There is a concept in psychology called the serial position effect where the first items in a list (the primacy effect) and the last items (the recency effect) are more likely to be recalled because they have both made their way into the long-term memory and remain in the short-term memory, respectively. Applying this concept in business letters, then, would imply that salutations have strong implications in how your readers would feel about you or your company after reading your letter.

Here are some Sample Letters you might want to go over along with some tips on choosing an opening and closing salutation on your business letters.

Business Letter Salutation Example

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Business Letter Salutation to a Woman

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Business Letter Salutation Format

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Salutations

Following the definition in the dictionary, salutations are “a standard formula of words used in a letter to address the person being written to.” A standard formula, therefore, means that we traditionally open letters with “Dear” and end them with the rather romantic-sounding “Sincerely Yours.”

While they are standard, there are people who do not feel at all comfortable with greetings such as these in professional letters. “Dear,” to them, sounds too affectionate. Similarly, they find closing with a “Sincerely Yours” to be rather odd to say to someone they don’t know so well and to whom they most definitely do not belong.

Opening Salutations

Opening Personal Business Letters with “Dear” doesn’t seem too bad. In fact, while there are some, not many people would have a lot of trouble with using this as an opening salutation. However, if you are uncomfortable with this, you may also begin with “To” or just drop it totally and write the name of your letter’s recipient.

When addressing the recipient, here are some things you might want to remember:

  • A “Mr.” is used for males while a “Ms.” or “Mrs.” is used for females. If you are unsure about a woman’s marital status, just stick with “Ms.” If writing in British English, you don’t have to put punctuation marks while in American English, your salutations would be written with a full stop and a comma or a colon.
  • Use their appropriate title. Doctors and those with doctorate degrees should be addressed with a “Dr.” For other professionals, however, you would have to completely spell out their title like “Attorney” or “Honorary.”
  • If you know the recipient well, you may use just their first names. If you are unsure about their sex, you may use only their first name. For example: Dear John Cena.
  • Only use “To Whom it May Concern” or “Dear Sir/Madame” as a last option. As much as possible, find out to whom the letter should be addressed.

Business Letter Salutation Sample

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Appropriate Salutation for Business Letter

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Business Letter Closing Salutation

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Closing Salutations

When closing your letter, “Sincerely Yours” would be typically used. But if you this creeps you out, you may also consider using the following:

  • With kind regards,
  • Sincerely,
  • Best wishes, or
  • Thanks.

 

Another way to close letters would be by stating who you are such as “Your Client” or simply signing your name. See our other Formal Letter Examples to get more ideas on composing professional-sounding letters.

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