How to write a memo (literally)

1. Use the company’s prescribed format. This usually includes the name and contact details of the Recipient and the Sender, the Date, and a descriptive and informative one-liner in the Subject heading.

2. Answer these questions (5 Ws, 1 H), as applicable:

  • WHY? – Why are you writing the memo? What is the purpose?
  • WHAT? – What do you want to say? What do you want to do?
  • HOW? – Is there a procedure or process involved? Say so.
  • WHO?  — Identify the people involved. Who are the people who will get this done? Who are the people who will be affected?
  • WHEN? – Is there a deadline? Is there a proposed period or schedule of action? State when.
  • WHERE? – Where will this happen? Where in the organization is the subject of the memo applicable?

3. Finish with a call for action. What do you want the recipient to do after reading the
memo? If you’re the one replying, make a clear statement about the action you will take.

4. Proofread.

5. Have it signed then relax. It’s just a memo.

If my 5 steps are not enough and you want to be so anal about it, a good academic resource is available at http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/590/01/

One comment

  1. Pingback: How to write a memo (a blog’s story) | How to write a memo

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