A memo is a great way to communicate important business information to employees and team members. Memos can be sent via email, or they can be printed and posted in a high-traffic area of the office so all employees can take a look. They are usually short and succinct and provide information on one specific element of the business. The memo heading is one of the most important elements of the memo, as it tells the readers what content they can expect to find in the body.
Importance of the Memo Heading
The heading of your memo is a key element of communication. It’s vital to ensure your memo heading is informative and engaging so that it captures the attention of your intended audience. Memos are often used to tell employees about key business activities. Memo examples include information on:
- Company announcements.
- Policy updates and changes.
- New procedures and processes.
- Employee tasks or action items.
The heading is often the first part of the memo that employees will read, so it needs to set the tone for the rest of the memo. If your memo heading is not clear and doesn’t tell the reader what the memo is about, the employees may not read the rest of the memo.
Provide Key Information
Your memo heading needs to provide the reader with the main topic of the memo. This way, the employees will know to what the memo pertains. If you use an uninformative memo heading such as “important company memo” or “information for employees,” the reader may not be enticed enough to read the memo.
Employees are often bombarded with lots of information in the workplace on a daily basis, so if you want to ensure they read the memo, it’s best to use a memo heading that best describes the information contained in the memo.
For example, if your memo is about an update to the workplace dress code, an appropriate memo heading is “dress code update for employees.” If the memo is about computer passwords, you can use “important notice regarding your computer’s password” as the memo heading.
Include the Audience
The memo heading should state for whom the memo is intended. This way, the employees can self-identify whether they need to read the memo or not. If the memo heading doesn’t specify who should read the memo, the employees may not know it is supposed to be for them.
Some memos do not contain information that is relevant for all employees. For example, you may have an important update about bonus structures that is only for manager-level employees. Your company may need to provide health and safety training to warehouse employees but not to office employees. When that is the case, it’s particularly important to state to whom the memo is directed so there is no confusion among employees about whether the information applies to them.
For example, if the memo is about sales numbers that affect all employees, an appropriate memo heading is “fiscal year sales update for all employees.” When the memo targets a specific group of people, you can use “new health and safety training for warehouse employees” as the memo heading to specify for whom it is intended.
Don’t Use Complex Language
A memo heading and the memo itself should use plain language. Avoid the use of highly technical terms or industry jargon. Don’t use language that may not be accessible for everyone reading the memo. Even if you work in a technical or complex industry, it’s best to use clear and simple terms in memo headings. Most employees will glance quickly at the heading to see if the memo pertains to them, so the heading must be easily understandable.
Apply Best Practices
Develop a simple memo template you can use in your business that includes directions on how to write the memo heading and the body copy. This way, the writer of the memo can have all the best practices on hand when writing the memo for employees.
- The heading elements can be reordered as desired. Some companies prefer to have the subject line higher in the heading. Whatever you choose, keep it consistent from one memo to the next.
- If you use a pre-printed memo sheet and write the details by hand, you do not need to include a colon after each element of the heading.
Anam Ahmed is a Toronto-based writer and editor with over a decade of experience helping small businesses and entrepreneurs reach new heights. She has experience ghostwriting and editing business books, especially those in the "For Dummies" series, in addition to writing and editing web content for the brand. Anam works as a marketing strategist and copywriter, collaborating with everyone from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, lifestyle bloggers to professional athletes. As a small business owner herself, she is well-versed in what it takes to run and market a small business. Anam earned an M.A. from the University of Toronto and a B.A.H. from Queen's University. Learn more at www.anamahmed.ca.