Francis Tuttle

. . . the Leader in Career and Professional Development

12777 N. Rockwell Ave., Oklahoma City, OK 73142-2789   405/722-7799

A Learning Activity Packet

Basic Business Correspondence

Major Instructional Area/Course                    e-mails, Memos, and Letters

LAP Two                                                        Writing Memos

LAP Objective

Upon completion of this LAP, you will be able to:

·       Compose a business memo

·       Edit business memos

You will demonstrate competency by completing the assignments, and tests in this LAP with 85% accuracy.

Specific Objectives:

  • Determine the purpose of writing a memo
  • Prepare standard memo heading
  • Write the body of the memo using who, what, why, when, where, and how
  • Use correct writing style
  • Understand memo format

References:        Writing in the Workplace, Marylyn Calabrese, M.D.

Better Business Writing, Susan L. Brock

LAP 2-AC-memo&letter


Prerequisite(s)   LAP 1-AC-memo&letter

Time Range 5 hrs


Directions: Write a check on the blank as you complete each step

______  1.  READ                                             LAP and Specific Objectives listed on cover page of this LAP #2-AC-memo&letter.


______  2.  READ and STUDY:                          Information Sheet #1,”Writing Style,” page 3

______  3.  DO:                                                 Activity Sheet #1, page 4.

______  4.  READ and STUDY:                          Information Sheet #2, “Memo Format,” page 5.

______  5.  DO:                                                 Activity Sheet # 2, page 6.

______  6.  READ and STUDY:                          Information Sheet #3, “Memo Purpose,” page 7.

______  7.  DO:                                                 Activity Sheet #3, page 8

______  6.  Do                                                  Performance Activity #1, page 9.

Information Sheet #1

Writing Style

Business correspondence should be written in a style that is clear and easily understood.  Your writing style should be Courteous, Conversational, Concise, and Specific.

Courtesy includes:

1.     Develop a YOU attitude.  Stay away from I.

2.     Use PLEASE and THANK YOU.

3.     Show respect.

4.     Be nice.

Conversational tone

1.     Write the way you speak, simply and directly.

2.     Don’t be flowery.

3.     Don’t use big words that you cannot spell.


1.     Chose your words carefully.

2.     Avoid long sentences.

3.     Place the most important information at the beginning of the sentence.


1.     Include all-important information.

2.     Ask yourself, “Would someone with no knowledge of this information understand what I am saying?  Did I include all the details?  Who?What?Why?Where?When?How?

Activity Sheet # 1

True or False

_______  Write long sentences.

_______  Chose your words carefully.

_______  Flowery language is always best.

_______  Use Please and Thank You.

_______  Place the most important information at the end.

_______  Don’t be nice.

_______  Use big words; the audience will be impressed.

_______  You should not write the way you speak.

_______  Leave some information out so that the reader will have to call you for details.

_______  Always use the YOU attitude.

_______  Show respect

_______  Do not give specifics

 Information Sheet #2

Memo Format

Memos may be typed on preprinted forms, letterhead, or plain paper.  They may also be paperless via e-mail.  Because they are internal, memos can be less formal than business letters but should still follow the general guidelines for good business writing (LAP 1).  The length of the memo will be determined by its content, but they are usually brief.

Each memo should contain:

1.     Heading (Date, To, From, and Subject)

2.     Subject and details

3.     Response (do you need a reply)

Below is a sample of a memo format:


Activity Sheet #2

Using the memo on the previous page, answer the following questions.

What is the purpose of this memo?


What is in the standard memo heading?





Answer the following questions from the memo on the previous page:

Who? ________________________________________________

What? ________________________________________________

Why? _________________________________________________

When? ________________________________________________

Where? ________________________________________________

How? __________________________________________________

Information Sheet #3

Purpose of the Memo

There are several steps in writing effective letters and memos.  The first step is to determine the purpose.  Why do you need to write the memo.  Is your purpose to inform, complain, request, persuade?  Is it a good news or bad news correspondence?  Are you just looking for information?

Give information – message that strictly gives facts and figures

1.Tell the purpose of the memo

2.Give facts and figures in a clear format

Complain – message that reports and complains and asks for correction

1.State clearly what is wrong

2.Give details

3. Tell the reader exactly what you want

Persuade – message that convinces the reader to action

1.Get the readers attention

               2.State the purpose               

3. Show the benefits to the reader

4.Minimize any obstacles the reader may have

5.Use a strong goodwill closing

Good News – message of good will

1.Show appreciation, recognition, or thanks

2.Be short, specific, and upbeat

Bad News – Messages that refuse a request, deny credit, cancel a program, or tell a customer that his order has been delayed

               1. Begin with a neutral or pleasant statement

2.Explain the reason for the bad news.  Provide details

3.State the bad news

4.Offer an alternative, if possible.

Request  – message that asks for something like general information, customer service, product details, catalogs, free items.

1.Summarize your request

2.Provide all the necessary details

3.Tell the reader exactly what to do

4.Make sure to say thank you

Activity Sheet #3

Give two specific examples of the kinds of memo you might write for each of the following memo purposes.

Give information – message that strictly gives facts and figures



Complain – message that reports and complains and asks for correction



Persuade – message that convinces the reader to action



Good News – message of good will



Bad News – Messages that refuse a request, deny credit, cancel a program, or tell a customer that his order has been delayed



Request information – message that makes a direct request such as general information, customer service, or product details



Performance Activity # 1

Please write the following memos:

1.  Information - A memo notifying employees that a meeting is scheduled to explain the new health insurance. 

2.  Complaint  – A memo complaining about a product you received.


3.  Persuade – Talk the reader into using a new product.

4.     Good news – Notify all staff that we are getting a raise.

5.     Bad news – The photo order will be late.

6.     Request – I need information on a product.

Use your imagination to fill in details.

Write the memos on Word and attach them to an e-mail to your teacher, or you may turn in a paper copy.  Please make sure and include all the parts of the standard memo heading.  Watch spacing.  Be clear and concise.   Don’t forget your purpose, audience, and details (who, what, why, when, where, how).

Did you remember to use Courtesy and Conversational Tone? Were you Clear and Specific?

You will have six memos in all to turn in to your teacher.  Please put your name, date, and type of memo on each page.  You may attach your memos in Word format and send them to

Each memo will be judged on the following items:

Do you have:







Standard memo heading


Point stated clearly, concisely














Courteous, conversational tone


Memo format, proper spacing


total  (100 points each possible)