Business Letter Checklist: Tips for Effective Business Correspondence
A business letter checklist prevents you from overlooking fundamental points that need to be included in the business correspondence. If you need to send a reply to a business letter that you received some time ago, make sure you fully understand the situation and the sender’s needs or desires for writing to you. Make sure you are fully aware of their former inquiries or letters they sent. Do not try to write a reply in haste because you may accidentally miss some important information. As such, refer to the former questions of the letter sender and reflect on the mentioned problem. If you have previously met with that person, make sure to refer to that conversation and pinpoint that you understand the issue and plan to deal with it.
The business letter checklist also provides details on the business letter structure.
- Make sure each paragraph is devoted to a separate idea. Express the idea clearly and in detail in order not to confuse the reader. Try not to mix multiple ideas together or cram different or even contrasting ideas into one paragraph. Make sure you discuss the points in the order of importance.
- Provide headings to split the business letter into logical points. It also helps readers to navigate through the paper in an easier way. Besides, with the help of subheadings, readers will pay attention to the information that interests them most.
- Apart from headings and subheadings, make sure you use white space. Too lengthy and dense paragraphs are #1 obstacle against comprehension of the information. Besides, such paragraph structure makes it hard to grasp and comprehend the text.
- Use bullet points for the most important ideas or aspects within a paragraph. Short sentences, bullet pointed lists, and numbered items help to organize information or highlight the sequence of ideas, events, actions, etc.
- If you need to represent some data, feel free to use visuals, such as tables, graphs, diagrams, etc. Make sure there is a balance of text and visuals. If you provide some visuals, make sure to name them so that it is clear for the reader how they fit into the text and with what purpose they are used.
- Make sure you clearly demonstrate your own position to the reader. If you need to explain something, make sure you clearly explain why something does not function properly or pinpoint in what way exactly your target reader(s) can help you understand the issue.
- If it is not the first time you receive a letter from your recipient, emphasize that you appreciate their attention and time they have spent to write you.
- Avoid calling your reader a “user.” Hardly any person would like to be referred to like this. If you need to refer to your recipient, just use a “person.”
- Appeal to your readers’ needs. Do not place primary focus on your business and its products. If you need to fix the problem of your clients or the target readers, provide specific steps regarding how you can do it.
- Avoid excessive usage of passive voice. It will make you closer to your readers and express more dedication.
- Make sure you use diverse sentences in length and structure. It will vary your writing style.
- Be concise, brief, and logical when expressing your position or viewpoint.
- After the letter completion, make sure to revise the letter and ensure it is free from awkward wording as well as grammar and punctuation mistakes.
- Read the letter aloud and see for yourself how it may sound to the audience. This point is particularly important on the business letter checklist.
- Get professional opinion of another person regarding your letter. Ask him/ her whether there are issues that are confusing or dispelling.
- If you have many negative phrases or “not” particles, make sure to paraphrase such sentences and add them more positive meaning. Choose the words properly.
- Remove clichés. Make sure you write in a clear and comprehensible manner.
- Make sure you include personal and contact information at the bottom of the business letter.
- If you need to offer some guidance to the reader, make sure you provide a specific call to action.
Shortly, this is what business letter checklists are about. You just go through each of the aforementioned aspects and check whether your business letter corresponds to the fundamental principles and standards.