How to Format a Business Letter

A business letter is usually dispatched when a company wants to inquire, inform or request something to a business entity. It is considered the most effective way to keep up correspondence between two organisations.

It should be written in formal language and there should be no margin of confusion for the other party. Moreover, a business letter is always drafted on the letterhead of the company. The format of a business letter is standardised and anyone can write an effective letter by keeping a couple of important things in mind.

Instructions

  • 1

    The paper which is pre-printed with company’s logo and contact information is called “letterhead”. This information is always printed on top of the paper so you do not need to mention these things in the body of the letter. However, you can provide your personal contact information if needed.

  • 2

    Dateline is three or four spaces below the letterhead. It should contain the month (fully spelled out), day and exact date when the letter is mailed. Accuracy of the date is very important in business correspondence as it can create or resolve many issues. Sometimes, you need to put the date upon which any agreement becomes effective.

  • 3

    Recipient’s details are mentioned three or four spaces below the dateline. This portion comprises of the addressee’s full name, designation, business name or company’s name, address, city and postal code. The address should be the same as mentioned on the envelope otherwise your addressee can have an excuse to deny this letter in case of any dispute.

  • 4

    One or two lines below the address portion comes the salutation. The greeting starts with “Dear” followed by the last name of your addressee. If your addressee is not an individual then you can use the phrase “To whom it may concern”. However, be careful while greeting to personalities who hold legal, religious or political positions.

  • 5

    Body of the letter comes one space below the salutation. The format of the main content is standard as you use the first paragraph of the letter to define the purpose of this memo. You will give a brief history of the issue in a few sentences.
    Explain what the letter is about in the next paragraphs. You should cover each point in a separate paragraph and then state your demands in the final paragraph.

  • 6

    Closing compliments always come two lines below the main body of the business letter. Most of the time people use “Yours truly”, “Sincerely” or “Sincerely yours” to close the letter.

  • 7

    Leave at least four lines to allow room for your full name and signatures.

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