How to Write a Memo

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    Contributed by Deane Gradous, Twin Cities consultant

    General Guidelines

    A memo, or memorandum, is a written correspondence often used in a business setting. In that setting, it is often written on the organization’s letterhead, which is a document that includes the organization’s official logo and color scheme. However, with the dramatic increase in the use of email, memos seem increasingly to be written in email. In that situation, care must be taken to control its distribution and maintenance because memos usually have official status, for example, to be interpreted as official communication from upper management.

    See the following articles for various perspectives on memos.

    Sample Memo


    Medical Products, Inc.
    Interoffice Memo





    Mindy Grapefruit

    Joe Endive

    January 30, 1996

    Request to purchase a coffee maker

    copies to:

    George Grape

    Jon Orange

    Mike Celery

    Jean Radish

    Mindy, at our department meeting last week, I agreed to research the purchase of a coffee maker for the department. The research has yielded a clear preference, and I am ready to make the purchase.

    Potential uses for the coffee maker include service for
    – Group meetings
    – Guests
    – Coffee lovers

    Consumer Reports recommended three specific coffee makers. The models and prices are listed in Table 1.

    Table 1. Coffee maker options

    Type Size Manufacturer
    and model #
    Drip 12 cups Brown K345-6 $39.95
    Percolator 12 cups Toastmaker 89123 $24.00
    Instant-reserve 15 cups Benn H001-A2 $89.50

    A survey of the department yielded an overwhelming preference for the instant-reserve type of coffee maker. The people in our department feel that the need for speed and ease of use outweighs the issue of cost.

    Please initial the attached requisition for the instant-reserve coffee maker, written to Slade’s Hardware against our budget #50. Coffee can be purchased out of petty cash. I will stop on the way home from work to purchase the coffee maker and a couple of varieties of coffee–including the French roast you like so much.

    We will all enjoy a cup or two of coffee at the morning staff meeting.

    “Folks count on our quality”

    Also, consider
    Vocabulary, Spelling, and Grammar 

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