Writing Memos

Written by Jeremy Horelick
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Writing memos is often looked upon as the scourge of business communication. There are arguably fewer pieces of business writing less creative than the garden variety memo, which reminds employees that vacation time begins after 5PM on Friday or that the refrigerator will be cleaned over the weekend. That said, writing memos can also be a critical task.

What could be so critical about writing up the next vending machine policy memo? Perhaps nothing in that particular missive will have earth-shattering consequences, but what if your memo relates to the company health plan? There could be a critical piece of information that, if ineffectively communicated, could cost employees their benefits. Perhaps your memo relates to overtime pay. Want to get people's interest on the double? Just mention their paychecks.

Writing Memos for Clarity

When writing memos, always shoot for clarity and precision before creativity. You may feel tempted to put your Word of the Day to good use, but resist those sesquipedalian urges and opt for a short sweet word instead. Your audience will appreciate your straight-forwardness, especially as they sift through a thousand other pieces of paper on their desks.

It goes without saying that all memos should be carefully proofread and edited before they're sent or e-mailed out. Even if your e-mail writing is generally breezy, memos sent electronically should adhere to certain formalities. Always address your recipients in an appropriate manner (Dear All, Dear Employees, Greetings, etc.) and end your memos with a closing. As always, don't forget to sign them, unless of course they are being sent out via e-mail.


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