Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Business Letter Writing | Clarity and Conciseness


Business Letter Writing | Clarity and Conciseness
Your aim in letter writing should be to transmit maximum information by using minimum words. If you clearly and concisely write what you wish to say, you will be able to arrest the attention of the reader and focus it on the message. Try at best to avoid unnecessary details and roundabout expressions, and come to the point directly. You must bear in mind that nowadays people are busy and they receive dozens of letters every day. It is annoying for them to read time-consuming introductions and preliminaries. You should remember that you are writing letters to establish communication between you and your receiver. What do you do when you meet a person? What you do usually is to greet him and straight away start relevant and necessary conversation. You can adopt the same approach when writing a letter.

Aristotle once said that for writing well in any language you should speak like the common people and think like the wise. This piece of advice is still considered good. The two most important virtues of effective writing are simple expression and clear thinking. You should cultivate a clear and plain style irrespective of your business and profession. You should not make readers suffer from trouble and complexity in understanding what you are conveying them.

The advice Mathew Arnold gave hundred years ago is still worth remembering: "If you have something to say, you should say it as clearly as possible. The secret of style lies in clarity, precision and conciseness." So, make sure that you are maintaining clarity, precision, and conciseness while drafting a letter. You can also follow the points given below to make your letter writing more effective.

The points you should remember while drafting a letter
(i) Before expressing your ideas on paper, let them move in your mind so that they can crystallize and are shorn of all ambiguities. Remember that clear thinking and clear writing go together.

(ii) Choose short, common and concrete words for your writing. As far as possible, try to avoid jargon, slang, and/or technical words. Every word you are using should help you in conveying the meaning you have in mind. If there are two words conveying more or less than same meaning, select that word which is more common and easily understandable.

(iii)  Arrange your words well. Most often you will see that, if you choose the right words, they are being arranged easily and meaningfully.

(iv) Do not tire your readers with long and/or unnecessary sentences. Do not throw a challenge to them. If you find you have slipped into writing long and extremely complex sentences (running into six or seven lines and having a number of conjunctions) revise your draft. Split them up into several short sentences.

(v) Generally, a business letter contains only one main idea or one piece of information. If you find that your letter is dealing with a number of points, express each and every point in a small and distinct paragraph. Remember that long paragraphs usually bore the reader into skimming through your letter.

Avoid Verbosity
A study of business communication reveals that there is a lot of deadwood and verbosity in it. Often phrases and clauses are used without thought. Some such expressions and their suitable substitutes are given below.

Verbose
Direct and Precise
(i) As advised in our communication
(ii) At all times
(iii) As per your instructions
(iv) At the time of writing
(v) Attached herewith
(vi) Attached please find
(vii) Taken into consideration
(viii) Beg to acknowledge
     Beg to assure
     Beg to inform
     Beg to request
(ix) By reason of the fact that
(x) Enclosed please find
(xi) For the month of July
(xii) For the purpose of
(xiii) In a satisfactory manner
(xiv) In compliance with your request
(xv) In the case of
(xvi) In early course
(xvii) In view of the fact
(xviii) In the event of this occurrence taking place
(xix) In the event that
(xx) In the nature of
(xxi) In point of fact
(xxii) It is desired that we receive
(xxiii) Make necessary adjustment
(xxiv) Wish to thank
        Wish to acknowledge
        Wish to suggest
As stated in our letter
Always
As instructed
At present/now
Attached
Attached is
Considered
Acknowledge
Assure
Inform
Request
Because
Enclosed
For July
For
Satisfactorily
As requested
If
Soon
Because/Since
If this happen
If
Like
In fact
We want
Adjust
Thank
Acknowledge
Suggest


Participial Endings
Participial endings should also be avoided as they are trite expressions which hardly convey any meanings:

Assuring you of our prompt services always.....
Trusting you will find this information satisfactory......
Hoping to hear from you at your earliest convenience......

Positive and Direct Statements
Negative and Roundabout
Positive and Direct
(i) You failed to tell us........
(ii) We are unable to help you unless.......
(iii) We are unable to help you with........
(iv) We have not heard........
(v) You have not cared to pay attention to the complaint we have made.......
We shall appreciate if you please let us know.....
We shall be pleased to help you if.....
We suggest that you......
We should appreciate hearing from you......
Please look into our complaint.

It is an acquired skill to write business letters effectively, and if you want to acquire it, you will need a lot of hard work. If it is your aim to write business letters effectively, there is no alternative to practicing more and more. Only practice can give you that ease of writing, by which you can stand out from others and advance yourself more a step.

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