Business Letter Example

Howe Writing Initiative
Farmer School of Business
Miami University
Oxford, OH 45056


April 2, 2013


FSB Students
Farmer School of Business
Miami University
Oxford, OH 45056

Dear FSB Students:

This business letter model provides you with advice about the form, style, purposes, and contexts of business letters. See the comment boxes on the right side of the page for more specific advice. As we’ve done here, the opening line of a business letter sets up the context in which you are writing; never begin a letter with the sentence “My name is ____.”

Always consider your audience when composing a business letter, from the opening salutation, or greeting, through the closing lines: What information do you need to convey to the recipient of your letter? Use the first paragraph of a business letter to state the main point for your audience in a few sentences; reserve specific details for the body paragraphs that follow your introduction.

There are many types of business letters—of application, of complaint, of employment, of dismissal, and others—which will affect the information you choose to include in the letter you are writing. We are showing you a basic letter format that works for different types of business letters.

Use the body paragraphs to justify the purpose of your letter. The support you use could take the form of background information, statistics, first-hand accounts, or other relevant data. A few short paragraphs within the body of the letter should be enough to support your reasoning.

Use the closing paragraph to restate your purpose and the importance of your letter for your audience. If the purpose of sending your letter is to establish a new relationship with a person or company, consider including your contact information in the concluding paragraph. You might also consider thanking your audience for taking the time to read your letter.



The Howe Writing Team

Encl.: “Writing Business Letters”

cc: FSB Faculty

What do business letters do?

Business letters can accomplish different objectives:

How are business letters like other forms of business communication?

Like all business writing, business letters should be concise, maintain a formal tone, and use professional diction. Business letters should also be considered public documents; your letter of complaint could be forwarded from the manager of a company to the CEO. Make sure to proofread carefully before sending out business letters.

How are business letters different from other forms of business communication?

Typically, business letters establish relationships with individuals or companies outside of your company. In contrast, a memo is an internal document passed among individuals within one organization. Business letters allow the sender to put his or her best persona forward while maintaining a professional relationship with the recipient. Business letters can also be used to break existing relationships, between both individuals and companies. In some situations, letters reinforce relationships between people rather than provide information.

Business letters can also be sent within companies; these internal letters usually concern matters that require institutional recognition (letters of promotion or letters of dismissal). In many ways, business letters archive important interactions between individuals and companies as well as important events within companies. In contrast, email communication exchanges information quickly among individuals in a more informal way.

Howe Writing Initiative ‧ Farmer School of Business ‧ Miami University

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