Memos: Meaning, Advantages, Formats, Example

write memo

A memorandum is more popularly known as a memo. The literal meaning of the word “memorandum” is a note to assist the memory. Memorandums are like letters written within the organization.” They primarily consist of written messages shared among employees as part of their day-to-day work.

What is a Memo?

A memo is a written document that stays inside the company. An effective memo is required to run the company’s internal workings smoothly.

To Write a Memo that Works for the cause is essential.

“I love being a writer,” quipped novelist Peter Devries, “What I can’t stand is the paperwork.” When it comes to writing memos, most business people would agree.

Mounting evidence shows that memos may be small, but they give big headaches to everyone, from secretaries to corporate officers.

They are hard to write quickly and clearly, are like “War and Peace” to read, require Miss Marple to figure out, and, if written in the wrong tone of voice, can make the nicest people sound heartless.

In the office as well as out, your personality is often judged by how you write. Muddled memos can cost you dearly in career advancement. Communication skills are a top priority for business leaders, often more important than financial, marketing, and technical know-how.

To keep getting raises and promotions, experts like Van Skiver and Booher say you need to literally write your own ticket.

Definition of Memo

Memos: Meaning, Advantages, Formats, Example

“Memorandum” is singular in number. Its plural forms are “memorandums” or “memoranda.” A memorandum is a written note or communication between people working for the same organization, especially in business.

In other words, a memo or memorandum is a written message from one person to another or several persons within the same organization.

Thus, it is one kind of internal communication. Lesikar and Pettit (2002:377) said, “Memorandums are the letters written inside the organization.” They are primarily written messages exchanged by employees in the daily conduct of their work.

A memorandum, commonly called a memo, is a written note or communication, especially in a business context, exchanged between individuals working within the same organization.

Essentially, a memo represents a written message from one person to one or more individuals within the same organization, making it a form of internal communication.

Objectives of Office Memos

Office memos serve specific purposes, which include:

  1. Providing information.
  2. Requesting information.
  3. Informing employees about actions or decisions.
  4. Requesting actions or decisions.
  5. Confirming decisions made during telephone conversations.
  6. Notifying individuals about the granting or withholding of permission for specific actions.
  7. Seeking explanations regarding matters of conduct.

Uses of Memo

  • To issue instructions to the staff.
  • To communicate policy changes to the staff.
  • To give/seek suggestions to and from subordinates.
  • To request help or information.
  • To confirm a decision arrived at on the telephone.
  • To intimate granting/withholding permission to do something.
  • To seek an explanation on some matter of conduct, etc.
  • To use as future reference.
  • To exchange ideas between firms about a particular issue of interest.

Advantages of Memorandum

The memo form enjoys the following chief advantages:

  1. It is very brief. It is a no-frills form of communication, including nothing except the message in its simplest form.
  2. It is convenient. The notations at the top provide details about the addressee, the writer, the subject, and the date. The memo number is also included. The major area on the page is left free for the message, which can be typed or handwritten.
  3. It is inexpensive. Since it is for use within the organization, there is no need to use expensive stationery for it. If computer facilities were available, computer memos on the monitor would be even cheaper.
  4. It can be used for future reference. Depending on its importance, a memo can be destroyed after being read, filed, or stored on a computer disc for future reference.

Disadvantages of Memorandum

A memorandum or memo is not useful in all conditions. It has certain disadvantages, which are stated below:

  1. Memos are inappropriate for complex matters. A memo may not be suitable if the matter is complex or serious, involving lengthy discussion.
  2. It has very limited external use. Memos are primarily internal communication instruments and are not suitable for external communication, although they are occasionally used for external purposes on a very limited scale.
  3. It is a declining mechanism. Email is replacing the functions of memos, and therefore, their use is gradually declining.

Types of Memos

Organizations generally use printed office memos. Memorandums are typically short but can be long, especially when sending a policy memo.

Consequently, many organizations have printed small-size (5 x 8 1/2) stationary as well as conventional (8 1/2 x 11) size office memos for convenience. Office memos can be categorized into two types: direct and indirect.

