The traditional format of a business letter is important: those who receive business letters expect them to be set out in a particular way.
The correct tone of a business letter is unassuming but confident. It is unprofessional to write long sentences, or to take a long time to get to the point.
Personal topics, such as family news or casual felicitations should be kept out of business letters.
Traditional format of a Business letter
It is not wise to use contractions, formal letter format slang, jargon, or to use a conversational tone. Lengthy descriptions have no place in a business letter. Sentences must be brief and to the point, without embellishment, flattery or extra phrasing.
Do Follow When You Write Business Letter
Do remember to use the correct traditional Business Letter Example layout.
Do check all details. Mistakes in addresses, telephone numbers, or email addresses could mean the letter does not reach its destination, is confusing to the recipient, or shows the sender to be negligent or forgetful.
Do fold the sheet of paper in thirds to fit into the right size envelope.
Do use the best paper and black ink.
Do start and finish with an interesting phrase without being too flowery.
Do make sure the date on the letter is the same as the mailing date. That is, a letter should be posted the day the final draft is written.
Don’t Follow When You Write Business Letter
Don’t use a personal style – business letters are impersonal and formal.
Don’t include details unless they are relevant to the main reason for sending the letter.
Don’t use clichés or hackneyed phrases. Make sure your idioms are correct.
Don’t forget that grammar, punctuation, syntax and word choice affect meaning, and must impress the recipient with your language skills and abilities.
Don’t neglect the essential steps of drafting, editing, checking, and proofing your business letter.
Don’t use all caps or emphasize too much in italics.
Avoid long paragraphs. Write the introduction last.
Draft and edit many times until you are happy with the tone, form, and content.
An effective business letter should call the recipient to action. Be clear with the message without being demanding or rude.
Make sure the tone matches the occasion and the establishment you are addressing. Complex terminology is to be avoided.
Attached with Business Letter
Ignoring convention and placing items in the wrong places. Spacing is important, and wide margins are vital. There should be two-line spaces between paragraphs.
A business letter should never have more than two folds in a paper.
If the letter is being emailed, it should be word-processed, laid out properly in an A4 portrait document, and attached.
Sometimes writers forget to make a call for future action. It is vital to ask for an interview, or require a phone call, or request a follow-up letter, or some other response. Make a clear indication of what you would like the person reading your business letter to do next.
Now that you have acquainted yourself with the basic business letter writing tips and rules, you can check out our business letter samples to link theory with practice.