Writing Formal Business Letters - DOC

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					                                           Business English
                                    Effective Writing (Summary)




                    Effective Writing (Summary)


1. Types of correspondence
    Letters: formal and informal
    E-mails
    Faxes
    Memos
    Minutes
    Reports


2. Formal business letters

   Define your purpose
      Why am I writing this letter – what has led up to it?
      What do I hope to get out of it (my maximum aims)?
      What do I expect to get out of it (my realistic aims)?
      What is the best way to achieve this?
      What information do I need to provide?
      What arguments do I need to use?


3. How to write a formal business letter

   1. Use block style - do not indent paragraphs.
   2. Include the address of the person you are writing to at the top of the letter, below
       your company address.
   3. After the address, double space and include date.
   4. Double space & include the salutation.
   5. State a reference reason for your letter.
   6. Give the reason for writing.
   7. Make any request you may have.
   8. If there is to be further contact, refer to this contact.
   9. Close the letter with a thank you.
   10. Finish the letter with a salutation.
   11. Include 4 spaces & type your full name and title.
   12. Sign the letter between the salutation and the typed name and title


4. Tips for writing formal business letters

   1.   Keep the letter brief and to the point
   2.   Do not use contractions - write them out
   3.   Keep a copy of correspondence for future reference
   4.   1st paragraph should introduce subject matter & state or imply purpose
   5.   Body of letter : 1 or more paragraphs.
   6.   Final paragraph should make your attitude clear!
   7.   Achieve the right tone : not too casual, not too formal
   8.   Adopt a clear & consistent layout


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                                            Business English
                                     Effective Writing (Summary)




5. How to achieve the right tone

      Avoid Jargon whenever possible.
      Use shorter sentences rather than longer ones.
      Avoid using the passive.
      Don‟t let your feelings get the better of you.
      Don‟t try to be too clever.
      Be clear and to the point, but don‟t be too blunt.


6. Key elements of a formal business letter

       1) Your address, telephone, fax, email (top centre right, no name, company)

       2) Date e.g. 10th January, 2007

       3) Destination name and address (name, job title, company name & address)

       4) References (codes used to define a letter/subject)

       5) your correspondent's reference : 'Your ref: 01234'

       6) your own reference: 'My ref: 56789' or 'Our ref: 56789'.

       7) Salutation e.g. Dear Mr Smith

       8) Subject (the subject of your letter) not obligatory e.g. Re: Training course

       9) Body (the letter itself, well-structured paragraphs)

       10) Ending e.g. Yours sincerely

       11) Your signature

       12) Your name (first name & surname, e.g. James Bond)

       13) (Your title) When using company headed paper, write your Job Title here

       14) Enclosures e.g. 'Enc: 2' (for two documents).



7. Titles

       Mr
       Miss
       Mrs
       Ms
       Dr




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                                    Effective Writing (Summary)




8. Greetings

      You don‟t know the person‟s name and title - Dear Sir or Madam, or To Whom It May
       Concern
      You know the person‟s name - Dear Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms + surname
      You have met them or spoken to them by phone - Dear + first name
      Addressing whole departments/companies – Dear Sirs


9. Endings

      You don‟t know the person‟s name and title – Yours faithfully, sign with initials &
       surname
      You know the person‟s name – Yours sincerely, sign with first name & surname.
      You have met them or spoken to them by phone - Yours sincerely, sign with first
       name.
      Addressing whole departments – Yours faithfully


10. Formal business letter - Sample

                                                                             31 Arlington Rd
                                                                            London NW3 52R
Ms B Carter
Project Director
Excellence Multimedia Productions
Excellence House
50 Greenhill Terrace
London W2B 7RU


                                                                           15 February 2007
Dear Ms Carter

Thank you for your letter of 10 February. I apologize for not replying sooner but I have
just returned from holiday. I would be delighted to act as consultant for the Slow Food
programme in your new video project. The project sounds extremely interesting, and I will
be very pleased to help you in any way I can.
I am afraid I will not be able to meet you next week owing to prior commitments, but I will
be available during the first week of March.
I enclose a copy of my book A Taste of Italy, which I hope you will find useful.
I look forward to meeting you and Eric next month.

