The World Runs on Memos…

Memos are one of the most important tools used by every organization to help leaders make decisions and take action.

Learning to write killer memos is a tremendous opportunity to build your confidence and to accelerate your career.

Video Transcript

Hi, my name is Trevor Thrall. I’m one of the founders of E38 Academy and a professor at the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University. I’ve been teaching national and international security for over twenty years and I have helped thousands of people learn how to write killer memos.

You’ve probably heard a lot of people talk about how important good writing is for your career. And guess what, they’re right!

But even if you buy that you still might be wondering: why should care I about memos? What’s so important about them?

Let me fill you in on a poorly kept secret: the world runs on memos! A memo is one of the most important tools organizations use to make decisions. Every organization, private, non-profit, or government, uses memos – regardless of what they get called where you work – to help its managers and leaders make crucial decisions.

That means that learning to write killer memos is a tremendous opportunity to do two things. 

First, learning to write killer memos can help relieve a lot of the stress that many of us feel about our writing. Have you ever gotten a writing assignment and had no idea how to get started? Do you worry that your writing isn’t impressing your boss? Or maybe you just got a new job and you’ve never written a memo before. For anyone in this boat – which is pretty much all of us at one time or another – mastering the art of memo writing can take the fear out of writing and help you increase your confidence in your work. Which is going to be a great feeling.

Second, learning to write really great memos can also help you advance in your career. Writing a killer memo that helps your boss or your organization get an important decision right can literally make your career. When you’re confident in your writing you’re going to volunteer to take on the important assignments, and when your writing is great everyone is going to notice.

The problem is, if you’re like most people, no one ever taught you how to write a memo at all, much less a killer memo. Writing is hard for all of us, killer memos are no exception. If having trouble writing or you’re worried that your writing is holding you back, let me assure you that you are not alone. Writing is hard! 

Even if you’re a good writer, the memo is a different beast. Every semester when my students turn in their first memo assignments, they tell me how much more difficult it was compared to what they thought it was going to be. And that’s because the memo is actually a very demanding format, especially policy or decision memos that require a lot of analysis and persuasive argumentation.

What you need, then, is a recipe and a process that will help you create killer memos without stress and strain. So in my next video I’ll talk about what killer memos “killer.” In the meantime, I’d love it if you would take a minute to post a comment about the challenges you face today with your writing and how it would feel to write better memos. Thanks!