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					                   Business Letters: Ten Tips

To Begin With
  1. Start from the end. Decide what the result of your letter
     ought to be. List things you’d like to say and review them.
     Remove those not supporting the main idea. Good letters
     have a strong sense of purpose.
  2. Get to the point early. Don’t delay. State your main cause in
     the first paragraph.
  3. Put yourself in the reader’s place. If the letter came to you,
     how would you respond? Be pleasant, try to turn negative
     statements into positive ones.

No Business Jargon
  1. Say it plainly. Phrases like “in compliance with your
     request,” and “enclosed herewith” are stilted and
     unnecessary. Write as naturally as you speak.
  2. Clear the deadwood. Cut out words, sentences, even
     paragraphs that don’t contribute. Work hard to simplify
     reader’s job.
  3. Use active verbs. Passive voice can be weak and confusing.
     “A decision has been made by the committee” is inferior to
     “The committee has decided.” Passive voice also indicates
     evasiveness. “The order has been misplaced” rather than “I
     misplaced your order.”
  4. Be human. Your letter should read like a conversation. Use
     pronouns like I, you, we.

Be Positive
  1. Never write in anger. Anger will evaporate; a letter won’t.
     Think of how you can be upbeat and courteous while getting
     the point across.
  2. End with an “action step.” The end of the letter should
     suggest your reader’s next move, or your next move. Close
     with “sincerely,” and your name, followed by your signature.
  3. Be professional. The most well-written letter can’t survive
     bad presentation. Use a clear, logical format for your letter;
     avoid fancy fonts. A crowded page distracts from your
     message.




Sample Business Letter


Dear Ms. O’Neil:

I am writing you directly about recent delayed deliveries. Because
of the delay, my company was unable to meet our deadlines, and
our customers were disappointed over the holidays.

Your company has always been reliable, and I will assume that
these recent delays are due to some unavoidable circumstances.
We wish to continue our relationship with you, and so we hope—
obviously—that these problems are temporary and will be solved
soon. In the future, could you please communicate with us, by
phone, fax, or email, that there will be a delay. We would greatly
appreciate this.

In the future, could you notify when your shipments go out? We
will then acknowledge your message. Thank you, and we expect to
hear from you soon.
Sincerely,

Dollarway Rentals

				
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