Writing memos is an effective way of intra-office communication. Memos may be composed to remind, advise or instruct one individual or a number of people within the organization. Everything you need to do is to build a reputation for crafting memos that people believe they have to read. Memos are really useful if they are addressed to a targeted audience and have a clear purpose. Here is how to design memos your employees want to read.
Have a clear purpose
Memo is appropriate if you want to clarify or change a policy or procedure, provide instructions, announce a meeting or provide a short report. It can also be useful if you are going to request feedback or recommendation or notify others of a problem and its solution.
Use basic formats
You can choose either the pre-printed form with a logo of the organization or the simple To, From, Subject, Date form. Usually, memos are one page in length but it can be longer which depends on the topic. The standard conventions of Times Roman 12-point font, 1-inch margins, and single spacing apply to memos. They can be sent in hard copy or electronically.
Add the heading
The heading of a business memo indicates who is writing to whom, when, and why. It should list the names of everyone who will receive it. You can arrange the names by rank, department or alphabetically. Write the month, date, and year the memo was written. Indicate the main subject of the letter as concise as possible.
Outline your objective clearly
Always respect the time of your employees. Present the most important items in the opening paragraphs if you want your business memo to be effective. All the information you are providing your colleagues with should be relevant and bring the reader up to date.
Communicate in a precise fashion
Do not try to confuse your reader in an effort to sound knowledgeable. Keep in mind that simplicity is key. Write exactly what you mean and use clear language. Avoid difficult phrasing, unnecessary details, and complicated sentences. Write instructions within the memo by using the imperative form of verbs, and in the present tense. Use a professional but conversational style.
Organize your memo properly
Establish the context for the memo in the introductory section of the body. Start each paragraph with a position or claim and then defend the position or support the claim. Reiterate the recommendation or information that is stated at the end of the introduction in the concluding section. Leave readers with a strong take-away message.
Include visual aids
Visual aids provide information that supports a memo. You can take advantage of various tables, graphs, exhibits, and appendices to make your memo more understandable. But always make sure that all visual aids have a professional appearance. You can also include them as attachments if the document appears crowded.
Edit and proofread your memo
Make sure to proofread your memo and get rid of all typos and grammatical errors your writing can be littered with. Follow these important rules to make your memo error-free:
- Prefer the active voice
- Avoid redundancy
- Choose your words with care
- Use short sentences
- Avoid multiple negatives
- Punctuate carefully and correctly
- Do not use technical jargon when it is not necessary