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Types of Business Letters for

Effective Business Correspondence

 

 

Brief Letters of Inquiry

 

            Brief letters of inquiry are made for the purpose of obtaining price lists, booklets, catalogs, samples, the names of dealers, the details of a time-payment plan, and other information. Because of their nature, they do not follow the general plan of the letter. They should be courteous and concise, containing only the question, the necessary explanation, and an expression of appreciation.

 

Illustrations

 

1

Dear Sir:

           

I shall appreciate your sending me a copy of the Institute of Accounts Annual Catalog for the school year 1998.

 

                                                                        Very truly yours,

                                                                       

 

                                                                                                            Allan Joseph Inguillo

 

2

Gentlemen:

 

            Please send me information about the various models and prices of MONTEVIDEO TV SETS and about your Five Year Service protection Agreement which you advertised in the March 23 issue of the Chronicle Magazine.

                                                                       

                                                                                                            Yours truly,

                                                                       

 

                                                                                                            Geraldine Laurella

 

3

Gentlemen:

 

Will you kindly give me full information about your Summer Camping Outfit, No. 33; its

            price, its contents, and its delivery, not later than April 3.

 

                                                                                                            Earnestly yours,

 

 

                                                                                                            Allan Joseph Inguillo

 

 

Letters Making Reservations

 

            These letters should be brief and definite. They should specify the number of reservations wanted, the location or position preferred, the date or dates of the reservations, and the price or rates.

 

Illustrations

 

1

Gentlemen:

 

            Please reserve for Mr. and Mrs. Mariano Santos a deluxe cabin on “B” Deck on your S.S. PRESIDENT WILSON, sailing from Manila to San Francisco, Tuesday, afternoon, March 26.

 

                                                                                                            Yours truly,

 

 

                                                                                                            Allan Joseph Inguillo

                                                                                                            Secretary

 

2

(Response)

Dear Mister Inguillo:

 

As requested in your letter of the 20th, we have reserved for Mr. and Mrs. Mariano Santos deluxe cabin 3 on “B” Deck on the steamship President Wilson, sailing from Manila to San Francisco, Tuesday afternoon, March 26. These reservations will be held until 2 o’clock on the day of sailing. The boat leaves at 3:30 P.M.

 

                                                                                                            Yours sincerely,

 

 

                                                                                                            Michael Belleca

                                                                                                            Captain

 

 

Letters of Appointment

 

            Custom and courtesy demand that persons appointed to serve on a committee or to perform some particular task should be notified. Letters of appointment should indicate the event leading to the appointment, the nature of the appointment, and the services or duties of the appointee. The appointee, in turn, should acknowledge the appointment in writing, accepting or declining it promptly.

 

Illustrations

 

1

Dear Mr. Belleca:

 

At the last meeting of the Executive Committee of the Santa Mesa Heights Recreational Association, you were appointed by the President to investigate a suitable location for two tennis courts to be used exclusively by members of the Association.

 

The Committee hopes that you will be able to report the results of your survey at the next meeting on April 3.

 

                                                                                                            Yours sincerely,

 

 

                                                                                                            Allan Joseph Inguillo

                                                                                                            Secretary

 

2

(Acceptance)

Dear Mr. Inguillo:

 

            I shall be glad to investigate a suitable location for two tennis courts for the Association. I feel confident I shall have something definite to suggest at your next regular meeting on April 3.

 

                                                                                                            Cordially yours,

 

 

                                                                                                            Michael Belleca

                                                                                                            Surveyor

 

Letters of Invitation

 

            Letters of invitation are cordial and gracious in tone. The degree of formality or of informality depends upon the relationships between the writer and the reader, and by the nature of the occasion with which the message is concerned. The opening paragraph should state the location of the meeting or gathering. The second paragraph should mention those attainments or qualifications of the speaker that make his presence so desirable. Suggest the subject upon which the speaker is to speak, the hour at which he is to speak, and the amount of time he is to have on the program. The closing paragraph should request the speaker to let the writer know whether the speaker will be able to accept, so that the arrangements for the meeting may be completed. In accepting or declining the invitation, the speaker should reply promptly. He should indicate his willingness or regret to accept.

 

Illustrations

 

1

My dear Mr. Belleca:

 

The Progress Committee of the Junior Chamber of Commerce of the Far Eastern University is very desirous of having you speak before the members and the student body at their annual convocation in the Auditorium of the Administration Building on February 2, at 5:00 P.M.

