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10 Musts for Strong Business Memos

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There are two types of people in this world: those who leap at the chance to write a memo and the rest of us. For those of us who don’t find memo writing to be an inspirational task, it’s a slow slog from start to finish. Still, there is a process with a few musts that not only makes it less arduous but also result in a solid memo each and every time.

  1. Know who you’re writing for: Is this memo to a peer, a subordinate, your supervisor, the entire company? Until you know who is the intended primary reader, it will be nearly impossible to get up and running.
  2. Identify the points you need to include: They don’t have to be in order, but deciding what you need to cover in the memo before you begin will really help.
  3. Write a 1-sentence recap: Sort of like the famed elevator pitch, this recap is what would you say if you had 30 seconds to say something about this topic to the head of your company.
  4. Put your points in order: How do you want the logic to flow in this piece of writing?
  5. Clarify each point: Add a few sentences to make it clear what each point is about.
  6. Write the first paragraph: Include the purpose of the memo.
  7. Write the body of the memo: Use your clarified points.
  8. Write the closing: Be sure to include any call to action or expectations.
  9. Put it aside for an hour: Really. Do something else for a while.
  10. Read it aloud & revise before sending: As you read, you’ll discover any cringe-worthy parts while you still have time to make a change!

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