CHAPTER 6 Positive Messages
They produce a permanent record. Unlike e-mail, they are confidential. They convey formality and sensitivity. They deliver persuasive, well-considered messages. Understanding the Power of Business Letters Why are letters still important in business?
Writing Plan for Request for Information or Action Opening Body Closing Ask the most important question first or express a polite command.
Writing Plan for Request for Information or Action Opening Body Closing • Explain the request logically and courteously. • Ask other questions if necessary.
Writing Plan for Request for Information or Action Opening Body Closing • Request a specific action with an end date, if appropriate. • Show appreciation.
Improved Will you please answer the following questions regarding possible accommodations at the Hyatt Regency for a conference in May. Improving Openers for Routine Request Letters Opening Body Closing Weak I’ve been given the task of locating a convention site for my company’s meeting. I’ve checked a number of places, and your hotel looks possible.
Improving Openers for Routine Request Letters Weak My company is interested in building a commercial Web site. I noticed at your site an offer to have a representative visit and discuss plans. We are eager to have someone visit us. Improved Please have a representative visit my company to discuss building a commercial Web site.
Improving Openers for Routine Request Letters Weak I am conducting a training class for students of photography at the Lincoln Training Center, and I saw a picture we could use in our program. Improved What is the procedure for ordering a copy of a photograph to be used for training purposes?
Weak Thanks for any information you can provide. Improving Closings for Routine Request Letters Opening Body Closing Improved We would appreciate receiving answers to these questions before April 4 so that we will have plenty of time to plan our conference.
Improving Closings for Routine Request Letters Weak Hoping to hear from you at your earliest convenience. Improved Please call us at (213) 457-2998 before April 4 to arrange an appointment during the week of April 10. Thank you for your cooperation. Your answer to my inquiry will help me make my printer choice. Thanks!
The next four slides illustrate basic information on proper placement and formatting of business letters. Remember to refer to Appendix A, Reference Guide to Document Formats, for more details on this topic. Parts of a Business Letter
0 2 inches from top or 1 blank line below letterhead 2 – 10 lines between dateline and inside address 1 blank line (double space) 1 blank line (double space) Single-space para-graphs; leave 1 blank line (double space) between paragraphs
0 1 blank line (double space) Hit ENTER four times after complimentary close to allow space for signature 1 blank line (double space)
Prepare on plain paper instead of printed letterhead. Include your home address (street, city, state, zip) but not your name. Note that the rest of the personal business letter format is the same as other business letters. Ineffective Information Request Take note that the letter example you will see on the next slide illustrates the personal business letter.
Open letter by clicking icon at right. As you read the letter, Evaluate its content. Identify areas for improvement. Ineffective Information Request
Saves the reader’s time by starting directly with the information request. Makes it easy for the reader to identify what specific questions need to be answered. Closes appropriately with appreciation and requesting a specific action with an end date. Improved Information Request As you read the improved letter on the next slide, notice how it
Open letter by clicking icon at right. Improved Information Request
Writing Plan for a Direct Claim Opening Body Closing Describe clearly the desired action.
Writing Plan for a Direct Claim Opening Body Closing • Explain the nature of the claim. • Tell why the claim is justified. • Provide details regarding the action requested.
Writing Plan for a Direct Claim Opening Body Closing • End pleasantly with a goodwill statement. • Include end dating if appropriate.
Open letter by clicking icon at right. As you read the letter, Evaluate its content. Identify areas for improvement. Ineffective Direct Claim
Open letter by clicking icon at right. Improved Direct Claim
Writing Plan for Direct Replies Body Subject Line Subject Line Opening Opening Closing Body • Identify previous correspondence. • Deliver the most important information first.
Writing Plan for Direct Replies Closing Body Body Subject Line Opening Closing • Arrange the information in a logical sequence. • Explain and clarify the information. • Build goodwill. • End pleasantly. • End pleasantly.
Open letter by clicking icon at right. Effective Reply
Writing Plan for Adjustments Body Subject Line Opening Closing • Subject line is optional. • Identify previous correspondence. • Make a general reference to the main topic.
Writing Plan for Adjustments Body Subject Line Opening Closing • Grant the request or announce the adjustment immediately.
Writing Plan for Adjustments Body Subject Line Opening Closing • Provide details about how you are complying with the request. • Strive to regain the reader’s confidence. • Apologize if appropriate, but don’t admit negligence. • Include resale or sales promotion if appropriate.
Writing Plan for Adjustments Body Subject Line Opening Closing • End positively with a forward-looking thought. • Express confidence in future business dealings.
Effective Adjustment Letter Open letter by clicking icon at right.
The Five Ss Be selfless. Be specific. Keep the message short. Tips for Writing Goodwill Messages Be spontaneous. Be sincere.
The Five Ss Be selfless. Discuss the receiver, not the sender.
The Five Ss Be specific. Instead of generic statements (You did a good job), include special details (Your marketing strategy to target key customers proved to be outstanding).
The Five Ss Show your honest feelings with conversational, unpretentious language(We’re all very proud of your award). Be sincere.
The Five Ss Strive to make the message natural, fresh, and direct. Avoid canned phrases (If I may be of service, please do nothesitate...). Be spontaneous.
Keep the message short. Remember that, although they may be as long as needed, most goodwill messages are fairly short. The Five Ss
Cover three points in gift thank-yous. Identify the gift. Tell why you appreciate it. Explain how you will use it. Writing Thank-Yous Be sincere in sending thanks for a favor. • Tell what the favor means to you. • Avoid superlatives and gushiness. • Maintain credibility with sincere, simple statements.
Offer praise in expressing thanks for hospitality. As appropriate, compliment the following: Writing Thank-Yous • Fine food • Charming surroundings • Warm hospitality • Excellent host and hostess • Good company
Personalized Thank-You Letter Dear Professor and Mrs. Shelton: Thanks for inviting the other members of our business club and me to your home for dinner last Saturday. The warm reception you and your wife gave us made the evening very special. Your gracious hospitality, the delicious dinner served in a lovely setting, and the lively discussion following dinner all served to create an enjoyable evening that I will long remember. We appreciate the opportunity you provided for us students to become better acquainted with each other and with you. Sincerely,
Respond to congratulations. Send a brief note expressing your appreciation. Tell how good the message made you feel. AnsweringCongratulatory Messages Accept praise gracefully. • Don't make belittling comments (I'm not really all that good!) to reduce awkward-ness or embarrassment.
In the first sentence mention the loss and your personal reaction. For deaths, praise the deceased. Describe positive personal characteristics (Howard was a forceful but caring leader). Extending Sympathy Refer to the loss or tragedy directly but sensitively.
Offer assistance. Suggest your availability, especially if you can do something specific. End on a reassuring, positive note. Perhaps refer to the strength the receiver finds in friends, family, colleagues, or religion. Extending Sympathy