Find out What is a Business Letter and how to Write one
Many students are given assignments to work on business letters yet, they do not know what is a business letter and what writing one entails. A business letter refers to a form of letter that is written from one business to another or between such businesses and their clients, customers as well as external parties.
A business letter is different from a personal letter in that it follows a following writing tone and style. While this is the case, the style of writing varies in accordance to the kind of relationship the parties involved have.
A business letter can contain different kinds of content such as:
- Direct request for information
- Direct request for action from a different party
- An order of supplies from the supplier
- It can be written to highlight a mistake by the recipient of the letter
- Direct reply to a request
- Apology for wrong doing
- Conveyance of good will
- While learning what is a business letter, it is crucial to understand it plays a very significant role. This is attributed to the fact it acts as a permanent record and is often taken seriously by recipients compared to other forms of communication.
What to consider while writing a business letter
There are a couple of things you need to bear in mind while writing a business letter. Some of these include the following:
- Reason behind writing the letter-It is important to identify the purpose of the letter as this is what helps the writer convey their message
- To whom is the letter addressed-This ensures the writer conveys their information to the appropriate person. For instance, sending a letter of apology to the wrong person beats the purpose of the business letter.
- Tone used-While business letters are supposed to be formal, the kind of tone used should vary in accordance to the kind of relationship the writer has with the recipient. For instance if they have known each other for a long duration, the tone can be less formal compared to individuals who have never met.
In order to get a better understanding of what is a business letter, take a look at the sample found at wikihow.com- Business Letter pdf. This is an ideal example of what a formal business letter entails and the outline is also well written. Clearly, from the sample, it is easy to tell that as the writer, you ought to be straight forward and concise.
The following tips will help you understand what is a business letter and how to write one
Starting the letter
The first thing you need to know about what is a business letter is how to start one. There are basic guidelines on how the letter ought to look. Ideally, a business letter is supposed to be composed and typed in common font like Times New Roman or Arial. You should also use block paragraphing and do not use the indent.
Include company information
The company name and company address should be listed in the letter. Each section of the address should be written on a separate line. If the company has a letterhead, it should be used rather than typing the company address. The date should be written as well and in a professional manner. This means it should appear as “May 2, 2014” or “2 May, 2014. The date is supposed to appear at the left side, justified and below the address of the sender.
Add recipient information
Write the full names of the recipient, their title, company name and address with each piece of detail on its separate line. If necessary, you should also have a reference number and the information regarding the recipient must be justified.
Pick an ideal salutation
A salutation in a business letter is a sign of respect and the one used depends on whether you know the person you are addressing the letter to as well as whether your relationship has any form of formality. Some of the salutation options you have include:
- Do not forget to include a comma after the salutation
- If uncertain about the gender of the recipient, it is advisable to use their whole name for instance, “Dear John Smith”.
- In instances when you know the recipient well, the first name for instance, “Dear John” is an ideal choice
- The recipients last name of their title can as well be used for instance, “Dear Dr. Sarah”
- Dear Sir/Madam is an ideal choice when you are not conversant with the recipient
- “To Whom It May Concern”-This should be used only in instances when you do not know to who the letter is been addressed.
The body of the business letter
For majority of business people, time is precious and not to be wasted. Therefore, you should get to the heart of the matter right away without wasting time. Ensure the tone you use in your letter is professional and brief. Make it an easy read by addressing the matter immediately and keeping comments brief in your first paragraph.
At writinghelp-central.com, you will find a sample letter that delves into the matter at hand immediately. Avoid use of big words, flowery transitions and lengthy meandering sentences. You should make your letter more compelling by avoiding passive verbs and not editorializing the letter.
Dear Ms. John,
It was great pleasure meeting you last week at the conference. As we earlier discussed, I believe the widget gizmo by Company, Inc., can streamline your process of production. If you are interested, I would like to visit you with key members of our team to meet you and provide an overview of our services. We would also like to discuss the best plan that matches your needs. Please, inform me when you are available for further discussion.
Write concisely and clearly
The reader should be able to tell exactly what you are attempting to say. The only way they can respond quickly to your letter is if it has a meaning that is crystal clear. Particularly, if there is an action or result you want the reader to take, state clearly what it is. Use as few words as you possibly can to explain what you want.
Where appropriate, be conversational
In the attempt to learn what is a business letter, you should also remember that these letters are written by people to others. Therefore, where appropriate, be conversational. The only thing you need to do is avoid use of slang or colloquial language like “I wanna” or “I mean”. The tone of the letter should be kept business like yet helpful and friendly.
- If you are familiar with the recipient, it is okay to include a line of good wishes
- Use your judgment as the writer to establish the level of personality to reveal. There are instances when humor can be of great use in a business
- Lay your case clearly since oftentimes, the purpose of the business letter will be to change an individual’s mind, correct a problem, take action or send money.
Close the Letter
Just like the salutation, the closing of a business letter is a sign of formality and respect. Some of the closing statements generally accepted include “Yours sincerely” or “Sincerely”. You can also consider using “Cordially”, “Yours Truly”, “Regards”, “Respectfully”.
There are others which are less formal but they still pass off as professional closings and they include “Warm regards”, “All the best”, and Thank you. After closing the letter, remember to use a comma. Leave four empty lines for the signature. Beneath the signature, you should include your name, phone number and email address as well as other forms of applicable contact information.
Finalize the letter
This is one of the aspects that most students tend to overlook yet, its importance cannot be overlooked. The recipient should be able to tell that you are an individual that is not only in charge but capable.
Carry out a spell check run using word processor and read the letter thoroughly before submitting it. Some of the questions you need to ask yourself is whether your business letter is concise and clear, whether some of the paragraphs are too long and whether there are statements that are unnecessary which need to be eliminated.
Here is also another great example of what is a business letter. Reading samples such as these will not only shed light into the nitty-gritty details of what a business letter entails but will ensure that you become a better writer.
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