Qualities of effective correspondence
The higher the post, the more time is needed for written communication
Objectives of business letters
Primary objective: what is the immediate business reason for writing?Objectives may help you determine the technique of letter writingPrimary goal is obvious but it is not the only goal or objective in letter writing. Another objective is:
Secondary or public relation goal or objective:You should try to keep the public relation intact, don’t break it.Public relation is very important in business.You can write a letter to your customer replying for their unnatural demand but you should also try to maintain the good relationship.Such writings also help people form a particular image of your company. It is important for your success.
Correspondence is a major part of the organization’s public relation efforts.Letters , a company writes, make a strong impressions because they are highly personalized, with formal authenticity.While writing ask- how we like to be treated, what effects your words produce on readers, which company image do you want to form, etc. It will help you choose the right words and techniques for letter writing.
Make your letter sound humanWrite in conversational styleThe tone of your writing should imitate friendly conversation but don’t make it very informal like face-to-face conversation.
Tendency to be formal
We generally tend to be formal and stiff when we write. It is wrong. Try to appear friendly but it is not an easy job.Don’t do the mistake of trying to write in an unnatural style. If you do this mistake, it will give a cold impression of you.
The language of business
Generally the business language is cold and stiff. It appears like legal language. But it is not good.Don’t practice detached manner of communicating.For example, these expressions are stereotyped:We beg to adviseYour favor receivedDeem it advisableSaid matterAttached heretoThanking you in advanceAnticipating you favorable response etc.
The above mentioned expressions were very much used in 1800s.Such stereotypical expressions don’t make much good impressionDon’t practice such out-dated styles .
Don’t use rubber stamps
Rubber stamps are expressions we use automatically in a certain type of situation. They are used because of our habit. They are routine expressions.Routine treatment is far less effective than special attention in creating good public relations.For example- thank you very much for your letter. It is not an effective statement.
There are modern day rubber stamps too.For example, I am happy to be able to answer your reply …/ or this is to inform you that…etc.Instead of such rubber stamps, use novel and creative expression if possible.Use conversational vocabularies to avoid rubber stamps.
Example : (not effective)Thanking you in advanceI deem it advisableKindly advise at an early dateMore effective expression :I will sincerely appreciateI suggest…Please let me know soon.
Basically human beings are selfish !!!We are self-centeredWe have structured our thinking to conform with our best interestSo messages related to our best interest produce positive responses. This technique of writing and speaking is called you view-point.
Definition: You view-point writing emphasizes the readers interest. It is an attitude that focuses on the reader’s point of view.You can use second person point of view for this purpose.Place your reader or listener at the center of things …Be careful while choosing words. Choose best words to get your desired reaction.
The you-viewpoint illustrated
I am happy to report… It is I view point.“You will be happy to know.” It is you view point.Advertising agencies are very good at exploiting this principle.Even a bad news situation can benefit from you –viewpoint wording.
We viewpoint example: We can not comply with your request to use our office personnel on your project, for it will cost us more than we can afford.You- viewpoint:As a business professor, well acquainted with the need for close economy in all phases of office operation, you will understand why we must limit our personal work to our office.
We have received your report of May 1.Ans: You must be happy to know that your May 1 letter has been received.
Accent on positive language
Be careful while choosing wordsEffects of words : positive ways are usually best for letter goals, especially when persuasion and good will are needed. So choose positive words.It doesn’t mean that negative words have no use in business. But you should limit them as much as you can.Be very careful if you are using negative words.
Mistake, problems, errors, apology, regret, sorry, damage, loss, failure, fired, terminated etc are negative words. They evoke negative sense.
An example of negative message
We regret to inform you that we can’t permit you to use our clubhouse for your meeting, as ABC company has already booked it. We can , however, let you use our conference room, but it seats only 60.
Because ABC company has already booked the clubhouse for Saturday, the best we can do is offer you conference room, which seats 60.
