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Proper communication is crucial to run any business. In the age of emails, written forms of communication have all but disappeared. But a memorandum is never out of style. Now, let’s answer the question on your mind. What is a memorandum?
The memorandum is also popularly known as the memo. It is a brief message highlighting company matters that are sent to employees internally. This written note has been replaced by emails in most companies. But it’s still a quick and efficient way to communicate with employees.
Suppose your team leader needs to discuss the new policy changes in a meeting. Wouldn’t it be ineffective to have everyone open their laptops to check their emails? But what if you had a memo that highlighted all the important points? It’s more convenient to whip out a piece of paper than check your emails.
If you were to define a memorandum, you could explain it as follows – “A memorandum is a brief report that has been prepared for a group of employees, different teams or individuals to inform about certain company matters.” Notice the word ‘brief.’ The memo’s entire purpose is to inform the recipients of important policy changes, agreement terms and the like. But if you overload them with pages and pages of information, no one’s going to remember anything! That’s certainly not what you want. Revise the importance of writing an effective memorandum. Perhaps you can avoid this mess.
You can’t dump a truckload of information on people and expect them to process it all immediately. But that’s not all. There’s more to a perfect memorandum than conciseness. Read on to learn what an ideal memorandum should be like.
Most employees don’t read through a memorandum from top to bottom. Usually, they just skim it. That’s why utilizing headings, bullet points, and sub-headers makes your memo more visually attractive and attention-grabbing. Need more pointers on how to write a memorandum? Scroll down to learn more.
There are plenty of opportunities for you to play around with your memorandum format. You don’t have to follow a standard number of headings, points, etc. The structure will depend on the information you want to highlight. But here’s a standard memo format to tide you through. Check out the different sections and think about how you can personalize them more.
There’s not much chance for you to personalize the heading. The content here is pretty basic. You need to include details like the date, recipient, subject and a few more details. Let’s look at the format for this section.
To: [Recipient’s Name]
From: [Your name/department]
Subject: [Clear and concise statement of the issue to be discussed]
Unlike a formal business letter, there’s no salutation section in the memorandum. Summarize the main idea in the subject line. Then, you’re good to proceed to the main body.
Here’s a sample memorandum format for the heading:
Date: 10 July 2023
To: Dennis Sanders
From: Rebecca Jones, HR Department
Subject: Misuse of company equipment for personal interest
Any memorandum begins with a purpose statement. It provides context to the recipients about the issue discussed in the memo. Usually, a purpose statement is wrapped up within 1-2 sentences. Try not to exceed 3 sentences. Check out this sample statement for a better idea.
“It has come to our notice that you have been using the laptop assigned to you by the company for personal matters. This is to warn you that such action goes against our current IT policy.”
The purpose of the memo is summed up perfectly in these sentences. Now, proceed to the next section.
Next on the agenda is to provide some background information regarding the subject. In the example provided, the management is warning the recipient (Dennis Sanders) against the misuse of company equipment. You can’t make such accusations unless you provide more details regarding the issue. For example, what were the limitations of the IT policy? Was Mr Sanders aware of the policy? Let’s check how you can provide more background details regarding the matter.
“Upon your joining the company on January 12, 2023, you were made aware of the IT policy. It states that the company laptop can only be used during working hours. It also specifically highlights that personal purchases cannot be made using the assigned laptop. This is to prevent data leaks and stop sensitive data from being compromised. Please note that you have already read and agreed to these terms on your joining date. You can find your signature on the IT policy document attached.”
The inclusion of the policy details aids the recipient in remembering the specifications. It also highlights the reason behind the ban on personal use – to prevent data leaks. Now this example is only for a particular context. But background information is a must in every memorandum. Check out a few of our business memo examples for a better idea.
The discussion section is like the body of a business letter. It goes into a detailed exploration of the subject. But don’t just go on writing paragraphs and paragraphs of information. Keep in mind that memos are brief. Your recipient won’t bother to read through the memorandum otherwise. Need some help figuring out how to go about this section? Check out the following points.
Organize points in a logical order
Take a quick look at the memorandum definition. You can see that the primary aim of it is to communicate important information to the recipient. Now what’s going to happen if you present the information in an unorganized manner? It’s going to make comprehension very difficult. So make sure to maintain a logical order while presenting the information. Start with the overview, add some background info and then move on to the next ideas sequentially.