 

In consideration of your wealth of business experience, together with your years of devoted service to the people, may I extend, on behalf of the Committee, an invitation for you to be our guest speaker. “Town Fiestas: Their Economic Relationship with the Progress of the Philippines” is an interesting topic to every student of business, and I know that you will make a real hit with it. If you prefer to phrase the topic yourself, please do not hesitate to do so.

 

If your plans will permit your acceptance, the Committee will begin spreading the good news, and we shall have a peak attendance on deck to hear you.

 

                                                                                                            Very sincerely yours,

 

 

                                                                                                            Allan Joseph Inguillo

                                                                                                            President

 

 

2

(Acceptance)

Dear Mister Inguillo:

           

Thank you for inviting  me to be your guest speaker at your annual convocation on        February 2, at 5:00 P.M. I am pleased to accept unless something unforeseen interferes within the next three days. In such an event, I will call you up. Otherwise, you may consider this letter my acceptance.

 

“Town Fiestas” is an interesting topic; I hope I could be informative and stimulating to your group.

 

                                                                                                            Cordially Yours,

 

 

                                                                                                            Michael Belleca

 

3

(Declination)

Dear Mister Inguillo:

 

            Unfortunately, I have an engagement on February 2, and therefore, cannot accept your invitation to speak at your annual convocation. Please convey to your members my sincere appreciation of the honor given me and my keen regret at not being able to be with you on that afternoon.

 

                                                                                                            Sincerely yours,

 

 

                                                                                                            Michael Belleca

 

 

Letters of Appreciation

 

            No letter affords so much pleasure to the writer or the receiver as a letter of gratitude and appreciation. There are many types, but all of them are based upon such pleasant circumstances that writing the letter should be an enjoyable and relatively simple task. Sometimes the situation definitely calls for an expression of thanks in conformity with business etiquette. In other instances the note of appreciation is not actually necessary – it may not even be expected by the recipient. But the unexpected letter is the one most happily received and longest remembered. Letters of appreciation, therefore, should be written from the heart. They should be sincere – genuine. Brevity adds strength and conviction to the message. Like the letters of Congratulation and Sympathy, the letter of appreciation is easiest to write and is most enthusiastically received when it is written promptly.

 

Illustrations

 

1

Dear Professor Mariano:

 

            Thank you very much for all you have taught me of Business English.

 

            I feel that I have gained much that will be invaluable in the years to come. Above all, I deeply appreciate your patient endeavor to help me put into practice what you have so clearly explained. Without such practice, the course would not have been so profitable.

 

            Among the treasures which I shall take back to Canada will be the remembrance of your interesting yet informative lectures.

 

                                                                                                            Gratefully your,

 

 

                                                                                                            Graciel Suarez

 

2

Dear Mr. Reyes:

 

            I wish to express to you my personal appreciation for your contribution to the Alumni Fund. You may be sure that your interest in helping the Association to carry out its objectives in a comprehensive and effective manner is an important moral factor and active support.

 

                                                                                                            Cordially yours,

 

 

                                                                                                            Allan Joseph Inguillo

 

Letters of Congratulations and Good Wishes

 

            Letters of congratulations and good wishes are appropriately written to friends, business associates, and employees who have enjoyed progress and good fortune. Brevity is cardinal virtue of these letters. Direct, concise language adds vigor to the message. Naturalness of expression is essential to give one’s words the ring of sincerity. Enthusiasm adds zest and animation to the message. The letter of congratulation should be written with relish or not written at all. Like the letter of condolence, it should be written immediately after the occasion for it has developed.

 

Illustrations

 

1

Dear Mr. Belleca:

 

            I have just read in today’s paper of your election as Mayor of Dasmarinas, and I congratulate both you and the town you represent. I am sure you will bring to job the same ability and understanding that has made you an exemplary teacher.

 

                                                                                                            Sincerely yours,

 

 

                                                                                                            Allan Joseph Inguillo

 

2

Dear Roxas:

 

            The other day I heard of your fine new position with the Metropolitan Water District, and I was thereby pleased to learn of it.

 

            I shall always remember with the admiration the way you worked your way thru college and earned your engineering degree entirely on your own power.

 

            Surely you have “made” the break that has just come your way, and I know that your spirit of determination and enthusiasm will carry you on to further accomplishments.

 

            Sincere congratulations on your new position, and the best of luck to you.

