Communication within an organization is critical. The more connected and informed employees are, the more trust they will feel toward their employer. Research indicates that employees prefer face-to-face interaction with their superiors, but time constraints and size of an organization do not always allow for such an approach. Company memos are another way to communicate important information to an organization’s internal audience. Less formal than business letters, they may announce new policies or organizational changes, deliver requested information or serve as a project update. Learning to write a company memo that delivers information employees need will help strengthen your company’s “power within.”
Insert the company logo as an image at the top of your page.
Create a title that reads (in all capital letters) “MEMO,” “MEMORANDUM” or “INTEROFFICE CORRESPONDENCE.” This can be centered at the top or aligned with the left margin.
Following the title, insert a line of space and then the words “TO:,” “FROM:,” “DATE:” and “SUBJECT:” (you can also substitute “RE:” in place of “SUBJECT:”) with the appropriate information followed by a hard return. Arrangement can vary. Each item can have its own line for a total of four lines, or you can divide into two columns: the first containing “TO:” and “FROM:” and the second with “DATE:” and “SUBJECT.” You do not include an inside address or salutation (“Dear …”).
Start the body of your memo on the second or third line below the heading. If your memo is a routine message, open in a direct manner. Memos that deliver bad news should open with a neutral statement closely related to the memo’s topic, known in business communication as a buffer, to prepare readers for the negative information. Depending on the news, you can choose among several strategies for this opening. Be sure that it is sincere, relevant, honest and brief.
Use the remainder of your space to provide important details. The tone should be conversational. Use subheadings to make longer memos easier to read. You may also include tables, graphs or other visuals. Writers looking to persuade their audiences should include how/why this information will benefit either the employees personally or the company as a whole.
End on a positive, friendly note. Do not include a complimentary close or signature.
Print the memo and initial by your name at the top, or prepare the memo to be emailed (you may lose some of the formatting by sending electronically). If the memo will be sent to multiple recipients, it may be cheaper to print one copy, initial it and then make photocopies.
Distribute. It can be hand delivered, emailed, sent through interoffice mail or mailed through the post office.
Use block format (no indentation) with a line of space between each paragraph. Focus on one topic. Try to keep the memo under two pages. Memos should only be used among your internal audience. Do not send a memo to people outside your company. Write a letter instead. If you are addressing the memo to certain individuals rather than an entire department or staff in general, alphabetize your list of recipients unless there are people in certain positions who should be given more prominent placement.