Use headers and subheaders for different sections
Headers and subheaders can make your memorandum more visually appealing. But that’s not all! It also aids in better understanding. Let’s take the example of the misuse of company devices. If your memo contains the header ‘Rules to Follow Regarding Usage of Company Device,’ it’ll make it easier for the recipient to understand how they have deviated from the policy. Make your headings specific. A header that says ‘Measures to Prevent Policy Breach’ is more specific than ‘Summary of Conduct.’
Support your points with evidence
The more evidence you give in terms of examples, attached documents, or specific cases, the better. Take the following case as an example. You’re accusing an employee of using a company laptop for personal use. Naturally, you need to provide evidence. Otherwise, the recipient can deny the claims.
In this case, you can attach print-outs of the search history on the device if you have access to such info. Written evidence from a co-worker works too. Make sure you have enough details on hand before penning the memo.
Address potential questions or concerns
For any business memo writing assignment, you need to anticipate the recipient’s questions or concerns regarding the subject. Address them right before you conclude the memo. In the case of an employee being accused of misusing company property, think of the questions that they might ask.
Mention these in your memo. For example –
“We have noticed unusual activity on the office laptop for a few weeks. Consider this your first and final warning. You will have to attend a disciplinary meeting with your supervisor. Further steps to be taken will be discussed once the meeting is over.”
Are you feeling more confident about penning a memorandum? You’re almost two-thirds of the way in! There’s just a little bit more left. Get ready for the final section of the memorandum.
The concluding paragraph of a memorandum includes two vital components –
Congrats! You’ve finally reached the final section of your memo. Here, you are expected to summarize the main points of the memorandum. Keep them brief. You’ve already discussed them in detail in the body. So just stick to the basics.
Finally, end your memo encouraging the recipient to take action (if applicable). This might involve contacting a particular person or department or even acknowledging the memo. Are you thinking, “How do you write a memorandum conclusion?” Check out this example.
“Your personal use of the laptop assigned for official purposes only goes against the current IT policy. Since this is a first-time offence, we are letting you off with a warning. Kindly avoid using the laptop for personal shopping or streaming. For further enquiries about the IT policy, please contact the IT department at [email protected] during working hours.”
This is a completely optional section of the memorandum. Usually, it depends on the context or subject of the memo. Suppose your memo is about a particular department’s deteriorating performance. In that case, you can include a chart highlighting how the department has been failing to achieve targets or keep up with other departments’ performances. Or, if someone has breached the IT policy, you can attach the document to the memo as a reminder.
Can’t figure out what attachments you should include in your memo? Here’s a simple trick. Read through the memo a few times. Note down the documents you have mentioned. Are they relevant to the main issue being discussed in the memo? If yes, then include them as attachments.
You’ve already covered the basic format of a memorandum. Start with the heading and move on to the purpose statement and background information. Then cover the main points, add your conclusion, and attach additional documents if needed. That’s how memos are usually written. But if you want to give it a more professional finish, keep these points in mind:
If you want to follow the APA format when composing your memo, follow these rules:
Last, but not least, remember to proofread your memo. Since a memorandum is an official method of communication, you can’t risk looking unprofessional. Spelling mistakes, grammatical errors and formatting issues will undermine your authority. So, make sure to proofread your memo thoroughly. If needed, you can delegate the task to professionals on MyAssignmenthelp.com.
Traditionally, memorandums were handed over on a piece of paper to employees by the head of a particular department or HR. Some places still follow this norm. But many workplaces have shifted to sending memos via email. If you’re sending an email, then make sure to add the recipients to the distribution list in alphabetical order. There are exceptions to this, of course. For example, you need to take seniority into consideration. If a senior’s name starts with S, they would be placed before a junior whose name starts with A.
Now let’s check the ways you can address your memo. In the header, you must have noticed the section where you’re supposed to write the recipient’s name. If your memo is addressed to a particular employee, name them. But what if the memo is for all employees of a particular department? In that case, check out these options –
In the first instance, your memo is addressed to all the employees of a particular department. For this example, let’s take the Marketing Department. Next, when you address your memo to all employees, it means it will be sent to everyone in the company regardless of their department. Moving on, you have instances where the recipient is one person from the Marketing department and multiple people from the same department. For the final option, see how the senior is placed before the rest of the employees in the distribution list.
