- The business letter is one of the oldest forms of written communication we use in business today. This also means it has some of the most defined and structured standards for etiquette. When writing a business letter, the same rules of etiquette and caution as email apply. Since the business letter is a more formal mode of communication, it's the most essential of all forms to use proper format and formality. A letter sent through standard US Postal Service Mail conveys the highest level of formality but a low level of time-based urgency.
The perceived importance can be increased by using an alternate form of delivery such as an overnight service courier or hand-delivering. When using one of these expedited services, the level of time-based urgency is increased. A letter can also be seen as having a higher level of importance of content. For example, many legal issues are communicated with a formal letter. The formal business letter is a great tool for legal matters, sensitive topics that require documentation, and communication of important information.
It's not a good form of communication for quick or conversational sharing of information. in those situations, an email or text is probably best. It's also not the best choice for items of a personal or emotionally sensitive nature. A phone call would be better used for conversations where vocal tone can help in conveying the right message. Never send any information in any form of written communication that's illegal in nature or that you would not want shared publicly or used against you.
A letter is also a form of permanent written record. Once it's been sent, it can be copied, scanned and shared easily and may never be retrieved. Just like any form of written communication, it's difficult to interpret the intended vocal tone in a letter. Make sure to re-read your letter for any possible misinterpretation and never use sarcasm or comments in poor taste. As the most formal of business communication, polite language such as please and thank you are most often used within a letter.
While its use doesn't need to be excessive, when the situation calls for it, make sure to use these phrases. Grammar, spelling, and proofreading are essential in a business letter. Especially in this form of communication, misspellings or grammar mistakes stick out and they signify poor attention to detail, and they lessen the importance of the message. The business letter is a fantastic tool for sending information of increased importance or formality. Knowing the proper structure of a letter and its different parts helps you to increase the image of formality.
Next up is text etiquette, including what and what not to say in a text message. Suzanna then looks at common business communications like letters, requests for payment, and thank-yous, and how to make action items communicate the right level of urgency.
Finally, the course covers phone etiquette, including proper greetings, voicemails, out-of-office messages, and essential phone behavior.
- Understanding subject, greeting, and signature etiquette
- Using CC, BCC, and Reply All
- Text messaging etiquette
- Writing business letters
- Leaving voicemail
- Understanding what to say over the phone