Internal Memo

Management needs to inform subordinates about company policies, goals, and strategies or offer advice from time to time. It may also need to gather information from the subordinates about ongoing performance or their attitudes and opinions on company matters.

For all these purposes, internal memos are used to ensure that all parties are well-informed about the managerial and operational issues of the organization. It is also referred to as an interoffice memo.

Thus, internal memos constitute written communication among organizational staff, involving the exchange of organizational matters to facilitate the effective operation of the organization.

Specimen of a Internal memo
Subject: Implementation of Monthly Employee Recognition Program

To: All Employees
From: [Your Name], Human Resources Manager
Date: [Date]
CC: [CEO/President], [Department Heads]

Dear Team,
I hope this memo finds everyone in good spirits. We are excited to announce the launch of a new initiative aimed at celebrating the hard work and dedication of our valued team members – the Monthly Employee Recognition Program.

Objective of the Program:
The primary goal of the Monthly Employee Recognition Program is to acknowledge and reward employees who go above and beyond in their roles, exhibit exceptional performance, and contribute positively to the workplace environment.

Program Details:

Nomination Process:
All employees are encouraged to nominate a colleague who they believe deserves recognition.
Nominations can be submitted through the online form available on the company intranet by the last working day of each month.

Criteria for Recognition:
– Outstanding contribution to a project or task.
– Demonstrating teamwork and collaboration.
– Exemplary customer service.
– Innovation and creative problem-solving.

Awards and Recognition:
The recognized employee will receive a Certificate of Appreciation and a gift voucher.
A spotlight feature of the employee will be published in the company newsletter and on the intranet.

Announcement of Awardee:
The recipient of the Employee of the Month award will be announced during the first week of the following month.

Participation and Support:
We encourage everyone to actively participate in the nomination process and support this program to make it a success. Recognizing and appreciating each other’s efforts fosters a positive work culture and strengthens our sense of community.

Feedback and Suggestions:
We value your input and welcome any feedback or suggestions you may have to enhance the program. Please feel free to reach out to the Human Resources Department with your thoughts.

We believe that the Monthly Employee Recognition Program will contribute to a more engaged and motivated workforce. Let’s come together to celebrate our achievements and make our workplace a more rewarding and enjoyable place to be.

Thank you for your enthusiasm and commitment to making this program a success. If you have any questions or need further information, please contact [HR Contact] at [HR Contact Information].

Best Regards,
[Your Name]
Human Resources Manager
[Contact Information]

External Memo

The exchange of messages between firms in the form of a memo is known as an external memo or inter-firm memo.

It is oriented toward the easy and prompt exchange of decisions or information between the management of two firms. It avoids excessive formalities and expedites the exchange of communication.

Specimen of an External Memo
Subject: Announcement of New Product Line – [Product Name]

To: [Client/Partner Name]
From: [Your Name], [Your Title]
Date: [Date]
CC: [CEO/President], [Sales Manager], [Marketing Manager]
Dear [Client/Partner Name],

I hope this memo finds you well and in good spirits. We are reaching out to share some exciting news from [Your Company Name] that we believe will be of great interest and benefit to your organization.

Introduction of New Product Line – [Product Name]
We are thrilled to announce the launch of our innovative new product line, [Product Name], which will be available starting [Launch Date]. This product line has been developed with the latest technology and is designed to [Brief Description of What the Product Does and Its Benefits].

Key Features and Benefits:
[Feature 1]: [Description of Feature 1 and How It Benefits the User]
[Feature 2]: [Description of Feature 2 and How It Benefits the User]
[Feature 3]: [Description of Feature 3 and How It Benefits the User]

Applications and Use Cases:
The [Product Name] is versatile and can be utilized across various industries, including [List of Industries]. Some potential applications include [List of Applications and Use Cases].

Exclusive Offer for Valued Partners:
As a token of our appreciation for your continued partnership, we are pleased to offer you an exclusive [Discount Percentage]% discount on your first order of [Product Name] placed by [Offer End Date].

Product Demonstration and Inquiry:
We would be delighted to arrange a product demonstration or answer any inquiries you may have regarding [Product Name]. Please feel free to reach out to our Sales Team at [Sales Contact Information] to schedule a demonstration or discuss your specific needs.

