Even in the age of email and instant messaging, business memos continue to be relevant in the workplace.
That’s because a business memo is an official way of sharing important updates or communicating new information to all employees in an organization.
Understanding how to write a killer business memo is vital: it can literally make or break your organization’s internal communication ways. Before we jump straight into how to write an effective memo, let’s take a look at the different types, uses, and advantages of a business memo.
Types of Memos
Generally, memos fall into 5 different categories.
#1. Request Memo
At times, companies send out request memos to encourage employees to attend meetings, webinars, and offsite events. It might also ask for their cooperation towards a process change or support for ongoing activity.
Either way, request memos come with specific instructions and an outline of the actions you’re expected to follow. In certain cases, they might also outline the perks of acting or problems that might arise in case of absence.
#2. Confirmation Memo
When some agreement has been reached verbally, one can issue a confirmation memo to put their statements in writing. This is particularly useful when something needs to be agreed upon by two parties or more.
If you’re writing a confirmation memo, be mindful of highlighting the key details that have been agreed upon mutually. Also, encourage the recipient to ask for further clarity on unclear points under a stipulated timeline.
#3. Progress Memo
Most companies use these memos to report on the progress of their projects; progress memos are widely used for quarterly performance reviews, weekly project status updates, and similar informative purposes.
This memo can also communicate delays or launch date changes in addition to announcements, promotions, and other milestones.
#4. Suggestions Memo
As the name suggests, these memos encourage employees to offer suggestions in an organization. They’re an exceptionally useful tool to spark creativity among employees.
While suggestion memos work largely towards resolving a problem, they can also be used to help your team brainstorm on some upcoming launch or product announcement!
While sending a suggestion memo to your employers, be analytical and back your idea with relevant research.
#5. Policy Memo
Your organization can also use a business memo to communicate policy changes, process updates, and the like.
The business memo can state any existing policy or outline the changes to the existing company policy. A policy memo is used to detail policy changes and let all employees know of an impending/newly made change.
Why Should Use a Business Memo?
If you’re wondering why using a business memo can be crucial for organizations, take a look at these reasons below:
- It’s convenient to communicate official information via memos
- It helps maintain more organized records of operations
- Memos are taken more seriously by employees than emails
- It’s inexpensive to make and share memos
- It ensures fast and effective responses within a stipulated timeline
- It encourages employees and teammates to think critically
Business Memo Elements
Your business memo will not be complete without these 5 elements:
Your business memo should start with a header stating it’s a business memo.
Recipient, Sender & Date
All business memos should have an intended recipient, the name & details of the sender, as well as the date it was issued. This is crucial to maintain official records of your organization’s operations.
Your business memo must outline the subject or the main topic right at the start. You can use an introduction to get this right.
After you’ve outlined the introduction or the subject, elaborate on the discussion points of your business memo. Get to each topic for discussion with precision and clarity.
If you want your audience to take a specific action after reading the memo, outline the action item. This will depend largely on the purpose of your memo. It can include information on when policy changes will come into effect, what ideas you’re expecting for a brainstorming session, and how your team can be more useful in lieu of an upcoming project.
Never forget to mention the timeline within which you hope to elicit a response from your employees. This is crucial for getting an effective and quick response.
Your business memo is incomplete without a closing statement. This is done to reinforce any information you consider important. Also, mention contact details in case you’re expecting a response back.
This one’s largely optional. You can attach important attachments if you feel necessary. However, feel free to skip this.
How to Write a Great Memo?
Writing a great business memo is no rocket science. Get it right by following these effective tips:
#1. Start With Listing Your Purpose
Your business memo should start with your purpose. Utilize the header or the subject area to clearly communicate the purpose of sending out this memo. Remember to keep your subject concise and clear.
#2. Lead With Your Topic
From the first sentence of your introduction, it should be clear what you’re talking about. You can utilize the next few lines to provide a background or context to the subject. However, if your business memo will be a lengthy one, use this area to summarize what comes next for your employees.
Give them a brief idea of all the points you’re about to get into and what they can expect from the rest of the business memo.
#3. Be Clear and Concise
While writing your business memo, one of your top priorities is to clearly communicate your points without making it a lengthy affair.
Avoid big paragraphs, and choose small, easy-to-digest chunks to help illustrate specific points. Share only what’s relevant so you don’t confuse your audience.
#4. Strike the Right Tone
Business memos should be direct and straight to the point. Your tone should be official, confident, and straightforward.
Try also to maintain a positive tone if it aligns with the memo’s contents. Sensitive issues can require a more empathetic tone; hence pay heed to the information and the audience of your business memo.
