How to Write a Great Corporate Memo

There are dozens of tricks you can learn about business writing and, in particular, about writing a good memo. Here’s the one that I believe is the most important: Before you begin to write, ask yourself, “What is the single most important idea I want my reader to walk away with?”

Don’t let yourself come up with three or four (or a dozen) ideas. Just stick with that one. Write only what you need to convey that idea, and discard everything else.

If all the other things you want to say are important, you can save them for other memos. By sticking to one idea, your message will be much more powerful. People can’t usually remember more than one big idea at a time, anyway. So anything extra you put in will be lost.


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[Ed. Note: Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Palm Beach Letter. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.]