Memorandum

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A memorandum is a form of official interdepartmental communication that is used to convey essential decisions or information. A memorandum is thought to be a step below a formal letter and often contains details needed for specific meetings, projects, policies or others. So what is a memorandum? A memorandum’s definition is that it is essentially an intra-office tool for communication usable to announce specific events or changes. A memorandum or memo for short is a way of communication that is also recorded for posterity. Memos are usually issued when vital changes have been made to a company’s policy or one of its projects. A memorandum definition and example can be seen in the image below:

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The memorandum letter that is displayed above displays the kind of topic this tool is often used for. An office memorandum’s meaning should be clear and concise to make sure information is delivered with no possible misunderstanding. Office memorandums are a little different from normal memorandums. So what do you mean by an office memorandum? An office memorandum meaning a memo issued by a member of a governing body or an organization is simply a method of communication which will convey certain details between two members (or department heads in some cases) of the same organization/governing body.


Purpose of a Memorandum

A memo can have many uses and this versatility combined with its official capacity is why it is used quite often in an organization. The uses of a memorandum are as follows:

  • A way to transfer knowledge of a specific process

  • To convey specific details on a project

  • To request specific information

  • To offer suggestions on a matter

  • To report to a superior

  • To offer congratulations or positive news

  • To share ideas


Advantage of a Memorandum

  • Memos are a timesaving mode of communication and are quite convenient to use. (especially with an intranet)

  • Given that memos are intra-office, there will be no need to use expensive paper. The recycled paper will be acceptable.

  • Memos are stored for the future, and such can be referred later if needed.


How to write a Memorandum

Memorandum writing consists of multiple segments. A memorandum paper comes with the following parts: 

  1. The Header: The head segment can be split into four parts:

  1. To: Enter the recipient’s name and position

  2. From: Enter the sender’s name and position

  3. Date: Enter the date of sending

  4. Subject: Enter a short reason for the memo

  1. Opening Segment: The opening should contain a brief version of why this memo is necessary, so the recipient knows exactly what is happening.

  2. Context: If there are any specific reasons or circumstances for the memo, they can be listed in this section.

  3. Action Segment: This segment should be used to instruct the recipient on any steps to be taken or tasks to be performed related to the context or subject of the memo. One should be clear and specific about this task to avoid any confusion later on.

  4. Summarizing: While memos should be short, some can turn out to be rather long based on the subject in question. In such cases, a memo should also carry a summary to help the recipient (or recipients) understand what is required and why. 

  5. Discussion: if necessary, one can attach this segment to convey the various ideas that lead to the reason for this memo and the possible policy behind it. 

  6. Closing Segment: This segment should end the memo politely and in a positive note to help initiate whatever action may be required. It is also important that any needed attachments supporting the content in the memo be displayed as well.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q.1 Are there any important points to remember when it comes to Memo-writing?

Ans: Memo writing is a skill that allows for better communication; here are a few tips one should know about them:

  • One should avoid slang when writing a memo.

  • It is recommended that memos always use active voice.

  • Personal office memos may use the first person.

  • A memo is an official document, so it is important to be formal.

  • The information to be written should have a logical progression and arrangement for better understanding.

  • If bullet points are possible, they should be used.

  • Given the official nature, it is best to be polite

  • Always proofread your memo

Q.2 How to send a Memorandum?

Ans: In the old times, memos were distributed by hand or by designated employees. While it still may be the case in a few places today, it is no longer the norm. Memos are often sent by email and are usually sent as an attachment with information in the subject of the email itself. This saves on paper and allows for instantaneous distribution of a memorandum. However, personal memorandums can be distributed in person if a discussion is in order.

Q.3 What are the different ways a Memorandum can be used?

Ans: While memos are meant to be official, they are also not entirely formal either. This is why memos are used in all organizations for reasons as simple as “how to use the office coffee machine” to something as serious as budget cuts and loss of employment. Memos are usually for internal use and are used for all manner of purposes regardless of how small or big. Today, most memorandums are often sent via mail or through an organization’s intranet.