The phrase “internal memo” is short for “internal memorandum.” Internal memos are used to spread information as well as make mass requests of people in a company, department or team. Internal memos bring attention to problems, and they solve problems among myriad other useful functions in an organization.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
When writing an internal memo, keep it simple and get straight to the point.
Why Should You Write an Internal Memo?
An internal memo is an effective way to reach many people in an organization quickly and efficiently. With a memo you can easily do the following:
- Clarify or analyze a subject.
- Make recommendations.
- Set reminders.
- Give instructions.
- Transmit materials.
- Make announcements.
- Issue reports.
- Ask for contributions.
- Request approvals.
The key to an effective internal memo is keeping it simple. Your message should be concise and delivered in an uncomplicated format that gets the message across clearly. An internal memorandum sample could be sending the results of a company-wide survey of the cafeteria lunches and the new, improved menu.
How Do You Format an Internal Memo?
You can quickly create your memo template in Word or find an internal memorandum sample online. The heading of an internal memorandum has four key components. The first is the recipient or recipients of the memo, preceded by “TO.” The second is the source of the memo, preceded by “FROM.” The third is the date, preceded by “DATE” and the fourth component is the subject of the memo, preceded by “SUBJECT.”
You should use the recipients' proper titles and names. For example, if Tom Maxwell is the chairman, then he should be listed as “Tom Maxwell, Chairman.” If there are too many names, you can use “All Staff” or “Department Heads” for the sake of brevity. You should also identify yourself as the source of the memo. Your name and title follow the heading “FROM.” You don’t have to sign off at the end of the memo but can add your initials next to your name as a form of authentication.
The subject of the memo should be descriptive of its content. Rather than using general terms like “Policy,” you should write a short phrase such as “New policy effective June 1, 2018.”
How Do You Write the Message of an Internal Memo?
A memo template in Word can give you formatting advice, but it won't give you advice on content. As a rule always be concise. Your internal memo should have a one-paragraph introduction which outlines the purpose of the memo. Then you should describe what prompted the memo. Focus only on what the recipients need to know and any actions they need to take in response to the memo. Still unsure of what to write? Follow this internal memorandum sample below:
Date: December 1, 2018
From: Maria Ruben
Re: New Hours Effective January 1, 2019
The purpose of this memo is to alert staff that the hours of the company gym are shifting. After requests from numerous employees, we've decided to extend hours beyond typical office hours for those who might end up working overtime on the new development project. The gym will now be open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Please let me know if you have any questions or comments.
Senior HR Director
Always make sure to end your memo on a courteous note and offer help, if needed. End your internal memo with a brief summary, reiterating the essential points and close with a call to action.
Whether the memo is delivering good or bad news, it's always best to be polite, accurate, to the point and offer assistance to the hard-working employees who may need it. If you're struggling with formatting or wording, try looking at some online memo templates for Word, and go from there.
- If you add supporting documents to your memo, note them beneath your closing paragraph as follows: “Attached: Security Systems Comparative Summary, February 2010.”
- Be selective about recipients of the memo and avoid using their nicknames when adding them in your “TO:” list.
- Keep your memo to one page, if possible. The best way to accomplish this by keeping it simple and direct.
- Use emails for short, informal internal communications. Use internal memos, such as those described here, for longer internal communications that need more permanence and formality.
Nicky is a business writer with nearly two decades of hands-on and publishing experience. She's been published in several business publications, including The Employment Times and Business Idea Factory. She also studied business in college.