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WritingBusinessMemos

Thepurposeofamemoistoconveyimportantinformationefficiently.Thecontentofmemosvaries
widely.Givingrecommendations,outliningnewprocedures,announcingpersonnelchanges,and
conveyingconfidentialinformationarejustafewofthefunctionsmemoscanserve.
Audience
Memosareusuallyusedasinternalcommunicationsratherthanexternalcommunications.Inother
words,memosareusedtocommunicatewithpeoplewithinanorganizationratherthanwithpeople
whoarenotpartoftheorganization.
Style
Memosvaryinformality.Theyareoftenlessformalthanothertypesofbusinesswritingbecausethey
areintendedforrecipientswhoknowoneanother.Likeothertypesofbusinesswriting,memosshould
alwaysbeconciselywritten,grammaticallycorrect,andfreeofspellingandpunctuationerrors.
Format
Itseasytodistinguishbetweenmemosandothertypesofbusinesscorrespondencebecauseoftheway
memosareformatted.ThetitleMemoorMemorandumusuallyappearsatthetopofthepage.Under
thetitle,headingsprovidinginformationsuchastheintendedrecipientorrecipientsofthememo,the
senderofthememo,andthedateofthememoarelisted.Thesubjectisindicatedinthelastheading
beforethebodyofthememo.TheheadingRe:orRE:isoftenusedtoindicatethesubjectofthememo.
Thesubjectshouldbespecificandclearlyworded.
Thebodyofthememofollowsthesubjectheading.Subheadingsareoftenusedtoorganizethe
informationpresentedinthebodyofthememo.Thesectionsofthebodycanbethoughtofas
paragraphs,buttheymaybemuchshorterandmoreconcisethantraditionalparagraphs.Eachsection
shouldfocusononeimportantaspectofthesubjectofthememo.Theuseofwhitespace(blankspace
thatcontainsnotext)isimportant.Readersexpectthemostimportantideasinamemotobeseparated
bywhitespace.
Organization
Theintroductorysectionofthebodyshouldestablishthecontextforthememo;itshouldexplainto
readerswhytheyarereadingthememo.Theintroductionshouldendwiththerecommendation,
change,orinformationthatisthemainpointofthememo.
Thefirstsentenceofeachsectionaftertheintroductorysectionshouldestablishapositionormakea
claim.Unlikesomeothertypesofwriting,likeessays,memosstartwithapositionorclaimandthen
defendthepositionorsupporttheclaim.Rememberthatmemoreadersexpecttolearninformation
efficiently;beginningeachsectionofthememowiththemostimportantinformationhelpsreaders
quicklyfindtheinformationtheyneed.

Theconcludingsectionshouldreiteratetherecommendation,change,orinformationthatisstatedat
theendoftheintroduction.Itisimportanttoleavereaderswithastrongtakeawaymessage.The
conclusioncanalsoindicatetowhomquestionsorcommentsaboutthecontentsofthememoshould
beaddressed.
Becausethesenderofamemoislistedinaheading,noclosingsignatureisneeded.Sometimesthe
sendersinitialsareplacedafterthesendersnameintheheading,asinthesamplememobelow.

SampleMemo

MEMORANDUM

MUSKIECONSULTING,INC.
To:

Allemployees

From:

DarleneSprouse,SeniorHumanResourcesManagerDS

Date:

1/11/2013

Re:

Changesinexpensereportreceiptpolicy

MuskiesexpensereportreceiptpolicywillchangeeffectiveFebruary1,2013.Thesechangesarebasedonthe
recommendationsoftheauditingtaskforce.Thechangesoutlinedbelowapplytoallexpensereports,includingthose
fornontravelexpenses.

FoodExpenses
Allfoodexpenses,regardlessofamount,mustbeaccompaniedbyanitemizedreceipt.Employeeswillnotbe
reimbursedforfoodexpensesthatarenotaccompaniedbyanitemizedreceipt,regardlessoftheamountofthe
expense.

NonfoodExpenses
Allnonfoodexpensesofmorethan$5.00mustbeaccompaniedbyanitemizedreceipt.Employeeswillnotbe
reimbursedfornonfoodexpensesofmorethan$5.00thatarenotaccompaniedbyanitemizedreceipt.Employeeswill
bereimbursedfornonfoodexpensesof$4.99orlessthatarereportedwithoutareceipt.However,employeesare
encouragedtoincludereceiptsforallnonfoodexpenses.

Tips
Employeeswillnolongerbereimbursedfortipsforhousekeepingstaff.Tipsformealsmustbeincludedintheitemized
receiptforthemeal.Employeeswillnotbereimbursedfortipsformealsreportedinanymannerexceptonan
itemizedreceipt.Therewillbenochangesinthepoliciesfortipsforbellhopsandporters.

ThechangesoutlinedaboveapplytoallexpensereportssubmittedonorafterFebruary1,2013.Employeesshould
contacttheirsupervisororHumanResourcesrepresentativeiftheyhavequestions.