 

                                                                                                            Cordially yours,

 

 

                                                                                                            Dawn Lauren Guevarra

 

 

Letters of Condolence and Sympathy

 

            Letters of condolence and sympathy should be written immediately after the occasion for it has developed. A long, involved letter is a violation of good taste. Decision as to the length of any note of sympathy should be based upon (1) the degree of friendship between the writer and the reader; (2) the situation that inspires the letter; and (3) the writer’s knowledge of the tastes and temperament of his reader.

 

            Sincerity and tact are the two most vital qualities of any letter of sympathy. If the writer uses simple and straightforward language to express what is in his heart, his message will carry warmth and conviction. If he carefully avoids any words or sentiments which could distress the reader, his message will satisfy the exacting requirements of tact.

 

Illustrations

 

                                                                        1

                                                                        Executive Mansion

                                                                        Washington, July 19, 1998

 

To Mrs. Butawan, Boston, Mass.

 

Dear Madam:

 

            I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how weak and fruitless must be any words of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save. I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.

 

                                                                        Yours very sincerely and respectfully,

 

 

                                                                        ABRAHAM LINCOLN

 

 

Letters of Introduction

 

            The letter of introduction is a personal communication ordinarily written by one person to another person for the purpose of bringing about the acquaintanceship of two persons not known to each other. It is a gesture of courtesy properly extended to a personal friend or to a business or professional associate. It may be prepared for direct mailing to the addressee. In the latter case, the envelope should be left unsealed as a courtesy to the bearer.

 

            The tone of the letter should be determined by the degree of acquaintance between its writer and the other persons concerned, and also by the purpose for which the introduction is made. When the writer is introducing one of his personal friends to another upon a basis both social and business, the tone of the message should be quite informal. When he is introducing one of his business associates to another for purely business reasons, the tone should be conservative. Brevity combined with definiteness, simplicity prompted by sincerity – these are the essential qualities of efficient letters of introduction.

 

            Paragraph Contents:

1.      Give information enabling the reader to identify the person seeking introduction.

2.      State the circumstances of, and the reason for the introduction.

3.      Show appreciation of any interest that may be manifested by the reader in the person introduced.

 

Illustrations

 

1

Dear Mr. Gacusan:

 

            The bearer of this letter, Mr. Paulo Roxas, has for several years been interested in organizing camps for boys who could afford to spend only a small amount on their summer vacations. As he is considering locations for camps in Ilocos Sur, I suggested that you were the man to help him, for you know every nook and corner of the province.

 

            I shall be happy if you can assist Mr. Roxas in any way. He is a fine young man and has a most worthwhile job on his hands.

 

                                                                                                            Yours sincerely,

 

 

                                                                                                            Michael Belleca

 

 

Letters of Resignation

 

            Frequently a person finds it necessary to resign from his present position in order to accept a better position, or because ill health prevents him from continuing his in his present capacity. Whatever the reason, many business firms request that such resignation be written rather than verbal.

 

            Paragraph Contents:

1.      The reason for resigning.

2.      An expression of appreciation, of regret, or both.

3.      Date of effectivity.

 

Illustrations

 

1

My dear Mr. De Castro,

 

About a week ago, the public accounting firm of Belleca, Inguillo, and Roxas made me a very attractive offer to join their organization. Since that time I have been giving the matter a great deal of thought.

 

I cannot forget how much your company has meant to me. You engaged me two weeks after I graduated from the Dela salle University. You gave me my first job – perhaps the most difficult one to get. During the past three years I have had a very thoro training in the fundamentals of accounting. For these reasons, I shall be ever grateful to you.

 

However, because I feel that my chief interest lies in the field of public accounting, and because it will be possible for me to return to Manila, I have decided to make the change.

 

Please consider this letter my written resignation, and I should like to be free to begin my new duties March 1,1998.

 

Please express to Mr. Bennett and Mr. Lewis my appreciation of their many kindness during the time I served in their departments, respectively.

 

                                                                                                            Most cordially yours,

 

 

                                                                                                            Dawn Lauren Guevarra

 

 

Letters of Reference

 

            When an employer or a firm considers an applicant seriously; he writes to secure information from the references mentioned in the letter of application or data sheet. Letters requesting personal information are usually brief, specific, and courteous. Their purpose is to verify what the applicant has said about his qualifications and to secure a critical judgment and opinion on questions of honesty, industry, personality, and the character of the applicant – subjects about which the applicant cannot in good taste write his own opinion.

