Formatting your business letters is the most important part in terms of any business communication and correspondence. Just like your resume, your business letter is an important document that tells your contacts who you are, what you want, and the reason why you need to write this letter.
A carefully formatted and written business letter is a powerful communication tool to express yourself through the letter. Following a formal business letter format with no grammatical and punctuation errors gives the reader or the recipient of the letter an impression about you and your reason for writing.
The block format is the most common and preferred format for writing most business communication letters and correspondence. A standard business letter should therefore contain the contact information about yourself and the recipient, date and salutation, the body of your letter, closing, enclosures and your signature in a very clear language.
Contents of Block Formatted Business Letter
If you want to write a perfectly formatted business communication letter, you must have in mind the following contents of the block formatted letter:
Senders Contact Information
Senders contact information should contain your title, full name, your contact address including your city, state and zip code, your contact phone number and your email address.
Writing dates varies according to your region. If you are located in the US then you should write the date in US format. For example, the US recognized April 23 2018. And if you are in the UK, you should write your date in the UK format, where the same date is written as 23 April 2018.
If you are not in any of these countries, you could go with the one that is predominantly used in your country.
Recipients Contact information
Just like the senders contact information, the receivers contact information should contain recipients title, full name, designation, company name, company address including city, state and zip code, contact phone number and email address.
Unless the recipient is well known to you and you address him by his first name, you should write the salutation in a formal manner.
You should write the recipients title and full name in the salutation for example, Dear Mr Ryan Macdonald. If you are not sure about the recipient’s name and gender, then you should address his title as Dear Sir/Madam or To Whom it May Concern.
The body of your letter is the most important part of your letter and can be separated into several paragraphs. It should however, contain the reason for your writing in a very clear language so that the recipient knows and understands the purpose.
You should therefore keep the body of your business letter brief and simple so that the intention of your letter is clear to the recipient.
The beginning paragraph of the body should include an introduction as to why you are writing. The middle paragraph should include or provide more specific information about your purpose and explain the reason for writing the letter. The final paragraph should include a complimentary request to review your request and end with a thank you.
When it comes to closing, it is important that you close your letter by briefing the reader about what he needs to do and by asking about what you should do to follow-up. Common closings are Best regards, Sincerely, and Yours truly.
The signature part contains your hand written and typed name at the end of the letter. It is always advised to sign the letter with a pen instead of electric signatures. It shows the reader that it is not an auto generated spam letter but contains your personal interest in it.
Proofreading your business letter is the most important part of the entire business letter writing procedure. It is therefore important to proofread your letter by yourself as well as use any help from others so as to correct any spelling mistakes made or grammatical and punctuations corrections needed. It will also help you to avoid any negative impression in the recipients mind.
Finally, you should check your business letter margins, letter spacing, font size, font style, letter text and spaces. There is no need to use different fonts, sizes and texts. Leaving double space in paragraphs creates a clear and easy to read look that your recipient will appreciate. You can also download some business letter samples to check with yours.
We hope these guidelines will go a long way in helping you draft your next business letter. Always remember, it is about making a good impression so ensure you always get it right the first time.