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What Does Memo Mean

Not every employee knows the answer to this question, and surely the number of those who can properly write a memo is even smaller. While memos are not necessarily used in all business offices, it still would not hurt to be acquainted with the basics of writing it.

What does Memo Mean

How to Write a Short Memo

So, memo, also known as memorandum, is a brief text that has one main purpose: to provide specific important information. Memos are sent to another person (usually that of higher position, such as supervisor, manager, or director of a particular department) in the same organization. Unlike letters, a memo is specifically an internal type of communication. Memos can be long if they include internal reports. But if their task is to make some announcement, they should be kept short.

Memos are usually less formal than letters. They may differ in a way they are formatted and sent. There are also standard versions of this document that some companies use. Still, most memos have three main parts: the header, the message, and the closing. In some companies, however, the last part is not used. The header is the beginning that includes the names of the sender and the recipient, the date, and the main subject of the document. The message contains the actual information recorded. Finally, the closing is self-explanatory. Interestingly, it becomes a tendency that memorandums are sent just as simple e-mails. In such a format, the document may lack actual header since this information is provided in the e-mail itself.

Guidelines on How to Write a Short Memo

The main rule of thumb is that if you are tasked with writing a short memo, you need to make sure it is maximum one page long and easy to read. No one likes sophisticated texts.


Each memorandum should have clearly identified names of the sender and receiver, the date of writing the document and the line with the subject that the document addresses. Even if you enjoy an informal environment at your workplace, still try to make your memo more formal by indicating the full name of the receiver. If the receiver has a higher rank, make sure you indicate his or her title. You may also indicate the department the receiver works in just to be 100% sure that person gets the document. Another important aspect to remember is that you should create clear and specific subject line. Try to avoid the ones that are too general or vague.


For a better structure and flow, use a brief introductory paragraph for a receiver to clearly see the topic of the document. A few general sentences leading to the main point will suffice here.


After the introductory paragraph comes the body paragraph. This is where you provide the main message of your memorandum. Again, try to keep your body concise, so provide only the most important information. Also, do not forget to incorporate smooth transition between your ideas to keep the reader on track. You are allowed to use a bullet list yet keep it short and to the point.


If required, add a closing part to your memorandum. In this part, paraphrase the main points of the document. Be as brief as possible. Finally, some call for action may be added. If you deem necessary, you may also add some relevant information that was not mentioned above. If you attach some additional document to be checked or completed and further submitted, make sure you mention this. The salutation at the end is normally not used in memorandum, so disregard it.

Now that you know what does memo mean and have read the instructions on how to write a short memo, you can feel more confident at your workplace. Just remember to keep it concise, to the point, and relatively formal.

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