The Business Letter - Write it Right and Succeed

A business letter is not an ordinary communication.

A business letter is one in which some information is passed that should be important enough to put into writing, and more, should evoke some kind of a response.

Write your business letter right and you will succeed.

The Business Letter Form

Remember the business letter is NOT a report. It is a letter.

In today' world you will be lucky to hold attention to three paragraphs, let alone a whole page.

Decide what it is you wish to say, and be prepared to say it in three short paragraphs.

If you have a long letter to write, do not write it as a letter, but as a report.

A letter is a letter. Be brief, succinct, avoid value judgments, make every word count, write nothing banal, and most of all, keep in mind what kind of a response you wish to invoke.

The Business Letter Format

The Subject.

Always begin your business letter with a subject reference. Do not mix subjects, or include more than one.

The Introduction.

Here in one paragraph you introduce your subject, as well as any crucial information about it.

Imply in the introduction what response you wish to evoke.

The Body.

The body of the business letter is the longest paragraph.

In this paragraph get down to details, but keep them brief and to the point.

Do not give value judgments and do not introduce new material.

The Summary Conclusion.

Here you sell your point and summarize all the points you have made before.

The Salutation.

Develop you own signature salutation.

You can you standard ones like Best Regards or Kind Regards, or find something new that suits you.

Let this be your signature salutation, and stick to it in all your business letters and communications.

The Business Letter vs. Email Letter.

In today's world the formal business letter is fast becoming a rarity, and is taking the new form of the email letter. However, remember its only a different form or delivery. Follow the same rules as above.

Some business like to write the business letter now on company stationary in electronic form and include them as attachments to an email. This is not a bad idea, and still retains some form privacy.

Business Letter Language Guide

Here are a few tips from communication experts that may help you frame your use of language in your business letter or email.

Speak in the present tense. Avoid a lot of "I will; it should be, and ..." Use simple words. Do not show off your superior vocabulary.

There are very effective words that are commonplace. There are power words, and all of them are simple and impossible to misinterpret

Be direct.

Go to your point, and do not speak in ambiguous terms

Avoid homilies

Remember who it is you are talking to.

If you are speaking to a superior, maintain your distance of respect, while still selling your points across.

Avoid value judgments. Leave these for the letter recipient to decide for themselves.