Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Writing a Formal Business Letter

Writing a Formal Business Letter
The secret of writing a good and formal business letter lies in using simple and plain business language as if you are going through a written conversation. What you need for this is to use a courteous style and convey your message in a natural way. Alongside, you have to ensure that your message is maintaining a logical flow. Writing a formal business letter does not mean that you have to be too formal in your writing. General business practice encourages you to adopt such a balanced style that is not informal or too formal.

While writing a formal business letter, you must ensure correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation in your writing and structure the sentences correctly. You have to keep in mind that you are dealing not only with a person but also with a situation. You have to use your maximum effort to transfer your thoughts and ideas properly from one person to another. The format you choose for your letter and the approach and tone you use in your letter indicates your taste and personality to the person who receives it.

So, you have to remain careful about the reaction of your recipient. The best way to check how the recipient of your letter reacts is to put yourself in the place of the recipient and imagine their reaction on it. If you pay close attention to the recipients' needs, problems, interests, and wishes and apply your best effort in your letter to deal with the specific situation, you must be able to win the heart of your recipient.

Here are some tips given below so that your effort to write a formal business letter can be successful and you can stand out from others in case of writing a formal business letter. On the other hand, if you want to become successful in all business communications; you must go through the whole writing presented here.

Avoid Century-old Expressions 
Instead of using stilled and formal language, you should use a natural and relaxed language; and by this way, you can demonstrates your efficiency as a communicator and enhance your corporate image.

Avoid century-old expressions like 'I would like to bring your attention', 'kindly be advised', 'I am writing to advise you', and 'please be informed'. Instead, try to put some thoughts and feelings, and some personality in your writing.

Do not write
(i) As spoken in our telephone today

(ii) Please revert to me to the soonest possible

(iii) I refer to your letter of 20 June, 2014

(iv) Should you require any further clarification, please do not hesitate to contact to the undersigned
(i) Thank you for calling me this morning

(ii) I hope to hear from you soon

(iii) Thank you for your letter of 20 June, 2014

(iv) Please give me a call on 01716054707 or mail me at if you have any questions

Avoid Long Expressions
Long sentences and long paragraphs only confuse one rather than impress one. Instead of saying 'I should be very grateful', you can say 'please'. Instead of using words like terminate, commence, endeavor, and purchase, you should use short words like end, start, try, and buy. Always use simple expressions in your business writing because short words, short sentences, and short paragraphs that are lucid, clear, and concise are easy to remember.

Be Active, Not Passive
Instead of using passive voice in your writing, always try to use active voice. Using active voice you can make your document more alive, more personalized, more interesting and clear, and much more focused.

Do not write
(i) Sales of X501 have exceeded all expectation

(ii) The cause of your complaint has been investigated

(iii) Arrangements have been made for a repeat order

(iv) The meeting will be conducted by Mr. Khan
(i) X501 sales have gone sky high

(ii) I have looked into the matter

(iii) We have arranged for a repeat order

(iv) Mr. Khan will conduct the meeting

Avoid Using Colons
There are some people who are interested in putting a line of colons in their business writing. I do not see any benefit of their doing so. Using so many colons makes their documents so cluttered and messy.

Do not write
Date   : 28 June, 2014
Time  : 9.00 am to 5.00 pm
Venue : Sheraton Winter Garden
Date   28 June, 2014
Time  9.00 am to 5.00 pm
Venue Sheraton Winter Garden

Our great ancestors used to write the attention line in full (For the attention of......) as they used to direct the letter to the desk of a real person. They did not use to write personally to that person. They started their attention line with 'Dear Sirs', and their writing was very formal and passive. It seemed that they used to write a real individual, instead of writing to the company as a whole. We rarely need it today.

Today modern writers suggest (in personal letters) to incorporate attention lines with personal salutations such as 'Dear John', 'Dear Mr. Hasan'. So, let us put the attention line in the recycle bin and return it to the last century where it belonged. If you want to use a personal salutation in your writing, and if you know the person you are writing to, please incorporate the address name and title into the address section of your letter.

Do not write
Attn   : Mahmudul Hasan
Summit Group of Industries Ltd.
18 Karwan Bazar, Bangladesh
Mahmudul Hasan
Summit Group of Industries Ltd.
18 Karwan Bazar, Bangladesh
Avoid Keeping Space over Title for Signature
It is really a childish matter to keep a line over which you are supposed to sign your name. Even you need not think of the matter where to put your signature. A space between 'Yours sincerely' and your name/title is enough, and you should put your signature just over your title. Keeping space between your signature and your title is unnecessary. Cluttering in your business writing must be avoided. In this case, following is the best practice.

Yours sincerely,

Mahmudul Hasan
Managing Director

Avoid 'Thank you' at the End of Your Letter
There are so many people who prefer to write 'Thank you' at the end of their message. For what "Thank you'—really I can't understand. Is it for reading your letter? I strongly believe it is nothing but wasting time and printer ink. Please, stop it! When you are courteous enough throughout your whole communication, you need not keep saying 'Thank you' over and over again only for the reason that someone read your letter or email.

Living in today's fast-paced world, you need not use yesterday's old-fashioned and long-winded jargon. Please come out from the clichés which our great grandfathers would use for decades. Using a natural, friendly, and relaxed style, you can put some life into your business writing. Use such a style in your business writing that is interesting, stimulating, and proactive. If you want to do so, you must put some life-blood into your presentation. Your writing should reflect your personality. This is 2014, not 1914! Thank you.


Ø  Select the best way of communication carefully.

Ø  Develop the document thoughtfully.

Ø  Present the document in such a manner that it looks neat and clean.

Ø  Make sure your document gives an impression of efficiency, professionalism, and reliability.

Ø  Choose such a format that is aesthetically pleasing, easy to read, and logically structured.

Ø  Choose appropriate tone, keeping in mind the situation and recipient.

Ø  Make sure that the grammar, spelling, and punctuation in your letter are accurate.

Ø  Review your letter, and reduce fluffs if there is any.

1 comment:

  1. You have an interesting blog. thanks for sharing. I enjoyed reading your posts


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