Thursday, August 13, 2009

Formal Letter VS Memoranda

Page 1
Page 2

A
business letter is a letter written in formal language, usually used when writing from one business organization to another, or for correspondence between such organizations and their customers, clients and other external parties. The overall style of letter will depend on the relationship between the parties concerned.

Legend on Page One:

  1. Return Address: If your stationery has a letterhead, skip this. Otherwise, type your name, address and optionally, phone number. These days, it's common to also include an email address.

  2. Date: Type the date of your letter two to six lines below the letterhead. Three are standard. If there is no letterhead, type it where shown.

  3. Reference Line: If the recipient specifically requests information, such as a job reference or invoice number, type it on one or two lines, immediately below the Date (2). If you're replying to a letter, refer to it here. For example,

    • Re: Job # 625-01
    • Re: Your letter dated 1/1/200x.
  4. Special Mailing Notations: Type in all uppercase characters, if appropriate. Examples include

    • SPECIAL DELIVERY
    • CERTIFIED MAIL
    • AIRMAIL
  5. On-Arrival Notations: Type in all uppercase characters, if appropriate. You might want to include a notation on private correspondence, such as a resignation letter. Include the same on the envelope. Examples are

    • PERSONAL
    • CONFIDENTIAL
  6. Inside Address: Type the name and address of the person and/or company to whom you're sending the letter, three to eight lines below the last component you typed. Four lines are standard. If you type an Attention Line (7), skip the person's name here. Do the same on the envelope.

  7. Attention Line: Type the name of the person to whom you're sending the letter. If you type the person's name in the Inside Address (6), skip this. Do the same on the envelope.

  8. Salutation: Type the recipient's name here. Type Mr. or Ms. [Last Name] to show respect, but don't guess spelling or gender. Some common salutations are

    • Ladies:
    • Gentlemen:
    • Dear Sir:
    • Dear Sir or Madam:
    • Dear [Full Name]:
    • To Whom it May Concern:
  9. Subject Line: Type the gist of your letter in all uppercase characters, either flush left or centered. Be concise on one line. If you type a Reference Line (3), consider if you really need this line. While it's not really necessary for most employment-related letters, examples are below.

    • SUBJECT: RESIGNATION
    • LETTER OF REFERENCE
    • JOB INQUIRY
  10. Body: Type two spaces between sentences. Keep it brief and to the point.

  11. Complimentary Close: What you type here depends on the tone and degree of formality. For example,

    • Respectfully yours (very formal)
    • Sincerely (typical, less formal)
    • Very truly yours (polite, neutral)
    • Cordially yours (friendly, informal)
  12. Signature Block: Leave four blank lines after the Complimentary Close (11) to sign your name. Sign your name exactly as you type it below your signature. Title is optional depending on relevancy and degree of formality. Examples are

    • John Doe, Manager
    • P. Smith
      Director, Technical Support
    • R. T. Jones - Sr. Field Engineer
  13. Identification Initials: If someone typed the letter for you, he or she would typically include three of your initials in all uppercase characters, then two of his or hers in all lowercase characters. If you typed your own letter, just skip it since your name is already in the Signature Block (12). Common styles are below.

    • JAD/cm
    • JAD:cm
    • clm
  14. Enclosure Notation: This line tells the reader to look in the envelope for more. Type the singular for only one enclosure, plural for more. If you don't enclose anything, skip it. Common styles are below.

    • Enclosure
    • Enclosures: 3
    • Enclosures (3)
  15. cc: Stands for courtesy copies (formerly carbon copies). List the names of people to whom you distribute copies, in alphabetical order. If addresses would be useful to the recipient of the letter, include them. If you don't copy your letter to anyone, skip it.

Tips:

  • Replace the text in brackets [ ] with the component indicated. Don't type the brackets.

  • Try to keep your letters to one page, but see next image of this sample if you need continuation pages.

  • How many blank lines you add between lines that require more than one, depends on how much space is available on the page.

  • The same goes for margins. One and one-half inch (108 points) for short letters and one inch (72 points) for longer letters are standard. If there is a letterhead, its position determines the top margin on page 1.

  • If you don't type one of the more formal components, don't leave space for them. For example, if you don't type the Reference Line (3), Special Mailing Notations (4) and On-Arrival Notations (5), type the Inside Address (6) four lines below the Date (2).

Legend on Page Two:

  1. Heading: Type the recipient's name, Date and Reference Line from page 1, and page number. If you don't know the recipient's name, type the same thing as you did in the Inside Address on page 1; e.g., the company name.

