Techniques For Writing Formal Business Letters

Published: 27th April 2010
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In today's world, there is not much formality to be found. We text, e-mail and talk in pretty much the same way no matter who we're talking to, but sometimes a little bit more panache is necessary. This article will explain how to write a formal business letter, and all of the things that you need to include.

First off, unlike with a personal letter, you include both your address and the address of the letter's recipient on the inside of a business letter. You start with the header, which gives your entire address, either typed out or printed on a letterhead if you have your own stationary. You also want to include the date. All of this information goes in the upper left-hand corner.

Next is the inside address, which goes four to seven spaces below the heading and consists of the reader's (recipient's) address. Start with the recipients name and title, then their place of employment and work address. If you are writing to a company, and you do not know who to address the letter to, call and ask.

After these formalities are out of the way is the salutation, a short greeting to get things started. The standard salutation is along the lines of "Dear Mr. Jones," but use this if the recipient is and individual only - not with department names or company names.

Next is the body of the letter. Business letters tend to have a standardized format: the beginning says why you are writing, the middle gives all of the details that the recipient will need, and the end states what needs to happen next, either what you are going to do or what the recipient needs to do. This format helps to ease communication. Be as stiff and formal as you like in your business letters -- that's actually a virtue in this type of writing.

The closing of your letter ends with some sort of phrase or word, the choice of which will depend on how well you know the recipient. If you do not know the recipient at all, try Sincerely, Yours truly, or Yours truly.

Finally, insert your signature. The signature should consist of your handwritten name, with your typed name right below it.

Now, all of this can seem a little pointless at times, but the good thing is that once you know what the format of a business letter should be, you never have to agonize about what to include or how to start it off, so these silly little rules actually help to ease communication. Learn them, use them, and you will find that they actually do make things easier.

Jay has been interested in family, finance and health issues for many years now.

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