General Business

Writing a Business Letter

All business letters are sales letters in that they will represent your company to others. Therefore, mastering simplicity, writing from the reader’s perspective, and choosing the correct tone for your letters will enable you to put your best professional foot forward.

Tips on how to write a business letter so that the recipient will enjoy your letter include:

  • Simplify, simplify simplify. Avoid phrases such as “in order to” when “to” will work.
  • Make it short, one page if possible. People are very pressed for time and they don’t have a lot of time to read what you have written. Short sentences, even bulleted lists of points you want to make, are preferred over long, convoluted sentences that go on and on and on… you get the idea. Try breaking each sentence into about 20 words. If a sentence is too long, rewrite it to break it into two sentences. Keep the paragraphs short, too.
  • Write naturally. Write the way you would speak. This is not the time to show off a newly acquired vocabulary word and get it wrong.

Tips on how to write a business letter so that the recipient will respond to it:

  • Write from the reader’s perspective.
  • Be specific. Use statistics and percentages.
  • Don’t use a lot of adjectives. Descriptions usually don’t belong in a business letter. You want the reader to take action based upon your letter. Therefore, action verbs and nouns should be used more than adjectives.

Tips on how to write a business letter so that you master the tone of a letter:

  • Don’t be cute or try to be funny. This is not the time. What sounds funny to you may offend another. Do you really want the recipient to walk around the office showing people your mistakes? In writing?
  • Be positive and upbeat.
  • Use the active voice not the passive.
  • Be careful not to lose your credibility by making spelling mistakes, not using good English, pretending to be something you are not, exaggerating, offering opinions for facts, or lying.