Memos

Memos are the most common form of intra-organizational communication. Memos, short for memorandums, are, as the name suggests, a form of business communication with the purpose of information documentation and distribution, mostly within an organization.

Memos are used within an organization to present a very specific subject, to all relevant individuals or departments from an individual or team. Memos follow a conventional format. They may have a distribution list of receivers that may at times be very long. Memos are generally written in a format established by the organization.

Memos use the following four items at the top of the page or below the letterhead

  1. Date:
  2. To:
  3. From:
  4. Subject::

The responses to the four items should line up with the use of tabs set for the longest item, the subject.

  • Date: -------| November 6, 2005
  • To:-----------| Mr. A. Soandso
  • From:-------| Ms. B. Correcto
  • Subject:----| Memo Format

There should be at least two spaces after the subject colon, so that each item will be aligned and clearly visible and the pattern of spacing will add further structure to the memo. Sometimes added to the items are the abbreviated forms: CC (for copies) and the substitute of Re: for Subject in the items.

To write effective memos you should

  1. Be brief
  2. Use clear headings
  3. Use bulletted or numbered lists rather than text alone with a series of items
  4. Include tables, if relevant
  5. Use short paragraphs rather than long blocks of undifferentiated text

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