What is a Business Letter?
Formal communication via business letter is the method that is followed by many organizations. This type of letter is exchanged between:
- Two companies
- Company and their customers
- Company and their clients
- Company and other external parties, etc.
You can adopt a particular business letter style, depending on the relationship with the concerned party.
Who Writes a Business Letters?
The business letters are generally written by the people who are into some or the other kind of occupation. The numbers may differ, but the business letter is written by the majority of the business people. Some may have to send such a letter on a daily basis. The person or a group who writes a letter is called as a sender. The person or a group to whom sender writes a letter is called as a recipient. Below are the few examples of sender and recipient.
- Sender – A business person, Recipient – A business person
- Sender – A business person, Recipient – A consumer
- Sender – A citizen, Recipient – A government official
- Sender – A job applicant, Recipient – A company
- Sender – A staff member, Recipient – A staff member
- Sender – An employer, Recipient – An employee
Reasons to Write a Business Letter
There can be many reasons to write a business letter, depending on the sender and the recipient. Here are the few reasons for which a business letter is written:
- It can be written to encourage the reader
- It can be written to provide information to the reader
- It can be written to place any kind of request
- It can be written to show your gratitude
- It can be written to send a reminder
- It can be written to give some recommendations
- It can be written to apologize on a certain issue
- It can be written to congratulate another party
- It can be written to take any kind of formal decision
- It can be written to make any kind of announcement
- It can be written for the sake of providing any kind of invitation
- It can be written to introduce a policy or a person
- It can be written to offer or reject a proposal
Format of a Business Letter
The format of a business letter includes things like date, salutation, body of the letter, closing statement, signature, list of enclosures etc. Let’s discuss this format in detail:
First is date
In a business letter, you are strictly not allowed to write a date in the form of abbreviation. The date should be written in a form like, 31st March 2016. Always place the date two or three lines above the recipient’s address.
Name and address of a recipient
- First, add the name of a recipient
- Now add title, if known
- After this place their address details
Do you know the person to whom you are writing a business letter? Depending on the answer to this question, you can choose your salutation. When it comes to maintaining the business relation, it becomes important to take care of the level of formality. Understand one thing that salutation is the kind of greeting that acts as an indicator of respect. Here are few examples of salutation:
- Dear sir or madam
- Recipient title and last name
- Recipient first name
- Whole name of a recipient
You can write recipient first name only when you have informal relation with the recipient.
Body of the letter
In the body of a business letter, it is advisable to include some concise paragraphs. The paragraphs that you include should convey your message clearly and successfully. While conveying your message it is important to make use of right kind of tone and also avoid lengthy sentences. Write a letter straight to the point. Your motive of writing a business letter should be crystal clear if you want to create a good impression in front of a reader.
If possible, the business communication should always be friendly and helpful. In the last paragraph of the body, you need to summarize your points and mention your expectations. You can also write details about the planned course of action. Be thankful to the recipient for giving attention to your letter and reading it patiently.
The closing of a business letter should be respectful, just like the salutation. It should reflect your formal relations with the reader. Closing can be like:
- Yours Sincerely
- Yours Truly
- Cordially, etc.
Add your signature
Leave 3 to 4 lines after closing for signature and then add your name, title, telephone number and email address. The signature should always be done in a blue or black ink.
Do you want to enclose anything with your business letter? If yes, then write “Enclosures”, followed by a colon. Prepare a note that informs the recipient about things to look for in an envelope. Few lines below the contact information, you can add this enclosures information.
Business Letter FAQ’s
Some of the business letter related FAQs that you need to know:
What is Attachment?
It is added image or a document.
What is block format?
It is common business letter format that is single spaced and in this format all paragraphs begin at the left margin.
What is the certified mail receipt?
In a letter with this feature, the sender pays extra postage in order to receive a notice of the receipt.
What do confidential means?
It means that letter is very personal and it should be kept private.
What is double space format?
It means that leaving one blank line between the line of texts.
What is an informal business letter?
It means that the letter which is written in a casual tone.
What is inside address?
Inside address means, the recipient’s mailing information.
What is letterhead?
It means a special paper that possesses a company logo or its printed name.
What is spacing?
The spacing means, blank area between lines of text and words.
What is tone?
Tone means to understand the feeling of language. It can be serious or enthusiastic.
Objectives of Business Letter
The main objective of writing a business letter is to:
- Build goodwill
- Maintain records and references
- To exchange business information
- To have an authoritative proof
- To widen areas of business operation