Sender’s Address Date Inside Address Salutation Body Closing
Parts of a Business Letter Sender's Address Including the address of the sender is optional. Do not write the sender's name or title, as it is included in the letter's closing. Include only the street address, city and zip code. Another option is to include the sender's address directly after the closing signature.
Parts of a Business Letter Date The date line is used to indicate the date the letter was written. When writing to companies within the United States, use the American date format. Write out the month, day and year two inches from the top of the page.
Parts of a Business Letter Inside Address The inside address is the recipient's address. It is always best to write to a specific individual at the firm to which you are writing. If you do not have the person's name, do some research by calling the company or speaking with employees from the company.
Parts of a Business Letter Inside Address (continued) Include a personal title such as Ms., Mrs., Mr., or Dr. Follow a woman's preference in being addressed as Miss, Mrs., or Ms. If you are unsure of a woman's preference in being addressed, use Ms. If there is a possibility that the person to whom you are writing is a Dr. or has some other title, use that title.
Parts of a Business Letter Inside Address (continued) Usually, people will not mind being addressed by a higher title than they actually possess. To write the address, use the U.S. Post Office Format.
Parts of a Business Letter Salutation Use the same name as the inside address, including the personal title. If you know the person and typically address them by their first name, it is acceptable to use only the first name in the salutation (for example: Dear Lucy:). In all other cases, however, use the personal title and full name followed by a colon. Leave one line blank after the salutation.
Parts of a Business Letter Salutation (continued) If you don't know a reader's gender, use a nonsexist salutation, such as "To Whom it May Concern." It is also acceptable to use the full name in a salutation if you cannot determine gender. For example, you might write Dear Chris Harmon: if you were unsure of Chris's gender.
Parts of a Business Letter Body For block and modified block formats, single space and left justify each paragraph within the body of the letter. Leave a blank line between each paragraph. When writing a business letter, be careful to remember that conciseness is very important.
Parts of a Business Letter Body (continued) In the first paragraph , consider a friendly opening and then a statement of the main point. The next paragraph should begin justifying the importance of the main point.
Parts of a Business Letter Body (continued) In the next few paragraphs , continue justification with background information and supporting details. The closing paragraph should restate the purpose of the letter and, in some cases, request some type of action.
Parts of a Business Letter Closing The closing begins at the same horizontal point as your date and one line after the last body paragraph. Capitalize the first word only (for example: Thank you) and leave four lines between the closing and the sender's name for a signature. A comma should follow the closing.
Parts of a Business Letter Enclosures If you have enclosed any documents along with the letter, such as a resume, you indicate this simply by typing Enclosures one line below the closing. See page 215
Parts of a Business Letter Enclosures (continued) As an option, you may list the name of each document you are including in the envelope. For instance, if you have included many documents and need to ensure that the recipient is aware of each document, it may be a good idea to list the names.
Parts of a Business Letter Typist Initials Typist initials are used to indicate the person who typed the letter. If you typed the letter yourself, omit the typist initials.
Writing for a North American Business Audience Every country has its own set of rules and expectations about the ways to communicate in a business setting. In some countries, they may place less emphasis on written materials and more emphasis on verbal communication. However, in the United States, memos, letters, and emails are important and play a role in creating a person's business reputation.
The question "so what is your point" is very common with American audiences. In general, North Americans prefer to get a preview of the main ideas so that they know what to expect. Time is an important factor for U.S. business people because they do not have much of it. So it is important to state your purpose or "the bottom line" for writing at the beginning of your document.
As you can see, the above statement goes on several sentences and the writer still has not revealed his or her purpose. A busy personnel director might skip over this request and make it a last priority.
Often times writers will place their main point at the bottom of their document because they are either delivering bad news or they are afraid their ideas will be rejected. But business writing experts warn against this style of writing. Bad news should always be delivered up front.
For example, "We must hire a new secretary now" has an aggressive tone that your reader may not appreciate.
Instead write something like, "I know that you do not think we should hire a new secretary now, but I really think we need to. Please let me explain my reasons."
2. Keeping it simple Use simple language to get your point across and you will have more success. You might feel compelled to use bigger words or more complex sentences to build credibility with your audience, but try to avoid this.