Finally, you may or may not include additional recipients in the CC. These people are not directly addressed in the memorandum. However, you might want to make them aware of the issue being discussed. This recipient could be the manager or the Director.
For electronic memorandums, you need not worry about stationery. But if you’re sending a memo by hand, use the company letterhead. Stick to a plain A4-sized paper or a letter-sized paper. Don’t print out an email version of the memorandum and distribute it.
Memorandums for business purposes usually do not require additional signatures and contact information. After all, the name of the recipient and sender is present in the header. But you can include them if needed. Once you’ve concluded your memo, add your name and title at the bottom. Don’t forget to include your contact information to help the recipients get in touch if they require additional guidance.
Memorandums are used strictly in the academic or professional world. Therefore, any spelling mistake, grammatical inconsistency, or formatting issue can leave a wrong impression. Your professionalism will be questioned. Now you can’t have that happening, can you? Sometimes, it’s harder to recognize mistakes in your writing. That’s why you should delegate the task to others.
Have someone else go through your memorandum. Ask them whether the content is comprehensible to a reader. Review the clarity and accuracy of the memo from the reader’s perspective. Make sure to compare your document to a standard memo template on Word. Be open to constructive criticism. If the person reviewing your memo feels some sections can be improved, go through them yourself. Try to objectively assess whether the changes will improve the overall content. If yes, then don’t hesitate to do so.
Going through an example of a memorandum can help you figure out how to write a perfect memo. Here are a few examples for your perusal.
To: All employees
From: Jonathan Sanders, HR Department
Subject: Change in venue for Christmas party
As you all must be aware, the office Christmas party was supposed to be held on 25th December 2022 at the Ibis Conference Hall. However, due to capacity issues, we have had to look for a better alternative. Considering the number of attendants, we have changed the venue to –
Helen Specialties Hall
28, Dover Street, Atlanta, Georgia – 30303
Timing: 8 pm onwards
We hope to see you there!
Date: 8 July 2023
To: All employees of Team A2 of Marketing
From: Erika Gibson, Assistant Manager
Subject: Underperformance during the first quarter of 2023
It has come to my attention that Team A2 of the Marketing department failed to reach any goal during Q1 2023. The company has conducted a review of the performance of each team in Marketing. Based on the results, A2 has not met 20 of the provided 35 targets during the review period. Please find the attached documents highlighting the sections that require more work.
As a repercussion, any additional benefits enjoyed by the employees of A2 will be put on hold. Please be ready for a meeting with the Director this week. Kindly revert back if you have additional questions.
From this memo example, the format doesn’t seem too intimidating, does it? It’s a pretty standard choice for business memos. But feel free to edit it, add more lists, headers and subheaders as you see fit.
Memorandums are brief messages used for exchanging information with individual employees or teams in a company setting. These memos are brief, concise, and focused on a particular issue. They’re perfect for communicating important information. Memorandums are usually 1-2 pages and maintain a professional tone. The format highlighted in the example of a memorandum in this blog is pretty standard. You can personalize it according to the subject. But make sure you add lists and headers to grab the recipient’s attention.
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The main purpose of a memorandum is to communicate business matters effectively. It could be about informing employees of policy changes or highlighting the main points of a meeting. If you want to effectively convey your message, be brief. Don’t dump tons of information on the recipient. Use headers, numbered lists and bullet points for more clarity.
When structuring a memorandum, you should stick to the standard format.
The heading of a memorandum contains the date, the recipient’s name and the sender’s name. Alongside, you have the subject. This section provides a clear and concise statement on the main issue to be discussed in the memo. Usually, the subject line is limited to 5-8 words. Here’s how this section looks:
To: [Recipient’s Name]
From: [Your name/department]
Subject: [Clear and concise statement of the issue to be discussed]
The basic formatting guidelines to follow when writing a memorandum are as follows –
Balancing conciseness and professionalism in a memo can be challenging. This holds true, especially if you have too much information to include. But don’t worry. The secret lies in adding numbered lists, bullet points, headers and subheaders. Avoid writing chunks of paragraphs of information. Break down everything into concise statements.