When communicating in a business setting, there are many forms of writing available. The most common forms of writing are memorandums, letters, and electronic mail. Each form has its appropriate uses. Care should be taken when choosing a format for any business communication.
A memorandum is best used for internal business communications. It is often informal in tone and can be used to facilitate a request for information, or to pass along information to a large group. A letter, on the other hand, is in many ways the opposite of a memo. It is usually used for external communications and takes a formal tone. Like the memo, it can be used to request or transmit information (VanAlstyne, 2005).
Electronic mail can be used in almost any situation. It has the ability to transmit information internally and externally, and can be informal or formal (VanAlstyne, 2005). There are some situations in which electronic mail is inappropriate, but these situations are often inappropriate for any kind of written communication. For example, firing an employee is a situation in which no form of written communication is acceptable.
VanAlstyne, J. S. (2005). Professional and technical writing strategies: Communicating in technology and science. Sixth ed. Upper Saddle River: Pearson-Prentice Hall.