When you need to update a training manual, business process or handbook, the perfect vehicle is a training memo. The memo format allows you to target your recipients and include timely follow-up information, and is especially useful in situations where new legal considerations or required steps have been added to an existing process. By following a few simple steps, you can ensure that your memo communicates your ideas clearly and succinctly while avoiding common pitfalls.

Identify your audience. This will help you include the most pertinent information for your memo. For example, if you are writing to explain how to use the new copier on the third floor, do not send the memo to every employee in the building. Or if a new law will impact how affidavits are taken in a law office, you don't need to include the maintenance team.

Introduce your topic. The first couple of lines should let your readers know why this memo is important to them. Let them know what the old process was, or which current process this update applies to, as well as the reason for the update.

Outline the new steps or requirements. Use only one level of headings and keep your explanations concise and focused. Include the updated information as well as any prior steps or processes that should no longer be followed or performed.

Include a time line. Clearly let your audience know when the new policy will go into effect. If it is an immediate change, state clearly if there is any grace period or transitional process for the prior procedure. For example, if there is a new form for requesting a leave of absence, let employees know what will happen to requests that are already being processed.

Close with follow-up steps. At the end of your memo, let your audience know what they should do if they have questions that have not been answered in your document. This might include a link to additional documentation, or a contact number that they can call. If your training memo is part of a series of updates, state when the next update will be ready.


Limit your memo to one primary topic. Use second person (you) to speak directly to your audience.