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How to Write a Business Letter: Basic rules and mistakes to avoid

In order to succeed in writing a proper formal letter, it’s good to know how to write a business letter. There are simple, though pretty important guidelines that help achieving it.

If possible, direct the letter in the salutation to an exact recipient. In this way the letter won’t be delivered to persons that won’t respond to it. Moreover, by writing it, you will demonstrate that you care who will read your letter.

The body of the letter is divided in three: introduction where is stated the purpose of the letter; the middle part where are given details and that convince the recipient to act; the closing that underlines what actions are expected from them to make.

You should write the content in such a manner that the recipient will clearly understand it. Use simple language and don’t strive for big words, this may make the content less understood. Nor should you use too many words in your correspondence. Get to the point as fast as you can, there’s a big chance that the reader has another 100 letters to get through or that he’s about to finish his working day.

Using a simple language you should demonstrate that you’re confident and sincere of what you’re writing. Keep in mind that the level of subordination towards the reader should be also kept accordingly.

Another reason of why you should know how to write a business letter is that you should make the recipient interested in reading it. If you’re planning to write a long letter, you should plan to organize specific information in specific paragraphs. In this way, everything will be at its right place and the recipient will read it entirely.
Right from the beginning, you should establish a positive connection with the reader. If you’re writing to an acquaintance or someone you’ve just met before, mention it in the introductory part. It’s useful to have a common background doesn’t matter what the response will be.

Finally, you should remember that a business letter shouldn’t have any mistakes at all. This is your first chance to make an impression, probably the last one. As mentioned before, be simple, don’t complicate yourself. Don’t use abbreviations, don’t use long sentences, and don’t use complicated words. Make yourself clear and state what actions you’re expecting from the behalf of the reader. Keep on mind that you don’t have to demonstrate how well you can write a letter or how good your language is; your purpose is to make yourself understood. Knowing how to write a business letter will assure you with a response from the recipient.
For additional info, consult the following sites:
http://esl.about.com/cs/englishworkplace/ht/ht_bletter.htm and http://www.office.xerox.com/small-business/tips/business-letter/enus.html