Memo writing is just one of those things: seems easy from afar, but can get complicated, odd, and pretty important. 

The good news? You don’t have to feel the dread of the world falling on your shoulders whenever you open your Email client to write a memo email. In this article, we’re taking a closer look at memo writing and how to do it the smart way. Keep reading to find out more, and check out our examples and templates.

What is a memo and what is its purpose?

A “memo” is a short and precise message that is usually written within an organization to convey important information or updates. It is primarily used for internal communication purposes, although it may also be shared with external parties in some cases.

The primary purpose of a memo is to provide a quick and efficient way of relaying important information, updates, or requests within an organization. Memos are typically used for time-sensitive matters. There are different memo formats to use too, each with its own specific goal.

Although the differentiation between the types of memos might be confusing, you should know that every memo should have a clear purpose and adhere to a specific format. Having a few business memo templates on hand can help you save time, ensure proper communication, and make sure that your memos are concise, professional, and effective.

Short answer

What are the key elements of a standard memo?

Understanding the key elements of a memo is crucial for crafting an effective document that communicates your message clearly and professionally. A well-structured memo typically contains several elements that seamlessly guide the reader through the content.

    • Date : Including the date at the beginning of your memo ensures that the recipients know when the memo was written, which is essential for time-sensitive information.

    • To : This specifies the intended recipients of the memo. It can be directed at individuals or groups within the organization.

    • From : This section identifies the author of the memo. Including your name and position clarifies who is initiating the communication.

    • Subject : The subject line should provide a concise summary of the memo’s purpose. This helps recipients to quickly understand the gist of the message before reading the full text.

    • Body : The body of the memo contains the message itself. It should be divided into clear, concise paragraphs, each dealing with a single aspect of the subject. The use of bullet points for lists or key points can enhance readability.

    • Closing : While not always necessary, a closing section can be used for a call to action, a summary of the memo’s purpose, or to express gratitude to the recipients for their attention.

    • Attachments : If your memo references additional documents, mention them in this section to ensure that recipients are aware of and can access all relevant information.

The process of writing a memo

Writing memos isn’t an elaborate process, but having clear steps to follow will help you make sure everything is clean, tidy, and professional.

Regardless of the memo format template you’re using, the process boils down to a handful of steps:

1. Identify your goal

Before you start writing, make sure you have a clear understanding of why you are writing the memo and what message you want to convey.

For instance, examples of goals can include:

  • Informing employees about a new policy or procedure
  • Providing updates on a project or departmental changes
  • Requesting feedback or action from recipients

2. Consider your audience

Knowing who will be reading your memo is crucial in determining the appropriate tone and level of formality to use. For example, a memo about the next team building will likely look the same if you’re the team leader informing your team (you’re close to them) or if you’re the HR, informing the stakeholders or board.

3. Organize your thoughts

Before diving into writing, think of what, specifically, you want to say. If needed, write down some bullet points. You don’t need to get super fancy with this – pen and paper will do. If you prefer the more environmentally friendly option, open a Google Doc or a digital sticky note.

4. Use a template

Using a memo template can help you save time and ensure that your document adheres to the standard format. Having a stockpile of templates for different purposes can be handy, as you can easily customize them to suit your specific needs.

5. Write the draft

Start with an introduction that clearly states the purpose of the memo, then dive into the details in the body section, and end with a concise conclusion or call to action. Use a professional and straightforward language, avoiding jargon or complicated terms that may confuse the reader.

6. Proofread

Before sending your memo, carefully proofread it for any spelling or grammatical errors. Having a browser spell check installed can help you spot any minor mistakes.

7. Distribute

Once your memo is complete, make sure to send it to all intended recipients through the appropriate channels. You may also want to follow up with a face-to-face meeting or email to ensure that everyone has received and understood the message.

Memo templates and examples

There are many ways to write a memo, but if you are looking for a quick way to make sure your notes are clear and professional, using a memo template can be helpful. Here are three different memorandum templates that you can use for various purposes:

1. Standard memo template

This classic memo format is suitable for general communication within an organization. It includes all the essential elements mentioned earlier and provides a clean and professional layout.


