Before I go into the specifications of tips on writing business letter, I need you to peruse through these letter writing pointers. It is important to have a basic understanding of professional letter formats. Once you have acquainted yourself with these (which you can do by clicking on the links and going through the articles), we can go ahead with business letter writing techniques.
Tips on Writing the Basic Business Letter
A basic business letter has the following parts.
- The return address of the sender: This is given, basically, so that the reader knows where to send the reply of the letter.
- Date of the letter: This is primarily for legitimate reasons. It is a proof that the letter was sent on a specific date.
- Complete name, title and address of the recipient: For obvious reasons, the name of the recipient has to be written in full. Make sure you prefix it with the appropriate title as well. The address is written for sake of convenience, as well as, tradition.
- Salutation: Just like any communication, a business letter also needs to begin with salutation.
- The body of the letter: This part of the letter is the actual message that you are looking at conveying through the letter.
- Closing: Just like you need to end a conversation appropriately, a letter needs to be closed properly as well.
- Enclosures: Enclosure are basically attachments that one may have to send with the letter. This part of the letter is to inform the reader of the attachments, so that they make sure they peruse through them.
Writing Tips and Styles for a Business Letter
While not all associates are the same, our letters to all of them can't be the same either, right? As such, depending on the nature of the association, the different parts of the letter can be drafted differently.
Return Address: The return address of the sender can be written in any way as the sender would wish. However, one needs to ensure that the complete address is given to avoid issues with future correspondence.
Date of the Letter: This aspect also does not get affected by the recipient or the association shared. Depending on the format of the letter, and the general letter writing style followed, one can frame the date.
Name and Title: The title is extremely important before the name. All male recipients should be referred to as Mr. In case the recipient is a professional with a prefix (like Dr. or Prof. etc) this prefix needs to come before the title. For female recipients, the preferred title is Ms. Unless specifically stipulated to be Miss or Mrs. Women are touchy about the title, so one needs to be very wary.
Address of the Recipient: This part of the letter can be written in brief. Since the outside address is always provided in full, the inside address can be given in short. However, the zip code and the basic parts of the address need to be written flawlessly.
Salutation: This aspect of the letter varies greatly in accordance to the nature of the association. In case the reader is a close associate - one with whom you have informal chats as well, one can give a salutation like Dear XYZ. If the association if friendly, but distant and at a similar hierarchical level, one can give a salutation like, Dear Mr/ Ms. XYZ. If the association is completely formal or at a higher hierarchical level, the salutation needs to be along the lines of Respected Sir/ Ma'am. In case you are putting the name in the salutation, ensure that you use the name correctly and spell it without any errors.
Body of the Letter: Whether the association in friendly or not, the body of the letter should be formal and precise. These keeps the tone of the letter appropriate. More often than not, serious tone is a requirement in any business letter.
The Closing: The closing is also dependent on the nature of the association. Keep it friendly if the association is friendly, and make it formal if the association is so.
By keeping these writing tips in mind, drafting the business letter will be much easier. Do not try to use many big words or flowery language. Keep the language basic and the letter informative. This is where I sign off! All the best!