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Planning a Business Letter
A business letter is not a place for chit-chat. Unlike business conversations where a certain amount of small talk is used to break the ice, a business letter should be clear and concise. By taking time to plan your letter, you will save time in the writing and proofreading stages. During the planning stage, ask yourself a few simple questions. Jot down your answers to create an outline before you start writing.
Who am I writing this letter to?
Identifying your audience always comes first. Are you writing to more than one person, to someone you don't know, or to someone you have known for a long time? This will help you determine how formal the letter needs to be. You may need to introduce yourself briefly in the letter if the recipient does not know you. You may also need to find out the updated address and title of the recipient. This is a good time to confirm the correct spelling of first and last names.
Why am I writing this letter?
The main reason for the letter should be understood from the subject line and first few sentences. You may cover more than one thing in one business letter, but there will almost always be a general reason for the letter. Identify your main goal and what you hope to accomplish. Review some example reasons why people write business letters on the introductory page of this lesson.
Are there specific details I need to include?
Gather any dates, addresses, names, prices, times or other information that you may need to include before you write your letter. Double check details rather than relying on your memory.
Do I require a response?
Many types of business letter require a response. Others are written in response to a letter that has been received. Before you start writing, determine whether or not you require an action or response from the recipient. Your request or requirement should be very clear. In some cases you may even need to provide a deadline for a response. If you do require a response, how should the recipient contact you? Indicate this information clearly as well. You may want to provide more than one option, such as an email address and a phone number.
How can I organize my points logically?
Think about how you would organize your thoughts if you were speaking rather than writing to the recipient. First you would introduce yourself. Second you would state your concern or reason for writing. After the main content of your letter you would include information on how you can be contacted. The end of the letter is also a place to express gratitude, wish good-luck, or offer sympathy. Here is an example outline:
- Karen Jacobson
- Acquaintance (met twice before, briefly)
- Title: President, The Flying Club
- Address: 44 Windermere Drive, Waterloo, Ontario L1B 2C5
- To invite a board member to remain on the board for a second term.
- Other members suggested that she has enjoyed this position and has been thinking about staying on.
- No other volunteers have come forward to take over at the end of September.
- If she decides to stay on she will need to be available for the national meeting on 5 November.
- Board members who stay for two terms are sometimes asked to take on extra duties, such as taking minutes or hosting social events.
- She will need to respond by 1 September.
- She can contact me by email or phone.
- Return address of our institution
- Karen Jacobson's title and address
- Salutation: Dear Ms. Jacobson
- First paragraph: Introduce myself briefly--remind Karen where we met before. Provide my reason for writing: "I have heard from a number of board members that you may be interested in staying on for a second term. We would be very pleased to have you stay on for another year."
- Second paragraph: Explain what type of commitment this position will involve this year (once a month meetings, national meeting, plus possible extra duties)
- Third Paragraph: Provide deadline for response and how to contact me.
- Closing: Express thanks to Karen for volunteering her time this year
- Types of Business Communication
- Oral Communication
- Non-Verbal Communication
- Internal Communication
- Business Report Writing
- Types of Company Meeting
- Business Letter Writing
- Employment Communication
- Importance of Secretarial Functions in Business
Wednesday 1 June 2011
The steps in planning of a business letter, planning business letter,business communication, 2 comments:.
just amazing post its about Planning of business letter,. I believe anyone following your guidelines will get high reward as presenter. I also have been in academic writing and know what is helpful and research report presentation this is what your post perfectly stated.
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How to Write a Professional Business Letter in 6 Steps
Throughout your career, you’ll likely find yourself writing business letters. In fact, you may start writing them before your career officially begins, as application and inquiry letters are also business letters.
A business letter is a formal letter that’s generally, but not always, written from one professional to another to further their organization’s interests. In some instances, as with cover letters and interview follow-ups, they serve to further the sender’s career interests.
What is a business letter?
A business letter is a formal message typically sent from one professional to another. Generally, business letters discuss opportunities for companies to work together, such as through a strategic partnership, collaboration, promotion, or request.
It’s important to keep in mind that a business letter is not the same as a business email. By definition, a business letter is a printed letter delivered to the recipient’s desk or address. This attribute is part of what makes business letters stand out from an email inquiry, which is why they tend to be used for important communications. However, there are a few similarities between business letters and business emails. Both follow a similar format and end with a direct call to action.
