WRITING A BUSINESS LETTER
Why? What's the format? PowerPoint about format Google Presentation with notes
REMEMBER: A business letter is a legal document; it can be used in court. It is important to make your letter as neat, legible, and formal as possible. It is also important to make sure your signature is neat and legible.
Why write a business letter?
You can write a business letter for any of the following reasons, either alone or in combination:
It is always a good idea to start with a compliment to the company, when possible, such as praising a particular product or service. Even though you may be writing to complain, if you show that you appreciate their work, they may be more inclined to listen to your complaint and/or make amends.
What's the format?
A business letter is a piece of FORMAL writing; therefore, you should follow all the rules for formal writing.
Additionally, there are rules specific to a business letter:
There are also specific places in a business letter where specific information should be found:
Heading: Three lines long: first two lines are YOUR mailing address; last line is the date on which you are writing (spell out the entire name of the month).
217 Windsor Terrace
Freehold, NJ 07728
February 23, 2009
After writing your heading, skip 3-6 lines (hit the "Enter" key 4-7 times after your last word).
Inside Address: No less than three lines, may be longer. If you do not have some of the following information, skip it (do not leave an extra line, just put the next piece of information on the line): First line is name and title of the person at the business to whom you are writing (Mr. A. Howard, Principal); next line is company name (W. R. Satz Middle School); next lines are mailing address (24 Crawfords Corner Road ---- Holmdel, NJ 07733 [some businesses require three or four lines of mailing address information:
- Mr. M. Figurelli, President
- Clay-Celestin Advertising, Incorporated
- Suite G
- 42nd Floor
- Longo Building
- 355 Avenue A
- New York, NY 06656])
After writing the inside address, leave one blank line (hit the "Enter" key twice after typing your last word -- this is called "double spacing")
Salutation: One line.
Body Paragraph 1: In the first sentence of your letter, identify yourself as a customer by saying how you buy or use their product or service. In the second sentence, identify specifically the reason(s) you are writing (to complain, to compliment, to request information, etc.). It may be a very short paragraph
Skip one line after this paragraph.
Middle Body Paragraph(s): Explain completely and in detail the reason(s) you are writing to the company. Only write one reason or issue in each paragraph; that is, if you are complimenting them and complaining, each issue gets a separate paragraph. If you are writing about more than one product or idea, each gets a separate paragraph. Don't forget to skip one line between paragraphs.
Last Paragraph: the "Thank you" paragraph. Write something similar to this:
You DO NOT have to include different ways for them to contact you; if you would like a response, though, it's good to provide multiple ways for them to contact you, and to end with "I look forward to your response" to let them know you do expect to hear from them.
Closing: "Sincerely," "Yours Truly," "Your Customer," etc. DO NOT close with "Love," "Your Friend," or any other informal closing. Capitalize the first letter of every word in the closing. End the closing with a comma ( , ). Skip three lines (hit "ENTER" four times).
Signature: Your first and last name in NEAT cursive. DO NOT scribble your name. Your signature should be legible; if it's not, work on it. It is your official "mark," proving that the letter is yours. It should be in blue ink. It should take up the three blank lines between your closing and your typed name.
Typed Name: This is a back-up for your signature to help avoid confusion -- it should not be necessary, as your signature should be completely legible.
P.S.: A business letter should NEVER have a post-script ("P.S.") -- the content of a business letter should be carefully planned out, so you should not be adding a "final thought" after you're finished. If you think of something else to write that is important enough to include, re-write the letter.
When Finished: You should fold your finished business letter into three even sections, then place it in a proper envelope.
**If you have PowerPoint on your computer, you can click HERE to view a slideshow that shows a model of a business letter.**
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