How To Write A Business Letter

When writing a business letter, most professionals and entrepreneurs are pretty busy no matter what their positions are. Since you're a busy person, you will want to use your time as effectively as possible.

This means cutting down on a lot of the menial and repetitive work that requires time - time that you simply don't have .

Writing business letters takes time but remember, they can be written more quickly if you follow a few basic principles. It takes a bit of time at first but as you progress, it gets easier and easier. Remember that business letters serve one purpose:

They Communicate Information

That's it. Business letters have one purpose and one purpose only - to get your point across. Countless hours are spent on writing business letters that say little or nothing at all. That's a waste of time for the sender and a total waste of time for the reader.

Think about it, you can spend hours writing a business letter that in the end, could say nothing and when you finally send it out, it takes the reader a good hour just to figure out what it is that you are trying saying.

Not only does it waste time but when the wages of the writer, along with the cost of equipment and postage are figured in, business letters are expensive.

When writing a letter for business. Keep in mind these three very important points:

- Business letters acts as in information vehicle - They serve one purpose;
- Business letters cost money;
- Business letters acts as an official document;

Business letters communicates your thoughts, feelings and concerns. They also serve as an official documents or records. Letters are long-lasting, tangible evidence of information that you have communicated to others.

Alright, let's get down to writing a proper business letter.

There are four things you have to remember when it comes to writing a business letter. If you miss one of these points, your letter is not going to be effective. They are as follows:

- Subject
- Audience
- Purpose
- Style

Yep, that's it. If you can get these points down on paper, your letter will be both, effective and time efficient. Let's go into a little more detail about each of these very important points.

Subject

When you write a business letter, always remember that it is so much easier writing about one specific subject than it is for many subjects. I remember when I first got out of college and I was trying to write some letters for my boss.

I was trying to fit in 5 different subjects into the body of the letter. Suffice to say, the letter was about 7 pages long and quite confusing to whoever read it. My boss took one look at the letter and shook his head.

It doesn't matter if you're writing a novel or business letter, you have to write according to one subject. The more specific your subject is, the easier it is to write the letter. What exactly is the subject?

It could be anything that a particular situation calls for. For example, let's say a client is late paying an account. The late payment is the subject. This is the core of you business letter - Late payment.

Regardless of the situation, always stick to one subject in your letter. If you have to, you might be able to add in another but after two, your message becomes clouded. If you have more than two subjects, write another letter.

Audience

This can be kind of tricky because you never know who's going to be reading your letter. It's a lot easier to write a business letter if you know who your audience is. This way, you can tailor your correspondence to that audience.

However, your audience is always larger than you expect. Take my office for example. If a letter comes in that needs to be actioned, it will pass through about 4 different pairs of hands before if goes to the right person.

If you are unsure of your audience, assume that they are educated and reasonable people. Don't assume they know what your talking about because 8 times out of 10, they don't.

Have you ever received a business letter and didn't have a clue what they were talking about because they assumed you knew? I get that all the time and it's quite frustrating.

Don't assume nothing when writing a letter because if you do, you might generalize or forget to include important details.

Purpose

Have you ever receive a letter that had a specific subject outlined but you simply didn't have a clue what the letter meant. All too often letters are sent out with a specific subject and audience in mind but have no clear purpose.

When you write a business letter, make sure that you know why you are sending out the letter. Is the letter to inform? Is it to request additional information? Is it a complaint? Congratulations?

There's nothing worse than reading a letter with no purpose. I'm sure that you've read a few letters that left you scratching your head wondering what the heck it was about.

State the purpose of the letter and keep it clear.

Style

Now that you know what your writing about (subject), who your writing to (audience) and why (purpose), you need to concentrate on how you are going to write the business letter.

The first three areas can be determined in a matter of a few minutes if you are familiar with the ideas that need to be communicated. The style takes a little more time.

The basic style and organization of a business letter is as follows:

- First part of the body:

- State the purpose of the letter

Second part of the body:

- State your point. Explain what you want to happen and explain the information you have

Third part of the body:

- Call to action or request some form of action. Thank the reader for his or her response.

The first and third parts are usually one paragraph. The second part, however, may be more than one paragraph long.

Let's look at each in a little more detail:

Part 1 Of The Body

It's important that you get straight to the point in the first sentence when your writing a business letter. Most people want to know write off the bat what you're writing about. Don't leave them guessing. Remember, you're reader doesn't have anymore time to go through a long letter than you do.

This part of the body is usually a short paragraph. Anything longer than this will either irritate the reader or your point will get lost.

Example:

“We have not yet received your payments. This is to remind you that both your first and second payments of $250.00 are now overdue. A total of $500.00 plus the balance of $125.00 is due on August 26, 2004".

Part 2 Of The Body

This part of the letter will be the core. It will explain the information you are providing and what you want the reader to do. Remember, it doesn't have to be fancy, it just has to include all of the information that the reader needs and it has to be clear.

If you have a lot of information, try breaking it up into smaller “chunks” or short paragraphs. When people come across huge paragraphs, they tend to skim the information.

You don't want this because they might miss the point. If you have no choice but to include a lot of information, try listing the points or include it as an attachment when writing business letter.

Underlining essential information is one way to highlight key points for your reader. However, don't use a lot of capitalization because is SCREAMS at people. Your letter should be organized to help the reader understand the information and what to do.

Example :

“In the credit agreement you signed, you agreed to pay off your bill in three payments. The first payment of $250.00 was due June 20, 2004, the second of $250.00 was due on July 20, 2004, and the final payment of $125.00 is due on August 20, 2004. Please send the full amount in 10 days”.

Part 3 Of The Body

When your writing a business letter, the third part of the body is usually broken down into 3 sections.

1. Concludes the letter . This allows you to point out the most important item or draw all your key points into one statement

2. Call to action . In letters that require a response, you want to define the action you want your reader to take. You basically tell your reader what to do and when to do it. This is very important because if there is no call to action, your reader won't act.

3. Thank the reader . It's only appropriate that you thank your reader for their time and attention.

Example:

“Failure to pay on time will affect your ability to charge merchandise at out store. If you want to discuss your account, call me at 888-356-8745. Perhaps we can arrange a more comfortable payment plan..

Thank you for your immediate attention”.

Here is an example of writing business letter:

Barton Supplies 9867 Cobton Rd., Charlesville, MI 963214

July 30, 2004

Chuck Riley
Total Parts and Service
P.O Box 5423
Littletown, OH 25467-8756

Dear Mr. Riley:

We have not yet received your payments. This is to remind you that both your first and second payments of $250.00 are now overdue. A total of $500.00 plus the balance of $125.00 is due on August 26, 2004.

In the credit agreement you signed, you agreed to pay off your bill in three payments. The first payment of $250.00 was due June 20, 2004, the second of $250.00 was due on July 20, 2004, and the final payment of $125.00 is due on August 20, 2004. Please send the full amount in 10 days.

Failure to pay on time will affect your ability to charge merchandise at out store. If you want to discuss your account, call me at 888-356-8745. Perhaps we can arrange a more comfortable payment plan.

Thank you for your immediate attention.

Sincerely,

Paime Mimonei
Credit Manager

Cc: Norm Johns

Writing a business letter doesn't need to be difficult as long as you remember that you are communicating with another business person just like yourself. If you remember to use a subject, audience, purpose, and style into your letter, you will be on the road to better business letter writing.

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