Regardless of their purposes, most business letters have some basic parts. The orderly arrangement of various parts of business letter is known as the structure of letter. The appearance of letter often reveals the character of the writer and his organization. So business letter should be arranged in a suitable manner that can draw reader’s attention. A well-structured business letter can also enhance the reputation and goodwill of the company. The pars of a well-structured business letter are as follows:
- Letter heading: The letterhead contains the name, address, telephone and fax numbers and nature of business of the writer. Most business organizations use printed letterhead, for correspondence. This portion of letter appears at the top of the page either in the center, or right or left hand side.
- Date line: The date line indicates the place where the date of writing the letter should be inserted.
- Reference: The reference number is used for quick identification of a letter.
- Inside Address: Inside address is the full address of the receiver or receiving organization.
- Attention line: Attention line is used to state the name of the person along with his designation and department, who can take necessary action with regards to the message of the letter.
- Subject heading: Subject heading gives a brief indication of the content of the letter. It is generally placed below the attention line.
- Salutation: Salutation is the sender’s greetings to the intended reader. It appears below the subject heading and is followed by a comma, various words like, sir, Dear sir, Madam, Gentlemen and Dear Mr. John etc. are used as salutation. The use of salutation depends on the relationship between the sender and the receiver.
- Body: it is the main part of a letter and contains the message or information that the writer wants to convey. Generally, the body is divided into different paragraphs and each individual issue is discussed in a separate paragraph.
- Signature, Name and Designation: Below the complementary close, sender gives his signature and then writes his name and designation in separate lines.
- Enclosures: When anything is enclosed with the letter to supplement the message inserted in the body, an enclosure notation is used below the name and designation of the sender, if more than one enclosure is attached, enclosures should be identified by numbers.
- Carbon copy: When any copy of the letter is to be distributed to a third party, it is indicated by writing Copy or Copy Circulated. The name and designation of the recipients is written beneath or beside the notation Copy. When copy recipient is more than one their names should be identified in alphabetical order.
- Identification mark: Identification mark is generally put in the left margin below the carbon copy to identify the person who has typed, written or composed the letter.
The appropriate arrangement of the above parts of a business letter will make a good appearance of the business letter.