|A memo is an internal form of communication within a particular organization.
Most often a memo is an announcement, reminder, or update about a certain
event, policy, or procedure. Such a memo is brief, generally no longer than
one page, and its audience is assumed to be a group of "insiders"
familiar with the organization's culture even if they are not familiar with
the information conveyed in the memo itself.
A memo also can discuss information of a technical or business nature in
an almost "mini-report" fashion. Rather than serving as a bulletin
to most members of the organization, such a memo is often written from one
department representative or team to another department representative or
team. In this case, the memo might update members of one department on a
design or policy change that will affect the work of others in a different,
but related, department.
As more organizations have moved to electronic media communications, the
role of the memo has changed. Some organizations find a reduced number of
print-based memos circulating as those documents are replaced with email
or listserv messages. This shift, however, does not mean that memos have
no place in the business world. To the contrary, memos in their print-based
form seem to carry with them a strong sense of "permanency" as
compared to emails and listserv messages. Often times, the memo becomes
a record of an event or situation and is archived for future purposes.
Although brief and conventional in form, a memo can have a great impact.
Mistakes in a memo are quickly spotted and might lead to a series of memos
in response. As mentioned previously, a memo is one document that is filed
as part of an organization's "memory." Memos are often the first
documents gathered in legal cases and policy disputes with organizations.
Even though the primary audience, purpose, and your role in writing a
memo might seem well defined, keep in mind the broader implications of
the memo as a document representing you, relationships within an organization,
and the organization itself.
more information about memos refer to pages 143-147
in The Business Writer's Companion.
How do I create my memo of introduction?
Your first assignment in our course is to create a one-page memo of introduction.
The purpose of the memo is to introduce yourself to me and other members
of the course. Consider, if you will, the class as an organization and
yourself as a new member in a highly visible position. Your first task
is to introduce yourself and spell out some goals for your new role. With
your peers and me as the audience, consider your own role as author of
a memo of introduction. You want to make a great first impression on all
of us, and you want to provide us with information that will foster strong
future working relationships in the course.
Information to discuss in your memo includes, but is not necessarily limited
to, the following:
What is your major
and year in school?
Why have you selected
jobs, and internships have you participated in that relate to your chosen
What are your career
plans after graduation?
How would you describe
your work style?
are you familiar with and which ones do you still want to learn (even
if those technologies are not related to our course)?
What are some of
your rationales for taking this course?
or experience do you have that will help you work on projects for this
What types of writing
and research projects have you participated in?
What is your main
goal for this course?
This memo will help me to better understand your goals for enrolling
in this course and help you to establish a rapport with your peers and
me. Additionally, this assignment challenges you to consider not only
the form of a memo but its role within an organization.
What format should I follow?
Your memo should be one single-spaced
page. You should use 12 point Times or Times New Roman for the body text
of your memo and Arial or other sans serif font for the headings in your
memo. Your margins should be 1 inch on all sides. Your memo should be
written in full block format using Word. Full block format means no indention
at the beginning of paragraphs and left justification. To signal the end
of one paragraph and the beginning of another, you should leave one blank
line. Do not use a Word memo template for this assignment.
You should create a memo header of your own--do not use a Word template.
Here is an example of a memo header:
The "To" line should
identify the intended readers of the memo.
The "From" line should identify the author of the memo
and should include written initials of its author.
The "Date" line should be the date of the memo's authoring.
The "Subject" line is the subject of the memo and it
should be descriptive of the memo's purpose.
Note: 1) Your memo header should
not be "boxed in"--this is an image file that has a border.
2) The "NS" depicts "handwritten" initials.
You should sign your initials in blank ink near your Name in the
Note: Sometimes memos contain a "CC"
line, which stands for carbon copy. This line denotes others who
are receiving the memo but are not directly the audience of the
memo. Those persons might be supervisors, secretaries, or other
members of the organization.
The body of your memo should address the questions
provided above as well as provide other information that you deem pertinent
to the assignment. Remember you are wanting to establish a professional
and friendly tone of welcome.
Consider the body's development more carefully:
Begin your memo with a brief one or two sentence overview that quickly
summarizes the purpose of the memo (This summary sentence should not
have a heading, but your other memo sections should).
Offer brief well-organized paragraphs that respond to the questions
Add bolded headings for sections to help readers locate information
of interest more quickly.
End your memo with a quick statement of summary (If this were a memo
requesting an action, you would end with such a call. As with the
opening of your memo, this section should not have a heading).
To review your memo's design and development, download the memo
When do I turn in my memo for evaluation?
Your memo will be graded for both form and content. In terms
of formatting, check your fonts, margins, and all other design aspects
of the memo. Additionally, be certain that you have addressed all the
questions provided and responded in a tone of friendly professionalism.
Please see the course calendar for project
If you have any questions about the formatting or development of your
memo of introduction, please let me know: firstname.lastname@example.org