Business Memo Format and Samples
A memo or a memorandum is a written message used for internal communication in a business organisation. Businesses often use it to update employees and internal stakeholders about company policies, procedures, projects, events and team activities. It is important to understand the correct memo format in order to communicate your message in a professional manner. In this article, we present some memo formats and samples with tips on writing a professional memo.
How to choose the right memo format
There are different types of memo, such as information memo, request memo, confirmation memo, periodic report memo, suggestion memo and study results memo.
The objective or the purpose of the message differs with the type of memo you are writing. For example, you may write an informational memo just to bring a piece of information to the notice of employees, whereas a request memo needs to be more convincing. Similarly, you may want a study results memo to maintain a neutral tone, while a report memo may include relevant data and tables.
While all types of memos follow a similar format, there might be some differences in the body of the message. For example, you may write the main message as plain text or include rows, columns or tables if you need to include a set of data.
Sections of a memo format
Unlike a formal business letter, a memo does not include salutation or the signature of the sender. A memo format typically comprises the following sections:
The heading section includes the name and address of the company, which is already printed in case of a letterhead. Just below the address section of the letterhead, the word ‘Memo' or ‘Memorandum' appears to make it clear that the message is being communicated through a memo.
This section identifies the recipients. For example, if you are writing a memo to all the employees of the marketing department, it looks like – ‘To: All Employees of the Marketing Department'.
This section specifies the name, designation and department of the person writing the memo. For example – ‘From: B. Nagarajun, Assistant Manager, Sales'
CC or additional recipients
These are the recipients whom you do not directly address in the ‘To' section but to whom you send a copy of the memo for the sake of information.
All memos must invariably include the date of writing the memo. Indian companies usually follow the day-month-year format.
The subject line gives the recipients a quick idea about the content of the memo. It should be brief and precise. For example – Subject: Training session for employees of the SEO department
This section states the message of the memo in a single or two-three short paragraphs. The message body should first state the purpose of writing the memo. It should then move on to elaborate the message. If the content of this section is long, you may also want to include a brief summary of the message. The message should conclude with a clear call to action, i.e., what action the recipients are expected to take.
Some memos like those related to research, presentation and results may require additional data in the form of an attachment to substantiate the main message of the memo.
Related: Business Letter Format and Example
Here are a couple of memo formats to help you write a professional memo:
Standard memo format
Following is a typical format for memos commonly used in a business setting:
Memorandum *To: [recipients' name]
From: [sender's name] [sender's title] [sender's department]
CC: [name of other recipients whom the memo is sent]
Date: [Day Month Year]
Subject: [summary in one line]
Internal memo format
Here is a format for an internal memo regarding postponement of New Year party sent to employees of a company:
Memo *To: All employees
From: Management (Swadisht Foods Ltd.)
Date: [Day Month Year]
Subject: Postponement of New Year Party
As you all know, we hold a New Year party every year on [day] of [month]. This year, the workload has been quite hectic in [month] due to Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting lockdown in the preceding months. Hence, the management has decided to postpone the New Year party for this year to the second Saturday of [month]. Please find the party details below:
Date: [day] [month] [year]
Time: [party start time] to [party end time]
Venue: [location details]
Dress code: [dress code details]
Special Events: [event details]
Please accept our sincere apology for having to make you wait for the New Year celebrations, but believe us, it will be worth the wait. Those interested in volunteering for the event may call [name of the person] on [mobile number].
Wish you all a Happy New Year in advance.*
Here are a couple of memo samples to help you understand how to write your own memo:
Sample memo letter to employee
Following is an example of a memo letter sent to an employee regarding disciplinary action taken against them:
Memo *To: Ranjit Yadav
From: T. Anuradha, HR Manager
Date: 11 January 2021
Subject: Suspension without pay for absence without notice
Please note that the company has decided to take disciplinary action against you for being absent from duty for 10 days without prior intimation. Keeping in mind earlier instances of unauthorised absence from work despite repeated warnings, management has decided to suspend you without pay for a period of one month with immediate effect.
We sincerely hope that you will cooperate with us and not take any unauthorised leave in future. Please note that repeated violation of company rules may result in termination. If you would like to appeal against this decision or have any questions regarding the action taken, please contact the HR department at the earliest.*
Sample memo letter of request
Although businesses mostly use a memo for internal communication, sometimes, you may also use it to communicate with external stakeholders. Here is a sample of memo letter of request written to a vendor:
Memorandum *To: Manish Gawade
From: Nishant Gaekwad, Purchase Manager
Date: 7 January 2021
Subject: Request for quotation for supply of caustic soda
I am writing this memo to request information on supply of food-grade caustic soda. My company is in the business of packaging milk and dairy products. We need about 1.5 tonnes of caustic soda every month for cleaning of dairy equipment. Please let me know if you can meet our needs.
If interested, please send me the details of your products along with specs, pricing and payment terms to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can learn more about our company at www.shudhdoodh.com. Feel free to contact me if you require any more information.
I look forward to hearing from you soon.*
Tips for writing effective business memos
Writing business memos requires proper formatting, professional tone and attention to detail. Here are some essential tips to keep in mind while writing a business memo:
Make your subject line as specific as possible. For example, if you are writing a memo to announce a holiday, consider naming the holiday in the subject line. Thus, the subject line of a memo from a school management announcing Diwali holidays should read ‘Diwali holidays' instead of a generic phrase like ‘Regarding holidays'.
Organise the memo into paragraphs so that the important information comes first. You may use double spacing between paragraphs, but always use single spacing between the lines within a paragraph. Paragraphs should start without any indentation. If required, you may include a bulleted points section in the main message. Keep the style minimalistic to avoid distraction. Use bold, italic and all caps only where necessary. A memo does not require a signature. At most, you can include your name in the header.
Your tone would depend on the purpose of the memo. Since memos are mostly used for internal communication, you can keep the tone friendly. However, it should still sound professional although you need not be too formal. Maintain objectivity and ensure that the memo is free from personal bias. Note that memos often relate to company policies and procedures and can have a legal standing.
A memo should be clear and precise. Depending on the message of the memo, one or two short paragraphs are usually enough. However, if you need to write a longer message, ensure that the entire memo is not more than one page.
Always keep your audience in mind while writing a memo. All the recipients should be able to understand it without any difficulty. Spell out acronyms and abbreviations, and explain technical terms if you can not completely avoid them.
You can send a memo through email or paper. If you are writing or printing a memo on paper, make sure you use a company letterhead. If you need to use plain paper, consider A4 or letter-sized paper and print the company name and address in the heading.
Ensure that the memo is suitable for the purpose you are writing it for. You can use it as an effective management tool, e.g., to nullify a rumour or informal gossip about the company or its management. However, when it comes to giving someone feedback or suggestion, it would be more apt to do it privately instead of using a memo.
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