Letters are the most widely used media of written communication in business. But writing an effective letter is not easy matter. It requires well planning, imagination, linguistic knowledge, careful and systematic analysis of situations and above all, writer’s writing skills. However, the following are the various steps through which an effective business letter can be drafted.
- Proper planning: Effective business letter is the product of good thinking and careful planning. In writing business letter, the writer should go through the proper planning regarding what, when, whom and how to write. A well planned letter is likely to best serve the purpose of the organization.
- Identifying and setting purpose: Before writing, the writer should know, identify and select the purpose of the letter. In business letters are written for different purpose. Therefore, every business letter must be stated in one or two sentences in the letter.
- Knowing the audience: In this step, the writer should guess the readers level of understanding and knowledge about the message to the inserted in the letter. Here the writer evaluates what the readers knew and what will they do after reading the message. In this connection, the writer should put himself in the readers place and look at the message from the reader’s perspective.
- Determining the scope of subject: Here the writer should determine the scope of the message. The scope of message should be determined by considering two points, one is what the reader wants to know and another is what the writer has to convey.
- Gathering information: After setting the purpose and scope of the letter, the writer needs to collect necessary information. Generally, information is collected form libraries, taking interview of concerned persons, writers own experience, knowledge and education office file, documents and from other convenient sources. Information should be accurate, relevant and reliable so that these can support the message.
- Organizing the information: In this stage, the writer decides how the information will be arranged in the letter. It depends on the subject and purpose of the letter. There are basically two approaches for presenting information in the letter. These are direct approach and indirect approach.
- Selecting the format: In this stage the format of letter is selected. Format of letter is a way or means of presenting various paragraphs in the letter. There are some recognized formats of letter.
- Outlining the contents: After selecting the format, the next step is to outline the message of the letter. It breaks down a large topic into some convenient parts and paragraphs logically.
- Writing the first draft: After outlining the contents the next step is writing the first draft. While writing the first draft the writer should keep in mind that it is a working draft. The writer can start wherever he wishes he can start from the middle or even near to end. Any weakness in logic or lack of information or any point that is out of place can be corrected in the final revision.
At last it can be said that when the above-stated steps are followed in writing letter, one can expect a good and effective business letter.