We are confident that [Product Name] will add significant value to your operations and meet the high standards that both our companies uphold. We look forward to the opportunity to continue serving you with our innovative solutions and are excited to hear your thoughts on our latest offering.

Thank you for your time and consideration. We value our partnership and are committed to providing you with quality products and excellent service.

Warm regards,

[Your Name]
[Your Title]
[Your Contact Information]
[Your Company Name]

Direct Office Memos

Direct office memos are composed for routine matters or for conveying information meant for general dissemination among all employees or specific individuals. They follow the format of a direct inquiry letter.

This type of office memorandum begins directly with the main objective, followed by necessary explanations. Subsequently, specific information required is listed in a logical order, concluding with a courteous closing.

Specimen of a Direct Office Memorandum (Policy Memo)
Subject: Implementation of New Workplace Sustainability Policy

To: All Department Heads
From: [Your Name], [Your Title]
Date: [Date]
CC: [CEO/President], [HR Manager], [Facilities Manager]


The purpose of this memorandum is to introduce and implement a new Workplace Sustainability Policy aimed at reducing our environmental footprint and promoting eco-friendly practices within the organization.

Policy Overview:
The Workplace Sustainability Policy focuses on the following key areas:

Energy Conservation:
Switching off lights, computers, and electronic devices when not in use.
Utilizing energy-efficient appliances and lighting systems.

Waste Reduction:
Encouraging recycling and composting.
Reducing paper usage by promoting digital documentation.

Sustainable Commuting:
Promoting carpooling, cycling, and the use of public transportation.
Offering telecommuting options where applicable.

Green Procurement:
Prioritizing the purchase of eco-friendly and sustainably sourced products.
Evaluating suppliers based on their environmental practices.

Implementation Plan:

Training and Awareness: Conduct training sessions and workshops to educate employees on sustainability practices and the importance of environmental conservation.

Monitoring and Reporting: Establish a system for monitoring energy consumption, waste generation, and other relevant metrics. Departments will be required to submit monthly sustainability reports.

Incentives and Recognition: Recognize and reward departments and individuals who exhibit exemplary sustainability practices.


Department Heads: Ensure compliance with the policy within their respective departments, promote awareness, and submit monthly reports.

Employees: Adhere to the sustainability practices outlined in the policy and actively participate in related initiatives.

Sustainability Committee: Oversee the implementation of the policy, analyze reports, and recommend improvements.


Immediate: Communicate the policy to all employees and provide relevant documentation.
[Specific Date]: Conduct the first training session on sustainability practices.
[Specific Date]: Begin monthly monitoring and reporting.


The implementation of the Workplace Sustainability Policy is a step towards our commitment to environmental stewardship. We encourage all employees to embrace this initiative and contribute to building a more sustainable future.

Your cooperation and support in successfully implementing this policy are highly appreciated. For any questions or clarifications, please feel free to contact [Your Contact Information].

[Your Name]
[Your Title]
[Your Contact Information]

Indirect Office Memorandum (Bad News Memo)

Indirect Office Memorandums convey negative messages to employees. They begin indirectly and pleasantly, leading to the explanation. The explanation is positively worded, clear, and convincing. Sometimes, the refusal is accompanied by an alternative proposal for the employee’s convenience. The ending is positive and friendly.

Specimen of a Indirect Office Memorandum (Policy Memo)
Subject: Introduction of Flexible Working Hours Policy

To: All Staff Members
From: [Your Name], [Your Title]
Date: [Date]
CC: [CEO/President], [HR Manager], [Team Leaders]

Dear Colleagues,

I hope this message finds you well. We are reaching out to share some exciting news regarding a positive change that we believe will contribute to a more balanced and productive work environment for all.

Introduction of Flexible Working Hours
We understand that each of our employees has unique needs and responsibilities, and we are continually exploring ways to accommodate these diverse requirements. After careful consideration and evaluation of various options, we are pleased to announce the introduction of a Flexible Working Hours Policy, effective [Start Date].

