How to Write a Business Letter

Some samples and examples of successful business letters.

Business letters are those whose content is related to commercial operations, business, purchase, sale, propaganda, internal movements of a company.

They can be, among others, acknowledgment of receipt, application for employment, credit, propaganda, collection, etc.

A business letter is a written message with a specific purpose: sell, buy, thank, collect, claim, invite, etc. From this definition, the classification of business letters is derived.

How to write a business letter

A commercial letter is written in a formal way and it has three parts that are necessary, letterhead, recipient, the full name of the author.

Parts of a Business Letter:

Letterhead

It is the name, address and other identification of a company or entity that is printed on the top of the paper and the envelope used for correspondence.

Location and date

It is the one that indicates the place from which the letters are written as well as the day month and year.

Recipient

These are the identification data of the person to whom the letter will be sent.

Subject

It is a brief and concrete message which should not be more extensive than one line and in which the main subject by which the letter was sent should be written.

Greeting

It is a short phrase with a courtesy message that is included before writing the text of the letter.

Text

It is the set of paragraphs that explains the subject or reason for which the letter was written, it is recommended that the paragraphs be short written with clear, precise, natural and spontaneous language.

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Farewell

These are expressions of affection with which the expression of the message is terminated. The farewell should keep the same tone of courtesy, both initial greeting and the relationship between the sender and receiver.

Signature

It is the one that contains the name of the person who is responsible for what is expressed in the letter.

Initials

Is one that refers to the initials of the people who have intervened in the dictation and typing of the letter.

Annexes

This is used when a letter is accompanied by one or several documents attached, these must be mentioned in a note of annexes.

Extensions of a business letter

Short

When its content extends up to 100 words.

Medium

When its content comprises from 100 to 200 words.

Long

When its content comprises 200 to 300 words they are letters of a sheet. More than 300 are letters of several sheets.

Styles or forms of the arrangement of business letters

Extreme Block Style

It is the easiest and most comfortable style because all the lines are written starting at the left margin of the paper. With this style you always write in simple space; Between each paragraph two vertical spaces are left.

Block Style

This style is very similar to the extreme block. The difference is that the dateline, the farewell line, the pre-signature line and the signature line are written starting from the horizontal center of the paper.

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Semi Block Style

It is the most elegant style and one of the most used in Commerce. This style maintains the same characteristics of the block style and is distinguished because each paragraph begins by leaving an indentation of five to ten spaces.

Bleeding Style

It is a style that differs from the semi-block in the following aspects: each one of the lines of the address, except the first one, has an indentation of five spaces in relation to the previous one. In the same way, it is done with the farewell, the preliminary signature, the identification initials and the signature.

Punctuation Styles of a business letter:

Open

It has no punctuation marks in any of its component parts.

Closed

It carries punctuation marks in each of its parts or components.

Mixed or current

Combine the two styles.

Presentation of the Business Letter

In business letters, it is important to keep certain basic rules so as not to make mistakes at the time of submission, which could cost the success of a business project.

  • In a commercial letter, both the paper and the envelope must have a letterhead. In this type of letter, it is common to attach the return postage.
  • The content of a business letter must be direct, objective, with clear and concise wording. The same style must be maintained both at the beginning and at the farewell.
  • Business letters will have spaces and margins to respect, similar to those used in a personal letter. However, the name of the company, the person and position must be placed on the left side of a business letter.
  • A commercial letter must present a space of three and a half centimeters before placing the date, and then the same process will be carried out as in the other correspondence.
  • Business correspondence should never be written by hand or machine. In these modern times, where information technologies handle the business landscape, it would leave much to be desired for a business letter that was not made on a computer.
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Sample Business Letter:

Santiago, June 14, 2003
Manuel Montt 367
For the attention of Mr. H. Riveros
SANTIAGO DE CHILE

Subject: Invitation to talk

Distinguished Customer:

I contacted you to announce the talk that will be held on June 21, 2003, at 3:00 p.m. in our auditorium, which will be given by the renowned author of several books on management, Mr. Tom Peters.

The talk will consist of the following topics: “knowing how to listen”, “listening is not hearing”, “what is listening?” and “know how to listen = more productivity”.

This invitation is only for our most exclusive clients, which is why we hope to have your presence.

I greet you attentively,

Pamela A. Ritchie
General Manager

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