A business letter is usually a letter from one company to another, or between such organizations and their customers, clients and other external parties. The overall style of the letter depends on the relationship between the parties concerned. Business letters can have many types of contents, for example, to request direct information or action from another party, to order supplies from a supplier, to point out a mistake by the letter’s recipient, to reply directly to a request, to apologize for a wrong, or to convey goodwill. A business letter is sometimes useful because it produces a permanent written record, and may be taken more seriously by the recipient than other forms of communication.
When writing business letters certain procedures must be followed.
- The date should be written- day, month and year- and typed on the third single-line space below the printed heading.
- Reference is usually typed on the right-hand corner on the same line as the date, but in some cases, special reference space is provided.
- The name and address of the addressee should be typed in single-line space below the last line of the situation.
- Complimentary closure is usually typed two single-line spaces below the last line of the body of the letter.
- The name of the sender is written six single-line spaces after the complementary closure and, if there is any official status, it is typed below the name.
TYPES OF LAYOUT
There are different types of business letter layouts. The most commonly used are;
- Fully blocked
Most offices and organizations have their own headed paper. These may be used. The method of typing a business letter should conform to the style adopted by our office or organization.
For the fully-blocked letter, all the lines of the letter start on the same line.
This is slightly different in that the date ends at the right-hand margin. Both the complementary closure and signature start in the middle and are blocked.
This is similar to the blocked form type of letter. The difference is that it has indented paragraphs where necessary.
For the indented letter, the inside address, paragraphs, body and signature of the letter are indented. Let us now type the following business letter in each of the above layouts to illustrate their use.
- Describe the procedures that must be followed when writing business letters.
- State and explain the different types of business letter layouts.
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