“Subject: New Company Policy

Date: June 1, 2021

To: All Employees

From: John Smith, HR Manager

Dear Employees,

I am writing to inform you of a new company policy that will be effective starting July 1st. The policy outlines the proper use of personal devices during work hours and applies to all employees.

Please review the attached policy and make sure to adhere to it starting next month. If you have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to reach out to the HR department.

Thank you for your attention,

John Smith”

As you can see, this example is concise, clear, and includes all the necessary elements of a standard memo.

2. Informative memo template

If your memo contains important updates or information, this template can be useful. It has sections for key points and action items, making it easy to convey clear and concise messages.


“Subject: Quarterly Sales Report

Date: June 15, 2021

To: All Sales Team Members

From: Sarah Jones, Sales Manager

Dear Team,

I am pleased to share with you the quarterly sales report for Q2. Our team has achieved a 10% increase in sales compared to the same period last year. This great accomplishment is a testament to your hard work and dedication.

Key Points:

  • The company has expanded into two new markets, resulting in a 15% increase in sales.
  • Our team successfully secured three major contracts with high-profile clients.
  • We have identified areas for improvement, such as increasing customer retention rates.

Action Items:

  • Review the report thoroughly and come prepared to discuss it during our next team meeting on June 20th.
  • Implement strategies to improve customer retention rates in the upcoming quarter.

Thank you all for your continued efforts and I look forward to discussing these results in more detail.

Best Regards,

Sarah Jones”

This memo example is a bit longer, but as you can see, the structure helps organize the information and make it easy to understand.

3. Formal memo template

For more formal communication or when addressing higher management, this memorandum template is a good choice. Its layout is more structured and includes space for the recipient’s response or action.


“Date: June 1, 2021

To: Jane Doe, CEO

From: John Smith, Marketing Manager

Subject: Proposal for Digital Marketing Strategy

Dear Ms. Doe,

I am writing to propose a new digital marketing strategy that I believe will greatly benefit our company. After conducting thorough research and analysis, I have identified a gap in our current marketing efforts and believe that this new approach can help us reach our target audience more effectively.


  • Our current digital marketing efforts mainly focus on social media platforms, but data shows that our target audience spends more time on search engines.
  • Competitor analysis reveals that they have already implemented similar strategies with great success.

Proposed Strategy:

  • Invest in SEO and PPC campaigns to increase our search engine presence.
  • Utilize email marketing for targeted communication with potential customers.

Expected Outcomes:

  • Increase website traffic by 25% in the first three months of implementation.
  • Improve conversion rates by 15% within six months.

I would appreciate your consideration of this proposal and am available to discuss it further at your convenience.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


John Smith”

As you can see, this formal memo structure allows for a clear presentation of facts, supporting evidence, and a defined call to action. Here are some specifics that make this memo formal:

  • It is addressed to a specific person.
  • The subject line is concise and informative.
  • The tone is professional and respectful.

Overall, using the appropriate memo template can help you save time and ensure that your message gets across clearly. Make sure to adjust the format according to your specific needs, but always remember to keep it brief, organized, and professional.

4. Informal memo example

An informal memo typically serves less formal communication needs within an organization. Unlike formal memos, informal memos are written in a more conversational tone and are usually used for less critical or routine information sharing.

These memos might not follow the strict structure of formal memos and may use more relaxed language. Despite this, they still aim to clearly convey a message and maintain professionalism.


“Subject: Team Lunch Outing

Date: June 10, 2023

To: Marketing Team

From: Lisa Brown, Marketing Coordinator Hey Team,Just a quick heads-up – we’re planning a team lunch outing next Friday, June 17th, at 1 PM. We’ll be heading to The Italian Bistro downtown. This is a great opportunity for us to unwind and get to know each other better outside of the office. If you have any dietary restrictions or prefer a specific type of cuisine, please let me know by Wednesday so that we can make the necessary arrangements.

