Routine Memos and Emails
Communication on the Fly
What does a well-written email or
memo get you?
Easy, quick communication—if it’s
Effective attainment of goals—if it’s
A higher profile in your company/field
A professional reputation, with all
that this entails
Individuals identified as competent,
professional writers are noticed and
rewarded; most often, they are the
ones promoted into management
positions. (Guffy & Nagle 2003, p.97)
When do you use these formats?
When information is non-sensitive
When the purpose is informative, not
OK, which one?
Quick • Slow
Comparatively • Comparatively
Ephemeral • Leave a permanent
Resource efficient record
• Use more
OK, but Which One?!
If you’re in a company’s structure, follow
the company habits.
If you’re on your own, think about how
formal things need to be, and whether you
need a permanent record.
Remember that Memos often seem more
formal because they are concrete; they can
indicate an increased level of importance.
Strategies for Success
Get something back
Who are you addressing
What are you talking about
Why do you need your addressee to
think about this now
How do you need this topic addressed
When do you need an answer
! Make notes for yourself before you
Your draft is just this: a draft. Never
expect to get it right the first time.
Don’t let grammar stop you
Try to organize, but let the ideas flow
This is the most important and most
Don’t trust your spellchecker
Check for appearance (white space),
organization, and grammar as well!
Ask for something back
Formulate the email as a list of
Ask a single question at the end, or
Ask for a response
Always give a date, if possible
One Page Only
Use formatting to clarify the
message: bullets and lists rather than
Remember to include white space
Do use spellcheck—just don’t rely on
it to do proofreading for you
Front Load: Direct Pattern
Make good use of the subject line
Make sure the opening paragraph
outlines the content and its
Use the Direct Format unless you are
making a request that may meet with
Use concise, active language