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Technical Writing – Definition of Letter and Memo

By Bryan S. Adar

It has come to our attention that some people think of a memo as just a short letter. Not so! Specifics to follow.

That’s a memo. Maybe shorter than most, but it’s a memo and not a letter.

Letters and memos (or, memorandums) are similar in many ways, but they serve two different purposes. It’s important to know the distinctions in order to produce the type of document you’re asked to write.

First we’ll look at some shared characteristics. Both letters and memos:

– use similar format styles
– are sent as hardcopy by either an external or internal delivery system
– can be typed or printed from a computer file
– address one specific subject
– provide information to or try to bring about a desired reaction from the recipients

There are two very important characteristics that distinguish a memo from a letter. The first is that letters are specific and memos are general. That means that letters normally go to specific recipients. They’re written mano e mano. Memos are not usually considered to be private communication. They’re normally addressed to multiple recipients. There may be dozens, hundreds, or thousands of people who get the same memo. That means that the odds are much greater that a memo will be read by someone it isn’t addressed to than for a letter. Memos get put up on bulletin boards and left on tables. There’s nothing private about a memo.

The second is that letters can be as long as the writer wants them to be while memos are written in a very condensed manner with a lot of information in very little space. Nothing unnecessary is included. There’s no Dear Sir orYours truly in a memo. Just the facts.

A memo can have a number of purposes. It can:

– distribute news and information to multiple recipients
– convey thoughts or opinions for immediate reaction
– call people to action or to a meeting

The single, most important difference between a letter and a memo is that a memo is short and to the point.

Note: Technically, the plural of memorandum is memoranda, but you probably shouldn’t use it unless you’re writing in a very high-level, academic situation.

If you can write a simple sentence in English and organize your thoughts then technical writing may be a rewarding field. You can easily make it a second income stream in your spare time.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the average salary for technical writers is $60,380. Freelance technical writers can make from $30 to $70 per hour.

The field of technical writing is like a golden city. It’s filled with wealth, rewards and opportunities. After learning technical writing you can branch out into business writing, marketing writing and communications writing. All of these can become additional income streams.

But to succeed you must learn how to market yourself to clients. You have to prove to them that you are an invaluable asset. That’s where ProTech – Your Fast Track to Becoming a Successful Technical Writer can help. It’s a technical writing course that does two equally important things:

1. It teaches you the skills to become a technical writer in the shortest time frame. You’ll learn to create manuals, procedures, tutorials, processes, proposals, spec sheets and other documents that businesses need.

2. It shows you how to market yourself to clients so you can start your income stream as soon as possible.

In fact, you’ll get a complete marketing toolkit which has templates and technical writing job sites to get started immediately!

You can download two sample lessons by clicking the link below.

This could be your chance to create a prosperous future.

Click the link below to download your two sample lessons.

https://www.techwritingcourse.com

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