In this chapter, you will learn:
– How to write a clear and concise business letter
– The importance of a business letter’s tone
Let’s start by looking at how to write an effective business letter.
A business letter is a formal communication between two or more parties. The purpose of the letter is to convey a message from one party to another. Business letters are usually written in response to a request, such as a request for information or a request to buy a product or service. A business letter may also be used to inform someone of a change in a policy or procedure. The tone of the business letter should be formal and professional. It should be clear, concise, and to the point. The following are some guidelines to help you write a successful business letter:
1. Use a formal tone. Business letters should be written in a formal manner. This means that you should address the recipient by his or her title and position. For example, if you are writing to the president of a company, you would address him or her as “Mr. President” or “Ms. President.”
2. Write in the third person. When writing to someone in a position of authority, it is customary to address the person as “you” rather than “I.” For example: “Dear Mr. President, I am writing to inform you that…”
3. Include a salutation. A salutation is a word or phrase that is used to begin a letter. The most common salutations are “Dear Sir,” “Dear Madam,” and “Dear Friend.” The salutation should be included at the beginning of the first paragraph of your letter. If you are unsure of the proper salutation to use, check with your company’s human resources department or a professional writing service for guidance. For more information on salutations, see the section “Salutations,” later in this chapter.
4. Keep your letter short. Letters should be no longer than two or three pages. If your letter is too long, it will be difficult for the recipient to read and understand.
5. Proofread your letter before you send it. Before you send your letter, make sure that it is free of spelling and grammatical errors. Read your letter aloud to make sure it is clear and easy to understand. If it is difficult to understand, ask a friend to read it to you. You may also want to ask a professional writer to proofread it for you. If a friend or professional writer is not available, you may want to hire a professional proofreading service. For information on proofreading services, see “Hiring a Professional Proofreader.”
6. Make your letter personal. Your letter should include your name, the name of the recipient, and the date. In addition, you should include a greeting that is personal to you and the recipient. This can be as simple as “Hello,” “Good morning,” or “How are you?”
7. End your letter on a positive note. You should end your letter with a statement that is positive and encouraging. This is called a _closing statement_. A closing statement should be short and positive. It can be a statement such as “I look forward to hearing from you,” “Thank you for your time and consideration,” “I hope we can work together in the future,” or even “Have a great day!”
8. Address the letter properly. Address the letter to the correct person and in the correct manner. If the recipient’s title is not included in the salutation, you can use the word “Dear” followed by the person’s title. For instance, if the recipient is the vice president of the company, your salutation would be “Dear Vice President,” and your letter would be addressed to “Vice President, XYZ Company, 123 Main Street, Anytown, USA 12345.” If you do not know the correct title of the person to whom you are sending the letter, ask your human resources or legal department for help. For additional information on how to address a letter, see Chapter 4, “How to Address a Letter Properly.”
9. Format your letter correctly. The format of a letter is the way in which it is written on the page. There are many different formats for business letters, but the most common formats are as follows:
10. Single-spaced. This format is the most commonly used format for business correspondence. In this format, each line of text is separated from the next by one or more blank lines. The lines of text are separated from each other by a single space. The number of spaces between each line is determined by the type of paper on which the letter will be printed. The more expensive the paper, the fewer the spaces between the lines.