A letter is a silent spokesperson and thus, must be written with extreme care and caution. As we all know, a sloppy letter never makes a point and always leaves a bad impression on the reader. A letter can be written for personal purposes or for business reasons. They say, letter writing is an art because the one writing the letter holds the power of words to communicate with the addressee.
Letter Writing Etiquette
The first rule of letter writing is, clarity. This rule applies while writing both, business as well as personal letters. Without clarity a letter would be mere page filled with beating around the bush. This is primarily the reason why a business letter has a subject line. This line brings attention to the bone of contention that needs to be said or discussed. This way the reader doesn't have to waste time in reading the letter, line-by-line or word-by-word.
A long letter comes close to a tortuously boring soliloquy. Thus, keep it short and simple. A letter, professional or personal, must have short sentences, simple language, and exact matter. Any form of verbosity, and the letter will be lost in translation. So, cut it short and keep it concise.
It is extremely essential that you provide the addressee with the correct details. While writing a sales letter or a letter of requisition for goods, there is a chance that the data can be misquoted. Also do keep your grammar in check while writing a letter. Incorrect grammar can lead to misunderstanding, sabotaging the very essence of nonverbal communication.
You might be very tempted to use abusive language while writing a letter of complain. However, good manners and politeness are an integral part of letter writing etiquette. Using vehement language to complain will vex the addressee. Instead, using phrases such as 'let me explain' or 'this is to inform you', to put your point across.
Being conversational while writing a letter doesn't mean scripting an imaginary conversation. Making references such as: 'thank you for your letter of 8th March 1998, which has been passed to me for my attention', will add a tinge of emotions to the letter. Expressing regret, pleasure, anger, content, and dismay, add an element of curiosity for the reader.
Since the whole idea of letter is to communicate, convincing becomes an inseparable part of the same. This is especially true in the case of business proposals, offer letters, quotations, letters of complain, letters of request and apology letters. You must once again summarize all the key points and state the message in courteous and clear words.
A complete letter means a letter which states the facts, explains the same, and makes a point. Do not deviate from the subject, by making vague references. This leads to confusion and languor, while reading the letter.
Lastly, do not forget writing the correct name, date and address. An incorrectly spelled name can be taken as an offense by the addressee. A sincere complimentary closing will mark the end of your letter.