The first element of all business letters is that they should be clear. This includes the purpose of the letter and words used within the text. Clearly state your point near the beginning to allow the reader a clear understanding of the letter’s purpose. Conciseness
Avoid using extra words in a business letter. The element of conciseness refers to stating an idea in the fewest words possible. Don’t add superfluous information or extra words to fill space. Simply state the information that’s important and pertinent, and leave it at that.
A business letter should also be considerate. This element is important because you must think about the reader and his feelings and point of view. Make the letter about him and not you. Courtesy Business letters should show respect to the reader and should demonstrate the writer’s personal respect for the reader and the company he works for. Concreteness Concreteness refers to using vivid wording within the letter that appeals to the reader’s senses. If a business letter is dull, the reader may skim through, missing important points. Cheerfulness
When writing a business letter, demonstrate a positive attitude that expresses joy and cheer. Correctness
A business letter must always be accurate. This means ensuring every word within the document contains accurate facts and figures. This includes proofreading the letter to check for grammar and spelling mistakes. Character
Every business letter should show a bit of uniqueness from the writer. This gives the letter character and may make it more interesting.
The Importance of Good Business Letter
The basic business letter format is the same across a range of industries, with few variations for content and style. The letter should be left-aligned, single-spaced with a one-inch margin and a standard 11- or 12-point type size. The top line below the letterhead should be the month, day and year, followed by one line of space and the address of the recipient. Place one line of space after the recipient’s address and use a simple, professional greeting, followed by a colon and another line of space. Each following paragraph should be separated by a line. Insert one line after the last paragraph, followed by a closing and a comma; leave four lines of space for your signature, and type your name and title.
A well-formatted letter conveys an immediate sense of professionalism to the reader, particularly if it is printed on quality paper and folded neatly. It lets the recipient know that you took the time to craft a letter carefully, even before he reads the content. When it comes time to follow up, the reader will know where to look for the pertinent information, such as the date and return address.
When you use the accepted format for a business letter, it lets the reader know that you have a basic understanding of standard business communication practices. A poorly formatted letter, on the other hand, sends an immediate message to the recipient that you do not have the knowledge or you view the communication as informal; as a result, the content might not get the attention it deserves.
When writing a business letter, your main objective is to get a message across; the design of the letter itself should fade into the background. By using an improper letter layout, you immediately draw attention to the format rather than the message. By following the standard guidelines for the paragraph content — introducing your point and providing immediate support — you build your case quickly and concisely, making it easy for the reader to focus on the letter itself.
Business letters are the unique form of business communication with all the stake holders of the company. The stakeholders include all those who are interested in the running of an enterprise. The business letters are used to convince these stakeholders or persuading them to agree with the writer regarding the topic under discussion. These letters are written as a way of persuading the customers or clients to accept the contract or proposal or enter into an agreement. It is a modern way of communication between both the parties. This is a method winning a contract or bringing business to an organization. A well-written and formatted letter represents the business identity as well as conveys the professionalism of a company.
Formats and variation of business letter
Proper Business Letter Formats
Business letters in the United States, use four common letter formats. Variations differ for other countries such as the date is composed in another style. All proper business letter formats are acceptable but the block is more common. Block Letter Format: The common block letter format is formatted with all of your text flush with the left margin. Paragraphs are doubled spaced and all line text single spaced.
The margins are a standard word processor setting of one inch. (see the image of Block Letter Format). Semi-block Letter Format: For the semi-block, the only difference between the semi and alternative block is as opposed to have the body text justified left, the first line of each paragraph is indented. Alternative Block Letter Format: The alternative block letter format moves the return address, date, closing, name, title and signature to the left side of the page. Simplified Letter Format: This format takes the same properties of the block letter with one exception, the greeting or salutation is eliminated. This is a helpful format when you don’t know the recipient’s gender is male or female, or Mrs. or Miss.