When you're trying to get many people in a large organization on the same page, one or two pages will often do. At least, that's the principle behind writing a management memo. While a good memo should be quick to read and transparent in the sense that its structure and style don't call attention to themselves, the process of writing a memo takes a bit more thought. Try these five techniques to master your intra-office communication :
- Distill it down. Assume that your reader will have limited time to read the memo and may begrudge you a page-turn. Focus on the most important details and analysis and never exceed two pages unless there are extenuating circumstances.
Put the good stuff first. Writers of entertainment media such as books, TV shows, and movies often keep the best for last to keep readers interested and build suspense. But if you're writing a management memo, take your cues from newspaper writers. Newspaper style demands that you lead with the most important information, because many readers won't read to the end of a column. If your reader only reads the first paragraph, make sure they get the important bits:
- What's caused you to write this memo at this time? Examples include new marketing survey results or an update on an important series of negotiations.
- Be sure to include the meaning or conclusion you've come to and any recommendations for action.
- Highlight the most important points. Using bullets and bolding can help readers catch these details, but be sure you use bullets and bolding sparingly and appropriately.
- Proofread once. And then proofread again . In such a condensed medium, errors can throw off comprehension. Go through the memo with the proverbial fine-toothed comb.
- Call in reinforcements. Have a co-worker who isn't as familiar with the topic as you are read your memo, and see if they've understood the information you're trying to convey.
Writing a management memo doesn't have to be intimidating. Contact Hurley Write, Inc. for more information on how you can improve your workplace communication skills.