Business Letters / December 4, 2018 / Alfreda Graham
The purpose behind business letters What purpose does a business letter actually serve? Firstly it helps you to communicate with your other business acquaintances. In fact it is like any other means of communication but there is one major difference to it. Business letters serve to document details of vital facts and figures that can be pulled up and analyzed any time afterwards. It is for this very reason that the absolute care diligence and due attention must be given to this exceptionally important writing task. Effective Business Letter Writing Basics Business letters are not deemed to be authentic if they are not written on the letter head of the organization it is being sent from. Irrespective of the occasion for which the letter is being written the language must always be formal. People should ideally be addressed by their titles such as: General Manager Dear Mr. Dear Ms. Director and so on in the event of you not knowing the names of the people. In case you do know their names then you can use them because it adds just that small tinge of familiarity without unduly affecting the essence of the correspondence.
Readers do not like repetitive messages so do your best to avoid that. Scan every sentence and make sure they are essential to your message. Anything less than that should be deleted from your letter. Be Courteous and Polite This should be mandatory in writing these letters especially if you are talking to someone in a higher position. Depending on the nature of your message every appropriate courtesy should be extended to your reader. Make sure you address him properly as befitting his position. If you are writing a letter addressed to someone in a lower position do not appear condescending. Be Positive This is important especially for sales oriented letters. Use a positive tone of writing when creating your sentences. Substitute negative terms with positive ones. Using the proper words will help keep your reader interested in reading your message. Forget Creativity A business letter is not the medium for you to express your creativity. Do not use fancy words or use flowing narratives that you normally use in creative writing.
When you write to a title the salutation is "Dear Sir " "Dear Madam " or if you want to play it safe "Dear Sir/Madam." When you write to an organization it s "Dear Sirs " Dear "Mesdames " or again if you want to play it safe (but labor the point) "Dear Sirs/Mesdames." Your sign off will be "Yours faithfully" (UK) or "Yours truly" (US and Canada.) Less formal letters This is where you have a name. And this is where you can get into hot water if you re not sure of the gender of the person. Someone called J C Jennings could be a Jack or a Joanna. Someone called Leslie Matthews could also be either (traditionally the female version of the name is spelled "Lesley" and the male "Leslie " but I know at least one lady Leslie.) Equally beware of unisex names like Jody Jo Bobbie Alex Rob Robin Carol (yes really ) Billie Chris Darryl Eddie Sam Jackie Nicky Frances (f) vs Francis (m) Freddie Gabrielle (f) vs Gabriel (m) Georgie Gerry/Jerry Charlie Nat Harry Jessie (f) vs Jesse (m) Stevie Mel Pat Ronnie Sacha Sandy etc. And that s before we get started on names from non English-language cultures. People these days usually don t advertise whether they re "Mr" or "Ms" or whatever.