What Are the Parts of a Proper Memo?

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A memo – short for memorandum – is a written communication that records information to be shared with a group of people in a professional setting. Though memos can be formatted in a variety of templates, it's important to include the significant parts of a memo so that your memo will serve as an effective communication tool.

TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)

The components of a memo are the heading and overview, context, tasks and resolutions, details, conclusion and attachments.

Heading Components of a Memo

A memo must have a heading that specifies the sender, the addressee, the date and the subject. When you include an individual's name on the memo, write his job title after it. Include your own job title after your name in the "From" field. The heading goes at the top of the memo, preceding the text. If the memo is urgent, it might be common practice in your office to write the word "Urgent" at the top of the heading.

The overview, which comes after the heading, briefly explains the memo's content. In the overview, introduce the purpose of the memo, such as to present an idea or respond to an assignment that you were given. The overview gives the reader a basic idea of what the memo is about so that she can decide whether to read the memo immediately or later.

Context and Background Section

Another one of the parts of a memorandum is the memo's context section, which gives background to the information being presented. This helps the reader to understand the memo's connection to business dealings. For instance, you might write, "Due to the advanced technology protocols ..." This phrase, and others like it, help the reader put the memo into context with what else is going on in the business.

Tasks and Resolutions

If the purpose of your memo is to explain the tasks that you will be performing in response to the context, you can say so in the next part of the memo. For example, you can say, "I will be looking into the market research for technology ..." This gives the reader an idea of the next steps you are taking. If your memo is to present a resolution, you might write, "My findings conclude that the new technology would not benefit our company because ..."

Supporting Research and Ideas

Some memos call for the inclusion of details. If you need to include statistics, data or market research information, provide these details in a new paragraph. For example, if you were writing about technology market research, you'd might include statistics on customer demand and sales of competitors along with key statistics about the industry. These supporting ideas are known as the discussion portion of the memo.

Conclusion and Further Discussion

Wrap up your memo with a brief conclusion that tells the reader what you hope he gained from reading it. The closing segment should also let the reader know that you welcome questions or comments for discussion. For example, you might encourage the reader to email or call you if they have ideas about potential technological solutions for the company. You could also inform them about a future business meeting on the topic you have planned.

Documents and Other Attachments

If you refer to graphs, charts, policies, reports, minutes or other business documents in your memo, attach them to the back of the memo. For example, you might have a table showing the costs and potential benefits of new technology or a white paper about the innovation. Include on the memo page a note at the bottom that one or more documents is attached.

References

About the Author

Kyra Sheahan has been a writer for various publications since 2008. Her work has been featured in "The Desert Leaf" and "Kentucky Doc Magazine," covering health and wellness, environmental conservatism and DIY crafts. Sheahan holds an M.B.A. with an emphasis in finance.

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