Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Memo or Memorandum: Meaning, Importance and Difference between Memo and Business Letters

Office Memorandum or Memo or Memorandum

Memorandum is popularly known as memo. The literal meaning of the word memorandum is a note to assist the memory. Memos are the written internal communication means for exchanging information relating to day-to-day functions within the organizations.

According to Lesikar and pettit, “Memorandum is a form of letters written inside the business”.

According to Stewart and Clark, “Memos are used to communicate with other employees, regardless of where the employees may be located in the same organization.”

According to S. Taylor, “Memo is a written communication form one person to another (or a group of people) within the same organization.”

So, memorandum or memos are an internal short note or letter in which information exchanged among superiors and subordinates or same potion of employees in the organizational structure.


Advantages of office memo
We know memorandum serves various purposes. It is a common means of writer, communication within the organization. The main advantages of memos are discussed below:

1.       Time saving: We can see that may organizations use printed memo. As it is usually printed, it takes less time to draft it.

2.       Less formality: No formality is necessary in drafting a memo, usually inside address, salutation and complimentary closing is omitted in it.

3.       Maintenance good relationship: It can help to maintain the good relationship among the boss and subordinates, because the bossing attitude is absent here.

4.       Low cost: The cost of communication through a memo is less than those of others.

5.       References: Memo is a written document. So, it can be used for future references.

6.       Inform the decisions and actions: The main objective of memo is to inform the decisions and actions. For this purpose, it should be written by the higher authority.

7.       Request the decisions and actions: The objective of memo is to request the decisions and actions. For this objective, it may be drafted by the sub-ordinate.

8.       Provide information: Another important objective of the memo is to provide information form one level to another within the business.

9.       Remain someone of action: Memo is also written to remind someone of action, if requires.

10.   Others: Issuing orders and instructions, providing response, providing suggestions, presenting informal report, solving problems.

Disadvantages of office memo
There are few limitations or Disadvantages of memos they are:

1.       Limited application: It is not widely used means of communication. Memorandum is mainly used in business firms. It maintains communication only among the employees of the same firm regardless of distance.

2.       Time consuming: It takes time to be sent to a distant branch or office.

3.       Expensive: As usually a memo is a per-printed form, it is expensive than other means. Sometimes huge printed memos remain unused.

4.       Lack of formality: It provides only informal communication.

5.       Lack of explanation: Memo is written in a short form. So the meaning of it may not be cleared to the reader.

6.       Less important to the reader: As it is an informal means of communication, it can be less important to the reader.

7.       Not suitable for illiterate people: Office memo is a one kind of written communication. So, illiterate people are not able to read and understand it.

Guidelines for writing effective memos or drafting memos
In order to make interoffice communication easier, please adhere to the following guidelines for writing:
·         Summarize the conclusions in the introduction paragraph
·         State the basis for conclusion in the introductory paragraph
·         Begin each subsequent paragraph with a thesis statement
·         Support the thesis statement in the body of the paragraph
·         Be concise
·         Know the audience
·         Avoid jargon
·         Stay objective
·         Use active verbs
·         Anticipate counterarguments
·         Provide “road signs” as needed
·         Cite the sources
·         Number the pages
·         End with a concluding paragraph

Differences between memos and business letters

1.       Memos are never sent out of the company or organization, but letters can be both sent to recipients within the organization or outside the organization.

2.       The information in a memo is concise and straight to the point. A memo will only focus on the most pertinent issues. But letters on the other hand are more detailed and often elaborate more on the important issues to be done or addressed.

3.       Memos are very short; letters are generally lengthier than memos.

4.       Memos are normally sent to the recipient(s) by the organization’s messenger, but letters are normally put in envelopes and posted via mail.

5.       Memos do not contain addresses, but business letters must contain addresses. In a business letter both the sender’s address and the recipient’s address must be put.

6.       A letter can be more private than a memo.

7.       Last but not least, the features of memos are massively different from the features of business letters.


8.       The above-mentioned are the common differences between memos and business letters. Both memos and letters are used frequently in every well organized business organization.

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