How to Write a Good Business Letter with Template, Sample, and Tips

A business letter is an official document prepared and sent by authors to convey a business message to recipients. Basically, the purpose of sending letters includes applying for work, requesting supply, acknowledging receipt of goods, and demand for pay, among other reasons. In this case, the main elements on how to write a business letter include the sender’s address, date composition of the message, the recipient’s address, salutation, body paragraphs, closing, and signing. Also, different academic formats lead to a difference in the citation of information in the paper’s body.

General Aspects of Writing a Business Letter

Formal letters are crucial tools of communication for communicating and documenting communication in the business environment. Like other writings, such letters intend to be crisp and succinct. Therefore, they stress specificity and accuracy of information communicated instead of creativity, like it is in informal pieces. Moreover, such works serve as official channels of communicating business information with block letter format, being the most common style where all sections align to the left with a classic business letter having seven parts.

How to write a business letter

Definition of a Business Letter

Business writings are documents used for official communication of specific information, such as job application, order requests, order delivery information, and request for payment for delivered goods. Basically, these works include physical documents and electronic emails used by businesses to communicate internally and externally. In turn, each type of business letter follows a specific format.

Block Letter Format

In block letter format, authors align all the sections of the letter to the left. Therefore, the heading, addresses, salutation, body paragraphs, and signature are all aligned to the left margin. Also, the indentation of the first sentence in a section is not applied. In some cases, writers insert double space between paragraphs to separate them instead of intending the first line.

Emails

Emails are a form of written pieces that are transmitted electronically. For instance, business emails follow the same format as other writings. However, they are customized to suit the requirements of emails. In turn, difficulties in appending the author’s electronic signature mean that mentioning the author’s name is enough in signing off the letter.

Sections of a Business Letter

A business letter has seven main sections. In this case, each part contains information that is crucial for documentation of the communication sent from the author’s message to the recipient. Also, the content of these parts may vary depending on the author, intention of the letter, and the recipient. In turn, some emails may have less than seven sections.

1. Sender’s Address

Senders place their addresses at the top of the letter. In this case, the address section contains information, such as names of the sender, company name, address, and city information. Therefore, recipients can identify writers by checking addresses at the top of the papers.

2. Date

The section reports the date of composition for the letter. In this case, different date formats are used in this section, depending on the author’s country. For instance, the American form of writing the date includes the day, then – the month, and then – the year. Basically, the date when the letter was authored is crucial for future references.

3. Receiver’s Address  

The section comprises of the receiver’s name, designation, and address. In the instance where the names of receivers are not known, the designated office name appears here. For example, if someone sends a letter to the human resource manager, the recipient will be the office-bearer in the company.

4. Salutation

In this section, senders greet recipients in a respectful manner. For instance, if someone addresses a business letter to the president of the United States, the salutation will refer to “Dear President.” However, the phrase “to whom it may concern” is used when authors do not know who they are addressing exactly. In turn, other alternatives for salutation include the name of the recipient, such as “Dear John” or “Dear Sir/Madam” when authors are not sure about the identity of recipients.

5. Body

In the body, authors start with setting the tone of a written piece by indicating the intention for writing. Then, the rest of the details follow in a clear and succinct expression of the intended message. In this case, personal pronouns are common in the body paragraphs of business works. Also, other features of a body include the use of active voice, conversational language, and polite language.

6. Closing

The closing paragraph should indicate the respect accorded to the recipient. Just like salutation, the end should reflect the formality of the relationship between the author and the recipient. For instance, senders can use “sincerely” or “kind regards” in this section. In turn, similar to salutation, the author places a comma after the closing.

7. Signing the Letter

The sign comes at the end of the paper. For example, it is placed about four spaces after the closing. Usually, this part includes the name and signature of the sender. For emails, authors put a scanned version of their signature at the space. In letters signed on behalf of another person, “pp” is placed before the signature. Basically, the double “p” stands for “on behalf of.”

Business Letter Template

Sender’s names
Address
City, state, and state code

[Fill out this Blank Block]

The date the letter was written

[Fill out this Blank Block]

Recipient’s names
Designation
Address
City, state and state code

[Fill out this Blank Block]

Dear [Fill out this Blank Block]

Body of the Letter

[Fill out this Blank Block]

Closing [Fill out this Blank Block]

Sender’s name
Sender’s Signature

[Fill out this Blank Block]

Business Letter Sample

John Dickson,
423 Listens Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60611

2 June 2020

Mr. Erik Power
Human Resource Manager
Keen Grains Limited
300 Growth Drive
Chicago, Illinois 60611

Dear Mr. Erik,

I am writing about a current supply of wheat to your company. On 26 May 2020, I supplied 20 tons of the product to your company and sent an invoice of $200,000. According to our agreement, you were to make the payment within two working days.  

It is now more than two weeks, and your company has not credited the amount to my bank. The delay is expensive as the bank continues to overcharge me for a lack of payment of loans on time.

I will significantly appreciate the speedy processing of the amount.

Best regards,

John Dickson

(Sign)

Referencing Letters

In-text citation of outside sources used to provide information in the body of letters depends on the academic format. In APA, authors use the surname and year of publication. However, the MLA format includes the surname of the author’s source and the page number. On the other hand, Harvard in-text citations include surname, year of publication, and the page number. In turn, Chicago/Turabian uses footnotes to reference borrowed information in the body of a letter.

Elements of a Business Letter

  • Sender’s address.
  • Date.
  • Recipient’s address.
  • Salutation.
  • Body.
  • Closing.
  • Signing.

Language in a Business Letter Body

  • The setting tone of the letter.
  • Use of personal pronouns.
  • Use of active voice.
  • Clear and concise writing.
  • Conversational tone.
  • Courtesy to the recipient.
  • A summary at the end.
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