I was surprised to learn ” business letter writing” was one of the most searched terms in the writing category on the Internet. I guess there will always be a need for information on how to write a business letter.
For some people, writing a business letter is almost second nature, but there are many others that get stuck when faced with the need to write a letter and a blank computer screen. To get started with planning, consider the three important elements of a business letter. They are considering your purpose, your reader(s), and the letter’s format.
For example, the purpose of the letter could be an introduction, inquiry, cover letter to job application materials, information to clarify a situation, to place an order something, or offer a complaint or a compliment. Whatever your purpose may be, make sure it’s clear in your mind before you start to write.
When planning the letter ask these questions about your reader:
- Who will receive the letter?
- Why will they read it?
- What do you want to happen as a result of it?
Here’s a template for a business letter using a block format:
The Person’s Title
The Company Name
Recipient’s Mailing Address
City, State Zip Code
Dear Recipient: (Notice the use of a colon in the salutation.)
The first paragraph of a typical business letter states the letter’s main point. Open with a friendly introduction and then state purpose of the letter. Several sentences are all you need to write to quickly get to the point.
The second paragraph provides details that explain and support the purpose for the letter. For example, this may include background information, a reference to another document or previous correspondence, questions, statistics, or other information that supports the letter’s purpose. Several short paragraphs should be adequate.
In the closing section, briefly restate your purpose and state the action that you would like.
Title (if appropriate)
If you didn’t use letterhead, include:
City, State Zip Code
If you have questions about writing a specific type of letter, would you please let me know? I’ll be sure to include the information in a future post.