There are many types of business letters, including these:
- Sales letters
- Letters of recommendation
- Inquiry letters
- Application letters
- Letters of intent
- Transmittal letters
- Offer letters
- Resignation letters
- Interview follow-up letters
- Request letters
- Office memorandums
- Cover letters
There are two main differences between a business letter and an informal letter: format and content.
When do you send a business letter?
Business letters are sent when individuals, either representing their companies or themselves as self-employed small-business owners, aim to conduct business. Here are examples of these instances:
- Inviting an individual or team to a networking or other exclusive event
- Thanking an interviewer for their time
- Following up on a previous business inquiry
- Offering a promotional deal or new product or service
- Notifying all team members of a policy change, important new hire or promotion, or other company news
- Formally offering an applicant a position
What are the parts of the business letter?
Header (date/address/return address).
Date: When you write a business letter, it’s crucial to include the date on which you wrote it. This information is essential for time-sensitive communication, such as promotional offers.
Address: Write the recipient’s full address, including their PO Box number or office suite.
Return address: Include your company’s full address. This makes it easy for the recipient to send a response.
In a business letter, the standard salutation is “Dear.” Begin your letter with “Dear [recipient’s name]” and add a comma after the name. You may choose to address the recipient by an honorific paired with their last name or simply by their first and last name. When you cannot determine the recipient’s name, you may address the letter to their title.
The body paragraphs take up the bulk of a business letter. This section discusses the offer, proposition, or announcement the letter is making. It includes these sections:
- An introductory paragraph that states the letter’s main purpose and, if necessary, introduces the letter writer.
- One or more middle paragraphs that discuss the letter’s subject in greater detail. This could be a job applicant’s relevant experience, the details of an offer, the repercussions of a policy change, or what the recipient can expect at the event to which they’re being invited.
- A final paragraph that restates the letter’s purpose and offers an incentive, such as early bird pricing, for the recipient to follow up.
After the body section, close the letter with a simple, professional sign-off. Appropriate sign-offs include the following:
The final component of a business letter is your signature . Include your full name and any abbreviations that follow, such as MBA or PhD.
How to write a business letter in 6 steps
1 learn the rules.
Before you sit down to write a business letter, familiarize yourself with the rules for writing a business letter, such as these:
- Address the recipient properly. If you aren’t sure which honorific is appropriate or how to spell their name, take a moment to research this information.
- Format the letter properly. A business letter format is not the same as an informal letter or email format.
- Include all relevant information. This means including both the recipient’s address and your own, the date, and all necessary details to engage the reader and enable them to respond in a thoughtful, appropriate manner.
It can be helpful to review business letter examples to see how other writers adhere to these rules. Ask a colleague or your manager for a past letter to read or search for examples of business letters online.
2 Choose a suitable format
The business letter format is a key characteristic of this type of communication. A business letter may be formatted in one of the following ways:
- Modified block
In block format , all the lines are left-justified, and there are no indents.
In semi-block format , all the lines are left-justified, and each paragraph is indented.
In modified block format , the heading, closing, and signature are right-justified, while the body and addresses are left-justified. In this format, there are no indents.
No matter which format you choose, the letter should be single-spaced with a blank line separating paragraphs and sections.
3 Use formal language
A business letter is formal, professional communication. This doesn’t mean it should be stuffy or stilted, but it should maintain a professional tone and adhere to traditional business letter formatting.
4 Focus on the content/subject
A business letter should focus on one topic. This could be an offer, an inquiry, a thank-you, a response, or a request. Do not deviate from your letter’s subject or include multiple subjects in the letter—doing so may make it confusing and undermine your letter’s intent.
5 Consider the length
Business letters vary in length. Sometimes, they’re only a page long. If your letter exceeds two pages, create a separate report that covers the bulk of the letter’s content. Instead of sending a long letter, send the report with a short letter that summarizes it for the reader.
6 Include your signature
Every business letter should include a signature—i.e., your name, company, and title typed and your name in blue or black ink.
Business letter examples
Mr. Steven Ramirez Ink Company Name 1 Example Rd. City, NY 10001
July 11, 2023
Mrs. Juliana McCue Stationery Company Name 44 Example Way City, CA 94024
Dear Juliana McCue,
I’d like to personally thank you for being such a loyal customer. Over the past five years, Stationery Company Name has been a top seller of Ink Company Name, and I speak for our entire team when I say we genuinely appreciate and value your partnership.
