The Appearance of Business Letters

The Appearance of Business Letters :

A considerable amount of time and work - and expense - goes into each business letter produced - and the cost of posting business letters, especially by airmail or faxing them, is not inconsiderable. All that effort and expenditure will be wasted if a letter is not read by the addressee!

A letter is most likely to be read, particularly by a busy business person, if it attracts favourable attention. It is therefore important that great care is taken over the general appearance of each and every business letter as any which are badly presented or which create an unfavourable impression might not receive the reader’s full attention or might not even be read at all!

A letter needs to be attractive to the eyes of the addressee. Clearly a well designed and colourful letterhead will attract attention (although the latter might be inappropriate in some cases, e.g. with a firm of lawyers which might need to convey a conservative impression). That will be the decision of management.

A business letter should not be a mass of text. A long letter in particular should be carefully separated into paragraphs with adequate white spaces around them to break up the text.

A business person or manager should try to ensure that secretaries and typists enhance the appearance of letters they produce by ensuring…

That the text of a letter is centred on the sheet of paper…. That is… that there is more or less the same amount of blank space between the bottom of the letterhead and the start of the text and between the end of the text and the bottom of the sheet of paper. The text should not all be at the top of the sheet or all at the bottom of it. It is generally better to have a few lines typed on a continuation sheet rather than trying to squeeze everything into the bottom of one sheet.

That there are no variations in the density or blackness of type, caused due to a nearly empty ink or toner cartridges on a printer attached to word processor or computer.

That the letter generally is neat and clean. Smears from deposits of carbon - caused by touching, say, ink or toner cartridges and then handling the typing paper - are unsightly. And usually attempts to erase such markings or white them out with correcting fluid are just as bad.

That the sheets on which a letter is typed are not creased or crinkled or marked in any way.

The foregoing matters are referred to again when we consider the checking and despatch of typed letters.

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