How To Write the Body of the Memo
Consider who the audience should be. In order to get people to read and respond to the memo, it’s important to tailor the tone, length, and level of formality of the memo to the audience who will be reading it. Doing this effectively requires that you have a good idea of who the memo is intended for.
- Think about your audience’s priorities and concerns are.
- Try to anticipate any questions your readers might have. Brainstorm some content for the memo, such as examples, evidence, or other information that will persuade them.
- Considering the audience also allows you to be sensitive to including any information or sentiments that are inappropriate for your readers.
Skip a formal salutation. A memo does not begin with a salutation like “Dear Mr. Edwards.” Instead, dive right into your opening segment that introduces the matter you’re discussing in the memo.
Introduce the problem or issue in the first paragraph. Briefly give them the context behind the action you wish them to take. This is somewhat like a thesis statement, which introduces the topic and states why it matters. You might also consider the introduction as an abstract, or a summary of the entire memo.
- As a general guideline, the opening should take up about one paragraph.
For example, you might write: “As of July 1, 2015, XYZ Corporation will be implementing new policies regarding health coverage. All employees will receive health coverage and will make a minimum of $15 per hour.”
Give context for the issue at hand. Your reader may need some background information about the issue you’re addressing. Give some context, but be brief and only state what is necessary.
- If it’s relevant, continue your memo by stating why the policy is being implemented. For example, you might write: “The county government voted to require all employees in the county to receive a $15/hour minimum wage.”
Support your course of action in the discussion segment. Give a short summary of the actions that will be implemented. Give evidence and logical reasons for the solutions you propose. Start with the most important information, then move to specific or supporting facts. State how the readers will benefit from taking the action you recommend, or be disadvantaged through lack of action.
- Feel free to include graphics, lists, or charts, especially in longer memos. Just be sure they are truly relevant and persuasive.
- For longer memos, consider writing short headings that clarify the content of each category. For example, instead of stating “Policies,” write “New policies regarding part-time employees.” Be specific and brief in every heading so that the basic point of your memo is apparent to the reader right away.
Suggest the actions that the reader should take. A memo is a call for action on a particular issue, whether it is an announcement about a new company product, new policies regarding expense reports, or a statement about how the company is addressing a problem. Restate the action that the reader should take in the closing paragraph or sentence.
- For example, you might write, “All employees must use the new accounting system by June 1, 2015.”
- This can also include some evidence to back up your recommendations.
Close the memo with a positive and warm summary. The memo’s final paragraph should restate the next steps to address the issue at hand. It should also include a warm note that reiterates the solidarity of the organization.
- You might write, “I will be glad to discuss these recommendations with you later on and follow through on any decisions you make.”
- You might end with something like, “We are excited about the expansion of this product line. We’re confident that this will grow our business and make this company a more sustainable business.”
- This should generally be one to two sentences in length.