A business letter is a means of formal and official communication between parties involved in a professional and commercial relationship. These letters are commonly exchanged between organizations, companies, corporations, or professionals and their clients, customers, business partners, or each other.
Although there are faster, easier, and more instant means to communicate, business letters are preferred because they carry about an air of professionalism and a sense of urgency. Aside from this, they also provide a concrete and tangible documentation for deals, memos, complaints, requests, orders, and notices.
Formal writing is a valuable tool for anyone involved in any business. See these Sample Letters and guidelines to help you write a letter that could achieve its desired effect.
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Whether it be a letter of thanks or a letter of complaint, most business letters follow the relatively same format. See the standard format below or download our Business Letter Layouts for easier letter composition.
Letterheads contain the company’s logo, name, and contact information. They give an appearance of officiality and credibility. Companies with no letterheads make do with writing the information letterheads contain on the upper sides of the paper.
Names and addresses of the recipient should be specific and, above all, correct. Call the recipient’s company to get these information if you must.
The date of completion of the letter should be indicated. Put down the day, month, and the year.
The reference is a word, phrase, or sentence that tells the reader what the letter is regarding.
An opening salutation may begin with the word Dear or simply say the reader’s name. This is all up to the preference of the writer.
The body of the letter must transition smoothly from one idea to the next. This would make it sound less awkward and more professional.
Close the letter with a “thank you” and a call to action. Make sure to handwrite your signature with a nice pen.
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Writing a Formal Letter
Information of Sender and Recipient
- A letterhead would give the letter a more professional and credible look. If you don’t have one, you can simply write the company’s name and contact information in one of the upper corners of the paper.
- Include the date the letter was completed.
- Know the recipient’s information: their name, position, company’s name and location. If you don’t know this, call their company to find out. Use a “To Whom It May Concern” or similar as a last resort.
- If your reader wanted to read something flowery, they’d read a novel. Don’t waste your reader’s time. Go straight to the point.
- Persuasive Business Letters own their statements. Use personal pronouns like “I” when speaking for yourself and “we” when speaking on behalf of your company. Make sure to use the active voice as well to avoid sounding ambiguous and impersonal.
- These letters are written by a person to a person. Be conversational when appropriate.
- Always be courteous, even when you’re angry with the letter’s recipient or their company. There is no room for immaturity in business.
- Close the letter with a salutation like “Sincerely” or “With Thanks.”
- Sign your name with a black pen for a more formal look.
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