How to Write a Business Memo

Decide if a memo needs to be sent. If you need to update several people on your team about an important business matter, then sending a memo is an excellent idea. You may even want to send one if you're communicating with just one person if, for example, you want or need to have a written record of your correspondence.

  • However, in some cases, it may be more efficient to just talk directly to those you need to.
  • Also, some information may be too sensitive to send out in a memo.[1]

Identify your purpose for writing. Depending upon your specific purpose, the content and organization of your memo may change. Most types of memos are written for the following reasons:

  • To propose an idea or solution. For example, if you think you know how the scheduling problems for overtime can be worked out, you may want to write up your ideas in a memo, and send it to your superior(s).
  • To issue an order. For example, sending a memo can be an efficient way to assign responsibilities for an upcoming conference that your department is hosting.
  • To provide a report. You may also want to send a memo in order to update your colleagues about an event that's recently occurred, give an update on a project, provide a progress report, or report the findings of an investigation.

Narrow your topic. You may be juggling a lot of projects and be tempted to send a memo updating your colleagues, superiors, or clients on everything you're currently working on. Keep in mind though, that business memos should be focused on just one issue.

  • They should be concise, clear, and easy to read quickly by busy individuals; thus, you don't want important information to be overlooked. Keeping the memo focused will help ensure that your message is received and understood.

Consider your audience. The content, style and tone of your business memo will all be affected by the intended audience, so think carefully about everyone who will receive your memo.[2]For example, you'll write a different type of memo if you're writing to your colleagues about planning a surprise party for the people in the office with summer birthdays, as compared to when you're writing your supervisor about the results of your months-long investigation.


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