Business Letter Basics

Business Letter Basics :

Business Letter Basics

Here are a few practical tips on writing business letter to help you when writing that next letter.

Consider your Reader.

Who is the reader? In a business letter, it is usually employees, customers, suppliers or the public. When you are writing business letter, imagine that you are in the readers' position. Are they happy, frustrated or merely inconvenienced? What essential information does that person need to know through this communication?

What are their expectations when they open the letter? Have you addressed all of these issues? By doing this, you will show the reader that you can relate to them and the situation. This will build a relationship between the two of you.

Be Responsive.

If you are responding to or with a letter, address the inquiry or problem. Most of the time, companies rely too much on a handful of form letters to answer all situations. This shows that you do not understand their needs. When you considered you reader as above, you will be able to respond to them.

Be Personal.

Letters are written by people to people. Don't address it TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN if it is possible. Whatever you do, do not use a photocopied form letter. You cannot build a relationship with canned impersonal letters. But also don't be too informal. Avoid using colloquial language or slang such as you know or I mean or wanna.

Be concise and to the point.

When writing business letter, explain your position in as little words as possible. Spell out what you can and what they need to do. Use clear and easy to understand language so that any misunderstanding can be minimized. Think before you write. Ask yourself why you are writing? What is it that you want to achieve? Use this 5 step process.

1. List out the topics you want to cover. Do not worry about the order.

2. In each topic, list keywords, examples, arguments and facts.

3. Review each topic in your outline for relevance to your aim and audience.

4. Cut out anything that's not relevant.

5. Sort the information into the best order for your readers.

Be friendly. Build the relationship.

Don't use cold, formal language. Some people have the perception that when writing business letter, they must big words. To them this is a sign of literacy. Some big words have no substitute, but do use the word correctly. You want the reader to feel like they are reading a letter from someone who cares.

Emphases the positive.

1. Talk about what you can do not what you can't. For example, if a product is out of stock, don't tell the customer you are unable to fill the order, instead, tell them the product is very popular and you have sold out. Then tell them when you can get the order to them.

2. Stay away from negative words. For example, your complaint about our product, instead, sorry our product was not up to your expectations.

Be Prompt.

If you cannot respond fully in less than a week, tell them so and say when they can expect a respond from you.

Check Spelling, Grammar & Facts.

Always make sure you are 100% correct in spelling, grammar and facts. Use the spell and grammar checker from your word processor. If you are not very good or need more help, get someone to edit the letter.

Use the correct format.

We will look at how to use the correct format for a letter in the next lesson.

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