How to Write a Business Letter
The main goal of business writing is to convey a message in such a way that people can understand what you mean and what you want them to do. You can expect a response or action from your readers only when you clearly state what is needed and what the purpose of your writing is. Do you want your recipients to buy something? Help you with something? Confirm something?
Therefore, your main task in business correspondence is to be as clear as possible. If your reader wrongly interprets what you have written or guesses what you mean, there are all chances that the communication between the two of you will fail.
Therefore, to help you succeed in business written communication, we have prepared for you a list of the best writing tips:
- Be Concise
According to the popular remarks from editors, many words that they come across in business correspondence are completely unnecessary – they have no particular meaning and convey no information. Therefore, you should aim at clear and concise writing – after finishing writing an email, spend some time and see if there are any words that can be deleted or if there are any unnecessary repetitions of words or ideas.
- Be Complete
When talking about being concise, do not exaggerate much – being concise does not mean that you have to write everything in bullet points or lists. Your letter should be well developed – it should have a logical structure. Some background information (as regards to why you are writing) is a must.
- Use Nouns and Verbs
Do not try to sound fancy by adding numerous adjectives and adverbs with an aim to make sentences longer or just boast that you know many sophisticated words. In business writing, you do not need all that stuff – all you need is to convey a strong message and write everything clearly.
- Use Active Voice
Whenever possible, always change passive structures to active. It is important to emphasize who performs a particular action. This way, you won’t sound vague.
- Be Specific
There is nothing worse if your piece of writing will be open to interpretation. In such a way, you will be surely misunderstood. Whenever you are stating something or providing your opinion, please always support it with ample evidence and examples. Do not use abbreviations or vocabulary which is unknown to your target audience.
- Write in an Interesting Manner
If you don’t want your reader to fall asleep while being in the middle of reading an email from you, try to make your writing more or less interesting. At least, vary the length of the sentences. Use proper punctuation as well.
- Do not Look Down on Your Readers
If you are sending some recommendations or instructions via email, do not make your readers feel underestimated or stupid. Treat them as intelligent and skillful people. Remember: your tone of writing is always felt when reading.
- Be positive
Instead of using words with the particles “non-“ or “not,” choose appropriate equivalents without negations.
- Be Correct
Clear and concise writing can be regarded as good in two aspects – technique and facts. Always look through some grammar reference books or dictionaries in order to ensure proper grammar structure, punctuation, and spelling. These aspects are really important as your style of writing is a kind of your electronic face.
- Be Clear
A business letter is not a fiction story or a poem – it mustn’t be open to interpretation. It must be understood from the first time it is read. It is not a good idea to write metaphors, comparisons, similes or turn to irony, sarcasm or pun.
Easy, isn’t it? Hope these ten tips will make your letters clearer and help you avoid misunderstandings and confusion.