As a thank-you, I’d like to offer an exclusive collaboration opportunity: a fully customized hue exclusive to your retailer. Our team of experienced color specialists can develop any shade of the rainbow, from the darkest light-inhaling blacks to bright, reflective neons and iridescent inks. Offering an exclusive color can make your brand stand out and draw fountain-pen users from around the world to your website and brick-and-mortar store.
I’m happy to show you examples of custom colors our team has developed for other partners. Please let me know if you’d like to schedule a video call, during which I can explain our offer in greater detail and start exploring colors with you. I’m looking forward to showing you all the ways you can express your unique brand through a one-of-a-kind shade of ink.
Steven Ramirez Head of Color Development Ink Company Name 555-0000
Daneris Garcia 4950 Example St. City, WA 10000
May 14, 2022
Mr. Neal Patel Head of Marketing Marketing Agency Name City, AZ 20000
Dear Mr. Patel,
Thank you for taking the time to interview me for the role of graphic supervisor at Marketing Agency Name. I believe we made a strong connection and that I’d be an excellent fit for your team.
As a graphic designer, my passion is finding innovative ways to visually represent emerging and established brands. While I have significant experience working in 2D and 3D, I’ve prioritized designing for VR and AR spaces in the past five years. I know my experience with numerous clients in the tech industry that are focused on developing products in these spaces will make me an asset to your team.
I hope you consider me for the position. If you have any questions or would like me to share additional examples of my previous work, please don’t hesitate to ask. I am proud of the work I’ve done for MANGA firms and excited about doing similar work with your team.
Best regards, Daneris Garcia
Business letter FAQs
A business letter is a formal letter that’s generally written from one businessperson to another to further their career or their company’s interests.
What is the purpose of a business letter?
The purpose of a business letter is to communicate professionally with a company, institution, or nonprofit organization.
What are the different kinds of business letters?
- Complaint letters
What should every business letter contain?
- Return address
- Inside address
How to Write a Business Letter That Won’t Get Ignored
Updated: July 24, 2019
Published: November 01, 2018
Nowadays, writing a letter can seem completely archaic. I mean, do people even send mail anymore? Or do they only communicate through email and messaging?
In the business world, though, letters are actually still crucial for collaboration. To convince someone to offer you a job, you need to write them a compelling cover letter. And to persuade someone to speak at your company’s event, you need to write a gripping pitch.
A lot of professionals overlook the importance of writing high-quality business letters because they seem outdated. As a result, most people don’t actually know how to write one.
Fortunately, if you're in the same boat, we've got you covered . Below, we'll teach you how to craft a persuasive business letter for any purpose and situation.
How to Format a Business Letter
- Write the date and your recipient's name, company, and address.
- Choose a professional greeting, like “Dear,”.
- Craft a compelling introduction.
- State your intent in the letter’s body text.
- End your letter with a strong call-to-action.
- Choose a professional closing, like “Sincerely,”.
- Physically sign the letter with your signature.
- Type your name, address, phone number, and email address.
To teach you how to write a business letter in more detail than the snippet above, let's take a look at a letter I wrote to Dharmesh Shah, HubSpot’s CTO, when I was a wide-eyed college student trying to convince him to speak at my school.
I’ll analyze the most important parts of my letter -- the introduction, body text, and call-to-action -- and explain how and why they can strengthen your own business letters.
Business Letter Example
October 1, 2016
25 First Street,
Cambridge, MA 02141
Dear Mr. Shah,
When my freshman year of college ended, I was fortunate enough to work as a digital marketing intern at a startup called SlideBatch. They were introducing a new content marketing tool to the market, and my job was to apply that tool to their clients’ social media marketing campaigns and prove that SlideBatch was an effective marketing solution. I was so excited to get to work, but I had one small problem. I didn’t know what content marketing was. So, I did some research on the Internet and discovered HubSpot’s Marketing blog.
Fast forward a year and half, and I’m still reading HubSpot’s Marketing blog and leveraging its insights at my third digital marketing internship. Reading your blogs changed my life. I entered college believing financial advising was my destiny. But, after learning about HubSpot’s inbound marketing philosophy -- how helping people is the ultimate way to increase brand trust and engagement -- I was hooked. Shortly after my internship with SlideBatch ended, I decided to pursue digital marketing instead of financial advising. I’ve haven’t looked back since.