Yours sincerely

Gabriella Ventura

Gabriella Ventura




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                                   Effective Writing (Summary)




11. Language focus: Starting / making reference

     Following our phone conversation today…
     In reply to your fax received…
     Thank you for your letter of 28 July.
     Further to our telephone enquiry…
     With reference to your letter of…
     It was a pleasure meeting you…


12. Language focus: Explaining the reason for writing

     I am writing to enquire about/ inform you that/ confirm…
     I am pleased to confirm…
     This letter is to thank you…


13. Language focus: Requesting & Agreeing to requests

     We would appreciate it if you could…
     Would you please tell me…
     Would you kindly check the details..
     Could you please send us…
     Please let us know…

     I would be delighted to…
     I would be pleased to attend the meeting.


14. Language focus: Enclosing documents

     I enclose a copy of my book.
     Please find enclosed airline tickets for Mr Johnson.


15. Language focus: Apologizing

     I am sorry about the mistake.
     I apologize for not replying sooner.
     Please accept our apologies for the misunderstanding.


16. Language focus: Ending & referring to future contact

     Please don't hesitate to contact us should you have any further queries.
     Please let me know if you require any further information.
     Please give our kind regards to Bob Hanson.
     I look forward to meeting you.
     Looking forward to seeing you soon.
     Thank your for your time and assistance.




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                                   Effective Writing (Summary)




17. Abbreviations in formal business letters

      encs. = enclosure (documents are enclosed)
      pp = procurationem (you are signing on someone else's behalf)
      Re. = regarding



18. Dates
     British English 31/12/00
     American English 12/31/00
     31 December 2000
     December 31st, 2000


19. Run-on sentences 1

  Run-on sentences are two or more sentences or independent clauses that have
  been joined together without a conjunction or without the correct punctuation.

      *You have an impressive background in sales even so we are unable to offer you
      a position at this time.
      *We have a limited quantity of these machines, send us your order as soon as
      possible. (comma-splice)

       When two independent clauses are connected by only a comma, they constitute a
       run-on sentence that is called a comma-splice.

       When you use a comma to connect two independent clauses, it must be
       accompanied by a little conjunction (and, but, for, nor, yet, or, so).

       You have an impressive background in sales. Even so, we are unable to offer
       you a position at this time.
       We have a limited quantity of these machines, so send us your order as soon as
       possible.



20. Run-on sentences 2
  When two independent clauses are connected by a transitional expression
  (conjunctive adverb) such as however, moreover, nevertheless.
         *We have several other products which may interest you, however, we
         will send you a catalogue.
      (Use period or semicolon.)
         We have several other products which may interest you. However, we
         will send you a catalogue.


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                                    Effective Writing (Summary)




21. American vs. British Spelling

            British                        American

            -our (honour)                  -or (honor)

            -re (centre)                   -er (center)

            -ogue (dialogue)               -og (dialog)

            -ence (defence)                -ense (defense)

            -ise 1 (recognise)             -ize (recognize)

               American English spelling sometimes does not double the consonant at
               the end of a word.

               E.g. travel, traveller, travelling (British)



22. Effective writing - Keys to success

      Remember the 3 C's!!!!

            Clear

            Concise

            Courteous


23. What makes a business Email different from a business letter?

     Email is more conversational than traditional letters.


24. Writing Emails : top 10 typical mistakes

  1) not making it clear who you are and why you are writing

  2) assuming that all emails are informal and not responding with the same level of
     formality as the sender

  3) not answering all the points raised by the sender

  4) not making it clear which part of the sender‟s mail you are responding to

  5) writing too much, or in sentences that are too long

  6) not bothering to correct spelling mistakes

  7) writing everything in UPPERCASE



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                                    Effective Writing (Summary)




  8) sending attachments that the receiver may not be interested in, or may not be able
     to open

  9) not making it clear what tone you are writing in (e.g., if you intend your comments
     to be humorous)

  10)      not telling the reader what you expect them to do, and how you yourself will
     proceed


