- Before writing the letter, you must determine your purpose and audience.
- Take a few minutes to list all of the specific points you need to cover.
- Type the letter using a word processor. Formal letters should not be written by hand.
- A business letter should be typed on letterhead for a professional appearance. If you don't have preprinted letterhead, type your name, title and return address. You may also include your telephone and email address. Don't forget to type the date.
- A business letter is not the place to try out fancy fonts or experimental writing styles. A direct, conservative style works best.
- Get to the point early. You should state your main cause in the first paragraph.
- When writing directly to customers, always focus on their needs and their perspective. Put yourself in their position and imagine what it would be like receiving your letter.
- Always try to be civil and friendly even if the subject matter is stern and sensitive. Avoid informal language but do not use old-fashioned or over-formal language.
- No matter how upset you are with the recipient, try not to show your anger in your letter. You are much more likely to get the response you desire if you remain courteous.
- Humour can be used in business letters but only when the writer is completely positive the recipient will understand the joke or pun. From a business etiquette perspective it may be wise to avoid humour.
- Make certain your punctuation, spelling and grammar are letter-perfect. Use your computer's spell-checking program or have someone proofread the letter before you send it.