Sunday, January 4, 2009

Memo Writing

Tips for making sure your point gets across

Perhaps one of the most undervalued skills for any business person is the ability to communicate effectively through the written — or typed — word.

Here are some simple tips to make sure your next memo is succinct and effective:

Organize and simplify. The first step, according to an article on, is to take the time to organize your thoughts. What’s the purpose of the memo? What message do you want to get across? Once you answer those questions, try to distill the answers down as simply and clearly as possible.

What’s next? Oftentimes the missing element in a memo — particularly one from an employee to a manager — is next steps. The blog Communication Nation ( suggests that every memo to your boss should include a brief outline of the specific actions your plan or proposal requires.

Ask for feedback. Be sure to get someone else’s perspective on your memo before you send it out to the world. Ask that person not only to proofread for spelling and grammatical errors, but have them think critically about the content.

Sleep on it. Before you click send or print, sleep on the memo. A fresh look in the morning often spots obvious errors that weren’t apparent during the thick of writing.

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