Business Letterhead Formatting

Posted by: Birgitte  :  Category: Business Letters

Business letters are typically printed on personal or company letterhead. In today’s desktop publishing world, creating instant letterhead is very easy.

The old standby of simply typing your name and address at the top of a blank page certainly still works, but if you want your letter to stand out you need to make it a bit more presentable.

Here’s how:

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Acknowledgment Letter

Posted by: Birgitte  :  Category: Business Letters

Focus: To let the recipient know that you received something from them, either a particular item you’d requested, or something unsolicited (like a gift), or even an intangible item like a recommendation, a referral, or an award.

Points to Include: In the introductory paragraph, state that you are writing this letter to acknowledge the recipient for providing the item, (gift, referral, whatever) and mention when you received it, like this: “I am writing to let you know that I received the book, “How to Write Effective Business Letters” on February 2, 2007.” In the main body of your letter, go into brief detail about why receiving the item was important to you: “As I mentioned at our last meeting, I am considering using this book as a textbook for my upcoming course on business correspondence.” The main body should have 3-4 good supporting sentences. Close the letter with a restatement of the benefits and why they are important. Be sure to thank them too: “I look forward to reading the book and have high hopes that it will be perfect for my students to learn business letter techniques. Thank you for your promptness.”

Benefit: Acknowledgement letters are not strictly necessary, unless they’ve been requested, but they go a long way to building goodwill and boosting business relationships. People like to be thanked for their actions.Writing an acknowledgement letter helps the recipient remember you in a positive way, and in business, that’s a good thing!

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Adjustment Letter

Posted by: Birgitte  :  Category: Business Letters

Focus: If you are writing an adjustment letter it means you are on the receiving end of a complaint letter. Your objective is to resolve the complaint, or notify the “complainer” of the reasons why you are not going to resolve the complaint. In other words, it’s your turn to tell your side of the story.

Points to Include: In the intro, state your main points, either the steps you propose to rectify the complaint or the reason(s) you can’t or won’t. In the main body, back those steps or reasons up with facts or information. Conclude with a recap of your main points and if you are attempting to resolve the issue, an apology for the recipients inconvenience. If you are denying the issues or not ready to concede, you should still be polite in your declaration. After all, this is legal proof of your justification. It is a lot less embarrassing if you are on record as being polite.

Benefit: Your letter may go a long way to appeasing the recipient, especially if you let them know that you are willing to work with them to resolve the issue. Your response may keep communication open and stave off legal action. If the situation is not easily resolved, then this correspondence will be a legal record of your story.

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Complaint Letter

Posted by: Birgitte  :  Category: Business Letters

Focus: To make the recipient aware of an error or defect in a received product or service or to request a correction or adjustment for a received service. In other words, to gripe about something you think is wrong.

Points to Include: In the intro paragraph, state clearly the main complaint, followed briefly by any subsequent minor issues. In the main body of the letter back up your complaints with any facts or information you have. You may want to mention any documents you are enclosing as proof (follow the structure guidelines above for “enclosures.”) or people the recipient should contact. Be sure to actually ask for a specific action; don’t assume the recipient will automatically know what you want. In the concluding paragraph reiterate the main points and include a gentle emotional appeal for resolution. Even if you are upset about the issue at hand, it will do no long-term good to spill your anger across the page. Be polite. Be direct.

Benefit: The first benefit is the hope that you can actually resolve the issue. Many times simply communicating with the parties will allow resolution. If that doesn’t work, the second and very important benefit is that you now have a written record of your attempt to resolve the issue. This is where being polite pays off too. If you can show a constant, polite attempt to rectify the situation, you’ll be better positioned legally.

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    Cover Letter

    Posted by: Birgitte  :  Category: Business Letters

    Focus: There are many types of cover letters—it’s a catch-all term for any letter that doesn’t fit neatly into other specific categories. But there are certain types that are more recognized than others, primarily the kind you send with a resume. This type of letter is also known as a “Letter of Application.” Within the category of cover letters you’ll also find the kind you send with promotional material if you are marketing your services. This is sometimes called a “Marketing Letter.” If promotional or marketing materials are not included and the cover letter is all you are sending, it is called a “Letter of Introduction.” The latter can be about you or on behalf of someone else. All of them amount to pretty much the same thing; you are writing to request consideration of you, your work, or your colleague’s work.

    Points to Include: The introductory paragraph needs to catch the reader’s interest instantly. They must know exactly what you are offering them and why this is important. If you are applying for a job, state clearly what job, why hiring you benefits them, and what you’ll bring to the table in terms of skills. In a Marketing Letter you want to impress them with the benefits they’ll receive from you, not why you want to work for them. In a Letter of Introduction you are telling them why you (or your colleague) are important to them and what you can do for them; in other words, what’s in it for the reader? Are you getting my drift? These letters are first and foremost about how your existence is going to make the recipient’s world a better place. In the main body, back your claims up with facts: your actual experience, how you’ve helped others in the same situation with similar jobs, and how specifically you intend to help them. Conclude by restating the job you’re applying for, the service you’re offering (or the person you’re recommending) and then a brief recounting (using different words) of how you are going to be the recipient’s next ticket to ride.

    Benefit: Business professionals are bombarded daily with resumes, requests to buy/use certain services or introductions to potential associates. The cover letter is your chance to stand out. Most of these other requests are going to come with cover letters too, but by far, cover letters are poorly written. A tight, complementary and to-the-point letter will at least get you in the door. After that, the hard sell begins.

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    Order Placement Letter

    Posted by: Birgitte  :  Category: Business Letters

    Focus: To place an order for a product or service, you would write an Order Letter, also known as a Purchase Order. It is your written proof that you requested the item.

    Points to include: In the intro letter state very clearly what you are ordering. Include the product number if applicable. In the main body include the cost of the item or service, your intended method of payment, your payment (if applicable) and your shipping address and phone number. Conclude the letter with a thank you, for politeness’ sake. Remember, the recipient will most likely fill the order without ever contacting you, but in the case of services requested, they may need to call you for clarification.

    Benefit: The main benefit in this type of letter is the written proof you have that you attempted to initiate an order. If you rely on a phone call or verbal “okay,” you might find yourself having to repeat the process.

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