Proper salutations should demonstrate respect and avoid mix-ups in case a message is accidentally sent to the wrong recipient. For example, use a salutation like “Dear Ms. X” (external) or “Hi Barry” (internal).
  • Subject lines should be clear, brief, and specific. This helps the recipient understand the essence of the message. For example, “Proposal attached” or “Your question of 10/25.”
  • Close with a signature. Identify yourself by creating a signature block that automatically contains your name and business contact information. It is becoming increasingly common for businesses to add First Nations Land Acknowledgements to their email signatures. For example, at Kwantlen, we can use: “At KPU we work, study, and live in a region south of the Fraser River which overlaps with the unceded traditional and ancestral lands of the Kwantlen, Musqueam, Katzie, Semiahmoo, Tsawwassen, Qayqayt and Kwikwetlem peoples.”
  • Be brief. Omit unnecessary words.
  • Use a clear format. Include line breaks between sentences or divide your message into brief paragraphs for ease of reading.
  • Your email should have one purpose. If you find yourself covering more than one topic in your email, you should consider sending multiple emails so that your reader does not miss important information.
  • Reread, revise, and review. Catch and correct spelling and grammar mistakes before you press “send.” It will take more time and effort to undo the problems caused by a hasty, poorly written email than to get it right the first time.
  • Reply promptly. Watch out for an emotional response—never reply in anger—but make a habit of replying to all emails within 24 hours, even if only to say that you will provide the requested information in 48 or 72 hours.
  • Use “Reply All” sparingly. Do not send your reply to everyone who received the initial email unless your message absolutely needs to be read by the entire group.
  • Test links. If you include a link, test it to make sure it is complete.
  • Announce email attachments in your message.
  • Give feedback or follow up. If you don’t get a response in 24 hours, e-mail or call. Spam filters may have intercepted your message, so your recipient may never have received it.


To: Harriet Adamo, Physical Plant Manager, XYZ Corporation

From: Mel Vargas, Construction Site Manager, Maxim Construction

Sent: Monday, 10/25/2019 8:14 AM

Subject: Construction Interruptions


I know employees of XYZ Corp. are looking forward to moving into the new ABC Street building in January, but recently groups of employees who do not have business here have been walking through the building. These visits create a safety hazard, interrupt the construction workers, and could put your occupancy date in jeopardy.

Would you please instruct your staff members who haven’t already been moved to ABC Street to stay out of the building? If they need to meet here with someone who has already moved, they should conduct their business and leave promptly via the nearest staircase.

We need to avoid further interruptions so our construction workers can get the building ready for occupancy on schedule. If you have any questions, please call me.



Melvin R. Vargas

Construction Site Manager, Maxim Construction Co.

1234 Main St, Big City, Canada

(111) 222-3333 ext. 4444


We create personal pages, post messages, and interact via mediated technologies as a normal part of our lives, but how we conduct ourselves can leave a lasting image, literally. The photograph you posted on your Instagram page may have been seen by your potential employer or that nasty remark in a Facebook post may come back to haunt you later. Several years ago, when the internet was a new phenomenon, Virginia Shea laid out a series of ground rules for communication online that continue to serve us today.

Virginia Shea’s rules of netiquette

  • Remember the human on the other side of the electronic communication.
  • Adhere to the same standards of behaviour online that you follow in real life.
  • Know where you are in cyberspace.
  • Respect other people’s time and bandwidth.
  • Share expert knowledge.
  • Respect other people’s privacy.
  • Don’t abuse your power.
  • Be forgiving of other people’s mistakes (Shea, 1994).

It is also important to remember to keep your public persona online as professional as possible and to familiarize yourself with the privacy settings of the social media platforms you use.


Letters are brief messages sent to recipients that are often outside the organization (Bovee & Thill, 2010). They are often printed on letterhead paper and represent the business or organization in one or two pages. Shorter messages may include e-mails or memos, either hard copy or electronic, while reports tend to be three or more pages in length.

While e-mail and text messages may be used more frequently today, the business letter remains a common form of written external communication. All business messages have expectations in terms of language and format. The audience or reader also may have their own idea of what constitutes a specific type of letter, and your organization may have its own format and requirements. There are many types of letters, and many adaptations in terms of form and content. In this chapter, we discuss the fifteen elements of a traditional block-style letter.

Letters may serve to introduce your skills and qualifications to prospective employers, deliver important or specific information, or serve as documentation of an event or decision. Regardless of the type of letter you need to write, it can contain up to fifteen elements in five areas. While you may not use all the elements in every case or context, they are listed in Table 4.2.1.

