Writing E-Tips
January 2006   
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"We will open the book. Its pages are blank.
We are going to put words on them ourselves.
The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day."

—Edith Lovejoy Pierce

Types of Writing, Part I

Memos That Sing

     Whether paper or electronic, memos are quick, efficient ways to provide information or updates. Here are some quick tips for making your memos work for you.


Type the title “Memo” or “Memorandum” centered at the top of the page. Beneath that, flush left, include the following items, either single- or double-spaced.

Date: September 14, 2005
To:  Ty Harris
From: Maria Sanchez
Subject: Atlanta Conference


The body of the memo should include an opening, a middle, and a closing.

  • Opening

    The opening should briefly expand on the subject line, offering more details and information.

I hope your experience at the Atlanta conference was both enjoyable and informational.

  • Middle

    The middle of the memo presents your main reasons for writing. You may use a numbered or bulleted list, and you should double-space between paragraphs or items in the list.

As discussed, you will present your findings at the Wednesday morning meeting. At that time, we will be interested in hearing the following:

  1. Your take on the latest and upcoming technology and how we might incorporate it
  2. Any new contacts you made and their possible future roles in our operation
  3. Any changes you would suggest in our marketing strategies, based on your observations of the competition

  • Closing

    The closing ends the memo and explains any action required on the part of the reader.

I am looking forward to your report. Please let me know if there is anything you need from me in the way of presentation materials or equipment.

Hints for Writing and Sending Memos

Keep them brief. If your memo is longer than one page, try to have at least two lines on the second page, which should be headed with your name and date.

Don’t send memos for every little thing. Besides wasting paper or clogginh e-mail in-boxes, your memos will lose clout. If possible, group bits of information and send fewer memos.

Be professional. Even though memos are a little less formal than other types of writing, keep your tone professional and polite. Never make negative or accusatory remarks in a memo.

Mark confidential material. If you are discussing a sensitive issue, mark the memo as “Confidential” and send it in a sealed envelope, also marked “Confidential.”

The preceding tips are from
Write for Business:
A Compact Guide to Writing and Communicating

Now available for purchase at upwritepress.com

What are your plans for the New Year? Perhaps your business goals include new projects or new directions. Maybe you plan to start a new business or expand into new markets. Whatever your ambitions, you’ll want to improve your writing as well. Good communication skills will be invaluable as you work to bring your career to the next level, and we hope you will continue to enjoy our monthly e-tips along your way. We at UpWrite Press want to be there for you in the coming year, helping you advance your plans and achieve your dreams.

Happy New Year!

In the February Issue: E-Mail Messages

Write for Business: A Compact Guide to Writing and Communicating
is available for purchase at 1-800-261-0637 ext. 10,
or on the Web at http://www.upwritepress.com.

"Writing E-Tips" is a publication of UpWrite Press, Inc.
P.O. Box 460, Burlington, Wisconsin 53105.
Copyright =A9 2005, UpWrite Press. All rights reserved.