The ABC of Writing Business Letters

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We often wonder whether writing business letters correctly is as important as it is made out to be. Communication, written or verbal has always been significant to civilization. The method of communication is often dictated by various factors such as who is addressing whom, why, and when.

Business letters are generally used to communicate formally with various players regarding business matters. Unlike informal letters, these need to conform to certain rules so they could be read and processed speedily and at the same time provide you with the relief you are seeking. Fortunately, the basics of writing business letters are easy to master.

1. The beginning – you begin with the name, designation and address of the person you want to communicate. In case you do not know the name, the designation would often suffice, though personalization always provides better results.

2. The subject – you should keep in mind that the person who would read your letter has limited time and therefore needs to know what the letter is all about at a glance. The subject line serves to this purpose.

3. Reference – next, is your reference. This pertains to the source that influenced you to write this letter. For example, the advertisement in the newspaper if you are applying for a job; a previous letter, a recent development, your own preceding letters and so on.

4. The opening address – you start the letter with a “Dear Sir or Madam” depending on the gender of the person. It is important that you address a woman as Ms unless she makes it obvious she wants to be addressed as mrs or miss.

5. Body of the letter – the matter you want to be said should be put in simple and crisp language, avoiding wordiness. The tone should be polite, even when the letter is a complaint or gives negative feedback.

6. Closing statement – try your best to end the letter on a point of action. This is what the person would read last and therefore carry it in his or her mind. What you want the person to do? What do you expect from him or her? What you want them to remember about the letter?

7. Ending – the letter generally ends formally with, “yours faithfully”, “yours sincerely”, “warm regards”, or “best wishes” depending on how well you know the person you are writing to.

As you can see, writing business letters is not a difficult task. All it needs is a little practice and the basic know-how.

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