Business Letter Etiquette - Rules For Successful Communication

Business letter etiquette is more than just writing a good letter. It has to do with doing it in a way that will not offend others. In doing so, you will make people open to the message you have for them. 

Here is an example of why this is so important:

I once had a client that I was consulting with that was a financial planner. He was writing a letter to his clients to offer them his services in setting up a business trust account. He decided to send them a letter about this service. That is where things went wrong...

Business Letter EtiquetteHe had his office assistant write the letter and send it out. He did not review it prior to the letter going out. The letter had a typo in it. The letter mentioned setting up a business thrust account. Since thrust is a real word, the spell check did not catch it. 

Many of his clients were offended at the mistake in the letter. Several of them moved their accounts from him. They thought that if my client was so careless in the business letter he would send out, that he might be that careless with the money they had invested with him. 

As you can see, this is more than just writing a good letter. It has to do with making sure that the letter does not offend or influence people the wrong way. 

Business Letter Etiquette Tips

1. Do not completely rely on spell check - As you can see from the story above, you cannot rely solely on the spell check. It will not catch every single mistake. Learn from the mistakes of others and review the letter before you send it out. 

2. Spell the recipient's name correctly - There is nothing that people find more offensive than a letter that is addressed to them where their name is spelled incorrectly.  This is a good way to follow business letter manners. 

3. Personally sign the letter - An unsigned letter appears like a mass marketing message. It feels cold and insensitive. A real signature with blue ink will change that perception. It will show that you have good business etiquette.

4. Pay attention to the "To" and "From" - If the letter is to someone that you do not know well or the letter needs to be formal, then you should use Dear Sir or Madam. For the from line, you should use Sincerely Yours. 

If you know the person well, it would be bad business letter etiquette to use something like that. You would want to use Warm Regards or something that shows that you are more familiar. 

These tips should help you with your business letter etiquette. We hope that your written communication will be such to win people over.

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