At last, the memo. That wonderful, short note that you can reel off in minutes. You can create memo models, too, especially when you’re faxing or E-mailing similar quotes or lists of instructions. Remember, memos must be short, to the point, and information-packed.
First sentence : State your main point.
Next sentences : Develop the point with support, examples, or details.
Concluding sentence : Not needed.
To : Ann Marie Doherty
From: Jennifer Andersen
Date : September 27, 1997
RE : New acquisition forms
The new forms are located in the second floor closet. They’re very much like the old ones except that you must add your phone extension and mailbox number in the top left corner.
Pass the word around to your employees at the next meeting. This is important, since facilities won’t accept the old forms after October 10.
Paper Models — In or Out
Some organizations keep their models on photocopied pieces of paper with empty spaces for penning in dollars, dates, or other pieces of information. These do, indeed, tell readers what they need to know. Unfortunately, they’re the Kmart of writing: cheap. Worse, they’re impersonal, usually speckled from too much copying, and ineffective. Try using a computer model instead, where inserts look like a natural part of the letter. If you don’t have a computer at work, have a secretary or other person with a computer insert material according to a standard form.
Perhaps you’ve looked at your department’s models. Not one here and another there, but all of them in one sitting. What you found was an unappetizing blend of styles and even facts. So, what do you do? Before you rewrite, get together a small group of the people affected so you can determine the best approach in terms of style, facts, and strategy. Then, rewrite a few models only, reconvene the group, get feedback, and rewrite the rest. Share these models with others in the company, alerting them to which sentences to edit and how to edit them.