The two primary reasons to avoid such tactics are:
You might be perceived as a con artist
Your message might become confusing.
2. Keeping it simple An example of using "impressive words": “ Subsequent to the passage of the subject legislation, it is incumbent upon you to advise your organization to comply with it.”
2. Keeping it simple An example using simple words: “ After the law passes, you must tell your people to comply with it.”
2. Keeping it simple The second passage is much easier to understand and it gets straight to the point. There is little room for misunderstanding with that statement.
3. Using Passive and Active Voice A writer uses passive voice to purposefully leave out the actor or subject of the sentence in an effort to sound more diplomatic.
3. Using Passive and Active Voice Look at this example : Active : "I decided that everyone must retake the exam." Passive : "It has been decided that everyone must retake the exam.“ What is the difference between these sentences?
3. Using Passive and Active Voice The passive example takes the actor out of the sentence so that the audience cannot directly blame someone.
There are three instances to use the passive voice:
To be tactful by not naming the actor.
Example : The procedures were somehow misinterpreted.
3. Using Passive and Active Voice If your purpose does not fall into one of three categories above then use active direct voice. But be careful not to be too direct. You would not want to tell an employer that he or she should hire you because "I am the best."
4. Using Nondiscriminatory Language Nondiscriminatory language is language that treats all people equally. It does not use any discriminatory words, remarks, or ideas. It is very important that the business writer communicate in a way that expresses equality and respect for all individuals.
4. Using Nondiscriminatory Language It is the kind of language that can come between you and your reader. Make sure your writing is free of sexist language and free of bias based on such factors as race, ethnicity, religion, age, sexual orientation, and disability.
4. Using Nondiscriminatory Language Use neutral job titles. Not Good : Chairman Better : Chairperson
When you need to present negative information, soften its effects by superimposing a positive picture on a negative one.
Stress what something is rather than what it is not.
Emphasize what the firm or product can and will do rather than what it cannot.
Open with action rather than apology or explanation.
Avoid words which convey unpleasant facts.
Accentuating the Positives Compare the following examples. Which would be more likely to elicit positive reader response?
Accentuating the Positives Example 1 “ In response to your question about how many coats of Chem-Treat are needed to cover new surfaces: I regret to report that usually two are required. For such surfaces you should figure about 200 square feet per gallon for a good heavy coating that will give you five years or more of beautiful protection.”
Accentuating the Positives Example 2 “ In response to your question about how many coats of Chem-Treat are needed to cover new surfaces: One gallon is usually enough for one-coat coverage of 500 square feet of previously painted surface. For the best results on new surfaces, you will want to apply two coats.”
Accentuating the Positives Example 3 “ We cannot ship in lots of less than 12.”
Accentuating the Positives Example 4 “ To keep down packaging costs and to help customers save on shipping costs, we ship in lots of 12 or more.”
Embedded Position Place good news in positions of high emphasis: at the beginnings and endings of paragraphs, letters, and even sentences. Place bad news in secondary positions: in the center of paragraphs, letters, and, if possible, sentences.
Effective Use Of Space Give more space to good news and less to bad news. Evaluate the following examples to determine whether or not they present negative information favorably.
Effective Use Of Space Example 1 “ No special training programs are normally offered other than that of the College Graduate in Training rotational training period. We do not expect our employees to continue their education, but we do have an excellent tuition refund program to assist in this regard. Where an advanced degree is essential, individuals are recruited with those particular advanced degrees. Both Butler and IUPUI offer courses leading to an MBA degree.”
Effective Use Of Space Example 2 “ With our rigid quality standards, corrections of Adidas merchandise run less than .02 percent of our total line. Because of an oversight in our stitching department, a damaged needle was inadvertently used and caused the threads to come loose in these particular bags. Since we now have a check on all our machine needles before work each day, you can be assured that the stitching on our Adidas carrying bags will last the lifetime of the bags. Thank you for calling our attention to the loose stitching.”
Next Week: Writing Personal Letters & Envelopes
Writing Assignment I will be collecting all of your resumes next week! Be ready.
Writing Assignment Write a resume to obtain a job after graduation. You may choose whatever job you would like to apply for. Pay attention to both form and content. Your resume must be typed. Due in 1week.