Table 4.2.1 Elements of a business letter

1. Return addressThis is your address where someone could send a reply. If your letter includes a letterhead with this information, either in the header (across the top of the page) or the footer (along the bottom of the page), you do not need to include it before the date.
2. DateThe date should be placed at the top, right or left justified, five lines from the top of the page or letterhead logo.
3. Reference (Re:)  *optionalLike a subject line in an e-mail, this is where you indicate what the letter is in reference to, the subject or purpose of the document.
4. Delivery
Sometimes you want to indicate on the letter itself how it was delivered. This can make it clear to a third party that the letter was delivered via a specific method, such as certified mail (a legal requirement for some types of documents).
5. Recipient note *optionalThis is where you can indicate if the letter is personal or confidential.
6. SalutationA common salutation may be “Dear Mr. (full name).” If you are unsure about titles (i.e., Mrs., Ms., Mr., Mx., Dr.), you may simply write the recipient’s name (e.g., “Dear Cameron Rai”) followed by a colon.A comma after the salutation is correct for personal letters, but a colon should be used in business.The salutation “To whom it may concern” is appropriate for letters of recommendation or other letters that are intended to be read by any and all individuals. If this is not the case with your letter, but you are unsure of how to address your recipient, make every effort to find out to whom the letter should be specifically addressed. For many, there is no sweeter sound than that of their name, and to spell it incorrectly runs the risk of alienating the reader before your letter has even been read. Avoid the use of impersonal salutations like “Dear Prospective Customer,” as the lack of personalization can alienate a future client.
7. IntroductionThis is your opening paragraph, and may include an attention statement, a reference to the purpose of the document, or an introduction of the person or topic depending on the type of letter. An emphatic opening involves using the most significant or important element of the letter in the introduction. Readers tend to pay attention to openings, and it makes sense to outline the expectations for the reader up front. Just as you would preview your topic in a speech, the clear opening in your introductions establishes context and facilitates comprehension.
8. BodyIf you have a list of points, a series of facts, or a number of questions, they belong in the body of your letter. You may choose organizational devices to draw attention, such as a bullet list, or simply number them. Readers may skip over information in the body of your letter, so make sure you emphasize the key points clearly. This is your core content, where you can outline and support several key points. Brevity is important, but so is clear support for main point(s). Specific, meaningful information needs to be clear, concise, and accurate.
9. ConclusionAn emphatic closing mirrors your introduction with the added element of tying the main points together, clearly demonstrating their relationship. The conclusion can serve to remind the reader, but should not introduce new information. A clear summary sentence will strengthen your writing and enhance your effectiveness. If your letter requests or implies action, the conclusion needs to make clear what you expect to happen. This paragraph reiterates the main points and their relationship to each other, reinforcing the main point or purpose.
10. Close“Sincerely” or “Cordially” are standard business closing statements. Closing statements are normally placed one or two lines under the conclusion and include a hanging comma, as in Sincerely,
11. SignatureFive lines after the close, you should type your name (required) and, on the line below it, your title (optional).
12. Preparation lineIf the letter was prepared or typed by someone other than the signatory (you), then inclusion of initials is common, as in MJD or abc.
13. Enclosures (attachments)Just like an e-mail with an attachment, the letter sometimes has additional documents that are delivered with it. This line indicates what the reader can look for in terms of documents included with the letter, such as brochures, reports, or related business documents. Only include this line if you are in fact including additional documentation.
14. Courtesy copies or “CC”The abbreviation “CC” once stood for carbon copies but now refers to courtesy copies. Just like a “CC” option in an e-mail, it indicates the relevant parties that will also receive a copy of the document.
15. Logo and contact informationA formal business letter normally includes a logo or contact information for the organization in the header (top of page) or footer (bottom of page).

A sample letter, illustrating the parts of the letter, is shown in Figure 4.2.1.

Figure 4.2.1. A sample letter.



Your instructor may ask you to complete one or more of the following exercises.

Choose one of the following scenarios, then write an email, memo or letter as a response. Think about what genre would be most effective, then use the models discussed in the chapter to write your response.

