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Writing a formal memo is an effective way to communicate within a company. Write the memo with an authoritative voice that intends to inform rather than intimidate the reader. Supplemental information included with the memo is known as an attachment and enclosures are typically included with letters. A formal memo includes specific sections and includes both the writer's and the assistant's initials at the end. Although most memos are one page or less, remember to include a summary paragraph at the end of the memo if it is longer than one page.
Create the heading for the memo, which includes "To," "From" and "Subject" sections. Decide who needs to receive a copy of the memo. If you are including attachments, decide who needs to get the attachments, and who just needs a copy of the memo so that they are aware of the information and that the attachments have been distributed (for example, a manager may have created the attachment and will not necessarily need a copy). Include the names of everyone to get the memo in the "To" section of the heading. People whom you want to copy go in the "cc" part of the memo at the end of the memo. There may also be people to whom you want to privately inform on the memo. These recipients will be "blind copied." They will be given a copy of the memo, but not publicly listed in the "To" or "cc" sections.
Write the body of the memo clearly and concisely. Use direct and formal language, but keep the memo from sounding intimidating or derogatory. Longer memos should include paragraph headings to make them easier to read.
Finish the memo. At the conclusion of the body of the memo, the author's initials should appear, with the assistant's initials after a slash "XX/yy." The author's initials are capitalized; the assistant's are in lower case. Below that, two spaces down, should be the word "Attachments (x)" with the number of attachments included in parenthesis if there is more than one. Next, list the people you want to carbon copy, or "cc." It should be in a list format. People who are blind copied should be written in by hand on their copies. Be sure to include the "bcc" so that they know they have been copied anonymously. The author of the memo should initial by his name in the "From" section of the heading before the memo is distributed.
Keep an extra copy or two of the memo in a file with the attachments in case someone else needs to be added to the distribution list.
Proofread the memo for typographical errors that spell checkers miss (form/from).
Most word processing software includes a memo template if your company has not specified one to use.
Make sure that you include all of the recipients in the "To" section of the memo.
Memos should only be used for internal company communications. Communication with vendors or clients should be written in a letter format.
- Keep an extra copy or two of the memo in a file with the attachments in case someone else needs to be added to the distribution list.
- Proofread the memo for typographical errors that spell checkers miss (form/from).
- Most word processing software includes a memo template if your company has not specified one to use.
- Make sure that you include all of the recipients in the "To" section of the memo.
- Memos should only be used for internal company communications. Communication with vendors or clients should be written in a letter format.
Barbara Gulin has been a freelance writer and editor since 2008. She has helped write curriculum for Asian elementary students to learn Engish and has written extensive content for Themomsresource.com. Gulin studied electrical and computer engineering at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. She is also a licensed life and health insurance agent.