What is Memorandum?
The literal meaning of the word ‘memorandum’ or ‘memo’ is ‘a thing to be remembered’. In a legal context, the memorandum is a legal document that records contractual terms. In a business context, a memorandum means any business document which is a written statement of record. The circulation of memos is to draw the attention of the people at work.
In other words, the memorandum is a means to share information at the workplace or say it is a tool of inter-office correspondence. As said earlier, it is a note that is meant to be remembered and acted upon by the company’s executives like managers, supervisors, and other employees.
There are some organizations in which small events and requests are communicated by way of memos.
These are circulated in the enterprise from one office/department to another. In case the organization is operating at a big level, memos are also sent by the head office to their regional centers or branches. Lately, these are sent by way of an email. If the written matter is lengthy, and inappropriate to send via email, then they are printed and sent through the post.
Points to Note
- In a memo, the subject under discussion is addressed immediately. That is to say, it encompasses a straight beginning.
- It is precise and written in a friendly and cooperative tone.
- It is usually one page long and used for the day-to-day exchange of information for intra-office communication among various departments of the enterprise.
Salient Features of Memorandum
- Memos are always written in the third person.
- Absence of any salutation or subscription.
- At the end of the memo, the signature along with the designation of the officer issuing memorandum is written.
- Inside address is stated at the bottom, on the left side.
- Always issued in writing.
- It is a form of internal business communication, and its flow is downward, i.e. from superior to subordinate.
- Covers specific responses to particular situations, and avoids routine matters.
- They elicit action.
- Non-interactive, as they do not result in a written response from the recipient.
- Official document and acts as a permanent record for reference.
Format of Memorandum
The format of a memo is depicted below:
The vital components of a memorandum are:
- Reference, Date, and Subject
Purpose of Memorandum
The purpose of memorandum is to:
- Convey information
- Request something
- Revert to an inquiry
- Seek explanation
- Organize a meeting
- Offer suggestions
- Give instructions
- Confirm arrangements following a discussion
- Amend existing policies
- Make inquiry
Guidelines for Memo Writing
While writing a memo it must be kept in mind that business people do not have much time to read lengthy messages. So, they want instant information. So, these pointers should be considered while writing a memorandum:
- Use a conversational tone while writing a memo. Basically, the tone used depends upon the topic under discussion and the relationship existing between the sender and recipient.
- Use short and simple words.
- Language should be inoffensive. As it deals with sensitive issues, the writing style should be such that the recipient does not have any objections.
- The use of idioms, phrases, and slang is not allowed.
- It should be clear, but at the same time, it has to be brief. Do not add a lot of information.
- It should be logically structured because it serves as a permanent record for retention.
- Always close the memo with a call for action.
- The approach of the sender should be neutral, positive, formal, and unprejudiced.
- While reporting complaints or warnings, make sure to be cautious and prepared for reactions.
- Personal Pronouns should be used.
- Do not assume that the recipient knows everything in connection with the issue discussed in the memo.
- One idea in one paragraph.
- Give all the relevant information. The sender can attach an appendix, in the case supporting data is required).
- The body of the memo should be single-spaced. Also, two spaces should be there between the paras.
- Try to be pleasant rather than order.
- Ask for feedback or suggestions.
Steps Involved in Preparing Memo
- Preparation: List all the points related to the subject of the memorandum that comes to mind. After that classify these points into main points and sub-points.
- Writing: You should know that an ‘inverted pyramid structure’ is used while writing a memo. Therefore, it starts with the main point at the beginning and is followed by the supporting information, and then the least important points are stated at last. In the end, the memo concludes in a courteous tone.
- Review: Look for any spelling or grammatical errors. Edit or revise the draft so as to make the message more understandable.
Example of Memorandum
Advantages of Memorandum
- A simplified form of communication
- It helps in determining responsibility
- Acts as a permanent record of anything communicated through memos.
Business memos allow the members to communicate easily and conveniently. It is both an efficient and effective means of communication. At an intra-level in an organization, memos are commonly preferred to letters.