How do I write an effective Letter?
If you're writing to friends or family, your letter will be very different to a letter written for business reasons. To write an effective letter, first consider your audience.
Friends and family
Although this kind of letter offers you a lot of freedom, you can make it much more pleasant to read by preparing your thoughts. Think of an appropriate greeting paragraph. If possible, refer to the things your recipient has told you last time you spoke or wrote.
What do you want to tell this person? Organize your thoughts in sentences and your topics into paragraphs. Stick with topics that will be of interest to your reader.
Close off with any thoughts or questions related to your recipient. Remember, this is not only about you! Effective letters engage the recipient.
Try to keep your letters personal. That is: refrain from bulk mailings unless you're busy with something of interest that many of your contacts would like to follow. Remember to acknowledge the other person and what you understand to be their concerns at the moment.
In this case, a lot of factors come into play. What medium are you using (email, printed letter, pm)? What is the purpose of your communication?
Do you want to inform?
Do you need to persuade someone?
Keep your letter crisp and to the point. 'Dear Sir or Ma'am' is sufficient as a greeting with which to begin a printed letter. In the case of email, 'Good morning' or even 'Hi' are adequate as greetings. If you do know the name of the person you are addressing, make use of it! People like to feel that you are giving them personal attention.
When writing a letter or email, your subject line is important. Tell your reader what to expect. In letters, this is usually done in capital letters after the greeting. In emails, this will be the subject of your mail. Make sure it explains the content of your communication in a nutshell. If your subject line is weak, your letter may be ignored!
Organize your thoughts for the body text and begin with the most vital message you wish to convey. If you haven't caught your reader's attention in the first paragraph, chances are, they won't read further! Effective letters capture the reader's attention form the word 'go'!
Convey a positive opinion of the recipient. Even if you're asking someone to pay an overdue account, it is important to prevent them from shutting off because they feel criticized or pressurized! Use words like 'should' instead of 'must' and acknowledge the strong points of their business. In any communication, people like to feel that they are in control. If they think you're trying to push them around, they'll fight you even if they're wrong.
Remember, when it comes to business, people are interested in solutions to their problems rather than yours. Explain how you will resolve their need rather than telling them how they might resolve yours.
Sometimes, you have to say 'no'. Do it courteously, and explain why you had to do this. Express regret that things haven't worked out to everyone's satisfaction and express the wish to do business in the future.
Whatever you do, get to the point! Your reader is as busy as you are, if not more busy. Effective letters limit flowery language and stick to the facts, but consider the feelings of your recipient, and help them to feel that you are doing your utmost for them.
A few tips on formatting
Make any letter easy to read. Keep your sentences and paragraphs short. Allow for 'white space' so that the reader finds the text easy on the eye. Make sure that your letter is neat and organised in such a way that its contents are easily mastered.
Make your recipient feel important!
Sloppy or disorganized writing or a grudging tone is enough to drive away many a client. Present information clearly, concisely, and in such a way that your client will feel that you've come up with something special just for him. People like to feel special, and communication is all about people!
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Edited by: Rajesh Bihani ( Find me on Google+ )