How to write an effective Memo in 10 minutes?

Apart from conversation, memos are the ordinary way of passing on information, orders and ideas within a company or institution. Memos inform, confirm, make decisions a matter of record, transmit briefly and precisely information which otherwise might be confused or forgotten; so when a decision, for example, is taken during a discussion, have a memo made to that effect immediately.

memo - DeviantArt

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How to Write Them in 10 Minutes

  • Indicate the subject, date, name of sender and receiver.
  • Discuss one subject only.
  • Be brief.
  • If it is a problem, remember that you are the person on the spot with knowledge of the situation not available to the receiver. So list options and indicate which one you recommend.



To : S.K Dutta, General Foreman

From : P.K Lahiri, Foreman

Date : 15.1.1995

Subject: Wire rope of Marion crane No.2


The wire rope of Marion Crane No. 2 shows signs of great wear. I recommend it be changed. If you see it, I can arrange for a quick change of the rope at 6.00 a.m Saturday (20.1.2008). Two hours should be sufficient.

Tips for Memos

  • Do not put anything on paper that you do not want everyone to know.
  • If you are furious with someone, be furious in person; don’t put in on paper.
  • Sometimes using a different color paper, makes your memo stand out among others.
  • Leaving room at the bottom for a reply can save time for the recipient.

How to Outline

You probably won’t believe it but knowing how to outline will be a helpful skill for you for the rest of your life. Suppose you want to draw up a plan or project, to write a speech, or to write an examination or even a letter, or to take notes well in class, these and a hundred other tasks are helped by an outline.

A famous engineer who wrote many books on mechanical engineering said: “I spend 80 % of my time on the outline of a book, 20 percent in writing it?”

What does outline mean ? To outline means to show the framework, to expose the structure of a communication. Just as an X-ray machine shows the skeleton of a person, so an outline shows the skeleton of a talk.


How do you make an outline ? Basically, outline consists of four steps : collection, analyzing, classifying and subordinating data.

Collect Data

Before beginning to write, let us say, a report or a speech, read yourself full on the subject. read the latest, read the best. Make notes.

Analyze the Data

Look over the materials you have collected. Decide what the scope of your report or speech will be. Decide which of the data you will use, which you will not use because it is not connected with your purpose.

Classify the Data

Divide the material you will use into classes or groups; e.g if you will speak of mangoes, cashews, pecans, lichees, apples and walnuts, divide into

Nuts: cashews, pecans,walnuts.
Fruits : apple, lichees, mangoes

Organize the Data

According to your purpose, out an order in the data you will present. What group of material will I present first ? Which last ? What is most important ?  What least important ?


Suppose you have been asked to give a talk on “The size and Temperature’ of various Planets in the Solar System”. How would you make an outline of the following facts ? Discard facts that are irrelevant ?

  • Mercury is the smallest planet in the solar system
  • The nighttime temperature on Venus is about – 12 degree Centigrade.
  • Mercury has no atmosphere
  • The diameter of Mars is 4220 miles.
  • The daytime temperature on Mars is 10 degree to  21 degree.
  • The temperature on the dark side of Mercury is almost absolute zero (-273 degree centigrade)
  • The diameter of Venus is 200 miles less than the diameter of Earth.
  • On Mars, the temperature at midnight is – 68 degree to – 73 degree Celsius.
  • On Venus, the temperature on the light side is about 100 degree centigrade.
  • Mercury’s diameter is less than half that of Earth.
  • One year on Mars equals about two years on Earth.
  • The temperature on the light side of Mercury is 399.
  • Mercury has no seasons.
  • Mars is a little more than half as big as Earth.
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