How to Write a Killer Policy Memo

Learn to Write a Killer Memo Before Lunch

Download our free guide, Five Steps to Writing Killer Memos, and start earning your next promotion today!
* indicates required
We respect your email privacy.

About This Course

Have you ever felt lost when starting a memo or a report? Do you worry that your writing isn’t as powerful and persuasive as you want it to be? Do you want to write memos that get you noticed?

Like it or not, the world runs on memos. But if you’re like most people, no one ever taught you how to write a memo, much less a killer memo. But guess what, there is a straightforward formula for writing great memos, and everyone can master it.

In this course I will teach you what makes a memo a killer memo and walk you step by step through the process I have used to help thousands of students learn how to write killer memos.

Cost: $199

Format: Self-paced

Length: 2 hours 

Category: Professional skills

Target audience: Everyone who writes memos for a living


Included in this course: 

Two hours of rich learning content

Lifetime access 

Practice exercises and interactive quizzes

Downloadable templates and resources

Take the course on your phone


A. Trevor Thrall, Ph.D.

A. Trevor Thrall, Ph.D.


About the Instructor

Trevor Thrall is a co-founder of E38 Academy and an associate professor at George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government where he teaches courses in national and international security.

Trevor is also a senior fellow for the Cato Institute’s Defense and Foreign Policy Department where he cohosts the Power Problems podcast.

Having taught for over 20 years, Trevor has helped thousands of students learn to write killer memos.

What You Will Learn

Section 1: Welcome |Getting Started |What Makes a Killer Memo? | Introducing the Five-Step Process

We’ll set the table by discussing why good memo writing is so difficult and so important. We’ll talk about some of the big mistakes people frequently make, what makes memos “killer memos,” and we’ll take a first look at the five-step process and why it makes writing great memos so much easier.

Section 2 : Assessing Your Audience

This section goes deep on how to make sure your memo meets the needs of your audience. We’ll identify the four critical questions you need to ask before you get started and look at how answering them streamlines the whole writing process.

Section 3 : Determining Your Decision Making Strategy

This section covers what is probably the most challenging step of writing a killer memo: figuring out the best way to address the problems and questions at hand. We’ll look at examples and talk about some of the most common analytical approaches.

Section 4 : Organizing for Maximum Impact

This section delves into the actual writing side of the killer memo process. Even the best analysis won’t be very useful if your memo is so poorly organized that people can’t follow your argument. We’ll start with the importance of outlining, walk through the standard structure for an analytical memo, and show how to make your memo truly stand out by using “road signs.”

Section 5 : Writing Clearly, Concisely, and Confidently

There are some fundamental truths about great writing, but memos are a unique format. Killer memos demand a level of clarity, concision, and confidence that is unlike most other kinds of writing. We’ll look at the keys to making sure your writing is powerful, persuasive, and memorable.

Section 6: Reviewing and Revising

This section introduces an incredibly powerful tool that surprisingly few people take advantage of in their writing – the revision process. If you ever wondered what separates good writers from great writers, wonder no more. Great writers take the time to step back, get feedback, and polish their work.

Section 7 : Briefing Your Memo

In many cases, writing the memo is just the first step. If it gets traction, you’re going to wind up presenting your arguments to people. In this section we’ll talk about the keys to giving an effective briefing with a “guest speaker,” E38 Academy co-founder Christopher Savos, a 22-year veteran of the CIA who has given thousands of briefings.

Section 8: Parting Thoughts

In this last section we’ll review what we’ve learned and review some of the most common questions memo writers have about the writing process.

Section 9: Memo Writing Resources

The resource section has a range of downloadable templates, exercises, and examples of great memos that you can access at any time.