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16.05.2012, 09:38

http://english-for-business.blogspot.com/2007/09/busines-letter.html Tuesday, September 18, 2007 BUSINES LETTER  

What is a business letter?  A business letter is an important document that a writer uses to accomplish specific, measureable objectives in interaction with a specific audience.

  • A business letter usually focuses on the reader's interests, needs, and concerns, often in order to get the writer's aims accomplished as well as the reader's. The strategy is to build rapport (a positive social relationship), offer needed information, and then ask for specific action. In some cases the writer may want to change the reader's attitude, which is also a kind of action.
  • A business letter builds a bridge (rapport) in a number of ways: expressing shared concerns or objectives, sharing personal or social information or experiences, naming shared acquaintances or business contacts, etc.
  • A business letter writer organizes the content of the letter to that it persuades the reader to agree with the writer's aims. The strategy is to construct "arguments" that the reader will accept as valid reasons for acting in ways that the writer has specified.
  • A business letter writer employs some device or means to measure the effectiveness of his or her persuasive effort. For example, a direct mail sales letter may include a coupon that the reader can redeem; a letter of termination's effectiveness may be measured by the fact that the employee does not retaliate with a lawsuit; a letter of complaint achieves an adjustment or refund.
  • A business letter is usually written in Business English and employs standard western styles of formatting and traditional letter parts or sections. For example, writers most often use block, modified block, semi-block, or AMS simplified styles for formatting content, and the letter parts most often included are the heading, inside address, salutation, body, close, signature, and reference section. (See your text for more information about format styles and letter parts.)

AMS analog/mixed signal design разработка аналоговых и цифро-аналоговых устройств



Do business letters vary from country to country?

Although business people from many countries rely on Business English and use standard "western" letter formats, if you conduct business overseas you will see major and minor differences -- in language, in format, and strategies of persuasion. The latter element -- the kinds of strategies that writers use to persuade -- may vary subtly, or greatly from culture to culture (e.g., nationally, or because of ethnic or religious differences). While all human communication shares common elements, even the subtle differences are important to learn about, because they may mean the difference between success or failure in a global business venture. [See your International Communication Case Assignment for more information about this increasingly crucial topic.]

"Kinds" of U.S. Business Letters

There are a wide variety of kinds of business letters and they are categorized chiefly by function: (The following list is not exhaustive.)

complaint or adjustment letters ... sales letters (and proposal letters)… performance appraisals ... good news and bad news letters… hiring and termination letters ... letters of recommendation fund-raising letters ... request letters… collection letters... problem-solving letters… query letters ... letters of inquiry… refusal letters ... letters of transmittal… goodwill letters... application letters

In conjunction with standard writing strategies (rapport, information, action), each of these kinds of letters employs certain specific strategies in order to accomplish its primary purpose., and in addition, secondary strategies may be employed to accomplish more than one objective with the same letter. For example, a company may use a direct mail sales letter to change your attitude about one of its poor-selling product s, and to get you to place an order as well. The company writers will likely offer information about how the product has been improved, and it will use a standard sales technique (e.g., the "star-chain- knot") to "close the sale." [Consult your textbook for more information about this and other specific strategies.] A writer of a bad news letter will need to decide whether to be direct or indirect. A writer of a complaint letter will need to get the reader on his or her side, and be clear about the action desired to remedy the problem.


Paying attention to standard Business English and traditional letter formats, write a variety of letters to people in U.S. companies, as described in the list of choices below. (Later in the semester you will also be asked to write letters or memos to international audiences.)

For practice (and your portfolio):

  1. Write a draft of a complaint/adjustment letter about a product or service you have purchased, with which you are very dissatisfied. Your aim or intent is the completion of the promised service, a replacement or exchange, an adjustment of the bill, and/or a refund. and/or
  2. Write a draft of a letter soliciting funds for some club or non-profit organization to which you belong. Your aim is to get the reader to send in a donation. and/or
  3. Write a draft of an inquiry letter in which you request information about employment opportunities with a particular company or organization. Your purpose is to gather information, not to obtain an interview.

For your graded U.S. business letter assignment:

Write one of the following:

a direct mail sales letter for a product or service that you have (or could have) developed and for which you intend to start a marketing campaign. You will need to be clear about the "target audience" (i.e. the group of potential customers to whom you plan to direct your sales appeal). You will also need to use an effective selling technique (e.g., star, chain, knot). Be sure that your letter employs some element that can be used to measure the effectiveness of your sales attempt (e.g., an 800#, a coupon, etc.). or

a series of 3 collection letters, for a commercial service that your company provides for other businesses. Assume that the service has already been provided, and that you want to continue to do business with the audience.

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