Writing Business Letter Essentials -
Tips That Will Make You Write Good Letters Fast
The purpose of a business letter
Keep in mind the reason you are writing a business letter. What are you trying to achieve. You letter must be written in such a way that you achieve your desired results.
If you are writing a critical letter, meaning a letter that involves making or losing money, such as a sales letter or a job application cover letter, I would recommend using the help of a professional writing service
. Such services will help you ensure you achieve your desired result. The fee you pay these services (weather you use my service or not) is nothing compared to the results they can achieve. It will most certainly be a lot better than writing the business letter yourself. In business terms, they provide the best return on investment.
The following are some of the most important and practical tips on business letter writing. These tips will help you come up with a letter that produces your desired results.
Keep these tips in mind when writing all your letters:
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.
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.
Is a letter or email the best option?
In a lot of situations, it may not be appropriate to just send a letter or email. A letter is just one form of communication, and a lot of times, it should be used as a followup to other forms of communications.
Think about how urgent is the situation or what sort of relationship you have with the intended recipient. For example, when you are asking for a pay rise, you should talk to your boss first and then follow up with a letter.
This is a big issue with a lot of readers, I have actually created another page just to give you more examples.
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. Please see how to use a form letter for the proper use of form letter if you have to use it. 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 the 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:
- List out the topics you want to cover. Do not worry about the order.
- In each topic, list keywords, examples, arguments and facts.
- Review each topic in your outline for relevance to your aim and audience.
- Cut out anything that's not relevant.
- 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 use 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, not a technical manual.
Emphases the positive
- 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.
- Stay away from negative words. For example, your complaint about our product, instead, sorry our product was not up to your expectations.
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.
This is especially critical if you are writing an important letter that may cost you or the business you work for money. If it is such an important letter, I recommend using a professional writing service to review your letter.
Use the correct format
This section is too big, so go to Business Letter Format
to find out more. There are also examples of Writing Business Letter there.
Writing Business Letter Essentials FAQ
Got questions on the business letter essentials? See the Frequently Asked Questions