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Transcript of Business Letter
Different than writing in the humanities, social sciences, or other academic disciplines
It strives to be crisp and succinct rather than evocative or creative; it stresses specificity and accuracy
This distinction does not make business writing superior or inferior to other styles
Rather, it reflects the unique purpose and considerations involved when writing in a business context
When you write a business document
Assume that your audience has limited time in which to read it and is likely to skim
Your readers have an interest in what you say insofar as it affects their working world. They want to know the “bottom line”: the point you are making about a situation or problem and how they should respond
Business writing should be clear and concise
Know your audience
Business letters can have many types of contents
To request direct information or action from another party
To order supplies from a supplier
To point out a mistake by the letter's recipient
To reply directly to a request
To apologize for a wrong, or to convey goodwill
A business letter is useful because it produces a permanent written record, and taken more seriously by the recipient than other forms of communication.
4 Basic Business Letter Formats
ALTERNATE BLOCK FORM
The only difference between the alternate block and the full block is that the alternate block has a subject line. The subject line can save time for the receiver by informing her/him of the purpose of the letter. The subject line is situated between the recipient's address and the opening salutation. Skip two vertical lines down from the address and skip another two vertical lines before the salutation.
Memos are mainly used for inter-office, institutional or organizational communication; however, increasingly, the memo letter format is being used for formal, external communications as well as in informal, internal communications. If the memo is used for inter-office purposes, leave out the "Dear" salutation and the "Yours truly" complimentary closure, and initial the memo to the right of your name.
For business letters to be clear:
Personal pronouns (like I, we, and you) are important in letters and memos. In such documents, it is perfectly appropriate to refer to yourself as I and to the reader as you
Be careful, however, when you use the pronoun we in a business letter that is written on company stationery, since it commits your company to what you have written. When stating your opinion, use I; when presenting company policy, use we.
Achieve a style that is so clear its messages cannot be misunderstood. One way to achieve a clear style is to minimize your use of the passive voice
PASSIVE: The net benefits of subsidiary divestiture were grossly overestimated.
[Who did the overestimating?]
ACTIVE: The Global Finance Team grossly overestimated the net benefits of subsidiary divestiture.
Margins Side, top and bottom margins should be 1 to 1 1/4 inches One-page letters and memos should be vertically centered.
Font Formatting No special character or font formatting is used, except for the subject line, which is usually underlined.
Punctuation The salutation/greeting is generally followed by a comma in British style, whereas in the United States a colon is used. The valediction/closing is followed by a comma
CORRECT USAGE AND APPEARANCE
Remember to proofread your letter for these items:
-Spelling of the receiver's name;
-Spelling of the receiver's place of business;
-Spelling elsewhere -- including your own name and firm;
-Correct typing throughout;