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Few business transactions are carried through successfully without correspondence at some point. Enquires must be answered, quotation given, order placed, complains dealt with, transport and insurance arranged and account settled. Letters must be written to customers, salesmen, agents, suppliers, bankers, shipowners and many others; they cover every conceivable phase of business activity. They are the firm's silent salesmen and, often enough, represent its only contact with the outside world. Hence the need to create a good impression, not only of the writer's firm, but also of the writer himself as an efficient person eager to be of service.
In our Business courses that follow are to be found over hundred specimen letters dealing with a comprehensive range of transactions of the kind handled in business every day. They are presented, not as models to be copied, for no two business situations are ever quite alike, but rather as examples written in the modern English style to illustrate the accepted principles of good business writing. For those wishing to use the collection as business tool, consisting of headings under which letter are classified and grouped according to subject matter, supplies a convenient and useful source of reference.
Every business letter is written to a purpose; each has its own special aim, and one of the features of this course is its use of explanation to show how the various letters set out to achieve their aims. Basic legal principles relevant to different types of transaction are also touched upon, but only where there is a need to clarify legal relationships. The exercises the means for students to apply in practice what they have been taught.
The many letters included are written in straightforward and meaningful style of the modern age and should be of special help to the overseas user, and especially to students from Raffles College where commercial correspondence is taught either as a general business accomplishment or as a preparation for the various examinations.
Business letter/e-mail writing
Structure of The business letter
Letter promoting good will
Enquires and replies
Quotations, estimates and tenders
Sales letters and voluntary offers
Orders and their fulfillment
Complaints and adjustments
Invoicing and settlement of accounts
Letters requesting payment
Credit and status enquires
Banking (1) home business
Banking(2) payment in foreign trade
Transport (1) road and rail
Transport (2) sea and air
Travel and hotels
A typical business transaction
The business letter is the principal means used by a business firm to keep in touch with its customers; often enough it is the only one customers form their impression of the firm from the tone and quality of letters it sends out. Good quality paper and an attractive letter head play their part in this, but they are less important than the message they carry, but it does require us to express ourselves accurately in plain language that is clear and readily understood.
Writing plainly does not mean that letters must be confined to a mere recital of facts, in a style that is dull and anattractive. When we write a letter we enter into a personal relationship with our reader. Like us he has feelings and we cannot afford to disregard them. This is a necessary reminder because many people who are warmand friendly by nature become persons of quite another sort when they sit down to write or dictate a business letter. They seem to think that business letter call for a special kind of Business English. They forget that they are holding conversations by post and make use of impersonal constructions that produce a cold and aloof tone. They prefer to write your letter has been received rather than the warmer and homelier I have received your letter, and your complaint is being looked into rather than I am looking into your complaint. They often refer to themselves as the writer and say. The writer visited your showrooms, when they should say I visited your showrooms. Personal constructions, with the emphasis on YOU and I or WE, help to produce the warm and friendly tone more suited to letter writing.
The whole secret of good business letter writing is to write simply, in an easy and natural way - like one friendly human being talking to another. Make your letter or e-mail, then sound as much as possible like good conversation. You wouldn't say on the phone It is regretted that the goods cannot be delivered today. You would say I am sorry we cannot deliver the goods today, so why not say it when you write a letter?
SOME RULES OF GOOD WRITING
1- Think first of the reader and address yourself to his interests. Tell him all he wants to know and don't leave him to guess between the lines
2-Adopt a tone suited to the occasion and purpose of the letter
3- Write naturally, as you would talk, using plain and familiar words
4- Write clearly and to the point. The dominant need in all business writing is exactness expressed in language that is absolutely clear
5-Write courteously and make your letter sound friendly and sincere
6- Avoid wordiness, but at the same time remember that it is more important to be clear and courteous even if it means using more words
7- Avoid commercial jargon with its roundabout and meaningless forms of expression
8- Write effectively - by using simple language, by being consistent and precise
9- Avoid monotony - by introducing variety
10- Write to a plan if your letter is long or especially important
11- Pay special attention to the opening and closing paragraphs - first and last impressions leave a special mark on the reader
12- Check your letter or e-mail
All these are matters of importance and we shall now take a closer look at each one of them.
Study your reader's interests
The letters you send out must create a good first impression.To achieve this,put yourself in your reader's shoes and try to image how he will feel about what you write.Ask yourself constantly ,what are his needs,his wishes,his interests,his problems,and how can I meet them?;What would be my own feelings if I were to receive a letter of kind I propose to write? Try to image that you are receiving rather than sending the letter and emphasize the you attitude rather than the I or We.
Adopt the right tone
If a letter is to achieve its purpose,its tone must be right.Before beginning to write think carefully about the way in which you want to influence your reader.Ask yourself,what do I want this letter to do?and then express yourself accordingly,being persuasive,apologetic,obliging,firm and so on,depending on the effect you want to produce.
Write naturally and sincerely
When you sit down to write or dictate a letter,try to feel a genuine interest in the person you are writing to and in his problems.Say what you have to say with sincerity and make sure that it sounds sincere.Express your thoughts in your own words and in your own way.Be yourself.Write so that what you say would sound natural if read over the telephone.