The days of good, ol’ fashioned internal memos are not over. Sure, we probably don’t have our secretaries type them up, photocopy them, and distribute them. They’re most likely shot out via e-mail, but the nature of a memo remains the same.
They’re intended to distribute information to a large group of people. When an internal memo goes out (in lieu of a quick e-mail), folks usually know to perk up their ears and give it a good read. Internal memos call attention to a problem, clarify a matter, make recommendations, proclaim important announcements, and more.
The long and short of it is this: internal memos signal a note-worthy message, so we have to craft them with the finest attention to detail. Here are the ins and outs of how to write an internal memo.
Draft a Formal Heading
To begin with, it’s important to title your message. You can simply write “MEMORANDUM” in the top left-hand corner. This will establish your memo format neatly and signal that this is an important piece of correspondence.
Below that, a simple, “TO: All Employees” will suffice. Or, you might need to be more specific. Either way, establishing a professional memo format from the top is important.
Then, even if it’s obvious who the memo is coming from, be sure to include a “from” line. Follow a similar format and opt for something like, “FROM: Jules Smith.”
Next, it’s time for the date. Maintain your formatting with, “DATE: February 2, 2020.”
Finally, indicate what it’s all about. Like an e-mail subject line, you’ll write something along the lines of, “SUBJECT: Four Weeks of Vacation Time for All Employees.”
Make the Message Clear
From the heading, you can jump straight into the body of your message. You don’t have to include salutations or anything of that nature because you took a moment or two on your heading.
One of the most important elements in your message is your tone. Do you want to come across sounding stern, disappointed, threatening, or supportive? Readers will pick up on your tone immediately, so keep it in the forefront of your mind as you write.
From there, here are a few structural details to incorporate into every internal memo template:
- Address the issue in the opening paragraph. Provide context to the major announcement that’s about to come. What caused the issue to come to light in the first place?
- Announce the issue. Once you’ve set up your stance, it’s time to volley your announcement to the court. You’ve already covered how it came to fruition. Now, you can indicate what this means for the company as a whole.
- Provide a short summary of the actions that are about to follow. Remember to keep things clear, avoid verbosity, and – again – consider your tone.
- Include a call to action. Suggest the appropriate actions that the readers should take after reviewing your memo.
- End on a high note. Even if your memo isn’t all rainbows and butterflies (hello, four-week vacation memo), you can still end on a high note. If the news is less-than-stellar, remind people you’re always open to discuss recommendations or lend a listening ear.
Although your memo won’t require a salutation, you can include a signature at the end. Something simple like this will suffice:
Craft the Perfect Internal Memo
And there you have it! An internal memo is meant to signal important news. They shouldn’t slip through the cracks or be overlooked. Keeping your employees’ thoughts and emotions in mind will help you approach the memo with the right tone and, hopefully, anticipate a lot of their questions.
When it’s time to button up your suit and write a highly proficient internal memo, we hope these tips will help you pull it all together.