The message is conveyed in clear terms using a simple and direct language. There is no need to spend time on niceties like a salutation (Dear sir) or a complimentary close (Yours faithfully, etc.) or a signature at the end of the letter. Since the memo is meant to be read by colleagues within the office, the writing should be to express, and not to impress. The tone should be neither too casual nor too formal. Memos, as we have already noted, often reach out to a large section of people spread across the organization.
Since memos are taken seriously by people to whom they are addressed and also acted upon as directed therein, every care should be taken in drafting and despatching memos. Quite often, memos are not drafted by the person under whose authority they are issued. Hence, if any miscommunication occurs on account of the negligence or callonsness of the person drafting the memo, the authority or the department issuing the memo would have to face considerable embarrassment. The drafting of memos, especially the important ones, is entrusted to persons with good communication skills. Memos should necessarily possess the usual characteristics of good written communication such as clarity, brevity, cogency, completeness and readability. In view of their importance, quite often the draft of memo passes through several levels or tiers for approval.
The method of despatch is also decided keeping in view the target sections and the urgency of the message. Sometimes memos refer to several previous ones on the subject making the comprehension and access difficult for the reader. It would be necessary to bring out a comprehensive memo to facilitate easy and all-in- one-place reference. Sometimes instruction, directives or guidance’s issued by external agencies such as government organizations, regulatory bodies, legal entities, etc., may have to be reproduced through the memos.
In doing so, care should be taken to clarify the message in terms of internally understood terms, phrases and abbreviations. Drafting of office memos thus calls for good communication skills. When the subject matter dealt with is complex or specialized in nature, such as clarifying legal aspects or announcing the features of a new product or a pricing policy, all relevant facts and figures will have to be covered in an organized manner. There is often a need to give examples and instructions and also append relevant annexures so as to amplify and clarify the message. Memos carrying ambiguity, inconsistency or incomplete details may end up creating confusion and result in avoidable clarifications being sought by the readers. On the other hand, a clearly worded, logically consistent, unambiguous and complete memo gets well understood, facilitating prompt response.