memos, messages, routing slips
In business, a letter is used to communicate with someone outside the company. When you wish to write to someone within your own company, you will send a memorandum. Memos are used to communicate with other employees, regardless of where the employees may be located - whether in the same office, in the same building, or in a branch office hundreds of miles away.
In most companies and organizations, memorandums (memoranda) are written in the first person. The tone of the memo is influenced by the position held by the writer in relation to that held by the receiver. Also, the topic under consideration plays an important part in determining the tone. Obviously a person writing to a company official to report the results of a financial audit will be more formal than a person writing a co-worker about the company bowling league.
An important factor is the personality of the individual receiving the memorandum. The president for example, may insist on informality, whereas a peer might like a formal impersonal tone. Therefore, the effective business writer must evaluate the position of the reader, the topic under consideration, and the personality of the reader when setting the tone of the memorandum.
There are usually three main parts to a memorandum:
1. The heading.
2. The subject and date.
3. The message.
Occasionally, when official approval or authority is required, the memorandum may be concluded with a line for the signature of the person originating the correspondence.
The heading of a memorandum is usually printed.
Date: 27.2.19 Ref: AC/CF/521
To: Assistant Accountant From: Chief Accountant
Subject: Annual Accounts
The Board have fixed the date of the A6M for 30.4.2000. Your draft of the accounts should be ready for submission by 14.3.2000.
In the To and From sections, the business title of each person is often included. In the To section, a courtesy title - Miss, Mrs., Ms., Mr., Dr. - is often included. However, in the From section, the writer does not use a courtesy title.
To: Mr. Terrence Campbell, Office Manager
From: Gloria Tassex, Treasurer
The memo forms used in large companies may also include Department and Location sections to facilitate communication among co-workers in various branches of the firm. These sections need not be filled in if reader and writer work in the same location or department.
The Subject, a brief statement telling what the memo is about, helps the reader to prepare for the contents and aids in filing the correspondence for future reference. The subject line is not a complete sentence but rather a concise phrase that includes some specific information. For example, the subject may read:
Subject: Changes in the Personnel Evaluation Form.
The message. The presentation of the message closely follows the patterns presented for writing business letters. Most memos follow a direct organization plan. These messages present the main idea in the first paragraph and then with the necessary details support the opening statements. Finally, the everyday memo concludes with suggestion for future action or requests guidance on future action.
Occasionally, you may find it necessary to write a persuasive or bad-news memorandum. In this case, you are likely to be more successful if you present your details first and lead the reader on a step-by-step method to your request or bad news. In this way, the receiver is more likely to complete reading the memo and come to the conclusion of bad news along with the writer. By allowing the reader to see the reasoning that supports or leads to the idea you are conveying, you are better able to maintain goodwill.
When are Memorandums written? May business firms tell their employees to put in writing all important information that crosses their desks. Written records help to (1) determine responsibility, (2) clear up in consistencies, and (3) record needed information. If you are sending important papers or documents to another person, for example, it is best to transmit them by memorandums so that if they become lost, there will be a record - your file copy - providing when they were actually sent, and recording exactly what they were.
To: Andrew Wolfson From: Jean Betz
Subject: Rahd Meat Comparison Test Date: March 11, 2000
The Rahd Meat Comparison report that you asked to see is enclosed. Would you please return the report to me when you have finished with it. Incidentally, Mr.Walston has asked that this report not be circulated outside company.