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Like most forms of writing, memos come with so many rules, instructions, and suggestions that it's easy to forget a few. Since we've already addressed the dos and don'ts of how to write a memo, let's take a moment to look at these rules in practice.
While reading over the below memo examples, pay special attention to the key features of a memo. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Is it addressed to the right audience?
- Does the subject line accurately convey its contents?
- Does it anticipate and address potential objections?
- Is it formatted clearly and consistently?
When considering each memo's main text, pay close attention to the structure. The opening paragraph should restate the memo's purpose indicated in the subject line. Subsequent paragraphs should build on this opening statement and explain the memo's purpose in detail. Unnecessary information should be removed, and word choice should remain straightforward and professional.
Memo Example 1: A General Office Memo
To: All Staff
From: The Manager
Date: May 27, 2010
Subject: Inappropriate use of time on Google Doodle games
It has come to my attention that many in the office have been spending time on the Google home page microgames. This memo is a reminder to use your work hours for work.
According to a recent article, the estimated daily cost of people collectively playing these games instead of working is over $120 million—which is calculated based on the daily average increased time spent on the Google home page (36 seconds).
If these estimates are applied to our 600 office employees, this results in a nearly $700 weekly loss.
This is a conservative estimate considering the extensive discussions that occur about beating the office's current high score. The extra cost quickly adds up.
Of course, we don't want you to view our organization as a place of drudgery and draconian rules. I encourage a fun and competitive environment, and I recognize that we certainly won't be profitable if you are unhappy or dissatisfied with your jobs. This is just a reminder to be careful with your use of company time.
Wright, Tony. (2010). The Tragic Cost of Google Pac-Man – 4.82 million hours. Retrieved May 26, 2010 from: http://blog.rescuetime.com/2010/05/24/the-tragic-cost-of-google-pac-man-4-82-million-hours/
Memo Example 2: A Departmental Memo
To: Computer Programming Division
From: Vice President Lumbergh
Date: February 19, 2016
Subject: Attaching cover sheets to TPS reports
This is to remind the division that, starting today, we are now filing all Testing Procedure Specification (TPS) reports with new cover sheets.
The reason for this change is simple. In addition to a new format, the cover sheets provide a summary of the report as well as the updated legal copy. The new cover sheets also include Initech's new logo.
Though this change may initially seem like a headache and an extra step, it is necessary to include the new cover sheets due to their updated information. Failing to do so will result in a confusing and inaccurate product delivered to our customers.
Please be sure to follow this new procedure.
Vice President Lumbergh
By following these memo examples and addressing your audience in clear, concise language, you'll be able to effectively communicate with your coworkers in all your correspondence.