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    Documents that are written well, easy to understand, and keep to the point are composed of those who have clarified their thoughts before writing. Make your letters effective by thinking before you write, and always writing what you think.

Writing For Results

All business letters have a purpose. The first rule of letter writing is to make that objective perfectly clear to your recipient. The second rule is to include all the information that the reader needs in order to understand your aim. Resist the temptation to write too much – try to fit your letter on one side of the paper if you can. Ask a friendly critic to read any letters dealing with problematic situations.

Composing Clear Text

The key to writing any business letter clearly and concisely is to keep your words simple and to the point. Use short words and sentences in preference to long and active verbs rather than passive. Avoid double negatives, jargon and archaic terminologies (such as “notwithstanding” and “albeit”). Use natural, unforced diction: in other words, write as you talk, not as you think you should write. Do not revise until you have finished, and then cut fearlessly – editing always improve the impact of a letter.

Structuring Letters

When structuring letters, apply the principles of direct mail. These are as follows:

-Attract the attention of the reader by stating why you are writing. Use humour if appropriate;

-Engage the reader’s interest by arousing his or her curiosity about what you are saying;

-Provoke desire in the reader by making your proposal or product sound attractive;

Convince your reader that your letter rings true by supplying references or guarantees;

-Stimulate action on the part of the reader by explaining what you expect him or her to do.


  1. Visualize the reader when you are writing a letter or report.
  2. Delegate writing routine replies to an assistant.
  3. Avoid using complicated, unusual words or abstract terms – they may obscure your meaning.
  4. Order your thoughts – even making notes – before you start writing a letter.
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