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Writing Business Memos - Different Styles of Business Memos That Get Results

Lynda Goldman
 


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Writing business memos in different styles is vital in business communication today. Mastering the skill of writing a one-page business memo will make you a more powerful communicator.

What is a business memo?

The business memo is a simple way of communicating information inside an organization. It conveys information efficiently and effectively, which can save time-consuming meetings.
Memo is short for Memorandum. You can use either term, depending on how formal a tone you want.
Use memos for communication inside your company. Use letters to communicate outside your company. Email is now being used in both of these ways as well.

Memo Format

You can find many examples of writing a persuasive memo, but most memos are variations of a common format. Your organization probably has printed templates for its memos. The following information almost always appears at the top of a memo:

Date

To

From

Subject

Memos are generally short, with one to four sentences. The order and placement of these items may vary. For example, the date may be on the right. Follow your company's format.
A longer format might have several paragraphs but should never be longer than one page. If you need to communicate more information it is better to write a report. Memos do not require a salutation or a closing statement.

Different Styles of Business Memos

Memos are best used for:

  • Introducing information such as policy changes

  • Persuading people to take an action such as attending a meeting

  • Announcing policies

  • Changing a current work procedure

  • Confirming a conversation or agreement

  • Requesting information

  • Transmitting data

  • Presenting goals or expectations

    Information to include in different styles of business memos:

    Informative subject line: This explains simply and clearly what the memo is about.

    Opening: The first sentence or two should give the main point by expanding on the subject line.

    Main Body: Give instructions or information. This is where to explain the problem, the policy or procedure changes, or present goals or expectations. Keep your information concise, factual and neutral in tone.

    Conclusion: If needed, add a conclusion to reaffirm or summarize the memo's points.

    Call to Action: What should the readers do? Should they confirm something, answer, send feedback, or change a procedure? Close with a clear call to action such as: Please let me know by December 8 if you approve of this change to the holiday policy.

    You are invited to use these different styles of business memos that get results.

    You're also invited to receive a free report: “Breakthrough Communication Skills" packed with powerful tips for business success, at http://www.ImpressforSuccess.com when you join my Communication Capsules newsletter.

    For How-to Guides with templates to help you write business memos and emails that persuade people to action, click on this link: http://www.goldmansmythe.com/howto.html

    From Lynda Goldman, business communications and etiquette consultant and author of 30 books, including How to Make a Million Dollar First Impression.

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