|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 technical 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.
During the memo of
introduction project, you will learn to
professional cultures and social contexts to determine the purposes
that written documents serve.
- Recognize that
all steps in the writing process should be adapted for specific purposes,
audiences, and rhetorical situations.
- Write persuasive,
ethically responsible documents that demonstrate—via their form
and content—an awareness of the audience’s abilities, needs,
- Develop strategies for planning, researching, and developing
documents that effectively respond to professional situations.
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:
is your major and year in school?
- Why have you selected this major?
- What activities, jobs, and internships have
you participated in that relate to your chosen field?
- What are your career plans after graduation?
- How would you describe your work style?
- What technologies are you familiar with and
which ones do you still want to learn (even if those technologies are not related to our course)?
are some of your rationales for taking this course?
- What background or experience do you have that
will help you work on projects for this course?
- 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?
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:
"To" line should identify the intended readers of the
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: The "NS" depicts
"handwritten" initials. You should sign your initials
in blank ink near your Name in the memo header.
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, administrative assistants, 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 want 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 subheading, but your other memo sections should).
- Offer brief well-organized paragraphs that
respond to the questions provided.
- Add bolded subheadings 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 subheading).
To review your
memo's design and development, download the Self-check
of Memo form.
When do I turn in my memo for evaluation?
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