How to Write a Good Business Letter
State your point clearly and concisely:
A good business letter is not disjointed and does not ramble on. It has a formal tone to it and provides all pertinent information in a clear and concise manner.
Many business people receive large amounts of written material daily and only have time to skim their mail quickly. For this reason, it is important to get to the point quickly in your letter. State the purpose in the opening sentence of the letter and be frugal with the number of words in each sentence. Typically, a business letter fits on one page.
After skimming the first few sentences of a well-written letter, a reader may slow down and read it more closely. But if the letter is difficult to read because it is unprofessional and rambles on, it may be quickly tossed aside. You don’t want your letter to be one that provokes confusion, frustration or aggravation.
Proofread your letter:
Even though your letter may only be skimmed, don’t assume that spelling or grammatical errors will go unnoticed. Most writing programs now have spell-checks and grammar tips, but these are not always fail-safe. For instance, your correctly spelled word may be incorrectly used. Always, proofread your letter and if possible, have another set of eyes read it before sending it.
Font and Format:
Use 1" margins and a serif font such as Times New Roman or Georgia (12 point). Serif fonts have finishing strokes on the edges of the letters and symbols and are generally used because they are considered easier to read on paper than sans-serif fonts.
The block format for writing business letters is the most modern of the formats and is typically the most used. It’s a clean look that is esthetically pleasing and tends to reduce errors since the writer does not have to be concerned with indentation spacing to indicate new paragraphs.
Block Format - all sections of the letter are flush against the left margin of the page and should include:
- Date: The date the business letter is written is placed below the stationery’s letterhead name and address.
- Recipient Name & Address: Make sure that the name and address of the recipient is placed two vertical spaces below the date. This name and address should match that which is placed on the envelope when mailing the business letter.
- Salutation: When writing business letters, the salutation typically includes the title ‘Mr.’ for men and ‘Mrs.’ or Miss’ or ‘Ms.’ for women. (For persons of title, refer to: Addressing Persons of Title for the appropriate salutation). If you are unable to obtain a name to whom you can address your business letter to, then using: "To Whom It May Concern" as a salutation is acceptable for the business letter.
- Body: The generally accepted font is a serif font such as Times New Roman or Georgia (12 point). New paragraphs are indicated by one vertical space from the previous paragraph. Paragraph starts at the left margin—no indentation spacing is used.
- Closing: The close of the business letter should appear two lines below the last line of the body, at the left margin. A variety of closures are acceptable when ending business letters. (Refer to: Addressing Persons of Title for appropriate closing for persons of title.
- Signature: The signature of the writer is directly below the closing.
- Identification Line (Writer’s Name, Title & Professional Designation): The identification line is placed two vertical spaces beneath the closure to allow room for the signature. The identification line should contain the writer’s typed name, title & professional designation. Directly below that, the name of the organization which the writer represents.
- Notations: Placed two vertical spaces below the last part of the identification line. (For more information see: Structure of Letters).
Good Business Letter Writing includes proper:
Structure of Letters
Addressing Persons of Title