Business English Memos

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Generally in real business situations

Generally in real business situations

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  • 1. BUSINESS ENGLISH Memorandums
  • 2. Purpose of a memo :
    • A memo is meant to inform , to persuade , and above all to communicate to satisfy the reader’s needs and the writer’s purpose. Unless these goals are met , the memo fails as a method of communication.
  • 3. When to send a memo :
    • In general the following situations call for a memo as the most effective means of communication.
    • When you need to reach many people with the same message.
    • When you have regular reports to send to the same people.
    • When you want to summarize or emphasize information that can be useful to your readers.
    • When you wish to send personal messages to individuals or groups.
    • When you want to stimulate thinking or action in individuals or groups.
  • 4. Approach to memo writing :
    • An old approach to memo writing is that you spend a great deal of time agonizing over how to start , what to say , and how to say it.
  • 5. Three steps in memo writing :
    • The new approach to memo writing involves learning key strategies that can help you write effective memos quickly, without loss of meaning or impact.
    • Preparation – determining the purpose, topic , and reader’s needs the memo serves.
    • Writing – organising and writing.
    • Review – revising and checking the memo.
  • 6. Various ways to send memos :
    • Memos may be put on a notice board for everyone to see.
    • They can also be circulated in internal mail.
    • They can also be posted on the internal email i.e. the intranet.
  • 7. Length
    • Memos can be short or long.
    • They can deal with a number of different points but these should be connected to the same topic.
    • For example , a single memo which tried to deal with canteen facilities, punctuality , and a new accounting system might confuse its readers.
    • It would be better to write separate memos for each topic.
  • 8. Memo Format
    • The elements of a memo are divided into three categories :
    • Introductory lines
    • Closing lines
    • Optional lines for references and attachments
    • These lines ensure that any one looking at the memo will know who sent it , who the principal recipient is, the date the memo was written, its subject matter, who wrote and typed the memo, who receives copies and what attachments accompany the memo.
  • 9. Introductory lines
    • Each memo has six headings at the top of the first page :
    • Company name and address, usually contained in the letterhead
    • The word memo or memorandum centered under the letterhead to distinguish it from other types of messages.
    • The word to followed by a colon and the name of the person or group receiving the memo. E.g. To: Manager, Sales, To: All part time employees, To: Benjamin Parsi, Vice President.
  • 10. Introductory lines conti…
    • The word From followed by a colon and the sender’s name and professional title.
    • The word Date followed by a colon and the day, month, and year. All memos must be dated. This gives sender and receiver a record of their correspondence.
    • The word Subject followed by a colon and a line indicating the topic of the memo. The subject line should be as concise and specific as possible to catch your reader’s interest. E.g. Subject : Changes in Medical Benefits
  • 11. Closing lines
    • Unlike business letters, memos are not signed by the sender.
    • Instead , the initials (in capitals) of the writer followed by a colon and the initials (small letters) of the person who typed or prepared the memo appear two spaces below the last line of the memo. E.g. SR:tsk
    • The “cc” line appears two spaces below the sender’s initials. E.g. cc : Paul Sherman
  • 12. Optional lines
    • Optional lines include references to other documents and a list of attachments. You can place these lines either at the top of the memo before the subject or at the end of the memo following the initials or copies line.
    • For e.g.
    • To : Alvin Koria , Product Manager
    • From : Wallace Fuller , Corporate Secretary
    • Date : June 14, 2008
    • Reference : Contract #315
    • Josephson & Associate, Inc.
    • Subject : Final Amendments to Josephson Contract
  • 13. Writing Strategy : use shorter, more varied sentences
    • Include only one or two ideas in each sentence
    • For e.g. instead of ,
    • The new air express delivery service should speed up our overnight mailings and give us an advantage over the competition in serving East Coast markets, which are starting to become more competitive….
    • Say,
    • The new air express delivery service will speed up our overnight mailings. Faster service should give us an advantage over the competition in serving our East Coast markets.
  • 14. Conti….
    • Watch for connecting and linking words to split or combine sentences.
    • Words like and, but, which, while, although, and however often indicate a natural break between sentences.
    • Look for them in your writing when you are dividing long sentences into shorter ones.
  • 15. For e.g. instead of, The National Toy Manufacturers project is going well. I’ve made an appointment to see Grace Peters about working with us on the marketing survey, and Henry Iona told me yesterday he would be willing to pay for part of the research. Say, The National Toy Manufacturers project is going well. I’ve made an appointment to see Grace Peters about working with us on the marketing survey. Yesterday, …..
  • 16. Conti…
    • Vary sentence construction. When sentences are all the same type, the message appears emotionally cold and monotonous.
  • 17. For e.g. We attended the housewares show in Rockford on May 12 and 13. Over 120 dealers displayed their products and gave demonstrations. We talked with two kitchen ware dealers interested in our packaging ideas. I will follow up these leads when I return to the office on Monday. Can be changed to : On May 12 and 13 we attended the housewares show in Rockford. Over 120 dealers displayed their products and gave demonstrations. We talked with two kitchen ware dealers who seemed interested in our packaging ideas. When I return to the office on Monday, I’ll follow up these leads.
  • 18. The closing
    • The closing sentence or paragraph in your memo lets your reader know what response you want. Do you need a decision, recommendation, opinion, action, compliance, agreement, change in behavior?
    • The closing can be a simple sentence like “ Let me know when we can discuss the diet drink campaign ” or a paragraph outlining information you need.
    • The nature of your closing will depend on your purpose for writing the memo.