Policy Highlights
The Flexible Working Hours Policy is designed to offer you more control over your work schedule, allowing for better work-life balance. The key features of this policy include:

Core Hours:
All employees are required to be present during the core hours of 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM, from Monday to Friday.

Flexible Hours:
Outside of core hours, employees have the flexibility to start earlier or finish later, as long as the total working hours per day are maintained.

Remote Work Option:
Eligible employees may opt to work remotely for up to two days a week, subject to approval from their respective supervisors.

Time Tracking:
Employees are responsible for accurately recording their working hours using the time tracking system provided.

Benefits and Objectives
We believe that this policy will yield several benefits, including increased employee satisfaction, reduced stress, and enhanced productivity. The objectives of implementing flexible working hours are to:

– Accommodate individual needs and preferences.
– Foster a positive and inclusive work culture.
– Improve overall job satisfaction and employee well-being.
– Enhance organizational productivity and efficiency.

Your Role and Responsibilities
While enjoying the benefits of flexible working hours, we also count on your responsibility and commitment to maintaining high standards of work. Please ensure that:

– Work commitments and deadlines are met.
– Communication with team members and supervisors is maintained.
– Time is accurately recorded and reported.

Feedback and Questions
Your feedback is valuable to us, and we encourage you to share your thoughts and experiences as we implement this new policy. Should you have any questions or require further clarification, please do not hesitate to reach out to [HR Contact] at [HR Contact Information].

We are excited about this positive change and look forward to seeing the benefits it will bring to our work environment and to each of you individually.

Thank you for your cooperation and continued dedication to our organization.

Warm regards,
[Your Name]
[Your Title]
[Your Contact Information]

Memo Formats

The memo format differs from that of a letter as its purpose is communication within an organization.

Since a memo circulates from one department to another or from one employee to another, it is essential to include the name of the person sending the memo, the name of the recipient, and the designation or department of both individuals.

It must also include reference numbers. In the case of an external or inter-firm memo, there is a provision for the name and designation of the recipient from the other firm who will respond to the memo.

A memo should have a “memo head,” a brief heading consisting simply of the company name and the designation “Memorandum” or “Interoffice Communication.”

Instead of an inside address, salutation, and signature block, the memo format employs a “To” line and a “From” line to identify its recipient and writer. Within a company’s walls, there is no need for addresses, and the functions of the salutation and a complimentary close are not considered necessary.

A distribution indicator is used to indicate who receives copies of the memo. Sometimes, it appears at the end, similar to a letter, and other times, it appears immediately beneath the “To” line.

Its placement is usually a matter of company policy. The date line at the upper right indicates when the communication was written. The file number line helps with filing. A subject line, though not often used in business letters, always appears in a memo header.

Like letters, memos are written on several sizes of stationery: full size (8 ½ x 11 inches) for memos with several paragraphs or pages and half size (5 ½ x 8 ½ inches) for brief notes. Pages beyond the first in a multi-paged memo are typed on plain bond paper and carry the same “page 2” heading as letters.

The format of office memos may vary between organizations, but a standard office memo typically includes the following elements:

  1. The name of the organization and the word “Memorandum” appear prominently at the top, often in large, bold typeface. This text is usually centered on the page, but it may also be aligned to the left.
  2. Some memo formats include a “Reference” section, often aligned to the left, or it may appear after the “From” section.
  3. The “Date,” “To,” and “From” sections are aligned to the left of the page. Occasionally, the “Date” may also appear aligned to the right. The “To” field indicates the recipient(s) of the office memo, while the “From” field indicates the sender(s).
  4. The “Subject” section follows the “From” section and is typically the most extensive part of the memo, providing the main content of the message.
  5. In some cases, a “Copies to” section is included to specify individuals or heads of departments who are also receiving the same memo.
  6. The “Signature” section is placed at the bottom of the office memo, either on the right or left side of the memo sheet. It’s common for initials to be used instead of full signatures in this section.

Memorandum Report

Memorandum reports are communications between individuals who are familiar with each other and work within the same organization. These are written messages exchanged by employees in the daily course of their business activities. Such reports are authored by one person and directed to another person within the same organization, which is why they are typically written informally.

