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Starting January 16, 2020

Live Webinar Master Class:

How to Write a Killer Policy Memo

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 live, 8-week master class I will not only teach you what makes a memo a killer memo, I will walk you step by step through the process I have used to help thousands of students learn how to write killer memos. You will also have a chance to discuss the challenges of memo writing – as well as tips and strategies – on the course discussion board.

And if you sign up by the early bird deadline, I will personally read and critique your memo twice: once at the beginning of the course to identify where you can improve, and once at the end of the course to confirm how much you’ve learned.

Cost: $499

Format: Live weekly webinars

Start/End Date: January 16, 2020 – March 5, 2020

Length: 8 hours (1 hour per week for 8 weeks)

Category: Professional skills

Target audience: Everyone who writes memos for a living


Included in this course: 

8 1-hour live, weekly webinars

Lifetime access to recorded webinars and other rich learning content

Student discussion

Practice exercises and interactive quizzes

Downloadable templates and resources

Early bird enrollees will also get two “red pen” critiques of their memos at the beginning and end of the course.


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

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

In our first webinar 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.

60 minutes

Webinar #2 : Step 1 - Assessing Your Audience

This week we’ll go 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.

60 minutes

Webinar #3 : Step 2 - Creating the Analytical Framework

This week’s webinar covers what is probably the most challenging step of writing a killer memo: creating and applying a compelling analytical framework to the question and issues at hand. We’ll look at examples and talk about some of the most common analytical approaches.

60 minutes

Webinar #4 : Step 3 - Organize for Maximum Impact

This week we delve 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.”

60 minutes

Webinar #5 : Step 4 - 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. This week we’ll look at the keys to making sure your writing is powerful, persuasive, and memorable.

60 minutes

Webinar #6: Step 5 - Rest, Review, and Revise

This week we will talk about 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.

60 minutes

Webinar #7 : Bonus seminar - Briefing Your Memo

This week we’ll take some time to talk about what comes after you’ve written your killer 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. We’ll talk about the keys to giving an effective briefing with a guest speaker, Dr. Christopher Savos, a 22-year veteran of the CIA who has given thousands of briefings.

60 minutes

Webinar #8: Review, In Depth Q & A, and Parting Thoughts

In our last webinar we’ll review what we’ve learned, talk about the progress everyone has made in their memo writing, and we’ll have a Q&A session to address questions that have arisen during the course. 

60 minutes