Also, opt for an active voice, which can make you sound more credible and confident.
#5. Include Bulleted Lists
Your memo should be a concise yet detailed piece of communication. How to achieve that?
While breaking your information into smaller paragraphs is certainly a helpful step, it’s not enough. Make lists and add bullets to share all relevant information in a concise, easy-to-read manner.
#6. Make It Scannable
Writing in bulleted lists, smaller paragraphs, and highlighting subheadings are ways to make your business memo more scannable to your readers. Your business memo might hold complex or sensitive information, and breaking it down in a visually appropriate way can help your reader.
#7. Summarize At the End
To reinforce essential points, it’s best to summarize them at the end. Use your concluding paragraph to brief your recipients about important changes and what you need them to carry forward from this memo.
#8. Specify Timelines & Action Items
If you want your audience to act on your memo, specify clearly what you expect them to do. Mention a timeline by which you’ll expect their response to your business memo.
By clearly outlining actions and timelines, you’ll leave no grounds for assumptions or confusion. Hence, the response you intend to receive will be quick and efficient.
#9. Review Your Memo
Once you’ve written a business memo that communicates the purpose well, ensure that you review and proofread it. This is to avoid spelling mistakes, making confusing statements, or missing out on important points.
#10. Select a Communication Channel
Now, traditionally, business memos would be printed copies that’d be shared across your organization. In light of how our lives and work are mostly online at present, feel free to choose an online communication channel.
You can send an email for vital official announcements; however, for process changes or urgent updates, a chat platform like Slack or Google Chat might work better. The choice of your communication channel depends on the contents of your memo.
Tips to Format a Memo
This one’s simple. Here are the 6 tips to keep in mind:
- Memos tend to be brief, hence stick to a page or two, at best
- Memos are typically single-spaced and left aligned
- To start off new paragraphs, skip a sentence before beginning the new one
- You can use an official font like Times New Roman and opt for font size as 12 or 14
- Mention “Memo” at the top of your business memo
- Skip using salutations, closing phrases, and return addresses
Online Memo Maker Tools
Every memo follows a similar format but has crucial differences in style depending on its purpose. Rather than doing it manually, take the help of these top memo-maker tools:
Improve business communication when you create a memo with Canva.
You can choose from a wide range of templates, fonts, and styles, customize it as per your needs and download it for free. Canva also comes with a Pro package that gives you access to premium fonts and templates.
You can literally drag and drop different items into your page. Discover the best features with Canva – be spoiled for borders, images, and illustrations to create an impact through your memo.
Designhill is another useful memo maker that lets you make an “instant impact.”
You can browse ideas, customize templates to suit your needs, and download ready-to-use files in minutes.
They take care of formatting, colors, and all different aspects of design so that you can focus on what’s important: the contents.
If you’re looking to create visually attractive memos built for today, get started with Fotor.
Delayed Product Launch Memo
Date: Jan 25, 2023
To: All employees
From: Shirley Shaker, CEO of ABC Inc.
Subject: Product Launch for Drama Division
I’m writing to inform you that the product launch for the drama division will be delayed, considering the reports received from the product testers team.
We believe that the extra time will help us fine-tune additional details and expand our usage of applications, that’ll ultimately increase our productivity.
Some employees have shared a concern that such a delay might affect our sales negatively. Hence, we’re launching a site-wide sale to make up for the delay.
We understand that this change might affect numerous processes within core teams. Managers can drop Q1 targets and work with their teams on retaining our current user base while building up anticipation for the product launch.
While this delay is unfortunate, we ask for your support in speedy deliverance.
Date: Jan 28, 2023
To: All employees
From: Shameer S. Ranjan, CEO of Liqr Inc.
Subject: A Call Back to Office
These last three years, we’ve dearly missed our teams working from the office. In light of recent events, I’m writing to inform you that we’re restarting work from the office from March 2023.
While we understand this might be a period of change for many of you, we hope you’re as happy as we’re to get back to the office.
There’ll be a provision of hybrid work available for non-business teams. I request you check in with your respective teams and reporting managers to discuss the best model for you and your team.
Please contact your reporting managers if you have any questions. Meanwhile, I respect your cooperation as we look forward to seeing you all back in the office. I’m confident that this will be welcoming news for all of you.
Writing a great memo might look like a daunting task, but you’re sure to master it in no time if you follow the tips we’ve mentioned. If you need help with formatting, designs, and the like, we suggest you try the online memo makers to create a new memo in minutes.
You may also explore some best online business card makers.