Even in the face of advancement of mobile communication and SMS technology, writing letters continue to be an important and effective means of communication. Especially in formal discussions and agreements, they are often finalized in letters.
Writing letters date back from the olden days. It is way of communicating via a pen and some kind of paper. The notes passed in class between friends are considered letters. But the formal letters are what we will bring to focus in this discussion.
It is very important to learn how to write letters clearly and effectively. Otherwise, you fail to get the right message across. The good thing with writing letters, in contrast to verbal communication, is that you have a moment to pause and think about what you want to say, the order of the things you want to say, and at the same time be able to choose the right words to deliver a clear message.
In writing a letter, determine your purpose. It will make it easier to construct your sentences. Organize your thoughts beforehand. If possible, you can draft an outline first and write a trial letter. Read it over and over and edit along the way as necessary.
Be clear and make sure your data is complete. Provide names, dates, venues, time, contact numbers, addresses and other specific details as necessary and appropriately. If necessary, state the main reason for writing that letter, and what you want to achieve from bringing that message.
Get the appropriate tone. It is always critical to reach a correct tone. Avoid being too formal or too casual. Generally, business letters should acquire a more formal tone. Personal letters to friends are more informal. Use respectful words typical in formal letters.
Keep your sentences simple and sincere as possible. The reader will always sense whether you are genuine or just making stories. Steer clear from terminologies not familiar to your addressee. In fact, as a general rule, avoid using highfaluting words. Use common words as much as possible. For example, if you mean something big, avoid using the word “colossal” when you simply mean huge or large.
A well written letter does not go in circles. It drives to the conclusion in a clear manner. It maintains a precise yet complete message. It does not beat around the bush because that only makes the reader more confused.
A good letter has the gist of the message in the first paragraph. It expands into details as the letter progresses. Succeeding paragraphs all support the main idea.
The final paragraph usually summarizes the message and extends regards to the recipient. In this part, you usually express gratitude for taking the time out to read what you have written. This is also the part wherein appreciation is expressed.
There are several formats you can follow. But typically, in every letter, there are five parts. First is the date and time. Second is the address of the sender (your address). Third is the salutation (often starts with “Dear”). Fourth is the body of the letter. This is your main message and the largest part of the letter. And fifth is the closing or your signature.