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PostSubject: Letter/Email Writing Tips   Letter/Email Writing Tips I_icon_minitimeFri Sep 07, 2012 10:24 am

How to Write a Good Letter: Five Very Sensible Tips
s.e. Jones
s.e. Jones, Yahoo! Contributor Network
Apr 6, 2007 "Share your voice on Yahoo! websites. Start Here."

Whether it's e-mail or plain old fashioned pen and paper, there is a bit of art in writing a good letter to someone. Generally speaking, a letter is more intimate and more informative than regular correspondence. For example, you might be writing to someone you haven't seen or heard from in some time. Or you want to write to the president of a company to complain about a product. Or maybe you want to declare your love for someone in well thought out verse. There are a lot of reasons to write letters, but the one thing they all have in common, is the need for them to be well written in order for them to be well received. Below, I've outlined ten sensible tips that can be of assistance to anyone contemplating writing a letter.

1 - Why are you writing?
One of the first questions you should ask yourself before sitting down to write a letter is, what do you want to say? Why are you writing this person? It helps to ask yourself this because it helps you clarify what it is you want to say. It will help the recipient of your letter as well. Few things are more confusing than a letter from someone that doesn't seem to have a point.

2 - Structure.
Every good letter has a basic structure built on three sections. The opening, the body and the closing. In addition, a good letter should have a salutation or greeting and a signatory way of closing. For business letters, you might also have a masthead or logo.

The Opening: It is customary, not to mention polite, to greet the recipient in some way when first beginning a letter. "Hi, how are you," or "I've just been thinking about you..." etc. This is the ice breaker, or means of getting your reader ready for what you really want to write about.

The Body: Depending on the type of letter, it is almost always a good idea to write an outline of what you want to say before jumping in. This will help you get your ideas in some order and help you move from one topic to the next. It will also help your reader to follow what you have to say. Write the body in clean paragraphs with each paragraph introduced when a new idea, change in tone or concept is to be discussed.

The Closing: As with speaking, it is generally a good idea to give the person who is to read your letter some feeling of conclusion as they finish the letter. Abrupt endings are generally annoying to readers and good letters, though they may not have good things to say, don't necessarily have to end without some sort of finish.

3 - Tone.
How you sound in your letter is critical. If you wish to convey information in an encyclopedic way, then simple blunt statements will suffice. This will generally not be the case for most letters though, because letters are generally written when people are emotionally motivated to do so. The sound of a love letter for example, should be dramatically different from that of a letter to your child's fourth grade teacher. In short, the tone should match as closely as possible the tone that would be used were you there to say the words yourself to your recipient.

4 - Spelling, punctuation and grammar.
To write a good letter, you need to do your best to ensure your spelling, punctuation and grammar are as correct as you are capable of making them be. Use a spell-checker in your word processor. Look up words you are unsure of in a dictionary. If possible, have others proofread your work. Anything and everything you can do to make a nice clean document will enhance the effect of your finished product.

5 - What do you want to happen after they read your letter?
Once you've written a letter to someone, there is always the feeling of what happens next. Are you hoping for a reply of some sort? Do you wish to rekindle the flame of passion, or get a refund from a lousy plumbing job? The possibilities are as numerous as are the reasons for writing in the first place. If you want something to happen as a result of your writing, you should very carefully consider making a request for that very thing in the letter itself. Or barring that, following up a letter with a phone call or another letter. The point is, it's usually best of decide for yourself what you expect as a result of you sending a letter to someone, before you actually send it.

Reference: Business writing tips for international business people

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