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What is a Memorandum?

Memorandum

is the Latin word for something to be

remembered
A memorandum is considered as a brief inside correspondence
sent up and down the corporate ladder
The basic function of a memo is to make the reader aware of a
specific information as efficiently as possible
Memos are more formal than e-mails, but less formal than
business letters
Originally used only in hard copy, they are now often processed
electronically
Memos vary in length (Short memos serve as inter- or intraoffice communication; long memos may serve as reports)

Advantages of Memos
Quick
Inexpensive
Convenient
Provide a Written Record

How does a memo differ from a letter?


Memos are mainly used for inside

correspondence

Memos are less formal in tone


Memos dont have elements such as salutation,

subscription, greeting or even a signature at the end


It usually conveys one idea and is likely to be short

Principles of writing effective Memos / Letters

Simplicity
One main subject in one
letter
ii. One thought in one sentence
iii. One idea in one paragraph
i.

Clarity
Clarity of message
ii. Clarity of Form
i.

Conciseness

Standard and Neutral

language

You Attitude
Sincerity and Tone
i. Confidence
ii. Directness
iii. Enthusiasm
iv. Humanity
Emphasis

Be sure the memo.


States the purpose clearly
Presents message effectively
Uses a courteous tone
Gives reader complete, accurate details
Concludes appropriately

Functions of a Memorandum
To provide Information

To issue an Instruction
To convey a policy decision
To offer Suggestions

To record / report an agreement


Report results
Small reports

Internal proposals

Basic Parts of a Memo


MEMORANDUM (Heading Segment)

DATE: Usually a formal manner of writing the date, for example 26 November 2013
TO: The person receiving the memorandum. (If the memo is going to more than one
reader, make sure to list them in the order of their status in the company).
FROM: The person writing the memorandum
SUBJECT: A short title descriptive of the topic in discussion in the memorandum. This
serves as the title line of your memo. Summarize your message/purpose precisely.
Introduction (Opening Segment): explaining why the memorandum has been
written and what topic the memorandum will discuss.
Body (Summary/Analysis Segment): discussing the topic in detail.
Conclusion (Closing segment): Explaining the implications of the memo and what
the audience should think or do about the memos topic as a result of your analysis.

MEMO
Date:
To:
From:
Subject:

June 21, 2008


All Employees
Arthur Dahlquist, General Manager
Wide Area Telephone Service (WATS) Lines

WATS lines were installed three years ago to give all employees easier telephone
access to our customers and suppliers in other parts of the country. In fact, our
company's growth rate has increased since then, and we attribute at least part of
that growth to the new telephone system.
As sales have increased, so have our telephone bills. But, over the past few months,
those bills have been growing faster than sales. It seems that a few people have been
using the long-distance lines to make personal calls. Such misuse of the WATS lines
reduces our profits (and thus the amount available for profit sharing by all
employees), and it ties up lines that are needed for business calls.
Please do your part to keep our company profitable and healthy. If you absolutely
must make a personal long-distance call during business hours, please charge it to
your home phone. Your colleagues will appreciate your consideration.

Analysis of a poorly phrased persuasive Memo


Date:
To:
From:
Subject:

Nov 26th 2013


Metro Power Employees
Susannah Beech, Human Resources Administrator
You will be fired if you indulge in workplace terrorism

This is a reminder that computer problems should be reported to Bart Stone immediately, and the violent
tempers in the workplace cannot be tolerated.
Recently, three Metro employees were fired because of violent outbursts after an equipment failure. One
woman was kicking her printer and screaming obscenities. A man threw his keyboard across the room when
he couldnt get on the Intranet, and a third employee put a fist through his computer screen after the system
failed. We try to avoid firing people, but these employees frightened co-workers, so we had no choice.
We will do the same to anyone who screams at their computers or kicks their printers in the future. You can
laugh, but its not funny. This is akin to workplace terrorism.
Computers should be turned off at night, cleaned with cleaning cloths, and food and drink products avoided.
There are many ways to combat rising tempers. Walks around the building are a good tactic for calming
down.
Technology glitches are not some unholy terror. They are commonplace. Lets behave like adults in the
future, shall we?
Susannah Beech, Human Resources Administrator

Improved Version
MEMO
Date:
To:
From:
Subject:

November 26, 2013


Metro Power Employees
Susannah Beech, Human Resources Administrator
Coping tactics for technical failures

