Table of Contents
Letter Writing Etiquette
Clarity of Communication
Keep It Brief (KIB)
Tips Before You Send Your Letter
Check for Accuracy
Proper Spelling aka English as is “Spiked.”
Careful about the Titles…
Correcting your boss’s Grammar
Tone of Your Business Letter
I Am so Angry…
Capital Letters, Punctuation and Typos
How to Address Letters/Salutations
Native English speakers!
When I was studying at the local management college, more than 3 decades ago, one of our professors told us students, “You may become senior ranking managers, as you get promoted to higher ranks in your jobs, but if you do not know how to write an impressive, businesslike, and thoroughly professional business letter, you are going to go nowhere on the ladder to the top.”
Many of us coughed rather sheepishly, because according to us, we were already managers in our minds’ eye, and we had a secretary to take our dictation, shorthand, and rightly business letter for us.
Naturally, we woke up to reality soon after, when we began to work on our different jobs, and often we had to take care of the correspondence ourselves. Some of the letters were too confidential to be handed over to the office typing pool. This was way back in the late eighties and early nineties, when letters were still written by hand, and sent by mail.
We did not know that within the next 15 years, the whole world would be tied up with an electronic network, and correspondence would be done by tapping on a keyboard on a desktop screen.
Also, this book is not restricted to letter writing to people in your own country or area. In this millennial world today, your job is to expand your horizons and that is why, this book is going to tell you all about writing letters in a global context. Also, you are going to be told something about cultures and traditions, and business environments of other lands and people, which may look strange to you, but that is the way business writing has been done for millenniums, according to their culture, standard of literacy, and society.
Many people who are not quite well versed with office etiquette are under the impression that letter writing is something not very important because after all, you are messaging your clients, or you have one stereotyped format, which you send out as acknowledgment for every email sent to your company, with a paragraph telling the client that he is going to be contacted by somebody in the next 12 – 24 hours, and thank you for getting in touch with us. The mail, of course, has a do not reply address on top.
You may think that this is a pretty nifty and modern way of tracking your correspondence, but in many parts of the world, where business dealings and environments are still pretty old-fashioned, a well-written letter is quite impressive, especially when the receiver makes his first impression on your correspondence, especially when it is a first-time letter to his company. I remember, way back in 87, when I was at university, in a comparatively small town, and went to the market, to buy some handmade traditional shoes, for which that particular town was famous all over the country. They did not speaking English, there.