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Business Letters


Contents :-

Easy Ways to Write More Effective Letters

Writing a business letter is a lot like writing direct mail. The essence in many instances is to "sell" the person you're writing to on an idea, a program or just the fact you're a nice.


Be "you"-oriented

People read all communications with their WIIFM filter, "What's In It For Me." Much of the literature and letters from business people doesn't take this factor into account. We see comments such as,

"We are available 24 hours a day" or, "are experts" or, "have the latest in processing equipment." These comments have little meaning to the average clients or prospects. What they are really interested in is how the above is going to help them.

You need to change the orientation of such statements to spell out a strong benefit such as, "If our widget ever fails at night, on Saturdays or Sundays, you know there's an experienced technician available 'round the clock to get your widget up and running again in no time at all."

Be Up Front

At one time, writing letters was like telling a story. It had a beginning, middle and end. With today's emphasis on scanning communications due to time pressures, try to get your main point across early in the first or second paragraph. That way you'll be assured the "meat" of your message has been communicated.


Be Polite

No matter how offensive or insulting a person is to you, remember to respond professionally at all times. Responding in kind to an irate client or prospect, even if he is wrong, does little to solve the problem.

On the other hand, nice, polite touches in your correspondence distinguishes your business as one that is totally professional. These touches may even turn away the wrath of the most incensed person.

Hint: If you feel you absolutely must "tell the person off" because of something outrageous he has written in his letter, do so--but keep the letter in your desk overnight. I guarantee, you'll tone down your comments before you mail the letter the next morning.

Be Brief

Do your letters tend to be long-winded and beat around the bush? Do you find yourself using ten words when two will suffice? You and the recipients of your correspondence are time-sensitive.

So, check to see if you can't cut the extraneous verbiage from your writing. You'll find, too, that people will thank you for the clarity of your correspondence.

Be Thorough

Even if you've been brief in your response to an inquiry, reread the writer's original letter to make sure you've fairly addressed all her concerns.

Be Clear

There are times every letter writer gets off the track, particularly when explaining something complicated. If you must detail a procedure or course of action in a letter, review what you've written with a third party, such as your co-worker.

Let him read the letter and ask him to tell you what the letter says. Many times you'll discover what you wrote originally can be improved considerably.

Be Careful

You need to be especially sensitive to misspellings in letters. Be sure, first, to double check to see that the recipient's name is spelled right.


The single most damaging thing you can do in a personal communication, such as a letter, is to misspell the recipient's name. If there's a misspelling, it shows you didn't care enough to check it out beforehand.

One of the major problems with computer-generated letters is that the wonderful spell checkers built into the software can't distinguish the grammatical sense of a given word.

For example, to the computer, words such as "there," "their" and "they're" are perfectly valid usages even though they may be inappropriate for the sense of the sentence in which they are used.

Print out a copy of each letter on draft paper and ruler-proof it before printing out the final version and signing it. Note: ruler-proofing is taking the rough draft and proofing each letter, line by line, with a ruler.

Beware of Technical Terms

You may know what a heuristic system is, but does the recipient of your letter know? If the purpose of our correspondence is to communicate a message, you need to be sure you're talking at the experiential level of your reader.

Television host, Louis Rukeyser, provides a perfect example. On his program, "Wall Street Week," he is sure to explain in layman's terms what a panelist means when he/she refers to a "triple witching hour," etc.

Beware of Big Words

Use a small word for a big one whenever possible. It's been proven to improve your communications. Illustration: Most people are not aware of the fact that the front page of the Wall Street Journal is written at the comprehension level of a seventh-grader.

Be Professional

Once you're satisfied with the contents of your letter, you're almost there. Now, check the letter for appearance. Is the typing quality good, and are the margins, spacing, etc., appropriate. In other words, does the letter look professionally produced?

Writing effective business letter

Main Steps:

• Identify your aims

• Establish the facts

• Know the recipient of the letter

• Create sample Copy

• Decide on Physical layout of letter.


Identify your Aims:

Clearly establish what you want to achieve from the letter- whether it is to win back a dissatisfied customer or to reprimand an employee. Whatever the aim, create your letter from these goals.

Establish the facts:

Make sure you have the relevant accurate facts available. For a late payer, this might include relevant invoices, complaint forms, talks with your sales department and any previous correspondence from the customer.

Know the recipient of the letter:

Write in the language of your recipient. Try to put yourself in the position of the recipient. Read it from his point of view. Is the letter clear or open to misinterpretation. If you know the recipient, use this knowledge to phrase the letter to generate your desired response.


Create a sample Copy:

Having established your aims, amassed the relevant facts with a conscious view of the recipient- write down the main points of your letter.

Decide on Physical layout of letter

The physical appearance of a letter consists of the paper and the envelope. The first thing a recipient sees is the envelope.

