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Kurs: - Business English

Modul: Memorandum

Autor: prof. Gordana Matorkić

Naziv jedinice: Memorandum




Whether you need to bring something to another person`s attention, provide news or guidelines on a company policy, or are trying to get something done and delivered to you, you need to send a memo about it. You can`t afford to be wordy. Neither you nor the receiving party has the time to waste. When you keep correspondence concise, you increase the chances that your text will actually be read!

When to Send a Memo
  • If you want to track a project or a developing situation. Anything that requires a paper trail of any sort, or will be going into a file, should be done in hard copy. In this way, you may also collect signatures, initials, or other notations that help you in your tracking and provide clear-cut evidence of the status of your project.

  • If you`re providing guidelines or procedures for informational purposes. This sort of memo tends to be somewhat more detailed. The receiver may choose to post it for reference or photocopy it and share it with others.

  • If you`re summarizing a conversation or incident, emphasizing an important point of discussion, or making an announcement. Especially if the discussion was an important one, the document is probably something that will go into a file; therefore, a hard copy adds formality.

  • If you`re drawing attention to an issue that needs resolution. Personal choice: If the memo is going out to a number of people, the hard copy is probably best. If you are directing it toward one particular person and you want to keep it private, then you might find e-mail to be more effective.


Some Valuable Pointers

Some pointers will apply to any memo that you may write. Following are just a few to bear in mind:

Put the main message of your memo at the very beginning; then elaborate or explain, but briefly.

  • When your memo`s message is of crucial importance, don`t hesitate to emphasize or even repeat your primary point in the last paragraph or last line.

  • Provide relevant information, for example, where certain forms might be obtained, or whom to contact for questions or further information.

  • When naming a specific person or department as a contact point, be sure to include a phone extension or room number (or both).

  • Provide explanations when they`re called for - i.e., why it is necessary to carry out a particular task, or the reasons one must complete certain forms, etc.

  • Be specific about what you want or need. For example, when asking for a certain piece of documentation or information, describe exactly what is needed so there can be no doubt in the mind of the memo`s receiver.

  • When providing guidelines or explaining a policy, don`t get into too much detail; just summarize the most important points, then indicate where further information may be obtained.

  • When describing a meeting or incident, provide a detailed (but brief) history of what occurred.

  • State clearly when something of importance has been attached to a memo; it may become separated in transit, therefore it`s safer to note the attachment.


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