How to write a memo (with pictures)

How to write a memo (with pictures)
How to write a memo (with pictures)

A memorandum, also known as a memo, is a document that is generally used to communicate between colleagues or members of a department. You may want to use it for outside people if, for example, you need to communicate with clients or associates. You must make sure that this memo is professional, clear and that it sticks to the standards of your profession.


Part 1 of 3: Make language and format choices

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Step 1. Avoid using overly casual language

In general, your language should be direct and simple, while remaining professional. You should avoid taking on an overly familiar tone.

  • For example, avoid writing things like “Hi! Tough on Monday, eh? Okay, I wanted to talk to you about a big concern in a file. "
  • Rather, get straight to the heart of the matter: "I am writing to inform everyone of the progress of Project Z."
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Step 2. Avoid using emotional language

It is better to try to adopt a neutral tone when writing and avoid using an emotionally charged lexical field. Do your best to relate the facts and evidence that support your claims.

  • For example, avoid requests like "I think we would all be much happier if we were allowed to dress casually on Fridays." "
  • Instead, do your research to see if there are any studies that say employee morale improves when they have more autonomy in choosing their clothes, and list them in your memo.
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Step 3. Use warning phrases

When you are about to cite evidence or bring up a source, be sure to use language that informs the reader of what you are doing.

For example, try writing the following: "According to our research …" or "Studies conducted by the Nature Protection Agency indicate that …"

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Step 4. Choose the appropriate font

Your memo should be easy to read, so you should avoid using a font that is too small. Fonts 11 and 12 are standard.

You should also choose a simple font like Times New Roman. Now is not the time to play around with "fun" fonts like Comic Sans (you will be laughed at if you choose that one!)

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Step 5. Use standard margins

A 2.5cm margin is typical for professional memos, although some word processing software will sometimes include preformatted memos with slightly larger margins (3cm, for example).

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Step 6. Use single line spacing

Usually, professional memos do not have double spaces. In order to be able to number your page, consider using single line spacing while leaving space between paragraphs or parts.

It is generally not necessary to put an indent in your paragraphs

Part 2 of 3: prepare to write a professional memo

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Step 1. Decide whether to send a memo

If you need to let several people on your team know about an important matter, then sending a memo is a great idea. You can even send one if you're only communicating with one person, for example if you want or need a written record of your correspondence.

  • However, in some cases speaking directly to them will be more effective.
  • In addition, some information may be too sensitive to be entered in a memo.
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Step 2. Identify your goal

The content and organization of your memo may change depending on your specific purpose. Most memos are written for the following reasons.

  • To come up with an idea or a solution. For example, if you think you know how to deal with scheduling concerns, you can write your ideas down in a memo and send it to your superiors.
  • To assign tasks. For example, sending a memo can be an effective way to delegate responsibility for a conference your department is hosting soon.
  • To make a report. You can also send a memo to let your colleagues know about a recent event, update a project, talk about the progress of a report or bring back new things during a study..
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Step 3. Limit your topic

You might be juggling a lot of projects and are tempted to send a memo to let your coworkers, supervisors, or clients know everything you are currently working on. Keep in mind, however, that professional memos should focus on one problem.

They should be concise, clear and easy to read quickly by busy people. Therefore, information should not be overlooked. Focusing the memo on a topic will ensure that your message is received and understood

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Step 4. Think about your audience

The content, style, and tone of your business memo will all be affected by the intended audience, so think carefully about everyone who receives that memo.

For example, you will write different types of memo if you are writing to coworkers about a surprise party for people in the office or if you are writing to your supervisor to share the results of a multi-month study

Part 3 of 3: Write a professional memo

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Step 1. Name your memo

There are different types of business correspondence. The usual practice for a memo is to name it explicitly.

  • For example, type "Memo" or "Memorandum" at the top of the page.
  • Whether you want to center the title or left justify it is up to you. Usually, we examine the received memos and copy the format.
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Step 2. Write the header of your memo

The first part should include four pieces of information. You will find more details about each component in the following steps.

  • ATTENTION: provides the names and titles of people who will receive your memo.
  • DE: provide your full name and title.
  • THE DATE: provides the complete and precise date. Remember to include the year.
  • THE SUBJECT: provides a brief but precise description of the subject matter of your memo.
  • Note that it is also customary to indicate the subject line with "Re:" or "RE:". These are abbreviations of the Anglo-Saxon "regarding", that is to say "about", "about" or even, "concerning".
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Step 3. Choose your recipient list carefully

Make sure to include everyone who needs to be informed. Limit your memo distribution to those.

