What if we told you formatting a memo doesn’t have to be confusing and frustrating?
Formatting business memorandums is something most of us were taught in school, but many of us never thought we would need. However, as you now know as a business owner, knowing how to write a memo can be an important skill in the long run.
This free guide is designed to help refresh your skills and prepare you for writing a perfect professional memo for any situation.
Fortunately for a modern business owner, putting a memo together is easier now than ever.
In most cases, memos should follow this format:
Memo (or “Memorandum” if you want to be formal) (Your Logo)
(1.5’’ of White Space)
To: Name and Title of Recipient(s) (ex: Employees of [Company Name / Mark James VP of Sales, [Company Name]
CC: Names of any second or third parties the memo is also intended forFrom: Your NameDate: Month Day, YearRe: Subject of the Memo
* No Introduction is required for a memo (i.e. “To Whom it May Concern”) *
The first paragraph of your memo should inform the reader of the reason you’re writing and what will be covered. It’s important to keep memo introductions as concise as possible, while still covering the bases of why you’re writing and how you plan on delivering your message.
The second paragraph in a memo should explain the reason for the memo in more detail. If the subject of the memo is clear, this section should elaborate on the topic being discussed. This paragraph can also be used to present a proposal or planned action (i.e. new polices)
The third paragraph in a memo should map out the action that is planned or suggested. If the memo is intended to inform its audience about a decision that has already been made, make sure to include a timeline here. If the memo is proposing a change that hasn’t yet been made, this section should explain what it would take to make the change, along with asking for support.**
**No Salutation is required for memos (i.e. “Sincerely,” )
Now that you know the basic format of a memo, it’s time to take a look at some examples of memo text for each section:
I’m writing you to explain the new changes to our company policies. In the paragraphs below, I will briefly outline:
*The introduction paragraph does not need to include bullet points, but they can sometimes be helpful for organization.
As many of you know, [Your Company Name] has been having problems with [issue], [issue2], and [issue3]. After careful consideration, we’ve decided to make the following changes:
We have decided to make these changes in the hopes of improving our efficiency and employee satisfaction. Our hope is that the new policy will end up making [Company Name] better than ever.
*Again, bullet points are not required for this paragraph, but can prove helpful in organizing your points.
To make sure everyone has enough time to prepare, these changes will not go into effect until 90 days from the date of this memo.
As of [Date], we expect all [Company Name] employees to be in compliance.
To make sure [Company Name] remains the best place to work it can possibly be, our door is always open to your impact and feedback on these changes.
Please direct all questions and comments to [Company Representative] name as soon as possible and we will gladly set up a meeting to discuss
Congratulations, you’re now an expert at writing a memo!
But before you start work on making your memo dreams a reality, here’s a few helpful tips to keep in mind:
Never use a memo to share confidential information!
Internal memos should typically only be used to provide employees with important information, remind staff of policies/procedures, or to share company news/updates. External memos should usually only be used in support of a new proposal or partnership idea.
Memos should always be left justified and single spaced, with a consistent font
While there is no set best practice for memo font or font size, it’s important to keep memo format consistent to avoid distracting readers or taking away from the impact of your message.
Memos should almost never exceed one page in length.
If you need to include more information than you can fit on one page in a memo, it’s best to use attachments to do so. These should not be discussed at length in the memo, only referenced. (ex: “See attachment A”).
Try to keep sentences in a memo shorter than 20 words in length and paragraphs shorter than seven lines in length.
The end goal of a memo is to deliver information in an easy-to-understand way. Run-on sentences and large paragraphs can to distract from the message and should be avoided at all costs.
At Tomins, we understand time is a business owner’s most valuable resource. Even though you are now a memo expert, sometimes it helps to have a template designed for the exact situation you’re trying to address.
Fortunately for you, there are free and paid resources available for finding these templates.
If you have Microsoft office, you may already have a ton of free memo templates at your fingertips!
For users with versions Microsoft Word released prior to the 2007 edition, templates are built right into the program. All you need to do in Word 2003 or earlier is click:
After selecting the option for templates “on my computer”, you’ll be able to choose from (8) template categories, one of which is labeled “Memos”.
After previewing the available template options and choosing the one you want, all you need to do is input your text and save your memo!
There’s no need to worry if you have a newer edition of Microsoft Word, as there are still templates available for you to use.
In fact, newer versions of Word have even more templates to choose between!
The only difference between formatting a memo in old versions of Word and doing it in the newer versions is that most of the templates in the newer versions of word are hosted on a cloud server.
Because the 1000’s of templates available in the newest version of Word would take up a ton of space on user’s computers, Microsoft decided to integrate a template search tool into the “new document” menu that enables users to search for and download a memo template for use without leaving the program!
To access the new template cloud library, all you need to do is click:
After which point you should see this document launching window:
Once inside the document launcher, just type “memo” or the name of any other document template you’re trying to find into the search bar at the top labeled “Search for online templates” and hit enter to start your search.
Depending on the version of Word you’re using, your search results will look like this:
As soon as you find the template you want to use, click the preview image, click “create” and it will automatically download/open in a new document for editing.
If you don’t have/use Microsoft Word or would prefer to choose from a wider selection of templates than the library it offers, there are a few more good template resources available.
Oftentimes the best way to make sure you aren’t getting roped into a freemium scam that will watermark your memo or try to trick you into paying another way is by sourcing templates from educational sites.
These .edu sites each offer a memo templates that are 100% free to use:
While there are a number of other resource sites offering free templates to some degree, the likelihood of working to build a memo on a ‘free builder’ only to find that you need to pay or sign up to actually download it is pretty high.
If you’re ready to work with an insurance partner that works as hard as you do, our business insurance experts are ready to start learning about your needs now.
Tomins—mindful Insurance today, successful business tomorrow.