We all know the stress of racing towards a deadline and suddenly having your equipment fail. Here are a few
suggestions to help you stave off and cope with technical equipment and systems failures when they do
occur:

Stay cool. Tech failures are commonplace in business; your bosses and co-workers will understand.
Practice preventive maintenance. Use cleaning cloths and sprays regularly, keep liquids and foods away
from sensitive keyboards and printers, and make sure systems are shut down when you leave at night.
For faster repair assistance, promptly report computer failures to Bart Stone, assistant director of
information services, ext. 2238.
The last suggestion is perhaps the most important to keep your career on track. Lost tempers, violent
outbursts, and rude language are threatening to co-workers, and could result in reprimands or other
disciplinary action. So stay calm and make good use of technical support hotlines and assistance.
Ask your supervisor for a list of support numbers to keep handy. The next time you experience a technology
glitch, youll be able to handle it as just another aspect of your business routine.

Writing Negative Memos


General pattern of a negative memo:
1.
2.
3.
4.

A neutral, non-controversial opening statement that is


closely related to the point of the message (= buffer)
A logical, neutral explanation of the reasons for the
bad news
Statement of the bad news
A positive close

Sample of a Negative Memo


Date:
To:
From:
Subject:

March 17, 2009


Financial Records Department Employees
Gerald Payne, Director of Financial Records Department
Student Requests for Quarterly Reports

We at Quality Corporation have recently been approached by college business


students who would like to conduct research on companies such as ours. Their
project sounds interesting, and we certainly wish we could participate.
However, our board requires strict confidentiality of all sales information until
quarterly reports are mailed to stockholders. We release press reports at the same
time the quarterly reports go out, and we certainly would not mind including the
students in our future mailings.

Although we cannot release projected figures, we are more than willing to share
information that is part of the public record. We also value the interest that
business students take in our company.

Analysis of a Poorly Worded Negative Memo


Date:
To:
From:
Subject:

28 May 2009
AZ Venture Traveling Executives
Walt Cummings, Director of Travel and Meeting Services
Travel Budget Cuts Effective Immediately

We need to start making some budget cuts in our travel expenditures. These include staying
in cheaper hotels, arranging flights for cheaper times, and renting more reasonable cars.
The company needs to cut travel expenses by 25 percent. This means youll no longer stay in
fancy hotels and make last minute, costly changes to your travel plans.
Never return a rental car with an empty tank! That causes the rental agency to charge us a
premium price for the gas they sell when they fill it up upon your return.

Youll be expected to make these changes in your travel habits immediately. Travel
allowances will reflect the 25% reduction. In the future, any expenses beyond the allowance
will come out of your own pockets.

Improved Version
MEMO
Date:
To:
From:
Subject:

February 25, 2009


AZ Venture Traveling Executives
Walt Cummings, Director of Travel and Meeting Services
Cutting Travel Expenses

I have received positive feed-back from all of you regarding your attendance at conventions and
trade shows. As we all know and understand, they are a vital part to this companys growth and
success. However, after analyzing our travel expenses, it has come to my attention that we can and
have to curb our expenditures.
Listed below are a few ways that this goal can be easily achieved:
1.

Travel and airfare are huge expenses. Please book flights no less than three weeks prior to the
event. You may also consider taking advantage of Southwests ding or other discounted
tickets.

2.

When renting a car, remember that carpooling and renting fuel-friendly economy cars will save
lots of money. As you all know, the price of gas is a major factor in travel expenses, so cutting
down on gas usage is vital. Also take the time to refuel the vehicle before returning it so that we
can avoid the company surcharge on gas.

Improved Version (cont.)


3.

Please book hotel rooms in advance to qualify for lower rates. If at all possible,
consider sharing a room with one of your co-workers.

If you apply these money saving tactics to your travel plans, travel expenses can be cut by
25%. In the future, any money spent above the allowed amount will be your personal
responsibility. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me. Thank
you for your understanding and cooperation.

POSERS

A.
B.
C.
D.
E.

F.

What is a Memo?
Explain circular letter and memoranda.
How does a memo differ from a letter?
What are the principles of writing effective
memos?
Draft a memorandum as president, CEC
Corporation to all its employees, explaining the
importance of energy conservation in all its
offices and the various measures to be adopted
to achieve this objective.
An employee of grinding section has gone on an
unauthorised leave on Friday. He reports back
on Saturday. The supervisor officially needs to
communicate this absence to him (employee).
Suggest the type of communication he should
resort to, why?