It is easy to use the wrong method to share important business information.
Communication technology has made it nearly effortless to communicate with a large group of people. However, to maintain a sense of professionalism, it is important to remember that certain topics are best discussed using specific communication channels.
When addressing a large group at work, it can be tempting to send a simple email and be done with it, but there are some topics that should be addressed using a memo.
What is a memo?
A memo, or memorandum, is a business message that is sent to people within an organization. The purpose of a memo is to inform a whole group on a change that might affect them and to potentially request they take a certain action.
Think of a memo as mass internal communication. One person is sending one message to a large group of people. They just all work at the same place.
Writing a memo
Now, it is one thing to write and distribute a business memo, and another to make it engaging for your audience. Let’s go over how to format an appealing memo and some other qualities to consider when creating one.
There are a lot of different ways to communicate in the workplace, but no matter which one you use, use these etiquette tips to be heard -- without being offensive.
The format of your memo will either catch or deter the eyes of your readers. Below is a simple, yet effective format to follow when creating a memo for distribution.
TO: Who is the memo being sent to?
CC: Is there anyone else that should be included, but not directly?
FROM: Who is sending the memo?
DATE: What is the date today?
SUBJECT: In a few words, state the main idea of the memo.
BODY: This is where the message goes.
The first paragraph should state the main idea of the information being shared in a simple, clear, and concise manner.
The second paragraph of the memo should offer some background information as to why the information is needed. If the memo is discussing a change in policy, explain why it is happening.
The last full paragraph of the memo should tell employees whether or not they need to take action. If they do not, don’t just ignore this last paragraph. State clearly whether the employees need to do anything. After the action statement, end with a positive note thanking them for their attention and cooperation.
And with that, you have a foolproof memo.
Want to hang on to your own copy? Feel free to download a memo template that describes everything you need to include.
Memo writing tips
Nailing the format is a good first step in learning how to write a memo, but it is equally important to focus on the contents within the memo. If your memo is boring or loaded with unnecessary details, you can count on employees ignoring it and missing out on important information.
Here are some memo writing tips that will help get your message across.
Consider your audience
When writing anything, you must keep your audience in mind. For memos, your audience consists of the people you work with.
Keep your company culture in mind when writing your memo. If the communication in your office is usually casual and relaxed, use the correct tone and words to match that. On the other hand, if your office conversations are kept professional, use that approach.
A memo is considered a piece of internal marketing, so presenting the message in a way that aligns with company culture, values, and your business’s mission statement is also important. Internal communication messages that are inconsistent with what the company stands for can cause confusion about company purpose and goals.
Keep it short and simple
The whole point of a memo is to send a quick message. You want readers to be in and out and on with their day.
Keep your memo short and to the point, and your language simple. Get in, get your point across, and get out.
Attach documents if necessary
There will always be more information to elaborate on the topic you are sharing, but it might not all have a place in your memo. If there is more information that even a few people will be curious about, attach some optional documents or website links for them to explore.
Make it a memo
Need to share some information with the office? Make it a memo. Learning how to write a memo is a great skill for anyone who is responsible for sharing business information internally. Anyone can send a message, but it takes a little more time and effort, and perhaps a template, to make it engaging enough to be read.
Workplace communication can be tricky. Check out our resource on how to create an internal communication plan that will help keep your workforce informed, build company culture, and boost employee engagement.