Writing a business letter that clearly reflects your ability to communicate with others in a professional environment can take up much of your time. In today's professional environment people are being judged more and more based upon their communication ability and with technology becoming an integral part of business operations written communication has become a vital part of the day. The importance of business communication skills cannot be underestimated and taking the time to improve upon your current skills can greatly improve your professional image.
A high quality business letter communicates your level of enthusiasm and professionalism to the recipient and if neither is reflected chances are you will lose the attention of your reader. There are a few key steps you can take to improve upon your written communication in the professional environment:
- Prepare the purpose of your business letters - Before you begin your letter take some time to plan out what you want to say. Ask yourself, "What result do I want to achieve?" Make a list of the various things you would like to communicate and then review. Remove the various items on your list that do not support what you're trying to communicate, as a good business letter stays on the topic and has a very strong sense of purpose.
- Get straight to the point - If you wish others to view you as a professional, then refrain from filling your business letter with a lot of fluff - make sure that you state your business letters' purpose in the first paragraph. As you prepare your written communication make sure that you put yourself in the place of the reader and continuously think to yourself, "How would I respond?"
- Use plain English- Make sure that your language does not become overly complicated or technical. A business letter must reflect professionalism; however, it must also reflect your personality. It's best to write like you talk, keep the tone natural and refrain from long and drawn out sentences. Also, make sure that your business letters speaks directly to the reader by addressing them by name, as a letter should reflect a personal tone.
- Refrain from passive voice - Readers become confused when business letters are written in passive voice.
- Review and Edit before sending - After you've finished writing the first draft of your business letters review and edit the documents. Cut out words and sentences that do not contribute to the topic at hand. Do not be afraid to edit out entire paragraphs and make sure that the point you're trying to make is clearly stated. Pay attention to the adjectives in the text, this will often take the strength from the words you have chosen.
- Presentation is Everything - Your business letters may be well-written and contain no mistakes in grammar or punctuation; however, if you present the text without clean formatting the professional image you're trying to create will be destroyed. Refrain from using graphical images or colors that distracts the reader from the text and use a very clean, easy to read format.