Business Writing AdviceBusiness, Writing, Advice
ServiceScape Incorporated
ServiceScape Incorporated

The Modern Rules of the Memo (With Examples)

Whether it's called a business memorandum, memoranda, or memo, it is a common form of business communication when the information to be disseminated is informal and not private. According to Business Etiquette for Dummies, 2nd Edition, If you have something confidential to communicate, don't do it in a memo.

The purpose of your memo

Memos are the typical form of communication used within companies and organizations. Most will be limited to a few paragraphs, but some memos may be longer, depending on their purpose and messaging.

In general, a memo is used:

  • to inform others within the company on changes in policies, directives, or procedures.
  • to announce changes in leadership, management structure, team divisions, or workflow.
  • to disseminate information pertaining to meetings and events held within the organization.
  • to introduce new employees, divisions, clients, etc.

The format of your memo

The most typical format of interoffice memos is as follows:

Heading: (usually "MEMORANDUM" or "MEMO" in all caps, centered, although this format is not required and can vary based on organizational style guides.)

To: (Who or which department gets it)

From: (Who or which department sent it)

Date: (When it was sent)

Subject: (Briefly, what it's about)

(A line generally separates the header from the content, as shown above.)

Your introductory paragraph should quickly orient the reader to what the memo is about and how it pertains to them or their department. It should be written succinctly, with as few words as possible to convey the needed message. The rule of thumb is tight, informative sentences.

For the body, here are a few pointers:

  • If there are tasks that need to be completed related to the subject of the memo, those can be detailed in the body of the memo.
  • Keep in mind that bullet points are a great way to present most information in a way that can be easily scanned and understood by the reader.
  • It's easier for the human eye to read bullet points than long, overly complicated paragraphs.
  • Include the important details but if there are complex details involved, direct readers to another document (a memo is not really the place for that).

Memo example 1


To: All departments
From: Dan Lumberg, CEO
Date: October 1, 2018
Subject: Internet use on company time

This is to remind all employees that Internet use on company time is prohibited. Please refrain from checking your personal email, social media accounts, or messaging platforms while on the clock, unless it is on your break time or lunch time.

As noted in the employee handbook, section 2.4., all employees are responsible for:

  • Using on-the-clock hours for company projects only.
  • Limiting their online interactions while on the clock to clients and fellow employees within the company.
  • Applying their break or lunch-time hours to any time spent reading personal email, personal social media accounts, or messages sent for personal use.

As always, we appreciate the time and effort you put into all that you do at XYZ Corp and trust that our employees will maintain professional standards at all times while on the clock. If you have questions or concerns about these company policies, please direct them to Megan Smith at ext. 1208.

Best regards,
Dan Lumberg, CEO

Memo example 2


To: Executive assistants, all departments
From: Jon Beaker
Date: October 1, 2018
Subject: Attaching cover sheets to all outgoing faxes

I'm sending this memo to inform you of recent changes in company procedure related to faxes sent out. We have a new standard cover sheet (Form 12E) that should be used in all outgoing fax transmissions and the old one (Form 12D) should be recycled or discarded.

The new cover sheet includes our new company address, along with a legal statement that is required to be attached to all outgoing fax transmissions. Without the use of this new cover sheet, we run the risk of falling out of compliance with our legal directives.

This might seem like a small matter but I assure you, it is extremely important. I suggest that you immediately recycle or discard all the old fax cover sheets to avoid confusion. If there are any questions, please contact me at extension 101.

Best regards,
Jon Beaker

Get in-depth guidance delivered right to your inbox.