Writing Business Letters is a
skill you can learn
Writing business letters is definitely a skill you can learn. All it takes is practice and more practice.
Follow the guidelines below in preparing your excellent documents.
First (opening) paragraph
The opening paragraph of a business letter should be short and should tell what the letter is about.
- Make the opening paragraph of the letter short.
- Limit it to two sentences - three at the most.
- Provide the purpose of your letter in the first sentence.
- Try to add a short goodwill comment to finish the paragraph.
- Make the reader feel good.
Second (middle) paragraph(s)
The middle paragraphs provide the details of the letter, with the emphasis on the reader. Use ‘you’ rather than ‘I’ wherever possible. This emphasis on the reader is called the YOU attitude.
- Provide details in the middle paragraphs.
- Leave the details out of the opening and out of the closing.
- Write in short sentences.
- Write in short paragraphs.
- Use Active Voice rather than passive voice.
- Avoid the tendency to be too chatty in your details.
Last (closing) paragraph
This last paragraph must be short and must ask for some form of action. You must be polite. Never thank the reader in advance.
- Ask for action in the closing paragraph.
- Provide a means by which the reader can contact you.
The closing paragraph in most letters can be very much the same format for a very effective presentation:
Please contact me at … to …
(After all, you want a response to your letter.)
- Begin with the direct request for action.
- Add a goodwill comment to finish the letter.
- Appeal to the reader always.
- Leave details out of the closing.
- Keep the closing separate from the message in the letter.
- Close all your letters in the same way
Following this format above will make writing business letters very professional and very effective. It’s an excellent format to use!
Note: If you can, keep your letter to one page. If you need to present a long message, you may consider a short business cover letter that you can write with the long attachment.
If you require a second page, however, format the second page appropriately with a proper page header. I'll discuss that separately. (I'll provide the link shortly.)
All business documents must be prepared in a professional and attractive format. Ensuring that this is the case with all your writing is a very important consideration.
To that end, following a standard template format would be a very good idea.
Ensure that you maintain a very good and standard one-inch margin all round the letter. This format will help you to frame the letter, so that it looks balanced and well positioned.
In addition, take a look at the letter in the "print preview" before you publish or print it. Check that the letter looks well centered vertically on the page. The top and bottom margins should be roughly equal - again to give a very attractive and professional appearance.
Your attention to these details will help you to producing winning documents and to write excellent business letters.
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