HubSpot’s influence on my life is the reason I’m writing to you today. I’m certain if you spoke at my school, DePauw University, about your life, HubSpot, and the inbound marketing philosophy, there would be hundreds of undecided students who start pursuing digital marketing. I know this because DePauw’s McDermond Speaker Series is one of the best platforms for business leaders to showcase their passion for their industry, company, and work. Brad Stevens of the Boston Celtics, Angie Hicks of Angie’s List, and Bill Rasmussen of ESPN have all successfully used the McDermond Speaker Series to inspire the world’s next generation of business leaders, and I know you could, too.
We would be honored if you spoke at our school. Thank you for your time and consideration, and we look forward to hearing from you!
313 South Locust St.
Greencastle, IN 46136
Introduction (first and second paragraphs)
To instantly grab Dharmesh’s attention and entice him to read the rest of my letter, you'll notice I didn’t lead with the standard "I’m writing to you today because…” introduction. Instead, I engaged him with a story about how I discovered HubSpot and how his company changed my life. I thought this would strongly resonate with him because I assumed, as a co-founder of HubSpot, he would love to see how his life’s work has benefited others.
In your own business letters, you don’t necessarily need to tell a story to immediately hook your reader and persuade her to read on. But you should definitely describe how she’s made an impact on your life. This is what will truly grab and hold her attention.
Body text (third paragraph)
After my introduction, I swiftly segued into why I was writing to Dharmesh -- to ask him to speak at my school. Personal anecdotes are an effective way to engage readers, but I’d lose Dharmesh’s attention if I didn’t cut to the chase.
Once I stated my letter’s intent, I quickly pitched the benefits of speaking at my school and bolstered the reputation of my school’s speaker series. By emphasizing how speaking at my school could inspire hundreds of students to pursue digital marketing and highlighting the group of impressive speakers Dharmesh could join, I focused on the dividends he would reap from being a McDermond Series Speaker, rather than how my school would benefit from his guest appearance.
So whether you’re trying to convince someone to hire you or speak at your school, you must first persuade your reader that doing what you ask of them will ultimately benefit them and be in their best interest.
Call-to-action (fourth paragraph)
In my last paragraph, I politely ask Dharmesh to speak at my school again. Even though I already asked him this earlier, it's important I end my letter with a clear next step. It packs more of a punch and crystalizes the desired action in his mind.
Strong call-to-actions are a crucial element of a persuasive business letter. Because i f you don't tell your reader what to do next, you might as well have never written your letter in the first place.
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Templates for an organizational change, financial update, problem-solving, or general business memorandum.
Step in Writing an Effective Business Letter in Communication
Effective Business letter is an important medium of exchanging business information among the business people. But writing an effective business letter is not so easy. It requires proper planning, imagination, approach, layout and after all skill of the writer. The following steps are to be followed in drafting an effective business letter:
Effective Business letter
Proper Planning: Proper planning is the first and foremost important step in drafting an effective commercial letter. At the first phase of writing a letter, the writer must have a sell thought plan of what to write, when to write, whom to write, how to write and where to write. A well thought planning will lead the writer to complete the letter successfully and a well planned letter best serves the purpose of the writer.
Determining the Objectives: Identifying the purpose of writing a letter is an important matter because the objectives will tell the writer what he will write, to whom he will write and how he will write. Business letters are written for different purposes and the purpose determines the type of letter. So, a business letter must have a distinct prime objective along with some secondary objectives. Thus, the writer of a letter must determine why he wants to write it before writing.
Identifying the Audiences: The third step of writing a business letter is to identify the target audiences or probable readers of the letter. Identifying the audiences helps the writer of the letter to assess the level of knowledge and understanding of the readers, their positions, educational status, psychological set up, their probable action or reaction, etc. it also helps the writer select proper writing style, language and other elements. The best approach of assessing the reader is to put the writer in the reader’s position and read the message from reader’s viewpoint.
Gathering information: The writer of a letter is to collect necessary information that is accurate and relevant. Since letter contains purposive information, the facts and figures are to the collected from reliable source and should be correct and genuine. Generally, for letter message information are collected from office, concerned persons, files, documents, events and writer’s won experience.
Organizing the Information: After gathering necessary information for the letter, it is important to decide how the information is to be arranged in the letter. There are two approaches for organizing the information in the letter – Direct Approach and Indirect Approach. The subject matter and the objective of the letter will determine which approach should be applied in a business letter.
- Direct Approach: In direct approach, the main point or the main news comes first at the beginning of the letter and other information come letter. This approach is use when the message caries good news, requires less or no persuasion and direct presentation. Letter of inquiry, quotation, order, appointment, notice, tender, invitation etc. are written by using direct approach.
