Email is not the same as a hard copy of a letter or other correspondence. There are different rules of writing that must be followed, and writing a business letter is no exception. Anything that's communicated by email will be communicated in a different manner than a hard copy. It's important to understand when sending a business letter how that letter will be received and the proper method for sending it.
Understand the basic mechanics of email versus paper writing. Emails tend to be shorter and more to the point. Even a business letter can be shortened and made sharper for email. As you begin to think about the business letter you want to send by email, think about how you can make it crisp and sharp while still communicating the important points.
Draft your letter. You can create a draft that's longer and more fulsome to begin with, even reading like a letter you would send through regular mail, but then go back and shorten it and make it easier to read for email.
Decide how you want to send your letter. It's best to include the letter in the body of the email, since some people have a hard time getting attachments (or are not allowed to get them at all). In addition, if you write a beautiful letter in Word 2003 but your recipient has Word 2007, your letter might look different. Attachments can be dangerous.
Make your email short. That is, if you decide to send your business letter in the body of the email, make sure it's relatively short and to the point. Once you have shortened it, read it again and shorten it further. The best emails are those that can be read in about one to two minutes, no more.
Read your letter carefully. While emails are often sent on the fly, without much attention paid to grammar and punctuation, both being used much more casually than in general business correspondence, an email that is also serving as a business letter should buck that tendency with attention to grammar, spelling and punctuation.
- For your business letter to be considered professional, pay attention to detail. How you use language, how you convey your message and how you present your information are all essential.
- Image courtesy Microsoft.