Memo Style

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Memos*

“Memos” was written by Lee Ann Hodges, Tri-County Community College

Memos

Functions and Audience

Short for “memorandum,” a memo is a type of document used to communicate with others in the same organization. Memos (or memoranda) are typically used for fairly short messages of one page or less, but informal reports of several pages may also employ memo format.

Format

Memos are distinguished by a header that includes DATE, TO, FROM, and SUBJECT lines. Other lines, such as CC or BCC, may be added as needed. An RE (“Reference”) line may be used instead of SUBJECT, but this use is becoming rarer as “RE” is often mistaken as “Reply” because of its use in email.

  • A summary is a brief overview and contains key information in the memo. It depends on the memo style and generally written when the memo is longer than one page. Your audience can quickly know what the memo is about. You can also include the reference to the sources of information used to support your ideas.
  • A memo is usually a page or two long, single spaced and left justified. Instead of using indentations to show new paragraphs, skip a line between sentences. Business materials should be concise and easy to read. Therefore it is beneficial to use headings and lists to help the reader pinpoint certain information.
  • Memo STYLE A Factory of Imagination. Where Fantasies Become Reality. Website - Graphics Design - Video Montage - Photography - Mobile app.

A memo (formal name memorandum) is a business document used for communication within a company or between two companies. Their purpose is to convey information in a relatively short but formal document which can be sent out to a number of relevant people. This template uses the texMemo class to make writing a memo using LaTeX incredibly simple. The Serene memo template in Word is an excellent choice for a yoga studio, acupuncture clinic, or spa. There’s also a classic business memo template in a variety of styles that suits most uses. No matter which memo templates you choose, you’ll find it’s easy than ever to create memos that are engaging and easy to read.

  • DATE: List the date on which the memo is distributed.
  • TO: List the names of the recipients of the memo. If there are several recipients, it’s acceptable to use a group name, such as “All Employees” or “Personnel Committee Members.”
  • FROM: List the name and job title of the writer(s).
  • SUBJECT: Think of the SUBJECT line as the title for the memo. Make it specific so that readers can immediately identify the topic.

These headings may be double- or single-spaced, and the SUBJECT line is often in all capital letters. Furthermore, the order of the items can vary. Many organizations have their own style preferences on these issues. If not, the order listed above, double-spaced, is the most common.

The text of memos typically uses block format, with single-spaced lines, an extra space between paragraphs, and no indentions for new paragraphs. However, if a report using memo format stretches to a few pages in length, double spacing may be used to improve its readability.

Organization

Professional communication forms are organized according to one of two strategies: Direct and indirect.

  • The direct organization strategy presents the purpose of the document in the first paragraph (sometimes the first sentence) and provides supporting details in the body.
  • The indirect organization strategy opens with relevant, attention-getting details that do not directly state the purpose of the document. The purpose is revealed in the body of the message, usually sandwiched between supporting details.

The direct approach is used for good news or routine communication; the indirect approach is used for persuasive, sales, or bad news messages.

A directly stated purpose is welcome in good news or routine messages, but could be viewed as abrupt or insensitive in a bad news or persuasive message. When the audience is not receptive to the message, it is best to lead up to the purpose gradually.

In both types of organization, action information (such as deadlines or contact information) or a courteous closing statement is placed in the last paragraph.

Organization StrategyDefinitionType of DocumentContent
IntroductionBodyConclusion
DirectWriter arrives at purpose quickly, sometimes in the first sentence.Used for good news or routine communication (audience is receptive or neutral)PurposeDetailsAction information or courteous close
IndirectWriter gradually builds up to the purpose, which is stated in the body.Used for negative, persuasive, or sales messages (audience is not receptive)Relevant, attention-getting statementsPurpose statement is sandwiched by details.Action information or courteous close

Sample Direct Memo

Business Memo Format

Sample Indirect Memo

Style and Tone

While memo reports and policy memos are examples of documents that have a more formal tone, most memos will have a conversational style—slightly informal but still professional. The audience of memos are those with whom the writer works, so the writing style usually assumes a relationship with them (and therefore a certain lack of formality); just keep in mind that the relationship is a professional one, so the writing should reflect that. Furthermore, as with all workplace documents, the audience may contain a variety of readers, and the style and tone should be appropriate for all of their technical and authority levels.

Too InformalToo Formal, Stuffy-Sounding, WordyAppropriate Balance
Hi, everyone. Hope you had a great weekend. You know those awards we give out every so often? It’s time for those again!Variety Craft Supplies’ mission is to provide customers with affordable, quality supplies with superb customer service. Excellent customer service includes being knowledgeable about the supplies, but it also goes beyond that. It’s about having the right attitude about helping customers. It’s time to reward employees who have a customer-oriented outlook.

Direct and concise opening states the purpose of the memo.

Please submit your nominations for the quarterly Customer Service Excellence Award by April 8. Help us identify great employees!

Template

Common Memo Writing Situations

Memos are used in a variety of workplace communication situations, from documentation of procedures and policies to simple announcements. Below are some common types of memos:

  • Policies (changes and new)
  • Instructions
  • Procedures
  • Announcements
  • Trip reports

Distribution Medium

Memo Style

Memos may be distributed manually through print medium in organizations in which not all employees have access to email. Organizations with access to email may distribute memos as attachments to email.

In organizations in which email reaches every employee (or every employee in the memo’s audience), writers must determine whether to send a memo or an email message to convey their information. In cases such as this, writers should consider three factors: the nature of the message, the depth/number of its details, and its likelihood of being printed for easier reference. These types of messages should be written up in memo format and attached to an email message for fast (and environmentally friendly) distribution:

Memo style word document

Memo Style Writing

  • Messages that have an official aura, such as new policies or revisions of policies.
  • Messages containing much detail (such as instructions on how to calibrate a complicated piece of machinery).
  • Messages requiring reference away from a computer (necessitating a print copy). Print copies of emails generally use a small type that is difficult to read.

Memo Style Example

*Some articles are used across multiple genres and disciplines.