Looking forward to a fun time with everyone!



This memo is considered informal due to several markers of informality:

  • Conversational tone: Casual and friendly language like “Hey Team” and “Just a quick heads-up.”
  • Personal touch: Phrases like “unwind and get to know each other better.”
  • Relaxed language: Words like “fun time” and “Cheers.”

5. Reminder memo example

Reminder memos are used to reinforce a message or ensure that important tasks are not forgotten. They are often short and to the point, effectively reminding the recipients about upcoming deadlines, important events, or necessary actions.


“Subject: Reminder: IT Maintenance Scheduled

Date: June 20, 2023

To: All Employees

From: Tom Harris, IT Manager

Dear Team,

This is a friendly reminder that our scheduled IT maintenance will take place this Friday, June 23rd, from 6 PM to 10 PM. During this time, access to the company’s network, email, and other IT services will be unavailable. Please ensure that you have saved all your work and logged out of your systems before the maintenance begins.

We appreciate your cooperation in helping us ensure the smooth operation of our IT infrastructure. If you have any questions or need further assistance, please feel free to reach out to the IT department.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Best regards,

Tom Harris”

Reminder memos are essential for keeping everyone informed and ensuring deadlines and special instructions are clearly reiterated. This example demonstrates the importance of being concise and direct while maintaining professionalism.

The use of memo templates in different business scenarios

Few things are as universal as memos are. Every day, 361.6 billion emails are sent out – and most of these are memos, one way or another. Here are some of the most common business scenarios that require writing memos, for example:

Project updates

Share the progress and status of ongoing projects with the team or stakeholders. This keeps everyone informed and aligned on the project’s trajectory.

Meeting agendas

Outline the key points, discussion topics, and objectives for upcoming meetings. This ensures that attendees come prepared and that the meeting runs smoothly.

Policy changes

Communicate any new policies or modifications to existing ones to ensure all employees are aware and can adhere to the changes.

Event reminders

Send out reminders for important dates such as company events, deadlines, or required training sessions, to ensure maximum participation and compliance.

Resource allocation

Inform team members about the allocation or reallocation of resources, such as budget changes, equipment distributions, or staffing adjustments.

Performance feedback: Provide constructive feedback and performance evaluations to employees to aid in their professional development and address any areas of improvement.

Learn how to write a clear business memo

Learn the ins and outs of writing a business memo with this video tutorial by: LearnFree

How to write a memo: Best practices & tips

As shown so far, memo writing is quite easy – but if you’re looking for a set of best practices to help you make sure your memos always hit the right spot, here you go:

Choose the right tone and language for your memo

In memo writing, choosing the right tone and language involves ensuring that the communication style matches the formality of the context and the intended audience. The tone can range from formal and respectful to casual and friendly, depending on the situation and recipients.

  • Formality: Match the tone to the context (formal for official memos, informal for casual updates).
  • Politeness: Ensure respectful and considerate language.
  • Clarity: Use straightforward and unambiguous words.
  • Professionalism: Maintain a professional demeanor, even in informal memos.
  • Consistency: Keep the tone consistent throughout the memo.

Ensure memo content alignment with business goals

Aligning memo content with business goals ensures that the communication is relevant and supports the organization’s objectives. This alignment helps to maintain focus, drive strategic initiatives, and foster a cohesive understanding among employees.

Prioritize brevity

Even if you have a lot to say, it’s important to keep your memo concise and focused. Brevity ensures that your message is clear and easy to understand, allowing readers to quickly grasp the main points without getting lost in unnecessary details.

Make sure things are crystal clear

Clarity is essential in memo writing to avoid misunderstandings and ensure that the intended message is effectively communicated. Use simple language and straightforward sentences to convey your points concisely and unambiguously. Read your memo twice to make sure it’s clear and there’s no potential for confusion.

