Letters value a lot in doing any business or job. We speak here not only about printed letters but also about emails at some point. Still, the last ones have their specifics too. But, there are general tips that can facilitate any business letter drafting you may have. And make it more successful, of course. So, let’s look at the most and less important points of the question.
Business communication has certain standards you should adhere to. Still, this communication should be living and personal. At this point, we don’t suggest you refer to your contact person as to your good acquaintance. It is only wise to form the right attitude to any business communication.
In any case, you deal with a living person with one’s feelings and emotions. Place a person in the first place in your communication. This may sound obvious, but this matter impacts the overall communication with your business contact. So, a person first – business/job matters next.
Another important point is your tone of writing. Being formal and neutral is one of the best strategies for establishing new contacts. This will signify your professional attitude and polite behaviour. These aspects are crucial sometimes for the first cases of interaction between people in the business.
Still, you should also consider being cheerful and enthusiastic in some cases. If you send a business proposal to a person, you should appear and be cheerful about that. If your offer raises zero enthusiasm in yourself, why should it interest your contact person? But, if you have doubts at this point, we assure you they are reasonable. It is better to remain more professional than cheerful in most cases of business communication. So, be balanced at these points.
Also, we have the last one aspect for your business letter drafting. After you have drafted the beginning of your business letter, always check its spelling and punctuation. You should indicate all names correctly. Any grammar errors are also not desired at all. They will be especially harmful at the start of your letter. So, compare names with the source of info you have and apply any grammar checker for your business letter. Read it aloud to get a more precise view of how this letter sounds.
In a business environment, there are three main approaches on how to start a letter:
Greet a person more personally
This approach is workable only if you know a person for years and work with him/her more or less often. You may refer to a person by indicating the first name only if this is agreed either by making consent or silent. Sometimes that even could appear a bit silly – referring to a person you know well by using one’s full name. Here we come back to the previously stated point about the human nature of business communication.
Greet a person more professionally
More professional greetings are appropriate to more or less new contacts and also for people who prefer to remain formal. If a person is much older, it is also wise to remain more professional unless this person requests to refer to him/her by indicating the first name only.
For applying this strategy, we suggest you indicate Mr./Ms. and the last name of a person. Here is also one good suggestion. You may also refer to a person by indicating one’s professional title, like Dr., and one’s last name.
Use more formal salutations
If you don’t possess any details about the person’s name and position, you may limit yourself to using formal salutations only. This may be common “Greetings/Good morning/afternoon”. In some cases, salutations “Hi/Hello” also may be appropriate. You should emphasize here the exact style of communication this company has.
You form this overview simply by looking attentively through their web-resources, including social media accounts. For example, IT-companies are more free and informal about their communications. But, consulting companies prefer to remain more neutral and even formal.
The exact personal letter format depends on your case of communication. But, what should you do if you lack details about your contact person/hiring manager? We have a good suggestion for this tough case.
If you have decided about the exact strategy to apply, personal/professional/formal, here are other suggestions on how to start a business letter. It may vary depending on the number of details you have;
Still, it is sometimes considered that applying this manner of salutation is not very appropriate.
Your letter beginning should be case-specific. But, we suggest you move from a more to less formal approach.
It is not enough to start a letter, as well. You should also continue it in the same manner. So, we suggest you create an outline of your business letter. This clear picture will help you structure all points you want to communicate well and will also help with your beginning. You may even write the main body of your letter first. And its introduction may organically appear later as a supplementary to the main points of your letter.
An approximate structure of a business letter you may take to draft your sample includes:
In this part of your business letter, you should briefly state about aspects you intend to cover in your business letter. Also, if you have met before, we suggest you emphasize this aspect also. It is good to write in your introduction only info to the point and remain all necessary details for the main part of your business letter.
It should comprise 2-4 paragraphs depending on the issue you want to cover. We suggest you prioritize all points you want to communicate from more to less important. If your letter requires preliminary explanations, we suggest you cover such also. But be brief at this point.
After describing the situation you have or your project/proposal, pass gently to the next paragraphs with your arguments/other valuable statements you have. Describe such comprehensively but avoid overloading it with excessive details. If you need to provide extra info, you may simply make an attachment to this business letter and make a reference in its text.
Keep your writing professional in any case. And try to consider the content of your business letter from a practical perspective.
In the final, you should summarize all the most important aspects of your business letter. If you do everything for the reader’s convenience, that can be appreciated with good feedback at least. It is wise to place here some call-to-action (e.g., the appointment of a meeting or phone call). Also, express gratitude for the person’s time/attention/consideration.
Close your business letter by indicating “Sincerely/Faithfully/Kind regards/Regards/Best regards.” After that, you may provide your contact details so a person could reach you shortly. If you are going to send this letter by post, also sign this letter after your indicated name. If you send this letter via email, you should reassure you have a proper signature block with your name, title, and contact details (phone, address. etc.).
The certain ways to begin a letter vary depending on your communication situation. If you know a person well, you may easily refer by one’s name only. This may be appropriate if a company where he/she works has this approach or you have agreed on this manner of communication as acceptable. In this case, “Hi/Hello” also will be more than appropriate, along with the person’s first name. This is a more personal manner of communication in a business environment.
For a more professional manner of communication, you should indicate the person’s first and last name. In some cases, you may put “Mr./Ms.” before the person’s name. But, we suggest you do this only if you are completely sure about the person’s gender. If you are not sure, it is better to avoid doing this. Frankly speaking, indicating “Mr./Ms.” slowly becomes outdated in the business world. So, if you skip it, nothing terrible will happen.
Also, keep in mind that your business letter is not endless, and preciseness is highly valued. So, try to treat your business letter from your reviewer’s perspective and write about the most important points only. To make this, structure your letter well by making its outline. Move always from more to less important points of writing. You should also provide a description first and then pass to details and call-to-action. Don’t forget to put your contact details after the signature block.
But, regardless of the type of business letter you draft, we suggest you always emphasize your tone of writing. Remain professional in any case. This is a must-have condition for any successful business communication. Depending on the situation, type of connection, and culture of a company that hires, you may decide whether to be more neutral or cheerful. We suggest you be enthusiastic in any case. Such things are always noticeable in the tone of your writing. So, be enthusiastic about the subject of your writing unless this is completely inappropriate in your case. And pass your enthusiasm to your reviewers.
We wish you many good job-related and business communications and letters to you.