As school students, it was common to pass notes to each other during class. It was one of the quickest ways of communicating with others. It was also quite efficient.

Workplaces and organizations also have a communication system that resembles passing notes. The notes they pass are just as concise and effective, but more formal. This process of passing around small and informative messages within an organization is known as memo writing.

What Is A Memo?

A memo is short for memorandum, a short written message for workplace communication. It can be a bulletin on the notice board, a policy change, a meeting schedule or reminders for teams. The type of memorandum depends on its purpose. Different types of memos are often used as a means of mass communication within an organization instead of personal one-to-one messaging.

Here are three ways in which multiple types of memorandums are often cascaded in an organization:

1. Downward

These kinds of memos travel from senior management to their teams and down the chain of command at the workplace. For example, you may have appointed somebody as the new head of a team. You may announce your decision to your employees using a memo. This is an example of the downward flow of communication via memos.

2. Upward

In this case, memos are used by junior-level or mid-level employees to communicate with their respective managers or team leaders. For example, as a mid-level employee, you may seek constructive feedback on the business strategy you planned and proposed. You may reach out to your team leader through a memo.

3. Horizontal

These kinds of memos are used for communication between employees or coworkers at the same level of seniority within an organization. For example, say you’re collaborating with another team and you wish to understand their work schedules. You may use a memo to ask the other team to share their work calendars.

Types Of Memos

Memos can take different forms depending on the end goal they’re trying to achieve. The important thing to remember is that your memo should be short, direct, and convincing. Harappa Education’s Writing Proficiently course will help you structure your ideas so that you can write memos that are clear, crisp and impactful. The PREP–Point, Reason, Example, Point–framework in the course will help you summarize the key components of your memos more efficiently. 

Some of the different types of memos are:

1. Request Memo 

The objective of these types of memos is to gain a favorable response to a request. A request memo should use persuasive language because the end goal is to convince others. For example, let’s say you have come across a business conference that’s relevant to your position.  You’ll send a request memo to convince your manager to allow you to attend this conference. A few key pointers you may want to keep in mind while writing a request memo are:

  • State the request clearly

  • Justify your request with proper reasons

  • Explain or justify any financial costs that  the organization will have to bear

  • Present your recommendations for action

  • Keep your language and tone formal and neutral

2. Confirmation Memo

These memos are used to confirm in writing something that has been agreed to verbally. Examples of these types of memos can be observed in situations that need agreement between two or more parties. For instance, you agree to finish your project on time if your manager agrees to let you hire three interns. A few things to remember  when confirming agreements in writing are:

  • Highlight the significant and important details that were agreed to verbally

  • Be specific in your demands and targets

  • Ask for feedback on any unclear or misunderstood points

3. Suggestive Memo 

These types of memos are usually circulated to find efficient solutions to problems. One of the building blocks of success in any organization is the creative thinking of its employees. Managers or team leaders often encourage group discussions and brainstorming sessions through suggestive memos. The purpose could be gathering innovative new ideas or generating out-of-the-box solutions to problems. Here are a few things to be conscious of while writing a suggestive memo:

  • Write in an encouraging and positive way and tactfully present suggestions for change

  • Use headings or titles to differentiate between multiple groups of ideas

  • Be specific in stating your expectations


Over time, the medium of internal communications, and especially memo writing, has changed. Most memos are communicated in electronic formats in current times. No matter which medium you choose to deliver your memos in, keep reaching out to your employees and connecting with them. It’s a good idea to remind yourself and your coworkers about the perks of open communication from time to time!

Explore topics such as What is a Memo, How to Write a Memo, Meeting Agenda, How to Write a Report & Report Writing Structure from our Harappa Diaries blog section and learn to write proficiently.

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