How a Business Memo is Different from a Business Letter


Communication is one of the most important factors the business world. If you wish to convey your message to the other party, there are two kinds of communication that you can use: verbal and written. While verbal is the most common form of communication used by people from all walks of life, you can choose to write down and disseminate your message to the people whom you wish to deliver your message to. Written communication is equally as effective as conveying your messages verbally. And since we are already talking about written communication, let us get to know the two effective and powerful written communication tools that are often used in companies and business organizations.

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All About a Business Memo

According to a Wikipedia article, “a memorandum (or memo for short) is a note, document or other communication that helps the memory by recording events or observations on a topic, such as may be used in a business office”. It comes from Latin words memorandum est which means “It must be remembered”. 

A memo is often short, concise, straight to the point and informal type of business document that is commonly sent to the office staff to notify them about upcoming meetings or new policies that need to be followed and implemented within the company. Thus the main point of writing a memo is for internal communication for people belonging to the same organization and it is never sent out of the company. And since it is considered to be an informal document, it uses some technical jargons and abbreviations because the members of the organization can easily understand its information well without any problems.


Oftentimes a memo can be printed on a piece of paper or attached to an email. It usually includes essential details such as to whom it is addressed, who it is from, the date it was sent, and the subject or what the memo is all about. A company letterhead may or may not be used in a memo. Unlike business letters, the details are usually limited but straight to the point. Oftentimes, a memo ends with a specific date or a reminder of a call to action.  In terms of its structure, a memo is considered to be well-defined because it uses a heading and bulleted list to highlight crucial information. Additionally, the human resource manager usually uses a memo to convey important messages to the member of the organization.

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All About a Business Letter

A business letter as a letter that is usually sent by one company to another, as an official means of communication between different parties. The relationship between the parties concerned plays an important factor in the overall style of the business letter. A lot of people take business letters more seriously than memos because they can be used as a permanent written record. The content of the business letter can come in various types. Let us take for instance, you can use it to request direct action or information from another party, to reply to another party’s request, to order materials from a supplier, or to send a goodwill or make an apology. You can also send a business thank you letter to another party to show your gratitude for something that was done to benefit your organization.

Since a business letter is considered to be a formal written communication, you should be careful in choosing the wordings and that it should set a formal and professional tone because it is usually intended for communication intended for people who are involved in businesses. It is also important to use standard business font types such as Arial, Times New Roman, Calibri, and Verdana and keep the font size to 10 to 12 points. Unlike a memo which is exclusively sent within the organization, business letters can be used and sent both internally and externally since it has various uses that are beyond the scope of the company or organization.

And because it is a type of a formal document, it is usually printed on a clean and crisp standard sized, high-quality paper that oftentimes bears a company or business letterhead. Its format includes the name and address of the sender, the date, the company address of the recipient, proper salutation, body or content, complimentary closing, and signature. Just like a business memo, the letter should directly state the reason, along with the details and support. However, the use of jargon is often not recommended. You can choose to write a short or long business letter depending on its purpose. Before sending your business letter, you should carefully check it for spelling and grammatical errors before sending it. Business letters are often sent through a courier or have someone from your company or organization deliver the letter to the recipient.

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Final Thoughts

By being able to distinguish the differences between a memo and a business letter, you ensure yourself a lot of room for improvement in your written business communication skills. And now that we have reached the end of this article, make sure to keep this valuable information in mind when writing both a memo and a business letter. We also recommend our readers to check out our wide collection of email memo templates and business letter formats. They are available for free download and are specially structured to suit different purposes. They are designed for high editability so that you can easily make any modification on its content and replace them. So what are you all waiting for? Download our amazing and professionally crafted templates and use them as your references!

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