How to Write a Memorandum
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What Is A Memorandum Or Memo?
A memorandum or memo for short is commonly understood to be an official document originating from an office. There are various types of memos. For example, in a business environment, the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and Memorandum of Association (MOA), are common. A memorandum is written to communicate or convey a brief message on a given subject or topic. Apart from specific memos, two of which have been cited earlier, a memorandum is usually not more than one page.
Notes On Writing A Memorandum
- A memorandum is generally made up of three parts. These being: Introduction, Body and Conclusion. Many office memos come in a standard and pre-approved format. The headings in a standard format are: To, From, Date, Subject and Reference. The memo may be addressed to an individual or a group of individuals. They are usually addressed by position or designation. Including a name and title if it is addressed to an individual is an accepted practice.
- Below the headings are the introduction, body and conclusion. In the introduction, the purpose or why the memo is being written and what would be focus of attention would be explained. The body will provide details of the subject such as what is the issue, what are the implications and other considerations including options. The conclusion will state what needs to be done, by whom and when.
- The memo needs be brief, to the point and clear. The general rule is one idea or issue per memo. If many ideas or issues need to be communicated, it would be better to call for a meeting or discussion. The target audience must be kept in sight. Key questions such as why the memo is being written, what needs to be conveyed and what is the expected outcome must be constantly kept in mind. This must be done before writing the memo, while it is being written and after it is completed.
- Be economical with words. Use simple language. Use the active voice. Use active verbs. The reader wants to read the document and move on to what needs to be done. Use the correct titles before the name such as Mr., Mrs., Ms., and so on.
Editing The Memorandum
After completing the memo, review it for accuracy, brevity and clarity. Read it out and check how it sounds or comes through. Check details such as date and address. These are important for ensuring that the message is delivered to the correct target audience and quickly. Additionally, it makes document control easier. Do not overlook the importance of correct spelling and grammar.
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