At one point or another you will need to write a business letter. Having good letter writing skills is important for communicating your needs and getting the response you want.
Here are a few dos and don’ts of business letter writing.
Do use the appropriate letter format
Most people don’t realize that business letters need to be formatted a certain way. Using the correct business letter format ensures the recipient has the information they need to send a response to you.
There are two basic business letter formats, block and modified. Either one can be used in most all situations. More information about how the letter should be formatted can be found online.
Do state the reason for your letter
Get the point of your letter as quickly as possible. Gone are the days when people had time to sit around and read long letters that talked about everything under the sun.
These days, the recipient of your letter only has a few minutes to digest your words and formulate a response. Put the most important information at the top of your letter, and then follow-up with supporting information.
Do maintain good manners
Always open and close business letters using appropriate greetings and endings. Try to use the person’s name in the greeting if you know it. End the letter by thanking them for their time and consideration.
Don’t use informal language or slang
Business communication is formal. Avoid using informal, slang, offensive, or text-messaging language in your business letter writing. Not only does this look unprofessional, it can make it difficult to understand your message.
Although slang and SMS language is ubiquitous in society, not everyone knows, or wants to know, what it means. Always err on the side of formality when communicating in a professional capacity.
Don’t include unnecessary information
Avoid including extraneous information. You goal with your business letter writing is to clearly communicate your message and obtain a desired outcome. Including irrelevant information will only confuse the issue and make it more difficult for the reader to take the desired action.
Err on the side of conciseness and only provide information the reader needs to facilitate understanding. They can always request more information if they need it.
Don’t forget to proofread
Reread your letter and correct any spelling or grammatical mistakes. All it takes is one misspelled word to throw off the meaning of your letter.
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