The Anatomy of A Business Letter
Different Types of Business Letter: Inter-office Documents
The Anatomy of A Business Letter
To deliver a message effectively, the channel should be solid and clear. According to the book Effective Business Communication, by Ronnie A. Boeing, the following are parts of a business letter:
Content of Business Letter
Heading (Letterhead) – This usually formal letter format displays the name of the institution represented by the author, as well as the corporate name and business address.
Date (Dateline) – This indicates the day when the letter was written, and not when the document was released.
Inside Address – The name, position, business name, and business address of the addressee appear on this part.
Return Address – Your address
Effective Fields of Business Letter
Salutation – For the recipient’s name, use Mr. or Ms. and then the last name to show respect. Other salutations are: Ladies, Gentlemen, Dear Sir, and Dear Sir or Madam.
Body – Paragraphs should be brief and straight to the point. The length of the letter depends on the purpose of the letter.
Complimentary Close – This is the part where the author should signal the ending of the letter. Among the suggested closings are: “Very truly yours,” “Very sincerely yours,” and “Very respectfully yours.
Signature Block – Your name and position are on this part.
Reference Initial – Any of the writer, dictator, or encoder of the letter should be mentioned using an acronym, initial or code.
Importance of Signature Line in Business Letter
Courtesy Copies – These are the secondary recipients of the letter.
Enclosure Notation – This reminds the recipient about the attachment/s to the letter.
PostScript (PS Notation) – Important details are stressed here, calling the recipient’s attention. This is usually found on a sales or marketing letter.
Through Line – “This part appears in the letter if the sender is a subordinate who writes to a person higher in position than his immediate superior. It is a protocol that communications should pass through channels.”
Notes on Salutation: Syntax Training founder Lynn Garner-Johnston shares the following tips when greeting your letter’s recipient:
Prefix Importance in Business Letter
Use the title Ms. if you are unsure of what the person prefers between Mrs. and Ms.
Use two names in the salutation when there are two recipients, like this:
Dear Mr. Lodge and Ms. Cooper: or Dear Maine and Thomas:
Titles Mr., Ms., Mrs., and Dr. do not have to be spelled out. But do spell out titles like these: “Professor, Dean, Sister, Rabbi, Imam, Senator, Governor, Captain, Admiral, Judge”
Title of Business Letter
If unsure of a person’s gender, you may use Business Letter Example the full name rather than a title: Dear Lea Swift: / Dear Ed Green: Avoid “To whom it may concern.” Instead, choose the job title or a generic greeting: If you are writing to a company rather than any specific individual, use the company name: Dear Tex Printing:
As for the format of a business letter, the University of Wisconsin – Madison identifies two basic formats for a letter:
The Block Form – All the parts are indented to the left
The Indented Form – The return address, date, closing, and signature of the author are indented to the right and the rest to the left
Below are samples of business letters.