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Established in 1974

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How Do I Write a Business Letter?

 

Writing excellent business letters is essential. A clear, concise and coherent letter prevents costly misunderstandings and embarrassment.

Business letters usually follow a standard format. This ensures that they are easy to write and easy for others to recognise. It also makes it quicker and easier when you want to write more letters.

So, follow the simple guidelines set out below for business letters and you can’t go far wrong.

The Standard Format

The following is a standard business letter format and, if you follow it, you can be certain that you’ll give a professional impression of your company.

Start by using a clear font, Times New Roman or Arial are appropriate for business letters. Do not use colours and only use italics and bold where necessary.

Now let’s look at the different parts of the letter:

1. Letterhead and Logo

The letterhead of your company and any logo go at the top of the page.

2. Reference

Then you add in your reference number – this makes it easier for the person at the other end to file the letter and when they reply they will include this reference so that you know what it refers to.

3. Date

4. Recipient’s name and address

5. Salutation

Always use Dear and try to find out the name of the person you are writing to. If you don’t know the name of the person you are writing to use Dear Sir or Dear Madam

6. Subject-heading

Here you can use bold to detail the issue you are writing to the organisation about in brief.

7. Body of letter

This is the most important part of the letter and should start two lines below the salutation or heading, if there is one. The letter should be typed with single line spacing. Don’t indent paragraphs, use the left-hand margin to start each paragraph and leave a blank line to indicate a new paragraph. If you need to continue on to additional pages, use plain paper ands ensure you number them.

8. Close

If you’ve used the name of the person you are writing to finish with Yours sincerely, if you don’t know the name of the person use Yours faithfully.

9. Signature

Leave about five blank lines then print your name and job title so that the recipient can see clearly who the letter has come from and what your position is within the organisation.

10. Enclosures

If you have included any items for the recipient use Enc for one or Encs for more than one enclosure.

The Layout

Look at the layout of this business letter and copy it to achieve a professional look.

1.

HARRIS & HUNT LTD
Engineering Consultants
56-60 Nathan Road,
Manchester, England, M1 1JB
Tel: 0161 228 2362     Email: admin@h&h.co.uk

 

2. Our ref:  

MS/SC Your ref:

3. 24th May 2011

4. Mr M D Gregory
Manager
HydroDam Ltd
PO Box 56
Kathmandu
Nepal

5. Dear Mr Gregory,

6. KALIM DAM PROJECT

7. Thank you for your letter dated 20th May 2011. Unfortunately, Derek Davies, our Project Consultant, is in hospital at the moment and will not be able to join the World Bank inspection team in Nepal on 22nd August 2011. Instead, we are sending Mr Alex Macintosh. We are sure that he will able to deal with all your questions and concerns. I enclose Mr Davies preliminary report on the project in case you have any queries before Mr Macintosh’s arrival. I hope all is going well with the project and I look forward to seeing you again at our meeting next month.

8. Yours sincerely,

9. Mike Sanderson Senior Consultant

10.Enc


Once you’ve written the letter, save this format so that you can use it again and again.

Further tips

  • Always keep a copy of any correspondence you send – if the recipient responds with a query about something you included in your letter you need to be able to see what you wrote.
  • Always be polite – there’s never any reason to be impolite in a letter, even a complaint letter.
  • Be concise – there’s no need to explain that you were chatting with your colleagues when you decided to write the letter and so on.
  • Don’t use contractions such as don’t or can’t – they are too familiar for a business letter.

 

So, as you can see, writing a business letter is not that difficult, it only requires a little time and effort on your part to make you and your business look professional.

Business Training can help you improve your English. Request a prospectus for our Business English with Spoken English course.