That first impression counts

It’s important to create a good first impression, especially if the communication is to prospective clients. Business letters should always be printed on quality A4 paper, and the layout should include the company logo, the postal address, contact number and email address. The VAT number may be included if relevant.

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A business letter always has a much defined format. The recipient’s address will always be aligned left for a clean, crisp and modern look. The address must contain the recipient’s title of Mr, Mrs, Ms, Dr or Sir, and their business description, for example, Manager, Development Officer or Business Partner and the company name in full, including the postcode. A one-line space is included between the recipient’s details and the date.

One format is to use recognised British style, which is ‘24 June 2018′, but house styles can vary. It’s important, however, to be consistent with all correspondence to create a professional overall impression.

A letter should always begin ‘Dear Mr’ or ‘Dear Mrs’ etc. However, if the sender knows the recipient personally, the letter can take on a more casual feel and can begin ‘Dear Mary’ or ‘Dear John.’

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Touch of personality makes your correspondence stand out

The subject line should be brief and informative, and the body of a business letter should be as concise as possible, preferably kept to one A4 sheet. The sign-off, of course, depends on the salutation. ‘Yours faithfully’ is usually only used for letters starting with ‘Dear Sir’ or ‘Dear Madam.’ On the other hand, ‘Yours sincerely’ is included in more personalised letters.

A touch of personality can also be added to corporate stationery through the use of coloured envelopes which can be obtained from suppliers such as https://www.rainbowenvelopes.co.uk/, where a full range of shades are available. Addresses should be handwritten on envelopes when sending out business correspondence. Window envelopes are only used for invoices.

According to The Express a massive sixty percent of people have composed fewer than five handwritten letters in the past ten years.

However, letter writing is not a dying art, and it’s an essential component of business. A tip to bear in mind is that if the sender has previously received letters from the recipient and it’s been written in a casual style, they should reflect that in the letter.