How to write a memo for effective communication (with template)

Asana 팀 참여자 이미지Team Asana2022년 4월 14일
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Summary

A memo is a document or message sent to an entire team, department, or organization to inform teams about what is happening in the company. Memos are great for notifying employees about new policies or best practices, requesting project feedback, summarizing action plans, and more. Learn how to create an effective memo and when to use one.

Effective communication is super important. But you also want to make sure it's easy to digest. Having a templatized way to do that can not only make it easier to create communication—but also for your employees to digest it.

That’s where a memo comes in. A memo template is a great place to start when you want to inform your team or department of new procedures, strategy implementation, or upcoming projects. In order to convey your message clearly, it’s essential to understand how to write your memo professionally.

Our guide covers what a memo is, when to send one, how to create the format, and tips for writing a memo effectively. Then, use our free memo template to give you a roadmap to success.

What is a memo?

[Inline illustration] what is a memo (infographic)

A memo, also known as a memorandum, communicates information throughout an organization. Unlike a one-on-one message, memos usually have a larger audience.

This letter is usually sent to an entire team, department, or organization to inform employees about things happening in the company. A memo can be about any important topic with wide-scale relevance, from a policy change to new clients to budget cuts.

This type of communication can be created and sent electronically or printed as a physical handout. Even if you know everyone in your chain of communication, keeping these documents polite and professional is important. When in doubt, omit the emojis, texting language, and abbreviations to make your message come across more professional.

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Reasons to send a memo

There are many reasons someone would send out a memo instead of a regular email. While an email is a casual form of communication, a memo is more official and becomes part of the company record. 

Employees take memos more seriously. As a result, memos tend to be much more effective with cross-organizational communication. We’ve outlined some of the most common reasons below.

A memo can:

  • Explain policy changes

  • Announce upcoming meeting agendas or events

  • Announce budget cuts

  • Summarize action plans

  • Describe the onboarding of new clients

  • Detail minutes from a meeting

  • Request recommendations or feedback

  • Notify employees of a company problem or solution

Sending an electronic memo to groups of employees is beneficial because it gives them a centralized location to view company details. Everyone receives the same information at the same time instead of hearing it through the grapevine.

How to format a memo

There are several ways to structure a memo, but most memos have the same formatting elements. Feel free to customize your memo template to match the tone and content of the message you want to send.

Subject

First things first: get off on the right foot by starting your memorandum with a great subject line. The best memo subject lines should be as specific as possible.

For example, instead of labeling your memo letter as “Company Event,” make the subject line “Annual Holiday Party: Date and Details.”

A clear subject line lets people know exactly what your memo describes before opening it. It also makes finding the memo easier because that means employees won’t have multiple memos with the same subject line in their inbox.

Heading

There are several key factors you should include in your memo heading. Always have the date, who you’re sending it to, and who the memo is from. This information will provide context about the message’s contents. 

Body message

The body of the memo captures the main purpose of the message. Use the opening paragraph to state precisely what the rest of the document will be about. Keep the beginning section short to get your message across most effectively. 

  • Paragraph 1: Use statements such as “I am writing to inform you” and “I am requesting information on” at the beginning of this paragraph. This first paragraph should include the most important information in the memo. 

  • Paragraph 2: The second paragraph will give you a chance to provide additional details and dive more into the topic.

  • Paragraph 3: Your third paragraph is where you give your request. An example of this would be asking a department for feedback on a project, or to RSVP to a company event by a certain date.  

Some memos don’t have an ask associated with the information you present. If this is the case, then you can use that space as an opportunity to thank your colleagues for their time.

Before sending a memo to your coworkers, check your mass communication policy at your company. Some companies will require additional steps, such as adding your organization’s logo, company name, or having standardized font sizes. You might also need to get approval or permission before sending it out.

Tips for writing a memo

Now that you know what to include in your memo, it’s time to hone in on the correct tone and formatting. Below are some tips to keep in mind when writing an effective business memo.

  • Keep a professional tone: Always keep your tone professional, but feel free to tailor it to your audience and objective.

  • Avoid acronyms and abbreviations: Spell out acronyms and abbreviations so all recipients can understand your message.

  • Keep your memo to one page: Try to fit your copy into three paragraphs to briefly get your point across.

  • Use attachments when necessary: Feel free to add attachments or flyers to give additional context to your memo if needed.

  • Think about your target audience: Change the message of your email depending on who you’re writing to.

  • Keep formatting consistent: Maintain the same font, paragraph structure, punctuation, and grammar throughout the piece.

  • Stay clear and concise: Make your request or announcement at the beginning of the memo document.

  • Remain objective: Stick to the facts and refrain from personal bias when writing a business document.

By following these tips and knowing what to include, you can create a professional and concise memo time and time again.

Types of memos

[Inline illustration] types of memos (infographic)

There are three memo styles: suggestive, confirmation, and request. The general format and business writing style remain similar among the three types of memos. The difference lies in looking at your audience, tone, and object. 

Suggestive memo

Sending a suggestive memo is a great way to find solutions to company problems. They often encourage creative thinking, brainstorms, and group discussions. 

When you’re sending a suggestive memo, it’s best to use positive and encouraging language. This language will help to get your coworkers excited to find out-of-the-box ideas.

Example: Send a suggestive memo if you’re an advertising agency looking for a group discussion on new ideas for a brand campaign.

Confirmation memo

Use confirmation memos to confirm verbal agreements by putting them in writing. Make sure to highlight the important aspects of the agreement between the parties, so everyone has a clear understanding of the objectives.

End the memo document by asking the other party if they need additional clarification or need to change any details. This will help avoid any mix-ups or misunderstandings once the project begins.

Example: If you are a team lead of a marketing team, you may send a confirmation memo to your company’s DevOps team while collaborating on a project. It would cover the project deliverables, make sure all stakeholders understand the project scope, and ensure no one has any questions.

Request memo

A request memo is a document or email you can send your company when you have a request. Start this type of memo by justifying why you need a request completed.

Keep your tone professional and persuasive when you give your recommendations for how to solve the problem. While this type of language is always recommended in memos, it’s especially important in request memos.

Example: You would send a request memo if you are a human resources manager and are requesting employees to fill out their insurance information before a deadline.

Memo template

Use our memo template to organize your document and create a successful message each time. When you send out your memorandum, make sure to effectively fill out your subject line, header, and body message.

[Inline illustration] annual holiday party memo (example)

Free memo template

Project management tools and memos will help you streamline communication

Using a memo template will help you communicate with everybody in your company. Combining it with a project management tool can help you keep all of your memos in one place and allows you to easily send memos to lots of stakeholders and team members. You can even connect memos directly to action items to bring these to-dos and messages to life.

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