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Help Me Write a Better Business Letter
Your business uses letters to correspond with your clients and suppliers, advertise your products, and let your stakeholders know what's going on with your company. Effective business letters will enhance the reputation of your business, so take the time to learn how to write them well.
1) Always Use Proper Grammar
You want your business to be taken seriously by your customers, so represent your ideas with correctly spelled words and flawless grammar. Your suppliers also deserve the same attention to detail. Spelling and grammar errors hamper the readability of your document, which forces your audience to try to decipher your meaning rather than it being stated clearly for them. It may seem simplistic, but your letters will appear much more professional if your readers do not have to stumble over spelling and grammar mistakes.
2) Keep it Concise
A business letter that drones on and on will not keep the attention of your readers. Resist the temptation to over-explain yourself or overly praise the virtues of your business, products, or services. Your audience simply will not take the time to read a business letter that is too wordy.
To really get your message heard, find a shorter way to convey your meaning. Explain yourself using short sentences with a couple of effective adjectives. Emphasize your key points with catchy phrases. Avoid repeating the same message over and over again.
To really improve readability, monitor the length of your paragraphs. For example, if your first message contains a paragraph with seven long sentences, set a goal to reduce it to five short ones. It may take some time, but the result will be a more readable, more effective business letter.
Try using a readability formula to get an idea of how easy it is to understand your document. Most word processors contain readability results right in their grammar checkers. Aim for a Flesch Reading Ease score between 40% and 60%. To learn how to calculate readability yourself, visit ReadabilityFormulas.com
3) Use the Right Materials
Plain copier paper is flimsy and will not send a message of quality to your audience. Opt instead to print your business letters on heavier, high quality printer paper. Quality paper holds ink better and feels crisper in the hands of your readers, which will enhance their opinion of your company's professionalism.
Before printing, make sure that your ink cartridges are full, especially if you require colored ink for your logo or a graphic. If you do not have enough of the right colors, your words and pictures will look faded and distorted. Having enough of the right inks will make your letters look sharp and professional. If you're printing a large volume of letters (for a mass mail-out, for example), consider going to a printer to make sure your letters all turn out well.
In the eyes of your customers and suppliers, your business letters are a reflection of your business practices. Therefore, take the time to make them look professional. The result will be a more readable document that produces better results for your business.