How to Write a Memo to One's Boss

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Writing a memo to your boss can be a challenging task. This is an opportunity for you to write to your boss about a specific subject that you feel needs to be addressed. It could be your findings for a report that he has asked you to complete. It could also be an issue you have witnessed in the office that you feel needs to be fixed or addressed. Writing an organized memo can help your boss digest this information quickly.

Start with a heading. The heading should have the date the memo is being written, along with a short phrase describing what it is about. This way your boss knows when this issue was brought to his attention and what the issue is before reading the rest of the memo. Include your boss' name on the document in case it gets misplaced, and include yours as well so he know who wrote it. Do not assume because you emailed a copy of it to your boss that he will remember who emailed it to him.

Summarize what you are writing about in the first paragraph in two to three sentences. Time can be precious in the office. Do not include your opinions in this summary, just state the facts of the issue.

Provide the key points of the issue in the second section of your memo. This can be done as a bulleted list or an outline. Do not go past the first page with your key points, categorize them if you feel it will make it easier for your boss to understand how the key points relate to each other.

Include background information on the issue for your boss. Let your boss know where you got this information from. At this point if your boss has decided the issue you have raised in the memo is important he can address it with you directly or continue reading for more information.

Include your ideas on how to address the issue that you have raised. Do not assume that your boss will be able to address the issue with you personally. She might have that opportunity, but if she can't you want to have your input in the memo for her to read while the issue is fresh in her mind. Provide any relevant numbers or information that supports your idea of a solution.

Ask your boss to follow up with you regarding the memo that you have sent. Request that your boss either write back to you, call you, or set up a meeting with you to discuss the information in your memo. This will let your boss know what you feel is the best method of communication for dealing with the issue you have raised in your memo.

Tip

If your boss is in the same office that you are, print out a copy of the memo for her. You can email it as well, but by printing the copy it saves her a step if she wishes to read it outside of the office or away from her desk.

Warning

It's a good idea to avoid letting personal feelings or emotions get reflected in your memo. Avoid making any personal attacks against others or their ideas in your memo, keeping in mind that your document could be reviewed by individuals other than your boss.

About the Author

Alan Kirk has been writing for online publications since 2006. He has more than 15 years' experience in catering, management and government relations. Kirk has a bachelor's degree in business management from the University of Maryland.

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