Resume Cover Letters » Sample Letters » Business Letters
In a formal set up, communication is very important, and equally important is the method of communication. A formal environment does not allow one to step into an organization, or someone's cabin and start discussing. There is a set protocol for communication and this has to be followed. Before meeting someone, asking something, etc., an individual has to write a letter. This formal letter used for communicating various things in an organization is a 'business letter'.
A business letter is a letter written in 0formal language, and used for communication between two organizations or representatives of a business group, or between a business group and its client, etc. The language of the letter or the style of the letter depends on the relation between the two parties. This letter is written in many situations to accomplish various purposes. Here is a brief list of some reasons to write this letter:
- Request any information or action
- Fix an appointment or meeting
- To place business orders
- To invite tenders or proposals
- To collect payments
- To complaint about consignment
- To confirm the receiving of consignment
- To answer a customer's query
- To apologize or justify against a complaint
- To build goodwill and maintain rapport, etc.
All this can be communicated verbally, but in formal set up this letter serves five main functions -
- serves as a permanent record
- proves professionalism
- proves persuasiveness
- helps building rapport and goodwill in very formal situations as well
- letters that provide, quotes, delivery details, etc serve as a legal proof
The format of the letter varies widely. The two basic formats of business letters are:
- Full Block Style:
In this all the content is aligned to the left margin of the page.
- Modified Block Style:
In this format, the return address, signature, closing and name of the writer and the date is positioned at the center of the page. All the other content is positioned towards the left of the page.
When one surfs the web for sample business letters, he/she would get many different sample letters and templates. The basic style of this letter remains the same, but there could be a variation in presenting the letter. This variation in presenting the letter depends on the type of template you choose. One might choose a left alignment; others would choose a center and left alignment, etc. These make different templates. Before writing the letter, one needs to finalize a template either by choosing a template from the cover letter templates available online, or by making a unique template by picking up the best from 2-3 templates.
The templates decide the format of the letter. However, some basic guidelines about the format of the letter are as follows:
- Left and right margin - 1 inch
- Top and bottom margin - 1 inch
- Justified text
- Paragraph spacing - 1.5 lines
- Font - Arial or Times New Roman
Contents of the letter:
Name of the sender
Name of the addressee
Subject line - one line summary of the letter
Salutation - Dear Mr. /Ms. ______(last name)
Body of the letter - approximately 3 paragraphs
Closing the letter
Enclosures: (enclose supporting documents with the letter if any)
Points to remember while writing business letters:
- The letter is written with a specific purpose - goodwill, information, appointment request, etc.; thus, the letter should convey the same clearly.
- It is a formal letter; thus, it cannot be more than a page. Also, the paragraphs should not be very long. The letter should have 3-4 paragraphs with 3-4 lines each.
- The letter has to be precise - it should convey all the information in a straight and simple manner
- The salutation valediction, etc., should be perfect
- The letter should be free from any spelling or grammar errors
- No typos, abbreviations like '2' for 'to' or 'ur' for 'your' etc., are allowed in a business letter
- Proper formatting in terms of margins, line spacing, text alignment, font, etc., should be followed to create the most professional and perfect impression on the reader. A letter that is not formatted correctly would look clumsy.
Using these tips and reading the sample letters given in the links below, you can write business letters that boost healthy communication.