Tips on How to Write a Memo
Every student should know how to write memos. First thing you should know is that all written work whether you are a college or university student has to be submitted in memo format. Memos are always typed. If the memo is multi-paged, it has to be stapled as it ensures pages stay together and makes the written work easier to stack. Below, you will find some tips and memo examples that might help you.
The Memo Top
The memorandum top is common to all memos and has to include the following lines: “date,” “subject,” “to,” “from.” Usually, for most written works, you can use any format you consider the most appropriate to convey your message. For instance, if you are assigned to answer numbered questions, it would be appropriate to provide numbered answers.
But if you have got a case-based assignment, it is recommended to use a more structured format that also includes the following sections: Introduction, Findings, Discussion. Look through some memo format examples to get a better understanding.
Just a few sentences which state the issue that you are discussing and what you are going to present in your paper. Avoid putting your key findings or conclusions here.
This section is also known as “Recommendations,” “Conclusions,” “Summary,” etc. Here, you have to present maximum three key points which you would like to leave with the reader. Each of them has to be several sentences long. Make sure to support the findings with your data and analysis below.
Here, you have to present your main data and analysis. Make sure this section consists of the following subsections:
Start this subsection with a paragraph which prepares the reader for the following data. Explain what data is used in this paper and where it is from; describe the used methods and why they are useful; tell about basic steps in the following analysis.
This has to be the body of the analysis (the use of data to generate results which improve decision-making). Data is aimed to provide a sense of objectivity. The content of this chapter depends on the topic of your paper.
It is a nice idea to include some subsection headings, which will help you stay organized during the writing process. Besides, it helps the reader understand you better. You should not include huge blocks of narrative text here. Such paragraphs are usually not easy to read. In memo writing, it is recommended to break up the data into brief blocks.
You might want to present your data and analysis in graphs or tables. Ensure your graphs and tables are placed close to the place where they are discussed instead of being placed as attachments at the end of this section. Also, make sure each of them has a title and numerical reference, as well as the analysis makes specific references to each table or graph.
You can succeed even more if your writing includes citations from other works and sources. It is better to use footnotes rather than endnotes, because it is much more convenient for the reader to look down at the bottom of the page for a citation instead of paging to the end of the paper. Due to this, a reader has an option to save some time, which is the thing that will help you win points.
To write a memo that can be highly evaluated, include a paragraph discussing which actions you think the reader should take based on your findings. Generally, the readers, not the writer, are the decision-makers, but they are almost always curious about what you think they should do next. Consider suggesting small, bite-sized changes instead of large, radical ones. However, if you think it is necessary to take a big step, try to divide it up into smaller steps and offer the first step.
Every analysis and findings have certain limitations. For instance, the used data may be incomplete or suspect, so it is better to note that to the reader. Read some examples of a memo and you will notice that most of them contain such a section.
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