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Education Resources

Memo and Language of a Memo from MB0023 of SMU MBA Business Communication

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The term ‘memo’ comes from the Latin word ‘memorandum’ which means “a thing which must be remembered”. The plural form is memoranda. The document that you use to communicate within the organization is called as memorandum. It has to stay within the organization. So, it is also called ‘inter office memorandum.’ When you need to convey information and decisions or to make short requests with the members of your department, upper management, employees at another branch in another city, etc., the best way to do is to write a memo. The exception to this is if you are preparing a document for a reader several levels above you or for a formal situation. One colleague can write a memo to another; except for memos which concern disciplinary action. Only officers authorized to issue them can issue memos concerning disciplinary action.

Language of Memo:

Before you learn the format of the memo, it is very important that you learn the correct language that you should use in a memo to achieve its purpose.

Concise: A memo is always short. It is apt for a memo to be two pages; after which a memo starts to turn into a report. Keep the paragraphs short; limit each paragraph to five lines or less.

Personal: Use words like I, you, and we. It’s a lot more human to say, “I would like you to do this.” Use active voice to get the action done.

Simple language: Let your language be lucid, and easy to understand. You should not make emotional statements in a memo. Plain and direct statements of facts are made to achieve all that is required.

Avoid confusing words: While writing a memo, try to use the right words at the right place. Whe you have to use simple root words, don’t complicate them by using fancy suffixes like ‘tion’, ‘ance’, ‘ent’, ‘ment’, ‘ize’, and ‘ility.’

The chapter of Memo and language of Memo has been taken from Business Communication book of SMU MBA in the sequel of how to participate in meetings.

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