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Memos

Sample Memo



Source: Markel, M. (2010). Technical communication. Boston, MA: Bedford/St.Martin's.

Guidelines

Organizing a Memo

When you write a memo, organize it so that it is easy to follow. Consider these five important organizational elements.

1. A specific subject line. “Breast Cancer Walk” is too general. “Breast Cancer Walk Rescheduled for May 14” is better.

2. A clear statement of purpose. As discussed in Chapter 5, page 104, the purpose statement is built around an infinitive verb that clearly states what you want readers to know, believe, or do.

3. A brief summary. Even if a memo fits on one page, consider including a summary. For readers who want to read the whole memo, the summary is an advance organizer. For readers in a hurry, reading the summary substitutes for reading the whole memo.

4. Informative headings. Headings make a memo easier to read by enabling readers to skip sections they don’t need and to know at a glance what each section is about. Headings make a memo easier to write because they prompt the writer to provide the kind of information readers need.

5. A prominent recommendation. Many memos end with one or more recommendations. Sometimes, these recommendations take the form of action steps: bulleted or numbered lists of what the writer will do or would like others to do. Here is an example:

Action Items

I would appreciate it if you would work on the following tasks and have your results ready for the meeting on Monday, June 9.

* Henderson: Recalculate the flow rate.
* Smith: Set up a meeting with the regional EPA representative for sometime during the week of May 13.
* Falvey: Ask Amitra in Houston for his advice.
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