what is a memo

What is a Memo?

Learn about Memo with Demi Moore
Few Good Men 1992

Case breakdown: Movie Few Good Men

The scene shows an intense conversation taking place between Lt. Cdr. Joanne Galloway (played by Demi Moore) and Col. Nathan R. Jessep (played by Jack Nicholson). Lt. Galloway is questioning Col. Nathan about a cautionary memo that was sent to him by the commander in chief. He answers by saying, that although he doesn’t agree with the memo, he has given it its due attention.

Another scene, that distinctly talks about memos is from the movie office space.

In this blog, Learning Perspectives will explore the meaning of a Memo.

What is a Memo?

The memo is short for Memorandum. Memorandums are used in businesses for the purpose of communication. Similar to the scene we saw, the memo is communicating a piece of important information about disciplining men. Memos serve a variety of purposes, they highlight information, circulate important communication, send out reminders, and information about maintaining official records.

Types of Memos:

On the basis of the information that the memo communicates, memos are divided into different types, such as:

Informative Memo

Persuasive Memo

Internal Memo

Cautionary Memo

How to write an Effective Memo:

Effective memos communicate policies, demand action, recommend steps, procedures and also convey deadlines to be achieved. Writing an effective memo is crucial for it to reach the desired outcome. It should be clear, concise, and focused.

The memo has three parts, I) Introduction, ii) Presentation of facts, and iii) Conclusion.

Structuring the Memo:

The introduction includes the problem or the main idea of communication. Having a strong beginning gives the reader a clear idea about what the memo is about.

The second part of the memo includes the presentation of the facts, this would be the explanation of what is expected that the company is looking to incorporate. The conclusion of the memo should be strong and effectively communicated either summarizing the content or call to action. Memos don’t have an ending signature.

The target audience of the memo would be included in the ‘TO‘ part, they are also the addressee of the memo. This is mentioned at the top of the page. Below this list, the sender’s name (FROM) would appear.

The date should be below the sender’s name. and the Subject should appear right below the date.

The tone of the Memo:

The subject should indicate what the memo is about. It should be precise and to the point. Writing the main point directly is the key. Hence, words should not be minced and short sentences should be used. While writing a memo, using an active voice and maintaining a neutral tone would keep readers engaged.


Using bullet points, indentation, and formatting the memo help in presenting the information in a clear manner. This makes the memo objective and compelling.

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