Business Letter Writing: What’s Involved?

The internet and the age of text messaging, instant messaging and voicemail has caused some to stray away from the formality that is necessary for making the best impression in business. However, computer technology and the internet can also help in learning how to write business letters correctly. A simple internet search can provide you with a wide assortment of resources and tools to help you better understand the principles of business letter writing.

A business letter differs greatly from a personal letter. Business letter writing requires the use of formal language and the adherence to strict structural rules. Personal letter writing permits the use of informal language, permits the infusion of emotions that are best avoided in business letters, and the structure of a personal letter is not quite so strict. I hope that the following tips for business letter writing will help you in writing polished, straightforward, professional business letters with more ease.

Respect the valuable time of others by keeping your business letters short and direct. Readers should immediately understand the purpose for the business letter you have written to them. Leave the sharing of jokes and gossip with business associates for occasions that are more informal.

Relevancy is crucial. Make sure that every word you write in your business letter is relevant and necessary for furthering the comprehension of the topic addressed in your letter for the reader. Take as much care to ensure that you write your business letters to the appropriate people who should receive them. You would not want to write a business complaint letter and then send it to someone in the product development department whose role in the company does not include the handling of complaints for example. In doing so you have wasted yours and their time as well as delaying a resolution that may have arrived sooner had you sent that letter to the right person.

It is also important to note that formality from start to finish in writing your business letters is necessary. If you are aware of the name and title of the person, to whom you are sending a business letter to-use it. Use Dear Sir/Madam when you do not know the name and title of the person who will be receiving your business letter. Also, remember to use the department title that is most appropriate for your business letter, if you do not know to whom to direct it to. Do not use slang or inappropriate language when writing your business letters.

Use personal pronouns when writing your business letters. Use “I” for yourself and “You” for the recipient of your business letter. You need to be cautious about using “we” in business letters with your company letterhead on them. These can be easily misinterpreted as a representative of the company as a whole when you in fact intend them to be attributed to you alone. Use”We” only when your business letter is indeed a representation of the company as a whole.

Clarity of each point presented in your business letter is important not only for avoiding misunderstandings, but also because it illustrates your knowledge about the subject that your business letters concern. Before even beginning to write your business letter, take a few minutes to clarify for yourself why you are writing it and the outcome you expect to gain from it. This will provide you with a clearer picture of the message you want your business letter to convey and a clear direction to begin writing your business letter. If it helps for you to have a list of main points you don’t want to forget to refer to as your write your business letter, go ahead, and make yourself one before beginning to write the letter.

Proofing and editing your business letters in order to eliminate mistakes in spelling and grammar usage, as well as to spot and correct breaks in form structure, is very important. It is unwise to rely solely on computer spellcheckers to do this important task for you. These programs are not perfect and can easily “miss” a variation on the spelling of a word that can make a big difference in meaning when read in body of a business letter you have written. You need to read your business letter aloud all the way through from beginning to end at least 3 times, sentence by sentence. No quick scanning allowed. It is also helpful to have someone else in the office read aloud your business letters so that you can “hear” the mistakes your readers are certain to if you do not fix them before mailing them out.

The aforementioned letter writing tips can be accomplished by anyone. Focus and patience are great attributes which will help boost the quality of your business letters. These tips are important to remember because, in many cases, your business letters are the initial contact you may have with new business contacts and co-workers as well.

By: Shawn Thomas

About the Author:

Shawn Thomas is a freelance writer who writes about writing rules and grammar, letter writing and etiquette, often focusing on specific products used in writing such as business stationery.

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