1) Letters: letters are the most widely used form of written communication which can be between friends on matters of personal interests, or between individuals, firms or companies on matters of trade and commerce.
In the more traditional forms of written communication' the receiver forms an impression of the sender based on the overall appearance and format of the message. The cover letter enclosed with the resume when one applies for a job communicates something about the sender even before the receiver a word of it.
Business letters or commercial correspondence refers to all kinds of letters that are used in conducting different types of business transactions with the outside world. The letter's appearance conveys nonverbal impressions that affect a reader's attitude. Elements of appearance that help produce favorable reactions are appropriate stationery and correct letter parts and lay-outs. The letter should be clear, explicit, and unambiguous in content because the recipient has to understand both the meaning and feelings of the message from the written words only. That is the reason the letter is regarded as a "silent ambassador" on behalf of its writer.
Proper planning is required while writing a letter as the entire activity may become counterproductive or may simply go waste. While drafting a letter one should choose the right kind of message, right style, tone approach and presentation or they may loose the goodwill.
2) Memorandum (memo): a memorandum (known as 'memo' in short form) is by definition, "a written statement that you prepare specially for a person or committee in order to give them information about a particular matter". In an organization it takes the form of "a short official note that you write to a person or to several people, especially people with whom you work". It has been derived from the Latin word 'memo rare', changed to 'memorandum' (notable), and means literally 'to mention' or 'tell'.
A memo generally has a heading, body and signature. It does not contain a salutation (dear.................) or a complimentary close (yours..............).
Memo is written in a direct and less formal style than a letter since it, moves from one department to another or from one employee to another. The words "from" and "to" are always written in it. Memo should always be properly dated, should be brief and to the point. A memo is a convenient and inexpensive means of written communication within an organization.
A memo is used for internal communication between executives and subordinates or between officers of the same level. It is never sent outside the organization. A memo can be used
I. To issue instructions to the staff,
II. To communicate policy changes to the staff,
III. To hive/seek suggestions,
IV. To request help or information,
V. To confirm a decision arrived at on the telephone,
VI. To intimate granting/withholding permission to do something,
VII. To seek explanation on some matter of conduct, etc.
However, a memo may not be found appropriate if the matter is of a complex or serious nature. A memo can be filled for future reference.
3) Report: every phase of organizational activity creates in formation. This information needs to be collected, scrutinized and presented in the form of 'reports are presented in a clear, correct and coherent language. These reports vary in length and content. They provide important information to top management for making decisions. Simply stated, a reports is "a communication from someone who has some information to someone who wants to use that information".
4) According to Johnson, a good business report is a communication that contains factual information organized and presented in a clear, correct and coherent language, a report may thus, be defined as a written statement bases on facts, events and opinions and usually expresses a summarized and interpretative value of this information. It may deal with past accomplishments, present conditions or probable future developments.
A report by definition is a "statement describing what has happened or" describing a state of affairs".