 

            Paragraph Contents:

1.      State the purpose and general subject of the letter at once and briefly.

2.      Ask courteously for definite information.

3.      Express appreciation and willingness to reciprocate. (Paragraphs 2 and 3 may be combined)

 

Illustrations

 

1

Dear Mr. De Castro:

 

            Miss Geraldine Laurella, a follow-up clerk in your Textbook Department from May 1, 1997 to December 30, 1998, has just applied to us for a position in our Sales Department.

 

            To enable us to determine Miss Laurellas’ fitness for this position, will you please write us concerning her character, her habits, her record while in your employ, and her reason for leaving you.

 

            We shall appreciate your giving us the information as soon as you can, so that we may better judge her fitness for our work.

 

                                                                                                            Yours sincerely,

                                                                       

 

                                                                                                            Paulo Roxas

 

 

Letters of Recommendation

 

            The letter of recommendation is a business courtesy performed occasionally in the interests of a personal friend, business or professional associate, or former employee. Its purpose is to give a prospective employer pertinent information about the applicant’s qualifications, character, and general conduct. It should be straightforward, specific evaluation or appraisal of the applicant. The nature of its content depends largely upon the relationship involved and upon the kind of information sought by the prospective employer.

 

            Should the prospective employer ask specific questions, the letter of recommendation should concern itself with specific details as to the period of employment, the extent of the employee’s competence or efficiency, and such relevant characteristics as the former employer was in a position to observe. On the contrary, should the questions be rather general, the answers will naturally be of a general nature.

 

            He who writes a letter of recommendation, be it general or direct, should be truthful, tactful, and enthusiastic. It is only fair to the person recommended  and self-respecting to the writer. An enthusiastic tone adds to the favorable effect of the letter. If for any reason the writer feels honestly that a man was not a success – it may have been his fault, and it may not have been – in justice to that man, the writer should either leave out any reference to the failure or mention the shortcomings in such  a way that the applicant’s chance for advancement somewhere else will not be injured. Just because a man has not made good in one firm is no proof that he will not do so in another.

 

            Because of their general nature and ease with which they may be obtained, “To Whom It May Concern” letters of recommendation are regarded by most employers as of little value. They are vague, general, and highly impersonal. They should be avoided except in those cases where it is practically impossible to secure the specific name of the addressee. To make a letter of recommendation effective, it should be addressed specifically to the intended recipient.

 

            Paragraph Contents:

1.      Brief statement of subject and purpose of letter.

2.      Summary of person’s history of employment, qualifications, etc.

3.      Candid statement of writer’s personal judgment of applicant’s qualifications and probable fitness for the position.

4.      Final recommendation of the writer.

 

Illustrations

 

1

Dear Mr. Belleca:

 

Thank you for your interest in the application of Miss Graciel Butawan for the position as secretary in your office.

Miss Butawan was a student of our school from December, 1995 to March, 1998. She graduated with honors, and won the admiration of her instructors.

 

She is ambitious, intelligent, reliable, and very capable. During her senior year at school, from June, 1997 to March, 1998, she was employed in my office as part-time general clerk, stenographer, and typist. To my entire satisfaction, besides being a most efficient worker of unusual mental and social qualities, she proved herself to be a young woman of high character and honor, tireless and unselfish in the execution of her employer’s interests, thoroly trusthworthy  in her work and judgment; always tactful, able, and sympathetic. For accuracy in the taking of stenographic notes and for excellence in the transcription of letters, I have had no one in my office who has been able to measure up to the high standard which she always maintained. I could not keep her permanently in my office because her opportunity for advancement is limited.

 

I am confident of her ability and resourcefulness to give you efficient service, and I am pleased to recommend her unqualifiedly.

 

                                                                                                            Sincerely yours,

 

 

                                                                                                            Geraldine Laurella

 

2

Gentlemen:

 

            We are glad to respond to your letter of February 7, in which you inquire concerning our experience with Mr. Al Brian Crisostomo.

 

            Mr. Crisostomo has used our credit facilities, with a limit of 300 pesos, during the past two years.

 

            Our records show that he has always met his bills promptly.

 

            Mr. Crisostomo is one of our desirable customers.

 

                                                                                                            Yours truly,

 

 

                                                                                                            Paulo Roxas

 

 

Longer Letters of Inquiry; Letters Asking Favors

 

            Longer and more complicated letters asking for information, and those which depend for success upon the goodwill of the person written to, open with a brief statement of the reason for the inquiry, followed by the request for information, and close with an expression of appreciation. Favors should be asked of a business man only when the writer is reasonably sure that the recipient of his letter is in a position to grant them without much time and effort, that they pertain to a subject related to the addressee’s personal or business interests, and that the information sought cannot be obtained more readily else where.

