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What’s the correct memo format for business communications?

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There are various types of business communications you might need to send throughout your career, one of which is a business memo. As with any professional communication, you need to know how to write a business memo to maintain professionalism and clearly convey your message.

Here, we share the correct memo format, including tips on how to begin and how to end a memo.

What is a memo?

A memo, short for memorandum, is a brief business communication typically used to communicate official business regarding company procedures, policies, and updates internal to the company. Not intended as one-on-one communications, they are generally mass communications that go to all members of a team, department, or organization.

In the past, a memo was typically a physical piece of paper delivered to the target audience. Today, however, most memos are sent as a digital communication in the form of an email. Executives, department leads, and managers often use memos instead of formal communications when they need to relay a brief message to others.

Though memos generally do not require a response, in some instances, memos are sent to request input. Memos can be used for different types of communications, including:

  • Making a request
  • Progress reports
  • Agreement confirmation
  • Requesting input for a decision or problem
  • Meeting minutes
  • Business conclusion
  • Team directives
  • Incident reports
  • Inquiry response
  • Organizational announcements

What is the correct memo format?

Memo formats are generally consistent across organizations and include the following sections.

  • Header. The header should include that the communication is a memorandum with who it is from, the intended recipients, copied individuals, the subject, and the date.
  • Introduction. The introduction announces the primary topic of the memo with declarative sentences.
  • Body. The heart of the memo is the body, which elaborates on the memo’s topic.
  • Conclusion. Your conclusion will summarize your memo and clearly state any necessary steps or call to action for the recipients.
  • Closing. How to end a memo is like how you end other business communications—include your name and contact information in case someone has questions or needs to reach out to you about the communication.
  • Attachments. If you reference attachments, like amendments, graphs, or images, include them with the memorandum.

Tips for writing a memo

Here are some tips for writing a memo so you can get your message across as clearly and professionally as possible. As you’ll see, the bolded tips – apart from number five – could just as easily be used for other short business correspondence, such as a cover letter:

  • Keep it focused and brief. Memos are meant to be brief, including only the pertinent details and call to action necessary to relay the message and ask for necessary input, respectively.
  • Format it for easy digestion. When writing a memo, it’s best to use bullet points and break the information down into short paragraphs, making it clear and easy to read for those who might choose to scan vs. read the memo word for word.
  • Keep your audience in mind. Any communication should be written with the audience in mind. Technical terms and acronyms should be spelled out, for example, when the entire audience might not be familiar with what they are.
  • Consider your tone. Your tone will depend, in part, on your audience and the nature of the communication. If you’re sending a message about something fun and exciting, your tone still needs to be professional but might be a bit more upbeat, whereas a message about a data breach will be toned down and more matter of fact.
  • Don’t include a salutation. Memos don’t typically include salutations, so you can forgo including one.
  • Proofread and edit. When writing a memo, be sure to proof and edit it before sending it to maintain its professional nature. It’s always a good rule of thumb to ask someone else to proof any business communication so you can make necessary edits before sending it.

Business memo format examples

Memo format – example 1

Memorandum

To: All Employees of Company ABC

From: Timothy Smith, Chief Marketing Officer

Date: November 1, 2021

Subject: Reorganization of Marketing Department

I am writing to share that within the next three months, there will be a reorganization of the Marketing Department at Company ABC.

We will be merging our Email Marketing and Communications departments into one department. The merged department will be called “Communications” and report directly to me. We will also add a new department referred to as “Marketing Analysis.”

We currently have an Email Marketing Supervisor, Aaron Johns, and a Communications Manager, Mary Williams. Effective December 1, 2021, Aaron will report directly to Mary, who will continue to report to me. No additional staffing changes will take place at this time.

For the Marketing Analysis department, the Marketing team is working closely with our HR department with a goal of having positions defined by mid-December and filled by the end of 1Q 2022.

We will keep you appraised of our progress.

Thank you for your patience as we make these changes over the next few months.

Timothy Smith

Tsmith5@companyabc.com

555-555-5555

Memo format – example 2

Memorandum

To: All Accounting and Finance Department Employees

From: Janice Camper, Chief Financial Officer

Date: December 1, 2021

Subject: Merger and Acquisition Completion

I am writing to congratulate you on your commendable efforts and achievements in providing the accounting and financials to support the merger of 123 Organization and XYZ Financials.

With your help, we were able to submit the necessary numbers to our parent organization two weeks ahead of time.

Thank you for your dedication and hard work. You will each receive a bonus check within the next two weeks based on your years of service and contribution to the project.

Congratulations on your success and achievement!

Janice Camper

jcamper@123organization.com

555.555.5555

Business memo format template

Now you’re prepared to write a business memo for the myriad of reasons you might need to in the future. Use the tips above to navigate memo formatting with ease. And in case you find it useful, here’s a template you can copy, paste, and fill in.

Memorandum

To: Intended Recipients

From: Your Name, Title

Date: Month Day, Year

Subject: Memo Subject

Begin with one to two sentences indicating why you’re sending the communication.

  • Important information #1.
  • Important information #2.
  • Important information #3.

Conclude your memo with a brief summarization of one to sentence, with a call to action when necessary.

Your Name

Your Email

Your Phone Number

Attachment: Include attachment if relevant.



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