A Guide to Effective Letter Writing

There is no specific right or wrong way to write a business letter but here are a few stylistic guidelines which will prove useful

By Linda Elizabeth Alexander
  • A good business letter makes its point and says goodbye. It is clear, crisp and businesslike. Get your point across as quickly and efficiently as possible so that the reader can digest the information, act upon it and then go on to other matters.
  • Try to keep the tone of your letter conversational and natural. Write it so that should you read it aloud to the person for whom it is intended, it would sound perfectly appropriate.
  • Be accurate and explicit. The person you are writing to is frequently not familiar with the circumstances which caused you to write. Therefore be as explicit as possible, giving all the relevant information.
  • Number each point especially if you are making several. This will make reading easier. Also you will find that this will naturally lead you to organise your information better.
  • Avoid the passive voice when writing. Use active verbs. The more forceful your writing, the greater the impression it will leave with your reader.
  • Edit continually. It is often difficult to say exactly what you mean the first time. So do not be afraid to rewrite and eliminate words, phrases and even paragraphs that are superfluous.
  • Check the typed copy for typing errors. An incorrect word can sometimes change the entire meaning of a sentence.

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