The last thing you want your meeting attendees to walk away with is confusion or a lack of clarity. Organizing decisions and documenting what happens throughout a meeting with a meeting memo will offer a source of truth and a place where attendees and stakeholders can go to seek answers and maintain clarity. Not to mention, having meeting memos available is less disruptive than other means of communication such as messaging or even more meetings!
Our guide to meeting memos will take you through how to compose one and give you an example you can tailor to your own meeting memo needs. Let’s get started!
- What is a meeting memo?
- Meeting memo style guide
- What should be included in your memo?
- How long should a memo be?
- Tips for writing a memo
- Meeting memo example
What is a meeting memo?
A meeting memo gives attendees the “who,” “why,” “when,” and “where” of your meeting, plus a few details of what you expect from attendees. Whether the meeting is specific to a department or for all employees company-wide, creating a memo gives attendees a look at what’s to come.
Meeting memos keep your meeting organized, on track, and ensures that everything important gets done. Our guide to meeting memos will take you through how to compose one and give you an example you can tailor to your own meeting memo needs.
Use a meeting management tool like Fellow to have a collaborative meeting agenda to reference when writing a meeting memo so no decisions or important points get forgotten!
Meeting memo style guide
A meeting memo should be written with the following style tips in mind:
- Know why you’re having the meeting
- Decide how to deliver the memo
- Include a subject line in the email
- Compose the body of your memo’s email
- Make hard copies easily accessible
- Use proper grammar and formatting
- Make your memo easy to understand
1 Know why you’re having the meeting
Before you begin writing your memo, have a clear picture of your meeting’s plan and objectives. This will ensure your memo remains concise and to the point. Briefly write the primary purpose for your meeting along with a list of topics you want to cover and any tasks you want to accomplish during the meeting.
2 Decide how to deliver the memo
You can send your memo through email or give attendees a hard copy. For a memo sent through email, include a subject line so your memo doesn’t get lost or overlooked in your recipients’ inboxes.
3 Include a subject line in the email
Your subject line should explain the purpose of your meeting in a few words. Avoid vague subject lines like “Friday’s meeting” or “Meeting at 3:30 in the conference room.” Instead, use a more specific yet detailed phrase, like “Friday’s meeting on improving workforce engagement.” This subject line gives your readers some context about the meeting before they open your email.
4 Compose the body of your memo’s email
Include a general greeting to your recipients with a subsequent short sentence. A starting point for this sentence might be, “Please see the attached memo for details about Monday’s meeting on improving engagement within the workplace.” (Notice how you’ve stated the meeting’s subject matter, not just that it’s happening!) You can then share any background information about the meeting that you’ve chosen not to include in the memo.
5 Make hard copies easily accessible
If you’ve decided to hand out physical copies instead of sending emails, place your memos where recipients have direct access to them, like a workplace mailbox. Posting the memo on a bulletin board can remind recipients of the meeting and inform anyone not yet aware.
6 Use proper grammar and formatting
As you write your memo, remember to adhere to standards for professional writing as you would with other workplace communication. For proper formatting, lines should be left-justified and single-spaced. Instead of indenting, place a line between each paragraph to signal the start of a new one. Follow the punctuation after each sentence with a space.
7 Make your memo easy to understand
While you should avoid informalities in your memo, you should also refrain from using overly complicated words and sentence structures that are difficult to understand. Consider the tone you use when composing company emails, and bring this style into your memo. Remain objective to clearly explain the meeting’s purpose and details. Your language should be as direct and specific as possible, leaving little to no need for recipients to interpret your words.
What should be included in your memo?
As you compose your memo, include the following components to guide your invitees through the details of your meeting:
- Header. At the center of the document and in bold capital letters, title the page with words that fit the nature of your meeting, like “Staff Meeting Memo” or “Meeting Memorandum.”
- To/From. This line specifies the group of people the memo is addressing. Include your name and title on a separate line designating you as the sender.
- Date and time. State the date your meeting will occur. Include the time, and be sure to specify whether the meeting will be during the morning or afternoon.
- Subject. Briefly inform your recipients of what will be discussed at the meeting. The subject line you chose for your email should offer some guidance on what to include here. Feel free to use the same one in both places.
- Location. Include specific details about where the meeting will take place.
- Participants. List the full names and titles of the people who will be leading or participating in your meeting.
- Summary and objective. In a section separate from the previous information, use a summary to describe any background information that is relevant to the meeting’s purpose. You should state the topics you expect to discuss and any goals you want to accomplish during the meeting. This section should include a general plan for the meeting and should be the most detailed portion of the memo.
- Action items. Let your invitees know how they can prepare for the meeting. Inform them of any information they should be familiar with or any research or tools they should bring.
- Confirmation and closing. Let your invitees know whether they should tell you if they’ll be attending your meeting and who they should contact if they have any questions.
How long should a memo be?
Keep your memo to a single page. This way, emailed memos don’t require scrolling, and hard copies can be easily stored and referenced without misplacing multiple pages. Shorter memos also make it easy for attendees to add the necessary information to their calendars and notes.
If you find it difficult to stick to one page, revisit the primary purpose of your meeting and the topics you want to cover. Then, review your memo and make sure everything included is directly relevant to its purpose. The memo should be a summary of an invitation to your meeting, not a comprehensive document of meeting notes.
Tips for writing a memo
As you are nearing the completion of your memo, consider these tips before sending it to your invitees:
- Condense information. Consider using bullet points if you have an extended list of topics you want to cover during the meeting. This will keep paragraphs small and easy to read.
- Reiterate confirmation. Gently remind recipients once more to confirm their attendance. You’ve already done this when you delivered the memo – now, do it again in the memo itself.
- Proofread. Before sending your memo, be sure to review the document and your email for any spelling, grammatical mistakes, or improper formatting.
- Choose a delivery time. Send your memo enough days in advance of your meeting to allow invitees to adequately prepare. Schedule your email to go out at a time of day when your recipients are most likely to be near their inboxes, such as the start of the workday.
Meeting memo example
Meeting memos may seem like a lot, but creating them doesn’t have to be complicated. Just use the below example as a template to get started:
BOARD MEETING MEMORANDUM
TO: Cumbington LLC Members of the Board
FROM: Crystal Overton, COO, Cumbington LLC
MEETING DATE, TIME: October 19th, 2021, at 11 a.m.
LOCATION: The Teal Boardroom, 41st floor
MEETING SUBJECT: Improving Workplace Engagement in Preparation for Q1 2022
Crystal Overtoon, COO
Michael DuVer, Co-Head of Employee Management
Alison Thompson, Head of Employee Activities
Marie Avalet, Director of Quarterly Management
MEETING SUMMARY & OBJECTIVE:
As the goals of Cumbington LLC develop, the board members will hold a meeting to discuss several initiatives. These initiatives will aim to facilitate greater employee engagement and improve morale among employees in the workplace. We will discuss how these goals will align with the others in place for the first quarter of 2022. We will also establish the budgets for these engagement events and activities.
Each board member is asked to bring a list of at least three suggestions for engagement activities. Please be prepared to share these ideas during an informal three-minute presentation during the meeting.
Please inform Cumbington Secretary James Mistall of your availability to attend this meeting. You can also direct any questions to him. He can be reached via email at [insert email address] or phone at [insert phone number here]. We look forward to your participation on October 19th, 2021.
Make your memo matter
A meeting memo can give your employees an adequate sense of what to expect at an upcoming meeting. It also presents you as organized and helps keep planning at the center of your company. And to stay just as organized during your meeting, Fellow offers all kinds of meeting tools that help you turn your memo’s ideas into meaningful discussions and action.