Undergraduate Blog / Career Development

Memo Quality: You never know where it will end up.


I expect you were hoping that this story would be something along the lines of, I wrote a ridiculously inappropriate email/memo to a colleague (all be it hysterically funny) that ended up getting forwarded to my boss and was highly embarrassing.

Well I did…

Kidding not really… but there is a lesson none the less

I was asked one morning to write a memo concerning a potential client that was coming in to the office for lunch. The memo was to contain a description of their company, their industry ( which was extremely complicated, involved a niche market in Energy dealing with blackout solutions) and potential strategic buyers. I had an hour and a half.

So I did my research, and wrote a bullet point memo that contained all the relevant information, not anything too challenging.

So I walk into the MD’s office 10 minutes before the meeting to discuss it. He likes the content, and tells me to print out several copies to distribute at the meeting for the potential client to examine.

Now…I, wanting to make a good impression, wrote a concise, clear, grammatically accurate memo, so after a few touch-ups it was client-ready. However, had I decided to be informal, lazy, and kept out relevant information, the memo would have been less than satisfactory, and had it contained inaccuracies from lazy research would have reflected poorly on my boss in the meeting. Therefore, it is good practice to write every memo as if it will be seen by a client, by anyone in the office, by the legal team, and worst case, by a judge/SEC/jury and published. (For further evidence seek out comical emails subpoenaed in the Enron scandal or any other high profile case)