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How to Write a Business Letter for Effective Communication

Updated on May 1, 2012
how to write a business letter
how to write a business letter

Every business letter does not carry the same value and weight, yet a business letter need to be written using some basic features and in some particular formats. It is absolutely necessary to learn the proper method of writing business letter, because your business letter actually carry your personality to the person you are contacting to. Think of how an untidy man is viewed by his colleagues and friends, definitely he will always make a negative impression to his fellows. On the other hand if a person is neat and tidy and follows all the necessary rules of a company, he will be viewed as a person of principles and people will feel confident while working with him. Likewise, your business letter being in perfect order send a clear message to your receiver that you are confident and sincere, no matter what business you are in. So, easily you can understand the importance of writing a business letter. And you can be an expert of business correspondence by following a simple format.

A business letter should have a few basic elements, which are the framework every letter should follow regardless of the content of your letter. More or less, a business letter has the following parts. You can make the first line the letter either indented or blocked- both the formats are equally acceptable.

1. Date:

Start your letter with date using either of the two date format. If you are living in United States, then use their data format: June 30, 2010. You can also use the following date format with a comma-

30 June, 2010

2. Letter Receipt Address

In this part of the letter your need to include address and title of the recipient of the letter. If you know a specific person of a company you are writing to, and then use his or her name. Include that person’s title before the name such as Mr., Mrs . . . . if the person you are contacting to is a woman and you are not sure how she like to be address then use “Ms”. Before her name. If you are send the letter anywhere within you country then include the P.O. information correctly. In case of an international letter, write the name of the country in Block letter after the complete address of your recipient.

Recipient address should be added just below one inch of the date.

Address Format:

Mr. Joe Smith, Chair
Department of Electronics Engineering
California State University
401 Golden Shore Long
Beach, CA 90802-4210

United States of America

3 .Salutation (with a colon)

Write the same name and title used in the address section of the letter. If the recipient of the letter is known to you, then you can address that person by his first name such as-

Dear Joe:

For the case of unknown person always use title followed by the full name with a colon.

Dear Mr. Joe Smith:

There will be situation when you will not be able to determine the gender by reading one’s name; this happens especially if you have to deal with foreign clients. In that case use the following salutation format.

Dear Joe Smith

4. Letter Body

This is the key part of your letter and it should be written with proper care. Since you are writing a business letter, the body should be as concise as possible and be specific to the point of interest of your real purpose. You can start the first paragraph sentence using a friendly opening statement and then in the next line write your main points. If possible write the reference of this letter, add some supporting reasons for your requirements etc, but be specific to your needs only. Body could be two to four paragraphs, no more than that. The last paragraph of the body need to restate of the purpose of the letter such as you request for actions or anything else...

5. Closing

Normally the closing start at one line below the last paragraph of the body. If you salutation ends with a colon, then put a coma in the closing. Most popularly used closing is “Sincerely”. After writing closing put a comma and then skip four lines and then write type your full name. In between your full name and closing, sign your name.


(Give your initial signature)

Joe Smite (your full name)

7. Enclosures

In case you send some documents or any product along with your letter, you need to indicate it in your letter by typing Enclosures just below the closing sentence. If you send more the one documents or spare parts, then it is a good idea to mention each document name in the enclosure so as you can use it as a reference for further communications.

Dos and Dont's of a Business Better

  • Make it as precise and short as possible.
  • Use reference number or person, in the body section if required
  • Never use short-hand verb form like- it’s.
  • Double check spelling errors
  • Use a colon after salutation and use a coma after closing
  • Though both block and indent format are in practice, but block format is very easy to follow. If you choose to write in block format then your entire letter will be left justified and there will be double space between two paragraphs only, otherwise single spaced.

professional business letter

Example of a business letter in Block Format

For example you need to advertise you ads in a newspaper and you are interested to learn their fee structure.

[DATE, ex. Monday, June 30, 2010]

[Name & Address of the company]

Joe Smith

Avon Ads limited.

77 First Street

Suite 777

Any city, any state 80090]

Dear [name ex. Je Smith]:

We are very much interested for a half-page color advertisement for two consecutive weeks in your news paper. Accordingly, please provide us the following information as soon as possible.

1. Advertisement rate of your newspapoer

2. Terms and conditions on advertisement contents

3. Your minimum lead time

If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact me at (your cell number). I will be looking forward to your reply.


(Your signature)

[your name, ex. Joe Smith]


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    • mishel ronld profile image

      mishel ronld 6 years ago from New York, NY

      Hey nice information for someone who is looking for a right format. I struggled for a long time with how to perfect mine so this is definitely advice that people can use well done!!

    • andromida profile image

      syras mamun 7 years ago

      Thank you Lady_E.Impression is all-it is all about how other perceive you in their way. But, personally I don't like idea of making impression, perhaps I consider it only for business purpose:)

    • Lady_E profile image

      Elena 7 years ago from London, UK

      Thanks for this Andromida. If we don't follow the right format, we won't receive the appropriate response. It's always good to make the right impression.

      Regards. :)