14 October 2005

The Three-Step Memo

As you try to get your thoughts down, you are distracted by dozens of competing concerns and preoccupations, including the co-worker in the hallway who is describing in intimate detail his marvelous mid-winter vacation in the Cayman Islands. A hour later, after two people have walked into your office and five people have called you on the phone (each needing an immediate response) you have completed your memo, which is supposed to be an articulate, organized, cogent statement of your purpose in writing.

So what's new?

The next time you find yourself trying to write a memo in less-than-ideal conditions like these, try organizing your thoughts using this simple, three-step formula:
1. Purpose
2. Support
3. Proposed action.

It is more than a time-saver for you. It also ensures that you are stating your purpose clearly and getting to the point quickly for your reader. Here's how it works:

Organize your message into three paragraphs beginning with these phrases:

I am writing because (or to) . . .

The facts are . . .

I propose that you . . .

From Wilbers: The Three-Step Memo.

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yammyr6 said...

do you ever come across the phrase what sad a wanker
because u are a sad wanker
please do feel free to fuck off and die we wont miss you i promice

dave said...

please ellucidate


Richard said...

This article (not the surreal comment from yammyr6) reminds of the 'world's most sucessful way to complain' (I forget where I first heard this, but the format has served me very well for more than 10 years.

It's a three-parter too:
Part 1. Explain what has happened. Without anger, without emotion. This serves to make your adversary listen to you without rage.
Part 2. Begin Part 2 using teh phrase "This makes me feel...". This makes me feel embarassed in from omy boss, or upset or angry or however it did really make you feel. This help your adsary emphasize with you.
Part 3. Explain exactly what you would your adversary to do about this predicament. Be reasonable. I would like a free bottle of wine, I would like a replacement car, I would like you to pay for my drycleaning. Part 3 provides your adversary with a simple explanation of how to make the problem go away, so that they can go back to work.

This technique has worked nearly everytime I've used it, and it will for you too.


Anonymous said...

Thanks Dave and Richard.

This is good/useful information.

Keep up the good work.