 

            The first task is to convince the reader that the information is to be used for a worth-while purpose. When the writer is not known to the reader, a statement of identification is usually contain, near the end, a promise to hold the information in strict confidence.

 

            No information except that which is absolutely necessary for the granting of the favor need be given in letters asking favors. Apologetic expressions show that the writer only half expects his request to be granted, and this fact prejudices the mind of the reader.

 

            To insure a satisfactory reply, the writer should do everything he can to make his letter easy to understand and easy to answer. If the letter asks specific questions, these questions should should be numbered and tabulated. They are more easily understood and less likely to be overlooked if they are presented in tabular form. Numbering them makes it easier for the reader to refer to them in his reply. When possible, the questions should be so phrased that they can be answered briefly – by a word or two, by a number, by “yes” or “no,” or by a check mark.

 

            Two or three questions may be incorporated into the letter. As a rule, however, it is more satisfactory to list them below, so that ample space may be left for the answers and so that the letter itself will not be interrupted. A number of questions are best presented in questionnaire form on a second sheet. Not more than ten questions should ordinarily be asked, however, for each succeeding question lessens the likelihood of favorable action.

 

            Paragraph Contents:

1.      General subject of the letter – reason for the inquiry or for asking the favor.

2.      The request itself, and its possible benefit to the reader if granted.

3.      A brief statement of appreciation.

 

Illustrations

 

1

Dear Mr. Reyes:

 

The merchants of this town have formed a Cooperative Marketing Association similar to those encouraged by your department.

 

Won’t you please give us information on the following points:

 

1.      How does your department regulate the distribution of farm products to the different provincial marketing associations?

2.      By what means does your department encourage greater production of farm products?

3.      What particular methods has your department found most effective for the improvement of standards of grade?

 

We shall be very much obliged to you for as much information as you can give us.

 

                                                                                                            Cordially yours,

 

 

                                                                                                            Al Brian Crisostomo

 

2

Asking Favors

Dear Mr. Inguillo:

 

            We are very desirous of getting accurate and unprejudiced facts about the furniture business in your town.

 

            Won’t you please jot down your answers to the enclosed questionnaire.

 

            We are enthusiastic advocates of the home-town house furniture, and we encourage and cooperate with manufacturers in the selling of this furniture.

 

            We shall deeply appreciate your sincere cooperation.

 

                                                                                                            Earnestly yours,

 

 

                                                                                                            Paulo Roxas

 

 

Answers to Inquiries

 

            Answers to letters of inquiry should be courteous, positive, and complete. They should be made, if possible, on the day the requests are received. If any delay is necessary, a brief acknowledgement should be sent, with a promise of definite information as soon as it can be secured.                                                        

 

(1)   Granting the request. The paragraph contents of a letter in answer to an inquiry are as follows:

1.      Express pleasure in granting the request.

2.      Give information and add relevant material.

3.      Offer further assistance.

 

(2)   Refusing the request. Should  a firm find it necessary to refuse a request, a brief, courteous note giving the reason for the refusal is all that is needed. Letters giving lengthy explanations in an apologetic manner are as much to be avoided as curt and negative notes of refusal. If, however, the request that must be refused is important, the reader should be sold on the refusal. And it’s paragraph contents are as follows:

1.      A statement of regret

2.      The reason for refusal

 

Illustrations

 

1

Granting a Request

Dear Mrs. Butawan:

 

            You are more than welcome to the Metropolitan Reports Conditions in the Far East, which you requested. The four that have been published are with this letter. The other will be sent to you as they come from the presses.

 

                                                                                                            Cordially yours,

 

 

                                                                                                            Michael Belleca

 

 

2

Refusing a Request

Dear Mr. Roxas:

 

            Many thanks for your pleasant comment on the 1998 GREEN AND GOLD of the Far Eastern University.

 

            Though we should like to comply with your request and send you one of these annuals for library use, our supply is exhausted and we do not expect to have another printing.

 

            We are sorry not to be able to oblige you in this instance. Perhaps there is some other way in which we could be of help?

 

                                                                                                            Cordially yours,

 

 

                                                                                                            Graciel Suarez

 

 

 

                                                                        Reference: Effective Business Correspondence by

                                                                                                                  Honesto F. Farol

 

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