25. Email guidelines

        Clearly state the purpose of the email
        Make sure the subject line is updated each time your reply
        Copy in any relevant people
        Don’t use capitals (it’s like shouting)
        Personalize the greeting and reply in the same style
        Get to the point quickly (keep social ‘chat’ brief)
        Use short sentences
        Make sure grammar and spelling are accurate
        Abbreviations are acceptable (if you’re sure the reader understands them)
        Use bullet points and headings


26. E-mail format

           To…          vasco.rossi@musicworld.com to type in all e-mail addresses accurately.
                                              Be careful
            From…       Mike Jackson
           Cc…          brittany.spears@musicvision.com           Bcc means blind carbon copy (a copy
           Bcc…         andrea.bocelli@musicvision.com            will be sent to this person but other
             Subject:   Tuesday‟s meeting                         people will not know this).


           Vasco

           Just to confirm that we will be able to attend              E-mails are often used for brief
           the meeting next Tuesday.                                   communications.
           I‟ll be with out Sales Director, Brittany
           Spears.

           Mike


           To…        Marilyn Monroe
                      (Marilyn.Monroe@sitco.com)
            From…     Silvester Stallone
             Subject: Extension of trading agreement




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                                  Effective Writing (Summary)




           Dear Ms Monroe

           It was very good to see you again at our
           meeting in New York on 26th January.
           I hope you had a safe journey home                   This style of e-mail is similar to a
           afterwards.                                          standard business letter. The ending
                                                                can be the less formal Best wishes or
           We agreed that your company will continue            Best regards or the more formal
           to represent us and to promote the full              Yours Sincerely, depending on how
           range of our services throughout Europe,             well the writer knows the recipient.
           North America, and Asia for 5 years with
           effect from 10 February.
           During this period we expect to see an
           increase of at least 20 percent in the value
           of business we do in this region.

           Full details of the payments we will make
           and the expenses we will cover are included
           in the attached agreement. Can you please
           check this and, if all is in order, sign and
           return one copy of the agreement to me.

           We look forward to continuing to develop our
           business in the region in association with
           yourselves.

           Best wishes
           Silvester Stallone
           Managing Director
           Rocky Professional Services
           263 Boxingring Lane
           London RC3 4SW

The subject line summarizes nicely the most important details of the message.


28. Useful Subject Lines

   If your message is in response to another email, your email software will probably
    preface the subject line with Re: or RE:
   For time-critical messages ->start with URGENT
   For requests, start with REQ: this signals that action is needed:
   If you are offering non-urgent information that requires no response from the other
    person, preface the subject line with FYI: (For Your Information)




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                                  Effective Writing (Summary)




29. Remove Pronouns


      How can you make sure that your email is easy to follow?
        Look very carefully at all pronouns in your first three sentences.
        If they don't refer to something explicitly stated in the email, change them to
         something concrete.

               > Have you talked to the tech guys [about which model
               > they want]?

               I talked to the technicians on Wednesday, and they
               think the MP 160 will probably
               work, but they want to evaluate the MP 161
               before they make up their minds.


   Now the answer is very clear and specific.
   The response contains implicit yet clear references to the original message so less
    explicitly quoted material is needed.
   Responses like this, with the context mostly in the body of the message, are the
    easiest to understand.


30. Email abbreviations/acronyms

    ASAP                                     As soon as possible
    DL                                       Download, data link
    ETA                                      Estimated time of arrival
    FYI                                      For your information
    BTW                                      By the way
    RTM                                      Read the manual (“manual” here refers to
                                             any documentation)
    AFAIK                                    As far as I know
    EOF                                      End of file
    TTYL                                     Talk to you later
    CU L8R                                   See you later


31. Writing business reports : keys to success

   Who Is The Audience? Structure your report according to what your readers want
    to know
   Start With The Bottom Line Start your report by talking about money or the
    action the report recommends or both
   Use Headlines and Subheads
    Business readers scan for the information they need. Well-written headlines and
    subheads will help guide them to the parts of the report they actually need.




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                                   Effective Writing (Summary)




32. Writing business reports : keys to success (2)

   Use The active voice

        o   If possible, write in the first person.
        o   Avoid the passive voice whenever possible. It is impersonal and can make
            your writing dull.
        o   Even if the samples you are given use a lot of passive language, use the
            active voice; chances are the company will be delighted.