  2. Body: Type two spaces between sentences. Keep it brief and to the point.

  3. Complimentary Close: What you type here depends on the tone and degree of formality. For example,

    • Respectfully yours (very formal)
    • Sincerely (typical, less formal)
    • Very truly yours (polite, neutral)
    • Cordially yours (friendly, informal)
  4. Signature Block: Leave four blank lines after the Complimentary Close (3) to sign your name. Sign your name exactly as you type it below your signature. Title is optional depending on relevancy and the degree of formality. Examples are

    • John Doe, Manager
    • P. Smith
      Director, Technical Support
    • R. T. Jones - Sr. Field Engineer
  5. Identification Initials: If someone typed the letter for you, he or she would typically include three of your initials in all uppercase characters, then two of his or hers in all lowercase characters. If you typed it, just skip it since your name is already in the Signature Block (4). Common styles are below.

    • JAD/cm
    • JAD:cm
    • clm
  6. Enclosure Notation: This line tells the reader to look in the envelope for more documents. Type the singular for only one enclosure, plural for more. If you don't enclose anything, skip it. Common styles are below.

    • Enclosure
    • Enclosures: 3
    • Enclosures (3)
  7. cc: Stands for courtesy copies (formerly carbon copies). List the names of people to whom you distribute copies, in alphabetical order. If addresses would be useful to the recipient of the letter, include them. If you don't copy your letter to anyone, skip it.

Tips:

  • Replace the text in brackets [ ] with the component indicated. Don't type the brackets.

  • Use letterhead only for the first page. Just use a blank sheet of paper for continuation pages.

  • If you don't type one of the more formal components, don't leave space for them. For example, if you don't type the Identification Initials (5) and Enclosure Notation (6), type cc: (7) one blank line below the Signature Block (4).

What is a memo?

A memo is:

  • a hard-copy (sent on paper) document
  • used for communicating inside an organisation
  • usually short
  • contains To, From, Date, Subject Heading and Message sections
  • does not need to be signed, but sometimes has the sender's name at the bottom to be more friendly, or the sender's full name to be more formal.

Example Memos




CONTACT COMPUTER GRAPHICS
MEMORANDUM

To:
From:
Date:
Subject:
S M Chan, General Manager
Samantha Ng, Office Manager
13 August 2009
Purchase of a Microwave Oven

1. Introduction
At the monthly staff meeting on Monday, 10 August 2009, you requested information about the possible purchase of a microwave oven. I would now like to present these details.

2. Background
Since the move to the new office in Kowloon Bay, staff have difficulty in finding a nearby place to buy lunch.

3. Advantages
Providing a microwave oven in the pantry would enable staff to bring in their own lunchboxes and reheat their food. Also, staff members are less likely to return to work late after lunch.

4. Staff Opinion
A survey found that staff would like to use the microwave oven.

5. Cost
Details of suitable models are given below:

Brand Model Price
Philip

Sharpe

Sonny

M903

R-3R29

6145 X

$2,800

$2,600

$2,400

6. Request
If this meets with your approval, we would appreciate it if you could authorise up to $3,000 for the purchase of the microwave oven.


Samantha Ng


Why write memos?

Memos are useful in situations where emails or text messages are not suitable. For example, if you are sending an object, such as a book or a paper that needs to be signed, through internal office mail, you can use a memo as a covering note to explain what the receiver should do.

How to write a memo

Memos should have the following sections and content:

  1. A 'To' section containing the name of the receiver. For informal memos, the receiver's given name; e.g. 'To: Andy' is enough. For more formal memos, use the receiver's full name. If the receiver is in another department, use the full name and the department name. It is usually not necessary to use Mr., Mrs., Miss or Ms unless the memo is very formal.
  2. A 'From' section containing the name of the sender. For informal memos, the sender's other name; e.g. 'From: Bill' is enough. For more formal memos, use the sender's full name. If the receiver is in another department, use the full name and the department name. It is usually not necessary to use Mr., Mrs., Miss or Ms unless the memo is very formal.
  3. A 'Date' section. To avoid confusion between the British and American date systems, write the month as a word or an abbreviation; e.g. 'January' or 'Jan'.
  4. A Subject Heading.
  5. The message.
    Unless the memo is a brief note, a well-organised memo message should contain the following sections:
    1. Situation - an Introduction or the purpose of the memo
    2. Problem (optional) - for example: "Since the move to the new office in Kowloon Bay, staff have difficulty in finding a nearby place to buy lunch."
    3. Solution (optional) - for example: "Providing a microwave oven in the pantry would enable staff to bring in their own lunchboxes and reheat their food."
    4. Action - this may be the same as the solution, or be the part of the solution that the receiver needs to carry out; e.g. "we would appreciate it if you could authorise up to $3,000"
    5. Politeness - to avoid the receiver refusing to take the action you want, it is important to end with a polite expression; e.g. "Once again, thank you for your support.", or more informally "Thanks".
  6. Signature
    This is optional. You may use your initials too.

1 comment:

Julia Robert said...

Thanks for sharing this nice post. Before writing letter to any one, you should understand the format of Formal and Informal Letters in English.