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The Nuts and Bolts of Business Letters

How to format your business letters so you look smart and professional.
by

Maria Siriano

on 15 April 2010

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Transcript of The Nuts and Bolts of Business Letters

L E T T E R S FORMAT FULL BLOCK company letterhead left-aligned text generous margins MODIFIED BLOCK { center
short
letters
on page start writer's address
and date at center of page complimentary close
and signature aligns
with date first line of paragraph
may be indented PARTS of a LETTER Letterhead Date Line Inside Address Body of letter Complimentary Close Signature Enclosure Line Copy Notation Salutation Spell out the name of
the month: i.e. "September"
instead of "Sept." Always against left margin
Two lines below the date line
Single spaced
No punctuation
Contains name, title, company, and address
Write to a specific person Keep sentences short
Paragraphs should be under six or seven lines Sincerely,
Respectfully,
Sincerely yours,
Yours sincerely, Acceptable If you know each other well: Cordially,
Best wishes,
Regards, Allow four spaces between the complimentary close and your typed name
Sign in ink to show care and personal attention
If including company name, type in all caps two spaces below complimentary close Use if there are additional materials with your letter Use if your letter has been sent to one or more other recipients APPEARANCE Choose font wisely
Serif fonts are best
(e.g. Times New Roman, Georgia, etc.)
Avoid too small or too large
Steer clear of decorative or script fonts



Use Print Preview
You can see the final product before it is
printed and make necessary adjustments

Paper Quality
Heavy paper gives "weight" to your message,
both literally and figuratively
Colored paper looks unprofessional
Use a nice printer with plenty of ink to
ensure a crisp and professional appearance
organization Three Sections:
1. Introduction
> To the point
> Reference relevant prior communication
2. Body
> Goes into specifics
> Key details and facts
3. Conclusion
> Summarizes what is expected next
> Builds goodwill and thank readers

Length
Each section may be one paragraph
Body may consist of two or more paragraphs Remember:
Always be professional
Make your letter aesthetically pleasing
The better your letter looks, the better
you and your company look Avoid
Forever yours,
Devotedly yours,
Faithfully yours, Center and balance
Don't crowd your page
Have about the same amount of white space
at the top and bottom of the page
Leave generous side margins: about 1.5 inches
Single spaced within paragraphs
Double space between paragraphs Start with "Dear," a courtesy title, then the readers' last name
Always use a colon rather than a comma in a formal letter
Avoid general addresses like "To Whom It May Concern"
Avoid sexist uses like "Dear Sir"
Full transcript