There are two types of parts in a business letter: obligatory/compulsory/basic portions and optional elements. Without the required components, every official letter is incomplete. The optional elements of a letter are included based on the letter's relevancy and substance. Generally speaking, letters should be written in a clear and concise style with proper grammar and punctuation.
Obligatory/Compulsory Elements: An official letter must include the date, recipient(s), and identification of the writing system used (for example, English or Arabic). In addition, letters should include a formal opening phrase or sentence to indicate the purpose of the letter. This opening sentence can be as short as necessary but should contain the essential information for readers to understand the context of the message being delivered. After the opening, there should be a direct and unambiguous statement of what the reader will find in the body of the letter. This "hook" allows readers to decide whether they want to continue reading the rest of the letter.
Optional elements may be added to a letter to enhance its content or appeal specifically for the recipient. For example, a company may wish to mention additional services offered or discounts applied to future orders if relevant.
A business letter is separated into two sections: necessary, complimentary, and essential portions and optional elements.
|Sir/Madam, Dear Sir/Dear Madam, Gentlemen, , Dear Customer, Respected Sir/Respected Madam||Yours faithfully/ Yours truly|
A business letter always includes the following basic components:
The title, date, recipient's address, greeting, body, complementary close, and signature are the seven components of a business letter.
Most experts believe that a business letter should have at least the following seven components:
The business letter is divided into six sections: the title, the recipient's address, the salutation, the message, the closure, and the signature. The heading provides the writer's address and the date, and all addresses are printed in the format of the United States Postal Service. The closure may be as simple as "Yours truly," but it often includes some reference to respect or trust. The final paragraph gives credit where it is due and expresses hope that future correspondence will serve both parties well.
The title should be concise yet informative. It can be used to introduce specific topics within the body of the letter. For example, if the letter is regarding a new job opportunity, then the title could be "Re: New Job Opportunity." The recipient's address is always included at the end of the letter.
The salutation is how the sender refers to the recipient. There are three common types of salutations: formal, informal, and neutral. Formal letters must be written on company letterhead using proper grammar and punctuation. Informal letters do not have a header or closing line. They are simply written by hand in an easy flowing style without any titles or formal language. Neutral letters are written by hand in an easy flowing style without any references to the recipient being correct or incorrect. For example, if you were writing a friend about what type of fish are in the local pond, then the letter would be neutral - it would not be formal or informal.
When drafting business letters, three words should stand out: short, succinct, and uncomplicated. In the corporate world, time is money, and if your message is lengthy and drawn out, the reader may file it away. Write to communicate directly with your audience and get your point across in a timely manner.
Avoid using long sentences or paragraphs. Limit yourself to 150 words per paragraph. If you go over this amount, try breaking up the text into smaller segments to keep the letter moving.
Use active voice rather than the passive voice. This will help the reader understand who or what is doing the acting and make reading easier. For example, "The customer was happy with our service" becomes "We made the customer happy by providing her with excellent service."
Keep personal remarks out of your letters. Any information that would give away your position or that could be interpreted as a sign of friendship should be omitted. For example, if you were to write a letter to a friend on a subject matter related to your job, any comments about other employees or their work habits would be inappropriate. Be professional at all times!
End every letter with a closing salutation.