  • Your company has decided to consider allowing employees to work from home. Anyone who is interested in working from home must have a conversation with their manager to determine if their position would be appropriate for this arrangement. If the manager approves, they must submit Form 4A to their HR representative. Those who are approved to work from home will start with a 3 month trial period, where they will be required to submit a weekly log of the tasks they performed at home. Your job is to inform employees of this new opportunity and make sure they know how to apply.
  • Easter is coming up in a few weeks and you work for a flower shop. Many people order lilies for Easter, but these can be toxic to pets. The florist has come up with a pet-friendly Easter bouquet. He asks you to let the customers know about the dangers of lilies and suggest that they order a non-toxic Easter bouquet instead.
  • You work for a non-profit that gives out scholarships to disadvantaged teenagers. You’ve already informed the winners of the scholarship by phone, but your boss wants you to send them something in writing with all of the official details and any forms that need to be filled out to claim the scholarship.
  • You volunteer on your condo’s strata. The strata has approved painting the outside of the building. Between April 5-10, the residents must not open their windows and must remove anything from their balconies. You don’t have email addresses for every resident, but you do have access to their physical mailboxes.
  • You recently purchased a new guitar at a local music shop. One of the shop’s employees, Maria, spent over an hour helping you make your purchase. She was very knowledgeable, and was the reason that you purchased the guitar at the small local store instead of going to a larger store with more selection. You want to let Maria’s boss know about her excellent service.


Bovee, C., & Thill, J. (2010). Business communication essentials: A skills-based approach to vital business English (4th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Guffey, M. (2008).Essentials of business communication(7th ed.). Mason, OH: Thomson/Wadsworth.

Shea, V. (1994).Netiquette. San Francisco, CA: Albion Books.


This chapter contains material taken from Introduction to Professional Communications is (c) 2018 by Melissa Ashman and is licensed under a Creative Commons-Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International license.

This chapter also contains material taken from Memos, which is published on WritingCommons.org. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License

Before we begin, consider the following questions. Your instructor may ask you to freewrite about one or more of these questions in your learning journal.

  1. If you have workplace experience, how do people use email, letters and memos in your workplace?
  2. Have you ever experienced a miscommunication because of emails, letters or memos? Why did the miscommunication occur?
  3. Have you ever had to send an email/letter/memo that was very difficult to write? What made it difficult? How did you deal with this? Were you happy with how it turned out?
  4. If you speak a different language or have experience with more than one culture, how does email use vary among these cultures/languages?


Date: March 18, 2019

To: Department Managers

From: Safiyya Dev, Store Manager

Subject: Customer Service Excellence Nominations

Please submit your nominations for the quarterly Customer Service Excellence Award by April 8. Help us identify great employees!

Do you have an employee who you feel fortunate to have in your department? Does this employee show a positive and professional attitude when helping customers? Do you get frequent comments about this person’s friendliness and helpfulness? Now, you have an opportunity to give this employee the recognition they deserve.

According to the nomination criteria, nominees must:

  • demonstrate excellent customer service consistent with Variety Craft Supplies’ policies;
  • have worked at Variety Craft Supplies for at least six months;
  • work 20 or more hours per week;
  • not have received the Customer Service Excellent Award within the last year; and
  • have a record clear or oral and written warnings for the last six months.

The winner of the award will receive a framed certificate and a $100 check.

A nominating form is attached. Please complete and return it to me by Monday, April 8. Thank you for your help in identifying and rewarding excellent customer service representatives.

Date: Feb. 25, 2019

To: All Employees

From: Jaspreet Kaur

Subject: Change in Operating Hours

Our call centre has been experimenting with a half-day Friday work schedule over the last year, and we’ve recently conducted an evaluation to determine how well the program is working.

When a client calls to order their diabetic supplies on Friday afternoon, our messaging system directs them to complete their order on our company website. While many customers are willing and able to do this, many do not have Internet access (hence the reason for their call in the first place). Their only other option is to wait until Monday to place the order, and if a customer is already low on supplies, this may be untenable. Customers who are calling with questions or to resolve issues with an order must also wait for Monday.

We have received positive comments, especially from our West Coast customers, about the extended hours we are open in the evening. We have determined that to continue to offer quality service, we must also re-institute Friday afternoons.

However, that does not mean that we cannot continue to offer employees some scheduling perks. In fact, the addition of later hours Monday through Thursday provides us with more leeway in scheduling employees.

We will have a staff meeting on Monday, March 4 at 8:00 a.m. to discuss new scheduling procedures. To the extend possible, we wish to accommodate employees’ preferences in scheduling, so it is important to attend this meeting to have your voice heard.

The business memorandum is essentially an "internal" business letter that does not go outside of an organization. (as opposed to letters, which do go to.

sample of business memo letter
Written by Samule
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