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Chapter 24. Exercises to Help You Write ... > Clear, Direct, and Concise

Clear, Direct, and Concise

A good memo can inform, persuade, and impress your reader. It can save your organization both time and money. If nothing else, learning to write a better memo will save you time and effort. It is unproductive to struggle for thirty minutes over the wording of a paragraph that should take five minutes to write.

A good memo should be clear, direct, and concise. The most important thought should be at the beginning of the memo. Directives and requests should be specific. (“Please call me on Monday” rather than “Get back to me as soon as possible.”) The language of a memo should be plain, simple English. If a memo sounds dull and stiff, rewrite it using language that is more conversational. (Reading a memo aloud will help you detect pompous language and unnecessary words.)


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