- Indirect Approach: Indirect approach is used when it requires presenting unfavorable or unpleasant news in the letter. In this approach, some pleasant, amiable and humorous statement come first and the bad news is then introduced with necessary explanation. Indirect approach is also used in case of persuading the readers.
Selecting the Letter Format: Selecting the letter format is an important decision in writing a business letter. Letter format refers to the way of arranging different paragraphs or elements in the letter . There are five distinct styles of writing letter-
- Indented Style: In indented style each element of a letter is written leaving two to four spaces from the left margin.
- Block Style: In block style, the date, complementary close and the signature are aligned with the right margin and all other parts except the letterhead are set flush left.
- Completed Block Style: In this style, all the parts except the letterhead are aligned with the left margin. Open punctuations followed in this form.
- Semi Block Style: The semi block form is the combination of block and indented forms. In this style, block form is used for the inside address and for the complementary close while indented form is used for the body of the letter.
- Hanging Indented Style: This style is like that block style except that the first line of each paragraph is aligned with the left margin but all other lines in each paragraph are indented form is used for the body of the letter.
Deciding on the Contents: In this stage, the writer of a letter should decide what elements he will include in the letter. A business letter has different elements or parts depending on the style of the letter. The contents of a letter help the writer to present the message logically and conveniently.
Drafting the Letter Primarily: After completing all the above mentioned stages, the writer of a letter is to draft the letter for the first time as a rough. In primary drafting the writer can start writing his letter from any part or point and can rub or rewrite as many times as he wishes.
Reviewing or Editing: This is the last step of writing a letter before it is produced finally. In this stage, the primary draft is reviewed and revised several times so that it can be modified or developed further. The writer must read the letter as many times as required to be sure that it is free from all types of errors. The style, format, tone, language, paragraphs, spelling, accuracy, brevity and grammar should be checked or verified duly before sending the letter.
Writing the Final Letter : This is the last step of writing a good business letter where the letter is written or drafted finally for distribution. The final letter must be reproduced on quality paper either in printed form or by hand written. It should be neat and tidy, accurate and free from defects.
From the above discussion, we find that writing and effective business letter is really difficult. One can be apt in writing a good letter if he follows the above stated process or steps minutely. Above all, writing is an art and one should articulate it.
Planning a Letter: 7 Steps
What do you do before you write a difficult letter or a report? Because a letter in English is much harder than writing one in your own language, careful planning is essential. Imagine, for example, you have to write a letter introducing your company to a prospective customer…
The following steps are recommended.
Write down your AIM: what is the purpose of the letter?
ASSEMBLE all the relevant information and documents: copies of previous correspondence, reports, figures, etc.
ARRANGE the points in order of importance. Decide which points are irrelevant and can be left out. Make rough notes.
Write an OUTLINE in note form. Check it through considering these questions:
Have you left any important points out?
Can the order of presentation be made clear?
Have you included anything that is not relevant?
Write a FIRST DRAFT, leaving plenty of space for changes and revisions.
REVISE your first draft by considering these questions:
INFORMATION: Does it cover all the essential points?
Is the information RELEVANT, CORRECT and Complete?
ENGLISH: Are the grammar, spelling and punctuation correct?
STYLE: Does it look attractive?
Does it sound natural and sincere?
Is it CLEAR, CONCISE and COURTEOUS?
Will it give the reader the right impression?
Is it the kind of letter you would like to receive yourself?
7.Write, type or dictate your FINAL Version.
Exercise 8 . Here are three extracts from letters that break some rules.
Decide what is wrong with each one and underline any mistakes or faults.
Rewrite each extract in your own words.
1) I noticed your advertisement in the Daily Planet and I would be grateful if you could send me further information about your products. My company is considering subcontracting some of its office services and I believe that you may be able to supply us with a suitable service. Looking forward to hearing form you.
2) Thank you very much for you letter of 15 January, which we received today. In answer to your enquiry we have pleasure in enclosing an information pack, giving full details of our services. If you would like any further information, do please contact me by phone or in writing and I will be pleased to help. I hope that our services will be of interest to you and I look forward to hearing from you.
3) There are a number of queries that I would like to raise about your products and would be grateful if you could ask a representative to get in touch with me with a view to discussing these queries and hopefully placing an order if the queries are satisfactorily answered.