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How to Write a Formal Business Letter

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 0

Writing a formal business letter may be utilized in order to serve a variety of far-reaching purposes. From accompanying a job application, to requesting or delivering general information, the tone and structure of your business letter can serve to portray you in a positive or negative light. Dependent on the circumstances surrounding your formal business letter, this first impression can be a critical element to your ability to obtain whatever it is that you are seeking from the recipient.

Things You Will Need

  • Envelopes
  • Computers
  • Printers
  • Printer Paper
  • Postage Stamps

Step 1

When writing a formal business letter, it is important that you truly know and understand the audience to whom your letter will be addressed to. In the business world, you should strive to make your writing as specific and accurate, as possible, while remaining crisp and succinct. Unlike other fields, or academic disciplines, business writing, by it's very nature, is not meant to deliver or convey a message in a very evocative or creative way. Instead, it is meant to serve as a medium by which main points can be delivered and consumed in a timely manner. Considering the many projects and correspondence that simultaneously compete for a business person's time and energy, writing your formal business letter, in this manner, will be both appreciated and understood without their having to dedicate a great deal of time to decipher what exactly it is that you are trying to convey.

Step 2

While you strive to make your writing as succinct and accurate, as possible, you must also realize that your target audience may have little time to read your writing, and, in fact, may have to resort to skimming in order to capture the main points of your formal business letter. By simply assuming that this will occur, you should make every effort to streamline your writing in a way that both expresses your main points accurately while making acommodations for the recipient person or company who ultimately reads your letter. Skimming shouldn't be confused with 'not caring', however, for whatever purpose you have sent out your letter, you must be cognizant of the fact that people may just not have a considerable amount of time to read or review your letter.

Step 3

While the use of personal pronouns (I, you, he, she, we, it, they) are important to conveying your message in your formal business letter, they should be use with caution, so as to not unintentionally commit your company to something that it had never been intended to be a party to. For this reason, use of the word "we" should be used with caution, while words like "I" and "You" should be the predominant personal pronouns on display throughout. Generally speaking "I" should be used when you are stating your own personal opinions, while "We" should be used when directly referencing company policy.

Step 4

When determining whether or not to use the passive or active voice in your formal business letter writing, you should ultimately err in the direction that produces the most clarity to the end-reader/recipient of your letter. Oftentimes, you will find that those who write with a passive voice have difficulty structuring their letter in a way that is easily understandable and comprehended. In an attempt to convey their main points, the use of the passive voice should be minimized as much as possible simply because it lends to ambiguity and confusion, as the active voice is much more preferred because of it's more direct way of conveying a similar message.

When writing a formal business letter, great effort should be taken to consider the audience to whom your letter is directed. You should do all you can to ensure that your write is as accurate, and precise as possible, while immediately getting to the 'point' of what you hope for the end recipient to get out of your letter.

Tips & Warnings

When writing your formal business letter, or any business document for that matter, it is important for you to spend as little time possible to get to the "bottom line" of your writing. Fellow business men and women definitely don't want to be inconvenienced to the degree that would require them to spend a significant amount of time reading your letter, while attempting to decipher it. They want to know exactly what you want from them and how they should respond. If you do not approach your formal business letter writing in this manner, it may actually be construed as a sign of disrespect (for the person and their time) and disregarded with either no response or an inaccurate response that fails to address exactly what you were seeking in the first place.

Prior to sending your formal business letter, you should do all you can to ensure that the message you are attempting to convey is clear, and that you have thoroughly proofread your writing. A great way to tarnish the positive initial impression that you hope to make would be by delivering a business letter that is full of inaccuracies, grammar errors, and misspellings. Take your time, and careful consideration, to ensure that these elements of your business letter are taken care of.

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