Proper Memo Format

Understanding the proper memo format is crucial before you begin composing. A memo remains the most important interoffice communication document, far surpassing faxes and e-mails. If you have never written an office memo before, you want to be certain that your first one sounds professional. Writing a proper memo is an art. Not only do you want to provide the reader with necessary information, but you also want to be clear and concise. Although memos vary in style and content, the following information will serve as an important guide for you.

Memo Sections
A memo includes three main sections. These sections are the heading, the body and the closing.

The Heading: The heading lists the recipients, the sender, the date and the subject. If a memo is written to more than 10 recipients, only the first 10 recipients should be placed in the "to" category. The remaining recipients should be listed at the bottom of the memo. In some cases, a memo is also sent to people who are related to the information in memo but who are not the actionable party. These people would be listed in the "cc" or carbon copy category. An example of those who would receive a copy of the memo is the sender's manager. The subject of the memo should be a short synopsis of the memo. The heading typically resembles the following:

TO:
CC:
FROM:
DATE:
SUBJECT:

The Body: The body provides the main content of a memo. In the event of longer memos, it is a good idea to break the content into subheadings. This makes the memo easier to scan. Lead a memo with the most important points first to ensure that you convey the crucial content before possibly losing the reader's interest.

The Closing: The closing is a crucial part of any memo. It prompts the reader to action. The closing gives the reader an invitation or directive, such as "e-mail me with your project details by Thursday at 4:00 pm."

Tips To Keep In Mind
Remember to spell check your memo prior to sending it. Misspellings can come across as unprofessional when addressing a group of your colleagues. Also, be sure to proofread your memo because spell check programs cannot catch everything. A good practice is to read your memo out loud, instead of just in your head, to ensure that it sounds organic and grammatically correct.

See also Persuasive Memo Examples.

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