Memorandums serve as common internal communications. Nevertheless, some memorandums can take on a formal tone, particularly when the intended recipient is a high-ranking executive. In fact, certain memorandum reports include headings and visual aids.

Memorandum reports primarily address routine, day-to-day issues. Consequently, they often require little introductory information. In fact, they frequently commence reporting without any introductory remarks. Similar to letter reports, memorandum reports may feature a signature or initials after the typed name in the headers.

10 Tips For Effective Memo Writing

A memo is used for internal communication between executives and subordinates or between officers of the same level. It is also used for outside communication between two organizations.

Here’s how:

Understand the Purpose of Memo.

What it’s not is a school essay. A memo is a written document that stays inside the company; if it goes outside, it’s a letter. A memo is also short.

Most experts say two pages should be tops after which a memo starts to turn into a report.

If you can boil down even a two-page memo to two paragraphs that take up only a half page and still convey the same facts, you get an A+ in business.

Equally important, memos are written to get someone to do or understand something—be it to spend money, meet a deadline, constructively criticize, or say yes or no.

Get Personal

Use words like I, you, and we. It’s a lot more human to say, “I would like you to do this.” To get action, write in the active, not the passive, voice.

Be Conversational

Write the way you talk. “Use contractions,” says Holly Church, a business consultant who trains Fortune 500 executives. “You probably say ‘I’m happy’ more often than you say ‘I am happy.’”

Business meeting Memo Demo , Sample, PDF, Docx

Don’t Show Off

Avoid scholarly words, technical jargon, and just plain gibberish like “as per your request” when you simply mean “Here’s what you wanted. “Or how about this: “R & D wants your input because temporal considerations are of primary importance.” Translation: “Our research people need your answer today.”

Avoid “Smothered” Words

Van Skiver explains that these are simple root words with fancy endings tacked on to puff them up. Favorites are “tion,” “ance,” “ent,” “ment,” “ize” and “ility.”

For example:

“The continuation of our issuance of incentives is dependent upon the prioritization by employees of company objectives.”

Loosely translated: “If you want to keep getting incentives, meet company goals.”

If You’re Not Sure,

Check. “If there’s an error in the memo, it will probably be in names, dates, or numbers,” cautions Booher, and such mistakes may cost you dearly.

One of Booher’s clients, an oil company, was sued by the families of two employees killed in an on-site accident.

A specialist on the scene said that the company was to blame, but when the specialist described the incident on paper, he got the date wrong.

This cast doubt on his credibility regarding everything he said he had witnessed, and the upshot was the company settled out of court.

Meeting Memo Demo , Sample, PDF, Docx

Don’t Be Trite and Dull (be Unique).

One hackneyed expression Booher sees regularly is, “We’re sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused you,” which “just sends people up the wall,” she says.

”Nothing could be more insincere.” ”Please don’t hesitate to call” is another phrase that gets no results and turns people off. A more sincere ending is, “If you need help, I’m available. Give me a call.”

Visualize the Reader

Memos are usually written from the writer’s point of view, not the reader’s.

Yet the reader usually has to do something when receiving a memo, and, not being a psychic, he is often not sure what it is.

Experts suggest you pretend you’re having a face-to-face discussion or a telephone conversation with the memo recipient.

Make the Bottom Line the Top Line

Memos often begin with a statement of a problem, proceed to discuss why the problem exists, suggest a course of action, and conclude with something wishy-washy, like “I would like to hear from you soon.” The action you want the reader to take should be spelled out in the first line (or at least the first paragraph).

Don’t Give Too Many Whys

It’s necessary to explain why you want something done, but don’t overdo it. One expert cautions that a reader can probably only absorb no more than six or seven reasons at once.

If you must cite more whys, put them on a separate sheet of paper and staple the sheets together. This way, the basic memo message doesn’t get lost in a sea of details.

Keep Paragraphs Short Limit each paragraph to five lines or less. Put each reason in a separate paragraph rather than bunching them up in a forbid­ding 20-line block of type.

Close with a Call to Action

Many memos don’t close with anything, leaving the reader hanging. If you want a response by Friday at 3 p.m., say so.