Don’t diverge from the main point

Avoid straying from the primary topic in your memo to maintain focus and ensure that your message is clearly understood by the recipients. Staying on point helps prevent confusion and reinforces the main purpose of your communication.

Ensure proper formatting and structure

Proper formatting and structure enhance readability and comprehension. Use clear headings and subheadings, bullet points, and numbered lists to organize information logically. Break down text into short paragraphs to prevent overwhelming the reader with large blocks of text.

Use appropriate subject lines

A well-crafted subject line sets the stage for the memo and helps the recipient quickly understand its purpose. Make the subject line specific, informative, and relevant to the content of the memo to grab the reader’s attention and provide an immediate summary of the main point.

Proofread for errors

Always proofread your memo before sending it out to catch any spelling, grammar, or punctuation errors. Well-written and error-free memos reflect professionalism and attention to detail. It might be helpful to have a colleague review the memo as well, for an additional layer of scrutiny.

Include a clear call to action

Conclude your memo with a clear call to action that outlines the expected response or next steps from the recipients. Whether it’s attending a meeting, providing feedback, or acknowledging receipt, specifying what is required helps ensure that your objectives are met and that the memo achieves its intended purpose.

How to write a great memo

This is a general guide on how to write a memo (aka “memorandum” if you wanna be technical) by

“This is a general guide on how to write a memo (aka “memorandum” if you wanna be technical)”


Common challenges in memo writing and solutions

Nothing is ever without challenge, memo writing included. But most of the challenges in writing memos can be overcome.

Miscommunication and ambiguity

One of the primary challenges in memo writing is ensuring that the message is clear and free of ambiguity. Miscommunication can lead to misunderstandings that may affect project timelines, resource allocation, or employee morale.

To address this, focus on clarity and simplicity in your memo writing. Avoid jargon and complex sentences that could confuse the reader. Break down information into digestible parts and use bullet points or numbered lists where applicable. Always read your memo from the recipient’s perspective to ensure it conveys the intended message without room for misinterpretation.

Lack of engagement

Memos can often be perceived as dull or unimportant, leading to recipients skimming through them and missing critical information.

Use an informative and compelling subject line to grab attention. Incorporate visual elements such as charts or graphs if they help illustrate key points. Personalize the memo where possible to make it more relevant to the recipient.

Memo formatting issues

Poor formatting can make a memo difficult to read and understand, causing essential details to be overlooked.

Adopt a consistent structure for all memos, using headings, subheadings, and bullet points to organize content logically. Ensure adequate white space to avoid large blocks of text and use a readable font. A well-structured memo enhances readability and ensures that key points stand out.

Insufficient proofreading

Typos are more than just slightly embarrassing, especially in formal situations. Errors in grammar, spelling, or punctuation can undermine the professionalism of a memo and distract from the message.

Always proofread your memo before sending it. Utilize tools like grammar and spell-check software, and consider having a colleague review the memo for additional insights.

Unclear call to action

A memo without a clear call to action can leave recipients unsure of what is expected of them, leading to incomplete tasks or unaddressed issues.

Conclude your memo with a specific and actionable request. Outline, very clearly, what you need from the recipients. Whether it’s attending a meeting, providing feedback, or completing a task by a certain deadline, explicit instructions help ensure the memo’s objectives are met.

The role of feedback and revisions in memo writing

Feedback and revisions play a crucial role in refining and improving the effectiveness of memos. Get feedback from colleagues or supervisors to find out how the memo is received and understood.

Constructive feedback can highlight areas for improvement, such as clarity, tone, or structure. Regularly reviewing and revising memos based on this feedback will help you make sure all of your memos are clear.

Overcoming barriers to clear memo writing & communication

In the end, most memo errors and mishaps happen as a result of communication barriers. Time constraints, differences in communication styles and preferences, and lack of feedback can all hinder the effectiveness of memo writing.

