Art of correspondence


Letter writing is one of the oldest arts of communication. And even though it is used most often in business or official dealings, many of us fail to get even basic letter writing right. Here re a few tips.

With rare exceptions and regardless of the subject, the goal in all letter writing should be to keep it short, factual, and to the point. Don’t write more than one page in length, unless necessary.

Detailed information can be relegated to attachment that can be referred to by name in the body of the letter. Stick to the absolute essential facts in the main letter.

Prepare a rough draft before the final. Then carefully review and revise it. Put yourself in the place of addressee. Imagine yourself receiving the letter. How would you react to it? Would it answer all of your questions?

Does it deal with all of the key issues? Are the language and tone appropriate? Read it aloud to check whether the words used sound right.

Check for spelling and grammar mistakes. A letter is a direct reflection of the person sending it, and the organization that person works for. Once you have decided on the final content, run it through a spelling and grammar check. A letter with obvious spelling and grammar mistakes looks unprofessional.

In such cases, the recipient can’t really be blamed for seeing this as an indication as to how you and your organization probably do most other things. Follow these rules to make sure that your letter doesn’t end up in the “read later� pile or a waste paper basket.

v Use simple and appropriate language:

v Use simple straightforward language for clarity and precision.

v Use short sentences.

v Each paragraph should contain not more than three or four sentences.

v Use language and terminology familiar to the intended recipient.

Do not use technical terms and acronyms without explaining them, unless you are certain that the addressee is familiar with them. Now-a-days most business communication is through internet and the same rules can apply. The draft stage can be checked before the final ‘send’ click.

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