  • It is quite inappropriate to send a memo to the whole department if only a few people are involved.
  • People will quickly be overwhelmed with tons of memos and tend to ignore them or not read them carefully.
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Step 4. Use the appropriate names and titles for your recipients

Even if you and your boss call each other by your first names, it is better to keep your correspondence more formal. For example, you might call her "Nadine" when you pass her in the hallway, but, as part of your memo, call her "Mrs. Martin" or "Dr. Martin".

Remember this when filling in the information for all recipients: include full names and titles

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Step 5. Find the exact titles of the people you are sending an external memo to

If you're sending a memo to someone outside of your office, knowing how to address them properly is also important. Take the time to research their profile: this information is probably available on their company's website.

  • For example, does she have a doctorate? If so, it would be a good idea to refer to him as Dr X.
  • What is its title ? For example, is it a vice-president or a dean? If so, be sure to refer to it that way in your memo.
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Step 6. Write the subject carefully

You need to be sure that this line is kept clear and not too general, even if it is short.

  • For example, “New Case” is rather vague and if someone is digging through files that are several weeks old, they will probably have a hard time locating your memo.
  • "Study report for the extension of the customer database" would be better.
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Step 7. Consider skipping the greetings

It's up to you to see if you want to preface your message with a greeting like “Dear Ms. Dupont” or “Dear Colleagues”. However, keep in mind that these greetings are not necessary.

It's meant to be a quick and effective tool for communicating important information, and those who receive your memo should be clear about where it came from

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Step 8. Write the first part of your memo

Be clear about why you are writing and send a memo.

For example, “I am writing to you because…” The introduction should provide a brief overview of what recipients will find in the memo

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Step 9. Keep the introductory part short

There is no need to give all the details and / or the evidence in the first part.

Shorten it: a few sentences or a small paragraph will suffice

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Step 10. Decide on the organization of the body of your memo

After the introduction, a professional memo contains two to four additional paragraphs before the conclusion. The content and organization depend on your topic.

For example, you might choose to arrange the information in the body in order of importance. Otherwise, if you are explaining a process, you will divide the body parts of your memo to match them to the different steps of that process

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Step 11. Decide if you want to include captions and titles

Your professional memo should have clear parts. It is common to divide it this way so that the recipients can easily read and digest the information. You can further help them find the important points by giving a title to your subsections.

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Step 12. Write precise captions

Make sure the purpose of each subsection is clear to your audience.

For example, you can include all of the subparts when writing about the future move of your department: “New address for our management”, “Important guidelines for moving the department” and “Schedule for moving the department”

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Step 13. Add thematic sentences to each body of the paragraph

The first sentence of each subsection or paragraph should indicate the main idea of ​​that part.

Individual paragraphs or parts of your memo should focus on one idea

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Step 14. Consider using dashes

You may find it useful to use dashes or make lists if you want to emphasize important points. It can help your readers navigate your memo faster and more efficiently.

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Step 15. Keep it concise

Generally, a professional memo should be no longer than two pages.

This standard limit applies to a document consisting of single line spacing with spaces between each part

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Step 16. Decide if you need a summary paragraph

Generally speaking, you won't have to summarize what you wrote in your memo, especially if you've tried to keep it down to just one page.

However, if the information you have highlighted is complex or if you have sent a longer-than-normal memo, it may be helpful to briefly summarize the key points

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Step 17. Include a conclusion

Even if you feel that you don't need to summarize your memo, you will still need to wrap it up. Consider the following.

  • What to remember from the memo? Do the recipients have to do something? Do they have to respond by a certain date? If so, say so clearly.
  • If they have nothing to do, include a short concluding sentence like “I remain at your disposal for any further information” or “Let me know if you have any questions or concerns. "
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Step 18. Sign if you wish

Usually, it is not necessary to add your full name or signature at the end of the memo. Keep in mind, however, that it is safer to follow the example of your colleagues.

  • If they sign off formally (for example, "Sincerely, Mrs. Dupont"), do the same.
  • Even if you skip the signature, you can add your initials at the end of the document.
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Step 19. Create a note about any attachments

If you add attachments to your memo, like tables, charts, or reports, be sure to include them at the end of the memo. For example, "Attached: Table 1".

  • You should also refer to attachments in the body of the memo.
  • For example, if you are writing to let your employees know about a future office move, you should write something like, “We would like the move to be completed at the end of the month. See attached Table 1 for more details regarding the schedule. "
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Step 20. Reread your memo carefully

Before sending it, be sure to proofread it carefully. Check that your sentences are grammatically correct, that there are no spelling or punctuation mistakes, and that the content makes sense.

  • Consider postponing the shipment if it is not urgent. If you reread it an hour later, you might find some errors that you didn't see the first time around.
  • If your memo contains sensitive information, check your company policy to find out who can review it and give you their consent.

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