Six Important Features of a Business Letter
Whether it’s a letter of recommendation, a cover letter or an official complaint, there are times when you’ll have to write a formal business letter.
This is not something most of us have much experience with! Most high school English classes skim over this sort of writing, but for many of us, being able to write a clean and concise business letter is more relevant in our everyday life than the five-paragraph essay we spent so much time dissecting.
There are a couple basic things to keep in mind when composing a formal business letter—a few rules and features to remember in order to make the best impression.
Keep It Short
A business letter is supposed to be short and to the point. Going off on an unrelated tangent or including irrelevant information weakens your letter, and makes it less powerful to the reader.
A business letter generally has a specific goal—maybe it’s to recommend someone for a position, or to complain about something, or to point out a mistake. You want to clearly give the reader the information, as well as your expectations for action and response.
Help the Reader
You want your business letter to let the reader know how they will benefit from the contents of your letter. Will the person you’re recommending help their productivity? Will your suggestion help their business? Will you sue if they don’t take care of your complaint? Let them know why they should do what you want them to do.
Business letters are official pieces of correspondence. Even in a complaint, you should try to keep the tone polite and cordial at all times. While you might be angry or upset over something the person you’re writing to has done, being angry or rude in your letter is counter-productive. Keep a cool head, and things will work out better for you.
This is a formal piece of writing, and as such, should be written formally. Contractions should be avoided, as should slang and other nonstandard English terms. Unless you know the reader well, you should avoid humor. Address your reader by their title and family name—Dr. Smith rather than John, for example. You’re writing a letter as a professional, and your text should reflect that.
If your letter is riddled with errors, either factual or grammatical, it’s really going to lower the effectiveness of your letter—you’re trying to come off as a professional, and having typos or other writing mistakes weakens your position. Why not go to Wordsmith Essays’ order page today, and have our team of professional editors give your business letter the full once-over to make sure it’s the best it can be?