Writing as an organizational communication tool

Posted on April 4, 2022

The ability to communicate in writing is no longer limited to select individuals as it once was. On the contrary, information avalanches have become a sign of the times. Yet not all of the vast quantity of written information that floods the press, social networks, etc. is actually well written. Indeed, too much communication can be just as harmful as too little.

Content overload can leave some people confused, distracted or even stressed, because they feel unable to cope with the barrage of information around them. This is the environment people are working in, and in which writers must draft communications to employees. Their biggest challenge is making sure people notice their message and remember it.

Let’s focus on memos here, since they allow managers and executives to share a message with employees and are the most common type of communication used by organizations. Once memos are sent to employees, either on paper or by email, they are often archived on the organization’s intranet for future reference.

Make sure you get noticed despite the information overload

When you write a memo, your message is competing with thousands of pieces of content on the organization’s intranet and website, files littering desktops, and individuals’ own concerns—to mention only a few distractions.

How can you make sure all employees read and retain the key information in the memo? In addition to making the memo visually appealing, which is particularly useful for coping with the dreariness of duller days, strive to be creative while adhering to the rules of writing for internal communications.

Create a more engaging, personalized memo

A common mistake organizations make is to draft content very formally, which causes employees to lose interest and become bored. In these cases, the memo’s content is likely to be read quickly and forgotten. By definition, a memo should be short, but the wording can be jazzed up to make it less “boring.” One simple and effective method is to use the second-person singular or plural format instead of third-person singular. For example, consider the following sentence: “Management would like to bring to your attention that using social networks is prohibited, except during your lunch break.” You could replace that sentence with something like “Please avoid using social networks, except during your lunch break.”

A short title that summarizes the situation is more original. The title, usually formal, could take on a more casual style and still be appropriate for the workplace. For example, instead of “Management Policy on the Use of Social Networks,” a less formal title could be more informative and suitable, for example, “When Can You Use Social Networks at Work?” Why is this title more effective? Because it speaks directly to the employee. This organizational communication practice is not only recommended to enhance the relationship between executives and employees (vertical communication), but is also essential for any modern organization.

Focus your memo on employee needs

Why should staff members engage in one behaviour over another? This is a good question to ask yourself. Employees are more motivated to change their behaviour if they have a good reason to do so or if it benefits them personally. Therefore, where possible, include an explicit or indirect motivator for employees in order to get their attention. Consider using wording like the following example: “Take time on your lunch break to do something you enjoy, like checking in with people you know through social media. You’ll be better able to focus on your afternoon tasks after taking the time to relax and clear your head.” This type of message could be more persuasive in encouraging employees to check social media at an appropriate time rather than a memo simply stating the organization’s policies.

If you follow these tips, your memo will be more enjoyable to read and the message easier to retain. As a result, the memo will become a truly effective organizational communication tool.


The opinions expressed in posts and comments published on the Our Languages blog are solely those of the authors and commenters and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Language Portal of Canada.

Get to know Yasmina El Jamaï

Yasmina El Jamaï

Yasmina is a professional writer and freelance journalist who has been enhancing the quality of her Canadian clients’ writing for more than 20 years. Since 2006, she has worked at the head of Media Redaktica, a company specializing in corporate communications. Yasmina has taught written communication at the University of Montreal and has a Master’s in Communication Science and a certificate in Journalism from that same university.


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