A report's memo of transmittal page functions much like a resumé cover letter. Think of it as your personal pitch to the reader. Write what you’d say to the recipient if you were handing the report over to him in person, but first gather your thoughts.
Before you write, it’s important to pinpoint what you wish to say. Identify your audience and assess their specific needs and wants. Consider these points when drafting a memo of transmittal and the rest of your report or proposal.
Address the memo of transmittal using simple memo formatting. If your organization has a memo template use it. If not use this setup as a starting point:
To: Recipient’s name and title From: Your name and title Date: Date you turn in your report Subject: Report name
Write an opening statement. “Here is the report you requested regarding…” for example. It doesn’t need to be long. A couple of simple sentences will get the job done. Use the business block format for this paragraph and the rest of your memo. Place a hard return, or blank space, between each paragraph, but don’t tab or indent before starting a new section.
Write an introductory paragraph. Describe the scope of the report, exactly what it will cover and how you gathered your information.
Write the body of the memo of transmittal. Explain how useful the report will be for the reader. Present your main conclusions and highlight interesting findings or chapters of particular interest to your audience. Any information that will make the report more useful or accessible to your reader can be included in this section. You may even want to make suggestions for further research.
Compose a closing paragraph. Write a short note of thanks to your reader and acknowledge any major help you received from co-workers. As well, offer to clarify any points or do further work if necessary.
Check the document for spelling and grammar errors. Have a colleague you trust proofread your work. Her fresh eyes will zero in on confusing speech and typos. Make any necessary changes and incorporate your proofreader’s suggestions.
Insert your completed memo of transmittal into the rest of your report. Place it right before the table of contents and after the report's title page.
Write the memo of transmittal and other prefatory parts of your report last, since they refer back to the rest of the document.
Memos of transmittal are only used for internal documents. If your report is intended for an outside audience, like a potential client, write a letter of transmittal instead. The information will be the same but use business letter formatting to address your document.