Saturday, August 21, 2010

Business Letter: starting up

A business letter has five main parts:

1. the heading
2. the date
3. the opening
4. the body
5. the closing.

Heading of a Business Letter

This is your name and address.
You can use your fancy letterhead or just type up your business name and address.
The letterhead address can be positioned anywhere on the top of the page: centred, left side or right side.
However, if you're typing the business address, it should be located in the top right-hand corner.

Date in a Business Letter
The date is very important, since it can be useful in determining priorities, for filing and it also can have legal ramifications.
In a typed address letter, the date goes immediately under your address.
In a letterhead letter, the date can go on the left-hand side, or the right-hand side, immediately under the letterhead.
32 MacDonnell Road

1 January 2009
Note that the suburb name is in capitals and that there is NO punctuation in the address.
The method of writing the date shown here is the easiest and least likely to lead to confusion. It looks neat and is clear and concise.
Always write the name of the month; if you are dealing with overseas clients or markets, or even with people who were born overseas, you can run into all sorts of problems if you only use numbers:
11-3-09 could be 11 March 2009 OR 3 November 2009, depending on where you come from!

Opening of a Business Letter

This is the:
  • Name
  • title (if any Manager, Principal etc)
  • address of the person to whom you are writing and the greeting or salutation.
This information always goes on the left-hand side of the page, starting one line lower than your business name and address and the date.

1 January 2009

Mr Arthur Carp
General Manager
Country Publications Inc.
PO Box 123

Dear Mr. Carp:

Body of the Business Letter

This is like the message in your memo and it follows the same rules in that it should be:
  • clear
  • concise
  • courteous.
I know I've said that before (a couple of times) - it bears repeating.
The way you organise the body of your letter will depend on the reason for writing it 

Closing of a Business Letter

This includes the final words to your reader - the bit that tells him or her what action will follow or thanks him or her for any help given. It also includes the 'signing off' and name of the writer.
It is customary to sign off, 'Yours faithfully' if it is a formal business letter or if you don't know the name of the person; you sign 'Yours sincerely' when you do know the name of the person.
It is acceptable to use less formal closings - 'Kind regards', 'Regards'- if the whole tone of your letter has been the same, but don't end a very formal letter in this way.

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