Business letters are a means to formal and official communication between two or more parties a professional relationship with each other such as a company and their customers, businesses with one another, or professionals and clients. Business letters may be written for a number of different reasons like filing a complaint, requesting, informing, ordering supplies, apologizing for a mistake, or showing gratitude. While all these may be done over the phone, a business letter is preferred as it serves as a permanent record between the two parties and is considered more credible by the recipient.
Most business letters follow the same format. Here are some tips on writing business letters with Sample Letters to go with them.
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Writing Business Letters
Writing a professional business letter is not unlike a Personal Business Letter. They only have a few obvious differences.
Get the right format. No matter the content of your letter, it should be formatted to look professional. Make sure to use a sans serif font like Georgia or Arial. Times New Roman is most preferred because it has a conservative reputation. Know the different kinds of indentations for business letters and follow which one you like best.
Choose the right paper. Most business letters are printed on a letter size paper (8.5″ by 11″) in the US and some countries. Most countries like the UK and China, however, employ the A4 size paper. For lengthy contracts, it would be a good idea to use a legal sized paper (8.5″ by 14″).
Write your company information. Unless you have a pre-designed letterhead, write your company’s name and contact information on the top corner, with each part of the address on a different line. Write your name above the company’s name if you’re self-employed. If the letter is being sent internationally, type out the country’s name in capital letters.
Include the date. A business letter also serves as some sort of written documentation of correspondence. Including the date not only looks professional, but it has its legal purpose as well.
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Include the recipient’s information. It is best to know to whom exactly the letter should be addressed to. Don’t forget to add a comma or a colon after the salutation.
Don’t beat around the bush. You may include one line of well-wishing but remember this is a business letter and time is money. Go straight to the point of why you are writing this letter.
Use personal pronouns. Use “I” for your own opinions and “we” if you are writing on behalf of the company.
Use the active voice. The passive voice sounds rather impersonal and ambiguous. The letter is written by a person and sent to a person. You don’t have to sound like a robot to appear professional.
Sign the letter. If you are sending a physical letter, handwrite your signature after the salutations. It would also serve as a confirmation that the letter does come from you.
Cover letters are also a type of professional business correspondence, just without as much technical formalities. Look here for Executive Cover Letter samples.
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