Writing an effective business letter is an art. It is an acquired skill and depends on constant practice. Regular practice gives a flow to the style and brings a natural sense of expression. Features of an effective business letters are:
Scientific expression means something said directly and briefly. A good composition is essential for a business correspondence. To that end, a letter must be written clearly. Clarity in writing letters is of particular importance because many people have a lot of letters to deal with and they cannot waste their time trying to decipher the meaning of the composition. A letter written clearly in simple language conveys the meaning immediately to the reader.
Brevity is said to be the soul of the wit. Therefore, whatever you want to communicate, do so in brief and a forceful language. A letter written in brief and concise form contains only essential information. It must not be overweight with irrelevant and superfluous details. One must use as few words as possible but the composition must not be abrupt and vague. In the busy world of trade and commerce, people do not have much time in the midst of feverish activities. Thus, a wordy and circumlocutory letter irritates the reader rather than pleasing him/her.
Accuracy is important in a business letter; whatever you communicate in a letter must be accurate. The facts mentioned by you must be true and genuine. The writer must employ a suitable style and correct format. Rules of grammar and style must be followed. Correct construction of sentences and punctuation are essential in a business letter.
There must be proper paragraph divisions in a letter. Each distinct point must be expressed in a separate paragraph. For a new paragraph, both styles, ‘intended’ or ‘block’, are regarded correct at the present time. Some people begin the paragraphs at the left hand margin without leaving any space (indentation) and some of them think it proper to leave some space on the left-hand side.
Scientific expression prefers everything in a systematic and orderly way. A letter, therefore, must be drafted under the norms discussed above to bring effectiveness in communication.
Association of Ideas
The ideas and facts mentioned in the letter must be interlinked. It must be well-planned so that the reader is able to understand it easily. The writer must tackle various facts one by one. He must prepare a diagram in his mind and work upon it. Coherence in writing makes it interesting and affects the reader positively. Therefore, association of interconnection of ideas is a plus point in good business communication.
Politeness and optimism
Politeness and optimism are the passwords in the business world. Business correspondence must be conducted in a polite tone. Courtesy costs nothing but pays rich dividends. Politeness wins sympathy, respect and mutual understanding. Everybody likes to be addresses pleasantly, so it must be heeded. ‘Please’, ‘we appreciate’, ‘thanks’, ‘I am sorry’, ‘may we’, etc., are certain words that convey politeness or courtesy and these induce the reader to respond to the writer in a similar manner.