Memo random?

There is no such thing. Let's review Basic Memo Writing.

1) The purpose of most memos is simple: covering your tushy.

2) Memos generally fall into one of three categories: a) INSTRUCTIONS TO SUBORDINATES. These can be communicated faster in person, but the point of the memo isn't the instructions. It's copying your boss. This serves as a reminder of how busy and businesslike you are. It also delivers a desirable and mildly threatening message to the addressee: the boss is watching; better perform well and on time. b) THE NASTY INQUIRY. What's holding up the job? Why did it go over budget? Questions like these help divert blame and are always fun. The point of putting them in writing is again to copy your boss. Just be sure to get your memo out before your boss sends a similar one to you. c) INFORMATION TRANSMITTAL. These memos are written for the purpose of conveying facts, opinions or suggestions and mean what they say. A relatively rare type.

3) Everything you need to know about the basics is already covered under points 1 and 2.

Advanced Memo Writing, however, is a much broader and more creative subject. Today's lesson will just touch on the possibilities inherent in the distribution list, with a few crafty examples.

Mr. Tough had been sent by an American company to run its Canadian subsidiary. Eventually he decided to change careers and move back to the United States. When the time for his departure drew near, his company tried to renege on its promise to pay for his moving expenses.

Knowing that his Canadian clients had a higher regard for him than for his superiors in New York, Tough protested in a blunt memo to his management and carboned his second-in-command, who was responsible for client service.

There was no ostensible need to send this person a copy, which is why doing it was clearly significant. Tough was threatening to bad-mouth his management to his Canadian clients if his expenses weren't paid.

Allowing a few days for this to sink in, he then went to New York and obtained a satisfactory agreement in writing. His veiled threat had worked, when an open one might have failed because it could have been used against him.

The Vicious case shows another variation of distribution list games: communication by omission. On several occasions Mrs. Vicious had some highly sensitive information to pass on to her company president and her fellow V.P.s. Simply by addressing her confidential memos to all but one of them, she managed to plant seeds of distrust about the omitted V.P. It was one of the master strokes of her vendetta against him.

A less nasty but equally charming gambit was pioneered by Mr. Sly. He was responsible for various branch office activities that were supposed to be cleared at company headquarters by Mr. Smith, whose involvement Sly resented. Sly customarily described his plans in a memo to Smith with the proviso that Sly would proceed unless he was advised otherwise. The original would go to Smith and a carbon marked ''file copy'' to Smith's assistant.

One inspired day Sly destroyed the original of his latest memo and just sent the ''file copy.''

And from then on he followed this procedure on three-fourths of his memos to Smith.

The only time Smith ever thought to ask why he had not been informed of some branch office matter, Sly was exonerated by the memo on it that was of course in the files. And Smith then blamed their notorious interoffice mail service.

With these true examples to stir your mind and heart you should be able to recall or develop some other good ploys, and I'd be interested in hearing about them.

Just don't carbon my boss. I might want to use them instead of print them.