A good news message in the hand of an unskilled writer looked like this:We received your claim in which you contend that we were responsible for damage to three cases of sunscreen lotion. We assure you that we sincerely regret the problems this has caused you. Even though we feel in all sincerity that your receiving clerks may have been negligent, we shall assume the blame and replace the damaged merchandise.
Three cases of sun screen lotion are on their way to you by ABC transport and should be on your sales floor by Saturday.
An example of negative message:We can not deliver it until Friday.Better writing may be:We can deliver the goods on Friday.
we regret to inform you that we must deny your request for credit.Better writing may be:For the time being, we can serve you only on a cash basis.
Overall tone of courtesy
Develop courteous relationshipWrite in a courteous toneWrite in conversational styleEmphasize readers’ view pointSelect positive words
How to achieve courteous tone?
Singling out your readerWrite directly to your readerGive individual treatmentDon’t be cold and impersonalBe humaneCustomize your letter, refer to the reader by nameMake your letter fit the facts of the one case. For example:
Not good expression:If we can be of any further assistance, please call on us.Better expression may be:We wish you the best of success on the book.
Refrain from preaching:Don’t have lecturing tone in your letter( in rare cases, you may write like preaching)Treat them like equalFor example: You must take advantage of savings like this if you are to be successful. The pennies you save will pile up, and in time you will have dollars.
Readers may often take it as an insultFlat and obvious statements often sound preachyObvious question answer pattern may also sound preachy. For example- Would you like to make a profit?Such questions offend listener.
Doingmore than is expected:Give little extraProvide a bit more careDoing something more than necessarySomething personal for personal relationship buildingIt may make your letter not -concise. Don’t write too many extra words. You should justify.You must take care to use neither more nor less than you need to reach your goal.
AvoidangerRarely is anger justified in lettersAnger destroys goodwillFor example: If you had read section IV of your policy, you would know that you are not covered on accidents that occur on water.Better option is:As a review of section IV of your policy indicates, you are covered on accidents that occur on the grounds of your residence only.
Sarcasm, insults, exclamations may have angry tone.For example:We will not tolerate this condition.I can’t accept your negligence.
ShowsincerityBe sincere, sound sincereFalse courtesy does not always work, neither does it work for long. You must be sincere from within.You must try to be courteous, truly.Truly use you-viewpoint.
Follow these guidelines for better business writing:Don’t overdo the above suggestionToo much viewpoint sounds insincereFor example: we are extremely pleased to be able to help you and want you to know that your satisfaction means more than anything to us. ( it sounds fake)Avoid exaggeration
Techniques of Emphasis
Emphasis also determines effectThere are 4 major emphasis techniquesEmphasis by positionPosition determines emphasis. Beginnings and endings carry the most emphasisThe first and last sentences of a letter, first and last sentences of a paragraph, first and last words of a sentence, carry more emphasis than middle parts.
2.Emphasis by spaceThe more space you give to something, the more emphasis you have given it.
3.Emphasis by sentence structureShort, simple sentences emphasize contentMore important information in independent clause, less important information can be put into subordinate clause.
4.Emphasis by mechanical means:Underscore, highlighting, coloring, diagramming, underlining etc put more emphasis.Italicized part of a sentence is also emphasized often.
Coherence in the letter
Letter should have coherence. The relationship among parts should be clear.Arrange the information in the logical orderUse transitional devices where necessaryThese 4 tips can be very helpful here:Tie-in sentencesRepetition of key wordsUse of pronounsTransitional words
tie-in sentences:Skillfully relate the ideasFor example: Abrupt shiftwe have found some additional information you will want to consider.Good tie-in writing:In the same spirit of friendly objectivity, we are confident that you will want to consider some additional information we have assembled.
2.Repetition of key words:It connects thoughts
3.Use of pronouns:This, that, these, those, his, her, etc. connect thoughts. Use them properly.
4.Transitional words:Use them to bridge ideasIn addition, besides, in spite of, in contrast, however, likewise, thus, therefore, for example, also etc.WORD OF CAUTION:Don’t overdo the given suggestion.