It is essential that it is of suitable quality with the name and address spelt correctly. Quality envelopes and paper suggest a professional company. It is wise to make sure the envelope matches the size of the paper.

While you will use 81/2 x 11 inches(A4 size) sized paper for the majority of letters - a 4 x 6 inches(A5) can be used for specific shorter letters. But insist that correctly sized envelopes are used for this A5 size paper, allowing you maintain and convey an coordinated image.

Technical layout of letter

The following elements will constitute the formal outlay.

• Letterhead

• Name and address

• Date

• Reference

• Salutation

• Subject matter

• Communication

• Signature

• Enclosures


This will include your company's name, address, telephone number, fax number and email address. Include your web address if available. Other information may be required depending on the legal status of your business formation. Contact your legal adviser for exact details.


Name and address:

Always include the recipient's name, address and postal code. Add job title if appropriate. Double check that you have the correct spelling of the recipient 's name .


Always date your letters. Never abbreviate January to Jan. 31.


These are optional. They are a good idea if you have a large volume of correspondence. These days modern word processors made this an easy task to complete and maintain.


The type of salutation depends on your relationship with the recipient. Always try to personalize the letter thus avoiding the dear sir/madam situation.

Subject matter:

Again this is optional, but its inclusion can help the recipient in dealing successfully with the aims of your letter. Normally the subject sentence is preceded with the word Re: It should be placed one line below the greeting.


This will contain a number of paragraphs, each paragraph dealing with one point and one point only.


The signature should be clear and legible-showing you are interested in the letter and consequently the recipient. Your signature should also be followed underneath by a typed version of your name and your job title.


If you include other material in the letter, put 'Enclosure', 'Enc', or ' Encs ', as appropriate, two lines below the last entry.

A letter's style:

Previously we created the main points of our letter, now we must transform this into a final version. To do this, four main considerations are necessary.

• Format

• Prose

• Manner

• Accuracy


There are three main formats: blocked, semi-blocked and indented. The former has all entries tight against the left -hand margin. The semi-blocked format sets the references and the date to the right margin for filing and retrieval purposes, with the remaining entries placed against the left margin.

The indented format follows the same layout as either of the above, but indents each paragraph by five or six spaces.


Clarity of communication is the primary goal. Don't use technical jargon if the recipient is unlikely to understand it. Short sentences are less likely to be misunderstood or misinterpreted. Be precise, don't ramble. Check each sentence to see if it is relevant. Does it add to the point ?


Always try to personalize your letters. Always try to be civil and friendly even if the subject matter is stern and sensitive. Give the impression to the recipient that some effort and thought has gone into the letter.


Once the final version of the letter has been created, polish it off with a final spelling and punctuation check.

Proper Business Letter Format


JULY 31, 2014


To ‘A’

(when you know the name of the person you are writing to, you can address the letter to "Dear Ms. Brown:")

Thank you for your interest in learning about business letters. In this sample, I have outlined the basic format requirements for a standard block-style business letter. You may be familiar with the business letter templates that many word processing packages offer--you will notice that there are several variations on the basic format, but the required elements are the same. In any letter, you should include

* date,

* name and position of the recipient as well as the organization's name and address,

* salutation (use the recipient's first name only if you would do so on the phone),

* body text,

* closing and signature, and

* a method of contacting you.

(If you are not using letterhead, include your address and phone number at the top of the page, and position this information approximately five inches from the left edge of the page and two inches from the top of the page; if you are using letterhead, include your phone number and/or email address in the text of the letter, usually in the last paragraph.)

The "enclosure" and "CC" lines at the end of a business letter are optional. The "encl.:" line tells the reader that you have included an additional piece of documentation with the letter. The "CC" line tells the reader that you have also sent the letter to a secondary audience.

If appropriate, you can also include a "Subject:" line between the address and the salutation. Margins and Text Spacing

When you use the block form to write a business letter, all the information is typed flush left, with one-inch margins all around. These margins can be adjusted slightly if you need to fit the letter onto one page, or if the page breaks create an awkward flow of information.

First provide the date, then skip a line and include the name, position, and business address of the addressee. Skip another line before the salutation. Then write the body of your letter as illustrated here, with no indentation at the beginning of paragraphs. Skip one line between paragraphs. Skip two lines before each heading within the body of the letter.

Do not double space the body text of your letter. Using Headings

If your letter is more than two or three paragraphs, including headings can be helpful for your reader--be sure to use headings that capture the key topic of that section and capitalize each major word of the heading. Bolding or underlining the heading will help the visual design of your letter.

It is also helpful to include the date and page number in the footer of a letter that is more than one page long.

A Strong Finish

When you close a letter, it is a good idea to summarize the action that you would like the reader to take in response to the letter, thank the reader for their time, and provide a means of contacting you.


(Triple space here)


Head of department

(put 2 - 4 spaces between your signature and the enclosure or CC line, depending on the length of the letter)

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