Difference Between Memo vs. Letter

Main Difference

The main difference between Memo and Letter is that a Memo is used to pass information to set of recipients as an internal communication in an organization, and Letter is generally a form of communication from one individual to another.

Memo vs. Letter

The memo is the way of communication in a business setting. It usually intended for internal communication, that is, it is used to convey messages within the organization or business whereas a letter is a message that is sent by a person to another meant to convey information that he wants the person to receive. A memo is generally informal, short, concise, and to the point and letter can be short or long, and it has many types: thank you letters, personal letters, and business letters. The memo is used to call a meeting or to call a person to action. It has a header which shows where it comes from, who it is addressed to, the date, and the subject of the memo, on the other hand, the letter comprises more words and information and uses formal language. A memo can be addressed to a single person or all of the people in the company, whereas the letter addresses a specific topic and sent to specific individuals. The memo does not necessarily need a courier to send it since it is intended for a recipient within the organization although memos also sent to other branches of the organization, and the letter is usually sent through a courier or delivered by a representative of the company.

Comparison Chart

MemoLetter
The memo relates to a short message, written in an informal tone for interoffice circulation of the information.The letter is a type of verbal communication, that contains a compressed message, conveyed to the party external to the business.
Exchanged Among
Departments, units or superior-subordinate under the organization.Two business houses or among the company and the client.
Nature
Informal and ConciseFormal and informative
Signature
Signature not required in a memo.The sender duly signs a letter.
Contents
Utilization of technical jargon and personal pronoun is permitted or allowed.Simple words are used and written in the third person.
Length
ShortComparatively long
Communication
One to manyOne to one

What is the Memo?

A memo is short for Memorandum. It is one of the main used means of official communication in the business world. Its major purpose is to serve as a reminder or to give some instructions. Again these like circulars are a means of mass communication, i.e. to communicate with a large number of people within the organization.

Reasons to write a Memo

  • As a reminder
  • Highlight an event or circumstance
  • To recount an event
  • Keep an official record of anything
  • To pass information or instructions

What is Letter?

A letter is a written communication or message that can be handwritten or printed on paper. It is generally sent to the recipient via mail or post in an envelope, although this is not a requirement as such. Any such message that transferred via post is a letter, a written conversation between two parties.

Types of Letter

  • Formal Letter: These letters pursue a certain pattern and formality. They are strictly kept professional, and directly address the issues concerned.
  • Informal Letter: These are personal letters. They need not pursue any set pattern or adhere to any formalities.
  • Business Letter: This letter scripted among business correspondents, generally contains commercial information such as quotations, orders, complaints, claims, letters for collections etc.
  • Official Letter: This sort of letter is written to inform offices, branches, subordinates of official information.
  • Social Letter: A personal letter written on the occasion of a special event is known as a social letter. The complimentary or congratulatory letter, condolence letter, invitation letter etc are all social letters.
  • Circular Letter: A letter that announces information to a large number of people is a circular letter.
  • Employment Letters: Any letters concerning the employment process, like joining letter, promotion letter, application letter etc.

Key Differences

  1. The memo defined as a short message, written informally to communicate certain information to the members of the organization. Conversely, letters understood as a means of a verbal communication containing a brief message addressed to a party external to the business.
  2. The use of memo is internal to the organization, in the sense that it is exchanged between two departments, or units or sent by the manager to notify subordinates. Compared to, the use of letter is external, as it is exchanged between two business houses or between the company and client.
  3. There is no need for a signature in the memo, as it used within the organization. Though, the letter is to be duly signed by the one who sends it.
  4. A memo uses an informal tone and is straight to the point. On the other side, letters are very formal and contain lots of information.
  5. When it occurs to length, letters are lengthier in comparison to the memo.
  6. Technical jargons are usually used in memos, as well as uses personal pronouns. Diverse, letters avoid the use of technical jargon’s and conditions which are not easy to comprehend. Besides, letters are written in the third person.
  7. Memos are written to tell or direct, a department or number of employees on a certain matter and so it usually is written from one to all perspective. On the contrary, letters are private as it addresses to a specific party or client.

Conclusion

The memo is used to transmit particular information to many individuals working in the same organization. It has an important part to play in recording the day to day business activities. In contrast, letters considered as the best mode of written communication, that used for giving or seeking information to/from an external party.

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