In most companies, written communication is just as important as verbal communication. In this age of Twitter and Facebook, the ability to attract the reader’s attention and get your point across in a clear, concise manner is imperative. Despite popular belief, the written memo is not dead. It’s alive and well. The ability to master business letter writing is just as important today.
1 – Keep your readers in mind. Many professionals write letters to impress their readers. Complex vocabulary and meaningless phrases will often set the letter up for failure. In fact, writing a letter which is too difficult to comprehend will send your letter to the bottom of the in-box. This does not mean that you want to insult your readers, just keep it simple. Save the big words for another occasion.
2 – Keep your tone in check. Remember the same point will come across differently depending on whether you’re writing it or speaking it. Writing, removes the emotion or the quick smile to take the edge off your words. What you may think is a light hearted letter may leave your reader feeling like they have been chastised.
3 – Rethink your phrases. Overworked words and phrases can be tiring to your reader. Readers want to read memos, not a tired sales pitch.
4 – State the point quickly. Don’t take the entire first 4 paragraphs of a 5 paragraph letter to get to the point. No one has time for fluff and nonsense. Get to the point early for a happier and more receptive reader.
5 – Make sure that every item in the letter is absolutely necessary. Even if you got to the point quickly, did you rapidly veer off course? Personal updates are not needed. Do you need to do a lot of data-dumping? If it serves no purpose, keep out any unnecessary story telling.
6 – Be positive, even if the point you’re making is negative. If you have to talk about what can not be done, balance with what can be done.
7 – The rest is pretty much self-explanatory. Use strong verbs, review the mechanics, and create interest.
Today’s workers are busy. To attract their attention, a writer must be able to provide clear and concise written communication.