Letter writing may seem antiquated and inefficient in the world of email and text messaging but there are times when only a letter will do. If you need to send a more formal message to a business, government or even to a friend, you can write a letter. Follow these simple steps to write a letter.
- Address the letter with respect. If at all possible, find out the full name of the person you need to contact. Addressing a letter "To whom it may concern" may sound official but it is a sure way to get your letter lost in some mail room. If you know the name or title of the person who can help you, then their name should be on the letter.
- Know what you want to say. Before you write the letter, get a handle on what you want to say. If you are responding to something that bothered you or trying to write a complaint letter then consider writing a draft that includes all your venting before you write the real draft. Letters that are full of vitriol and ranting rarely get the response you are looking for. Outline your thoughts so that your letter has a logical and organized flow.
- Get to the point. In creating the flow of your text start with your strongest point first. You might be tempted to offer hints or gradually lead up to your point but remember that you want something from the reader so you need to get to the point within the first three sentences.
- Keep paragraphs short and concise. The good thing about letters is that they can be longer than your average email. You may want to try to keep letters no longer than a single page of text but that page offers a lot of room. With all that space you want to avoid large blocks of text. Instead break things up into several small paragraphs to quickly guide the reader through your letter and make it easier to read.
- Document any included paperwork or individuals copied. If you are submitting documentation to support your point or request, then indicate what is attached in the text of your letter so the reader knows to look for it. Also, if you intend to forward a copy of the letter to anyone else, make sure you indicate this on the letter. This is respectful and lets all parties know who else is involved.
- Include complimentary closing. Letters require a closing such as sincerely or with respect. The type of closing is up to you but should be complimentary and respectful.
- Include a call to action. If you want a response of any kind you need a call to action. Tell people what you want them to do.
- Sign the letter. An unsigned letter is half finished. Your signature is how you stand behind what you have written so make sure to include both your type written name and your signature.
Writing a letter is a great way to send requests or respond to correspondence from businesses. Whether you are trying to ask for a reduction in interest rate from a credit card company or trying to clear up a debt you don't feel you owe, being able to write a formal, respectful letter will be an asset. If you follow these steps you can create a letter that can get the response you need.