How to Write a Persuasive Memo

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There can be many reasons to send out a persuasive business memo.
There can be many reasons to send out a persuasive business memo. (Image: memo image by Angie Lingnau from Fotolia.com)

Writing persuasive memos is an important part of business communication. A memo is a short note or reminder used internally at organizations among employees. There can be many reasons to send out a persuasive business memo, ranging from getting people to attend a non-mandatory meeting to getting people to sign up for an upcoming blood drive. Any memo distributed has to be well written because it represents the person sending out the memo and his department. Following a few rules when drafting persuasive memos can help you get the results you want.

Understand the reader or the target audience. A memo to the janitorial staff is likely to be different in tone from a memo to the board of directors. While always professional in nature, some memos need to be more formal in speech. Other factors, such as age, gender, marital status and educational level, also may play a part in writing a persuasive memo.

Describe succinctly, but in detail, what you want the reader to do. There should always be a purpose to any persuasive memo sent out, something the writer wants to accomplish.

List the benefits of taking action. Getting people to agree with what you are proposing and do as you requested is the ultimate goal of a persuasive memo. But to convince people that what you are suggesting is a good idea, you must give the readers reasons why they should comply. Tell people what they will gain and give the main advantages of doing what you ask.

Make an informal outline of who the reader is, what you want him to do and why he should do it. Start writing using your notes. Remember that memos are short and focused. After the first draft, set it aside and come back to it in a few hours. Reread the memo and make any changes you think will improve it.

Get feedback from others. Once you write the memo, ask a few people to read it before sending it out. Ask if they are persuaded to take action and if not, why. Listen to any suggestions and try to incorporate any useful ideas into the memo. A persuasive memo usually takes a few drafts before it is good enough to be distributed.

Check for grammar and spelling errors. While the idea behind the memo is important, little things count as well. A memo will be more persuasive if it is well written and free of grammatical and typing mistakes. Business people have high expectations. If the memo is persuasive but has noticeable errors, these mistakes will reduce the memo’s impact and effectiveness.

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