Business letters, to be good and effectual, must include certain essentials. In other words, business letters should conform to certain minimum standards of letter writing.
The following are some of the important characteristics of a business letter.
- Well defined objectives:-
There is an old saying an aimless ship never able to reach the destination. In the case of a business letter-a letter without specific objectives is meaningless. Thus to be effective business leaders need to have well-defined objectives.
- Contact information:
The header of the business letter includes the senders’ name, phone number, address and email address, which may be left or right justified or centered at the top of the page. This is followed by the date the letter was sent, which in turn is followed by the “inside address.” The inside address contains the recipient’s name, job title, and company address.
Discuss the benefits offered to the receiver or customer before the nuts-and-bolts basic information. Benefits to the customer could be tangible, such as saving money and having more choices in service packages or intangible but still more choices in service packages, or intangible but still valuable, including gaining peace of mind.
- Brief description:
Any business letter must be short. The significance of a short letter is that the person reading the letter must understand the significance of the letter in the minimum possible lines. This is usually done in order to save the time and energy of the receiver of the letter.
- Definite structure:
The structure or main text of a business letter is typically divided into three sections: the introduction, the body, and the closing. Introductory paragraphs should be brief and explain the letter’s intent. The body should elaborate on that intent and may include facts and statistics, descriptions and or explanations. The closing should thank the recipient for his time and include a “call to action,” which indicates the next step in the communication process, such as a phone call or a scheduled meeting.
- Positive approach:
The writer has to be optimistic regarding the achievement of the goal. Thus throughout the letter, a positive tone must be a Positive approach not only helps to convince the reader but also express the confidence of the writer.
The tone of the letter is another very important aspect of the letter. A writer must always use open, friendly, and honest wording in his letter. The letter must sound polite, courteous and firm. The letter should also sound convincing the must have a polite tone. One must always add the words like please, thank you, etc.
Factually the business letter must be relevant and the facts and thoughts should be presented in a very systematic manner. The language used in the business letter must be coherent. The flow of the message must be consistent.
To ensure effective writing the writer should put himself or herself in the reader’s place and then try to realize how the reader will respond to the letter. Your attitude emphasis the readers rather than the writer. An example of you-attitude is as follows: I or we attitude: I will give you a 10 % discount. You-attitude: You can get a 10% discount.
A business letter must be readable and clear. If the reader of a business letter fails to understand the message, it will matter little to him. It helps the receiver to understand the message immediately, easily, and clearly. So the messages of the letter must be clear in meaning.
One of the important qualities of a business letter is relevance. The writer of a business letter should avoid the irrelevant matter that can vex the reader’s mind. Irrelevant information should not be included and avoided in any business communication. So, unnecessary words should be avoided.
A good business letter should be simple and easy. The writer of a business letter should use simple language in drafting a letter so that the reader can easily understand the meaning and significance of the letter. One must not write a business letter in difficult and fancy words.
- Free from error:
A business letter should be free from all kinds of errors. It must be neatly typed or handwritten. So, the writer should be aware of spelling, grammatical sense and letter style in drafting a business letter.