   Use short sentences and short paragraphs

        o   If your thought takes up more than two lines, it maybe too difficult to read
            easily. Use shorter sentences so the reader can more easily grasp the
            concepts.


33. Writing business reports: keys to success (3)

   Visuals Can Help
        Groups of numbers should probably go into some sort of table or chart.
        They not only break up large blocks of text, they also can clarify the
       information.

   Use An Abstract or Executive Summary
       Once you‟ve got a handle on the information, create an abstract or executive
         summary.
       Include the recommended action and put this section right up front. Now
         you‟ve got a business report that communicates the needed information easily.


34. Report format

     A suitable format for formal reports is:

           Title
           Executive summary
           Introduction
           Findings
           Conclusion
           Recommendations




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                                   Effective Writing (Summary)




35. Reports : sample                                             The format used here is
                                  A report should be well        suitable for formal reports:
                                  organised with                  title
                                  information in a logical        executive summary
    Gardener Software plc         order. There is no set          introduction
                                  layout for a report. It will    findings
                                  depend on:                      conclusions
    PRODUCT REPORT                a) the type of report           recommendations
                                  b) the company style
    Executive summary
    We have been contacted by Lenz AG, a German manufacturer of mobile
    telephones, and asked about the possibility of a cooperation agreement.
    We would adapt our business software for use in their products.
    Tests show that their product is a very good one and popular with our target
    market.

    Introduction
    This report will look at:
        the hardware manufacturer and their equipment
        software that could be used on their mobile phones
        the advantages of working together
        recommendations for action

    Findings
      1. Lenz has been developing cheap, small-scale electronic devices for
         thirty-five years. In the last five years they have focussed on more
         expensive mobile phones for businesspeople. These have been very
         successful. One in four mobile phones for the business market is a
         Lenz.

      2. Our new „Executive Organiser‟ software has a lot of attractive features
         for the travelling businessperson (e.g. address book, e-mailware, voice
         recorder, street finder function, etc.)

      3. Market research shows that there is a big interest in our products being
         used on machines apart from computers.

    Conclusion
    The two companies have products which fit well together.

    Recommendation
    We should have a meeting with representatives from Lenz as soon as
    possible to discuss a joint venture between our companies, with the aim of
    putting our software onto their mobile phones.

    Eric Wenceslas
    Research and Development Director
    12 February 2007




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                                         Business English
                                  Effective Writing (Summary)




40. Memos

   MEMO

   To:          All department heads
   From:        Irma Sperling, General Manager
   Date:        28 January

   Subject:     Visit of French agent

   Please note that Jean-Marc Marchand, our French agent, will be visiting the
   company on Thursday, 22 March.

   There will be a meeting on that day at 10:30 am in the Boardroom, which
   you should all attend. Mr Marchand will be presenting his marketing plan for
   expanding sales in the French market.

   If you wish to join us for lunch at a local restaurant, please let me know as
   soon as possible.

   IS




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                                      Effective Writing (Summary)




41. Minutes

     Minutes of the management meeting

     Date    1 February
     Venue Shaw House, Room 23M
     Present David Brent, V.D. Singh, Mirko Morton, Rula Lenska, Michael Bolton


     1. Guidelines for reception staff
     Following recent complaints about the attitude and professionalism of the
     reception staff, we all agree that it is essential to produce a set of written
     guidelines. The Human Resources Department will also arrange additional
     customer service training to take place over the next two months.

     Action by RL, MB by 8 February

     2. New brochure
     The Marketing Department is speaking to all senior managers about this on
     an individual basis. A draft brochure will be circulated so that it can be
     approved and sent to the printers by 15 February to be ready for next
     month‟s trade fair.

     Action by VS, MM by 3 February

     3. Price list
     We agreed that our new prices this year will be contained in a separate
     booklet, rather than as part of the New Product Brochure. An updated list is
     being compiled.

     Action by DB, GW by 26 February

     Next meeting: 18 March, 9:30 a.m.
     Venue:        To be confirmed



42. Good writing is plain writing

Unless one is a genius, it is best to aim at being intelligible.
Anthony Hope Hawkins

Easy reading is damned hard writing.
Nathaniel Hawthorne




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