Personal Business Letter: Core Principles of Business Correspondence

To succeed in personal business letter writing, it is crucial to know its definition, aim, and fundamentals.

Definition of a Personal Business Letter

Basically, a letter is one of the simplest and most important types of written communication. People have always written letters to keep in touch with others, to convey some type of information or to send some inquiries. When it comes to business letter writing, one should be aware of its meaning and business letter definition. As such, a business letter is a piece of correspondence aimed to maintain contacts with suppliers, clients, different departments, and other stakeholders. A business letter is used to exchange information between different enterprises and parties. Ordering services and products as well as placing orders requires basic knowledge of business letter writing.

Murphy said that a business letter is the most frequently used medium of written communication within the business realm. Weston perceives a business letter as a means of written communication aimed to accomplish business operations.

Aims and Functions of Business Letters

The main aim of writing a business letter is to get in touch with suppliers, clients, creditors, debtors, and any other stakeholders to exchange information, make orders, and conduct other business operations. Ricks and Gow identified such goals of business letter writing as to give instructions, provide information, send requests, give orders, correct, advise, remit, and question.

Purpose of Business Letter Writing

  1. Pass information. The fundamental goal of business letter writing is to communicate a message across concerning specific business activities. A business letter helps to convey information to consumers, suppliers, debtors, creditors, corporations, governmental organizations, and other institutions.
  2. Carry out transactions. A business letter is one of the fundamental means of completing business transactions.
  3. Creating demand. Circular letters particularly are used for creating demand for new services and products.
  4. Creating goodwill. In the modern era of electronic communication, messages on a specific company and its services or products can be spread on line within a few seconds or minutes. As such, business letters can play a decisive role in creation of a positive image of a company.
  5. Business expansion. With the help of circular messages, a business can easily attract new customers and thus expand.
  6. Establishing a rapport. Another vital purpose of writing a business letter is to establish a rapport with potential clients, suppliers, and other parties.
  7. Evidence maintenance. Business letters are also written with the purpose of maintaining documentary evidence since they can be used as a reference material for the future.
  8. To send inquiries. A business concern does not merely denote the process of sending messages but also the process of extracting information from beyond. If a company needs to get some details or specifics, it is possible to do so by sending a business letter.
  9. Order placement. To place an order for a product, business persons also use business letters as a type of communication. For example, with the help of business letters, a company manager may make orders of raw materials or completed products or finished services.
  10. Solving problems. In the business setting, it is common to encounter problems. Sometimes, one of the ways to solve them is to communicate with another responsible party and collaborate on the way to finding an appropriate solution. Effective business communication helps to eradicate misunderstandings.

Fundamental Principles of Personal Business Letter Writing

  • Clarity. An effective letter should be clear in order to be able to convey information in a comprehensible manner. Regardless of the letter purpose, it should be understandable to the target reader. If a person is not organized clearly and succinctly, then it might be a trouble for the target audience to comprehend the message and understand the purpose behind it.
  • Influence. A business letter should impact the target readers in a specific way. As such, before writing a business letter, you need to identify its specific objective and outline its central purpose.
  • Pose a desired influence. Any business letter has an aim of influencing a reader in a specific way. Therefore, make sure you put an emphasis on the aspects that are essential for reaching your desired impact. As such, occasional repetition of the key words, terms or inquiries may be used.
  • Suitable information. The information you provide in the business letter should be relevant and corresponding to the main aim and idea of the letter. If you provide some facts or statistics, they should be updated (recent) and plausible (taken from credible sources). Besides, you should clearly pinpoint to why you have decided to use them and what idea you convey or prove with their help.
  • Brevity. This is one of the core characteristics of an effective and successful business letter. It should not be too wordy and should not take much time to read.
  • Time-bound in reading. A business letter should not take much time to read – it is not a novel where you need to describe the setting and then delve into great detail. When writing a business letter, be aware that your target reader will not have plenty of time to read and thus he/ she needs to understand the basic idea and message as soon as possible.
  • Simplicity. To convey your thoughts and information on the whole in a clear and comprehensible manner, it is important to narrate in a simple manner. Do not use high-brow or overly sophisticated language. To make the desired impact, the text should be clear and comprehensible.
  • Timeliness. To be effective, a business letter should be dispatched on time. Besides, one should indicate whether the letter is urgent or immediate if it requires a call to action.
  • Language. One should mind what language style to use when being involved in formal business communication. First of all, it is crucial to ensure that the language used corresponds to the sphere and topic of writing. As such, use corresponding terms and avoid jargons or regional language that might not be completely understandable for the general public.
  • Appeal. A properly written letter is effective when it appeals to the target audience in terms of readers’ sensibilities, feelings, issues, and background.
  • Style. A properly written business letter should adhere to specific writing style and manner of conveying information. It is also advisable to have your own individual writing style.
  • Positive approach to writing. Try to avoid over-usage of “no,” “non-,” and “not” particles. Always try to change words with negative compounds into the ones with positive meaning. Besides, try to maintain the overall positive style of writing in order not to leave a negative impression on the target readers.