Remember all communications have six elements: a sender, a receiver, a channel, a message, a context, and a code. To make sure your communication is clear, you need to make sure you:

  • Know your sender (and how to address them)
  • Know your channel (and the channel-specific issues that can intervene)
  • Have a clear idea of what message you want to send
  • Know your code (i.e., the language you’re using, along with all its particularities, like tone of voice, jargon, and so on)
  • Understand the context (i.e., your reader’s background, knowledge, and expectations)

This means that when writing a memo, you need to consider all of these elements. Be mindful of the language and tone you use, know your audience and tailor the message accordingly, and make sure to provide enough context for the

Leveraging technology in memo creation

Luckily, you’re not alone in writing memos that deliver on point. There’s quite a lot of technology to help you with that, these days. Here are some of the tools you can use to write better memos:

Artificial Intelligence LLMs

AI is everywhere these days, it’s almost impossible to avoid it. The good news is it can be actually helpful when you write memos. For example, you can ask

  • ChatGPT to generate a memo template for team buildings or client communications
  • ChatGPT to proofread your memos,
  • AI to assess the clarity of your writing, or
  • Perplexity AI to fact check something or help you find a unique example to support your point.

Other AI-powered tools such as Quill, Wordsmith, and Wordtune can help you generate insights-driven memos by analyzing data from sources like surveys, reports, and so on. The good news about these is that some of them can be installed directly in your browser (and they will work in, say, Gmail or Google Docs), so you don’t have to open another tab for a bit of help.

No matter which AI you use, though, remember that they aren’t always the most secure option, so never save any confidential information with them. Always keep your important data within a secure network or on your personal computer.

Writing and grammar tools

Before OpenAI, there were tools that helped you check your writing for errors. Grammarly is one of the best known, user-friendly tools that helps you with grammar and spelling issues. Likewise, the Hemingway App is a nifty tool that checks whether your sentences are too long and suggests alternatives to make them more concise.

Collaborative writing platforms

Collaborative writing platforms can be immensely beneficial when crafting memos, especially when multiple stakeholders are involved. Tools like Google Docs and Microsoft Word Online allow multiple users to work on a document simultaneously.

They offer features such as real-time editing, commenting, and version history, which make it easier to manage feedback and track changes. This collaborative environment ensures that all relevant insights and expertise are incorporated into the memo, enhancing its quality and effectiveness. Additionally, these platforms often integrate with other productivity tools, facilitating seamless sharing and teamwork.

Integrating memo templates into digital workflows

Integrating memo templates into digital workflows can streamline and automate the memo creation process and help with consistency across communications (and across the entire organization, if clear workflows are implanted company-wide).

For example, memo templates provide a structured format that ensures all necessary elements, such as headings, bullet points, and call-to-action sections, are included in every memo. This consistency not only improves readability but also reinforces your organization’s professional image.

By integrating these templates into commonly used digital platforms, such as email clients or document management systems, employees can easily access and utilize them, reducing the time and effort required to draft memos from scratch.

One effective way to incorporate memo templates is by embedding them directly into software applications that are frequently used for communication. For instance, email platforms like Microsoft Outlook, Google Workspace, Notion and Slack all have some form of AI or pre-defined template functionality that can be tailored for memo creation.

This integration allows employees to transition from initial memo conception to final distribution, ensuring that all memos adhere to organizational standards. Moreover, these templates can be updated centrally, so any revisions to the format or required components can be implemented universally, ensuring uniformity and compliance with the latest guidelines.


Memo writing might sound like a trifle, an unimportant matter, in the grand scheme of things. After all, it’s just emails , right? Everyone can write an email.

However, as simple as these types of tasks seem, they can very easily turn into a source of confusion, misinterpretation, or even conflict. To avoid these issues, it’s essential to approach memo writing thoughtfully and with the necessary preparation.

When you take the time to understand the elements of effective communication and leveraging technology, you can improve the clarity, impact, and consistency of your memos. This will not only save time and resources but also help foster better working relationships, a better personal image among your peers, and ultimately, contribute to the overall success of your organization.

Use and build your own templates, encourage your team to do the same (and even share the templates), and make sure you actively incorporate feedback in your writing.