Nowadays, a proper format, competent structure, and a well-chosen style of business writing are very important. In the way you conduct business correspondence, your partner creates the first impression of your professionalism and the company level you represent. Therefore, it is critically important to sharpen your skills in formal letter writing and formatting. For you not to fall flat on your face, we have prepared some features of business writing.
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Types of business letters
When managing business correspondence, you have to write different formal letters - each featuring different format and writing specs. The main types of business email include the following ones:
- Commercial offer - is sent to your potential business partner with the suggested terms and conditions of cooperation;
- Acceptance – notifies you that you are hired and contains a job offer in the attachment;
- Application – contains your resume and a cover letter introducing you as an employee;
- Complaint - contains a complaining message or claim about the quality of the purchased goods/ services;
- Apology Letter - is usually the response to the complaint letter;
- Inquiry letter is sent when necessary to obtain information about a service/ product/ company;
- Thank-you letter - is a way to express your thanks.
Apart from the above, there are still a lot of other types of business emails (order, response to an order, invoice, statement, etc.). However, all of these have the same writing specs. Knowing the general principles of business letter writing and formatting, you will be able to craft absolutely any business email.
General principles of formal letter writing
In order to deliver a highly professional business letter, you are to focus on its format, content, structure, and phrases.
The look of the formal letter should correspond to the following rules:
- There should an address at the top of the letter (just above the subject);
- A letter should contain a clear theme;
- The text of the letter should be divided into paragraphs. To simplify its perception, break the text into semantic blocks of approximately equal size;
- There should be an interval between paragraphs even if there are just one or two lines of the text.
There are some general requirements to the writing style of a business letter that is widely accepted in the business sphere:
- Do not use conversational abbreviations in correspondence - write “you are…” instead of “you're,” etc.;
- Do not discuss two different topics in one letter at the same time; it is preferable to write two emails instead;
- Decide which tone will be more appropriate depending on the type of relations you have with the dialog partner.
Let’s analyze the so-called skeleton of a formal letter, its structure and arrangement of elements to ensure that none of them is missed out mistakenly:
- Letter subject - it should reflect your writing and shortly introduce a theme being discussed in your email;
- Text of the letter (salutation; introduction message; body with the main idea of writing; your signature; your full name and position);
- Attachment - indicates that additional materials have been enclosed in the letter;
- Link to the previous contact.
After the greeting (use dear for this purpose), you can remind about yourself. For example, you can write about the last communication by email, by phone, in person, etc. It is a good way to start communication in a polite way. Use the following phrases for this purpose:
- Thank you for your message;
- Thank you for your email from (date) …;
- With reference to your phone call / letter from (date) / announcement in “NW Magazine” ... ;
- In response to your request …;
- According to your request of …;
- In response to your last email …;
- Continuing our conversation / telephone conversation, etc.
Another good way to start your letter is to provide reasons for contacting. After the greeting and reminders, there should be a phrase that will bring the recipient up to date and explain why you are, in fact, sending him this letter. And the following phrases may help you formulate reasoning best:
- We are writing to inquire about …;
- We apologize for …;
- We confirm that …;
- We would like to clarify …;
- We kindly ask you to …;
- I am writing to you to find out about / apologize for / in connection with / to find out details about / explain …;
- To confirm …;
- We hereby inform you ....
You can then develop your reasoning and go into details. What’s important here is to structure your writing in a way it is easy to read. For this purpose, divide the body of the letter into blocks/ lists that are logically connected with each other.
According to the general rules of a formal letter format, there should be a polite and general conclusion in your email. No matter what type of email you are sending and its theme, you can use the following phrases as a closing part of your formal email:
- As always, if you have any questions, please, contact me;
- If you have any questions feel free to contact me. / Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact me;
- Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask;
- Thank you! I am looking forward to hearing from you;
- Thank you in advance;
- Please, contact us again if we can help in any way.
Make sure that you conclude your writing with words “Best regards/ Sincerely/ Best” followed by a comma and your full name as well as a position title.
Formal letters as part of business correspondence
In the era of “OK, Google!”, formal letters make up to 80% of the business communication. So you will have to learn how to craft a good formal email in case you are going to become a part of the corporate setting. As a rule, formal letters differ from ordinary correspondence due to their higher level of specificity and brevity. Therefore, try to avoid excessively long phrases in your business writing, do not use acronyms, and follow a basic structure with a greeting part, body, conclusion, and subscription. Only in this way, you will achieve a favorable impression. Remember that the quality of your business correspondence is an indicator of the quality of your company.
If you need professional help with business writing and formatting, you can always turn with the request to us. Our qualified writers have successfully written hundreds of letters and do know how it works in the business sector. So whether it is an application or complaint email, etc.we can handle it for you!