A memo is a form of written business communication sent within an office or from one office to another. Depending on the organization of a business, anyone can write a memo, from a manager to subordinates or one worker to another. However, effective memos should be written a specific way. A good list with bullet points can be part of an effective memo, if certain formatting and writing guidelines are followed.
Writing a Memo with Bullet Points
Begin a memo as you normally would. Fill out the header info. State the purpose in your opening paragraph, and continue with your main points.
Include a bulleted list when you have at least three facts that need to be highlighted and presented in a format that's easy for the reader to digest.
Decide what sort of geometric shape to use for your bullets. Numbers or letters aren't the best choice for bullets, because they imply a hierarchy of importance. The standard black dots, hyphens and dashes stand out and draw the eye but do not suggest that one point is more important than another.
Make the structure of your bulleted sentences parallel. Keep the starting words of each bullet grammatically the same. If you begin most points with a verb, make all points start with verbs. Active verbs are better than transitive verbs. For example, "Strike" is a much more descriptive than "Be."
Punctuate the end of a bullet point with a period only if the bullet point itself stands as a grammatically correct sentence.
Punctuate the bullets as a list, with commas at the end, if the bullets read like a series of elements that cannot stand as independent, grammatically correct sentences.
Complete the memo as your normally would.
Keep everything as simple as possible.
Do not use ornate, flowery language.
Do not include extraneous, unneeded information.
Richard Ristow has written for journals, newspapers and websites since 2002. His work has appeared in "2009 Nebula Showcase" and elsewhere. He is a winner of the Science Fiction Poetry Association's Rhysling Award and he edits poetry for Belfire Press. He also holds a Master of Fine Arts from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and has managed an automotive department at WalMart.