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How to Write Memos

On this page: what is a memo, example memos, why write memos, how to write a memo, practice exercise.

What is a memo?

A memo is:

  • a hard-copy (sent on paper) document
  • used for communicating inside an organisation
  • usually short
  • contains To, From, Date, Subject Headings and Message sections
  • does not need to be signed, but sometimes has the sender's name at the bottom to be more friendly, or the sender's full name to be more formal. If in doubt, follow your company style.

Example Memos


MEMO

To:  Health & Safety Committee
From: Joe Chan, Chairperson, H&S Ctte
Date:  
Subject:  Room change for next meeting

The meeting on
has been changed to Room 101.

To: My darling Jane
From: John
Date: Yes, please ;-)
Subject: Chocolate

I had a great time last night, let's do it again soon.
Hope you like this chocolate.

Love, John

MEMO

To: Katherine Chu, Regional Manager
From: Stephen Yu, Sales
Date:
Subject: Notification of My Resignation

I am writing to inform you of my intention to resign from G & S Holdings.

I have appreciated very much my four years working for the company. The training has been excellent and I have gained valuable experience working within an efficient and professional team environment. In particular, I have appreciated your personal guidance during these first years of my career.

I feel now that it is time to further develop my knowledge and skills base in a different environment.

I would like to leave, if possible, in a month's time on This will allow me to complete my current workload. I hope that this suggested arrangement is acceptable to the company.

Once again, thank you for your support.

.
CONTACT COMPUTER GRAPHICS
MEMORANDUM

 
To:
From:
Date:
Subject: 
S M Chan, General Manager
Samantha Ng, Office Manager

Purchase of a Microwave Oven

1. Introduction
At the monthly staff meeting on , you requested information about the possible purchase of a microwave oven. I would now like to present these details.

2. Background
Since the move to the new office in Kowloon Bay, staff have difficulty in finding a nearby place to buy lunch.

3. Advantages
Providing a microwave oven in the pantry would enable staff to bring in their own lunchboxes and reheat their food. Also, staff members are less likely to return to work late after lunch.

4. Staff Opinion
A survey found that staff would like to use the microwave oven.

5. Cost
Details of suitable models are given below:

Brand Model Price
Philip

Sharpe

Sonny

M903

R-3R29

6145 X

$2,800

$2,600

$2,400

6. Request
If this meets with your approval, we would appreciate it if you could authorise up to $3,000 for the purchase of the microwave oven.

Samantha Ng

Samantha Ng

 

Why write memos?

Memos are useful in situations where e-mails or text messages are not suitable. For example, if you are sending an object, such as a book or a paper that needs to be signed, through internal office mail, you can use a memo as a covering note to explain what the receiver should do.
 

How to write a memo

Memos should have the following sections and content:

  1. Memos should have the following sections and content:
    A 'To' section containing the name of the receiver. For informal memos, the receiver's given name; e.g. 'To: Andy' is enough. For more formal memos, use the receiver's full name. If the receiver is in another department, use the full name and the department name.  It is usually not necessary to use Mr., Mrs., Miss or Ms unless the memo is very formal.
     
  2. A 'From' section containing the name of the sender. For informal memos, the sender's other name; e.g. 'From: Bill' is enough. For more formal memos, use the sender's full name. If the receiver is in another department, use the full name and the department name. It is usually not necessary to use Mr., Mrs., Miss or Ms unless the memo is very formal.
     
  3. A 'Date' section. To avoid confusion between the British and American date systems, write the month as a word or an abbreviation; e.g. 'January' or 'Jan'.
     
  4. A Subject Heading.
     
  5. The message.
    Unless the memo is a brief note, a well-organised memo message should contain the following sections:
    1. Situation - an Introduction or the purpose of the memo
    2. Problem (optional) - for example: "Since the move to the new office in Kowloon Bay, staff have difficulty in finding a nearby place to buy lunch."
    3. Solution (optional) - for example: "Providing a microwave oven in the pantry would enable staff to bring in their own lunchboxes and reheat their food."
    4. Action - this may be the same as the solution, or be the part of the solution that the receiver needs to carry out; e.g. "we would appreciate it if you could authorise up to $3,000"
    5. Politeness - to avoid the receiver refusing to take the action you want, it is important to end with a polite expression; e.g. "Once again, thank you for your support.", or more informally "Thanks".
       
  6. Signature
    This is optional. See above.
For the exercise, please exit the slideshow.

Exercise

Instructions:
Match the items in the boxes on the left with the items on the right:

  1. Drag the item you want to move to the correct table cell where you want the item to go. The words will swap position.
  2. If an item is in the right position, it will have a green background and a tick.
  3. When all the table cells are green and have ticks, you have finished.

       Score: /

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Last updated on: Monday, March 26, 2012