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Format for an Instructional Memo

Most business memos are informational, and chances are if you are writing one, you will be writing an instructional memo. Here are some pointers for writing this kind of memo.

Memo format

Memo format

What Is an Instructional Memo?

An instructional memo is a mini-how-to guide that gives its readers basic directions on how to do something. This could be something as simple as using the photocopier machine, or something more complex such as a code of conduct for dating in the office. It could be the summary of some major procedures that have just been implemented, or some rules or guidelines about after-hours security.

Some Tips for Completing an Instructional Memo

Most of your message will focus on the directions or tasks that you are instructing your reader on. So:

  1. Divide the instructions into small steps
  2. List the steps in the order you want them completed
  3. Arrange the steps using bullets or numbers
  4. Begin each step with an action verb.

There, I just modeled the meat of your instructional memo, because each of these points starts with an action verb.

Structure of Your Instructional Memo

Your instructional memo will have three parts:

  1. The opening (why are you writing this)
  2. The instructions (written with active verbs or in the imperative mood)
  3. The close: this is the wind-down that ends the message on a note of goodwill, and asks for any feedback from the reader.
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Memo Format

Your memo, of course, should be in memo format. If you use MS Word, you can find many templates to help you set up your memo. Memo format usually has four tags:

  • To: (Sender's name/position)
  • From: (Your name/position)
  • Date: (Today's date)
  • Subject: (Also known as re: )

Memo Opening

Template courtesy of MS Word

Template courtesy of MS Word

Instructional points


Active Verbs


This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2012 Rhonda Malomet

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