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A brochure landed on your desk featuring a new piece of equipment that has the potential to revolutionize company operations. Reality floods your brain. A memo advising staff of financial shortfalls recently pulled the rug out from under the firm’s bottom line: no new purchases will be considered for the upcoming fiscal year. It’s up to you to write a memo that’s so persuasive decision makers can't help but side with you—at least long enough to purchase the equipment.
Make a list of every feature (what the equipment does) and benefit (how it improves the work process) you can identify to justify buying the equipment in question. Ask others for suggestions. Focus on cost, time, labor, customer service and monetary savings. Quantify each of these categories before drafting your memo. If necessary, get help crunching numbers to make the most profound appeal possible.
Employ the formal memorandum format approved by your company to make certain your memo doesn’t discourage managers from reading the document. Often the word "Memorandum" appears as a title at the top of the page, followed by these conventional sub-heads: To, From, Date and Subject.
Draft your message. Emphasize the benefits of buying the equipment. Stress the urgency of making a decision quickly to get a jump on competitors and serve customers at warp speed. Point out the advantage of phasing out old equipment to justify this purchase.
Incorporate words proven to be persuasive by advertising and public relations professionals. Examples include "accurate," "convenient," "effective," "profitable," "superior," "trustworthy" and "worthwhile." These words may help convince managers of the equipment's merits. Write long to get every fact and figure on the memo.
Check your persuasive memo for clichés, preaching, threats, lectures, inappropriate comments and bias. Set a professional, balanced and straightforward tone. Invite feedback from managers with a call-to-action that includes a specific meeting date to further discuss the merits of the equipment purchase.
Comb through the final draft for common errors that have the potential to threaten the credibility of your communication and put an end to your campaign. Eliminate run-on sentences, typos, and misspellings, and be sure you have punctuated each sentence correctly. Ask an in-house writing expert to check out the content of your persuasive memo before it's distributed.
Based in Chicago, Gail Cohen has been a professional writer for more than 30 years. She has authored and co-authored 14 books and penned hundreds of articles in consumer and trade publications, including the Illinois-based "Daily Herald" newspaper. Her newest book, "The Christmas Quilt," was published in December 2011.