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BUSINESS CORRESPONDENCE

Key features of writing style and format

© 2013 Sherrie Lee http://www.linkedin.com/in/orangecanton


Writing for Business

• Audience

• Purpose

• Types of communication

• Types of business documents


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Writing for Business

• Audience
Status
Familiarity with subject

• Purpose
Inform
Persuade
Call to action
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Writing for Business

• Intra-office communication • Inter-office communication


Internal External
Within organisation Outside organisation
Colleagues, different Clients, customers,
departments, levels suppliers, etc.
Email Email
Memo Letter
Letter (less common)

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Writing Style of
Business Documents

• Plan and organise message

• Language

• Tone

• Formality
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Writing Style of
Business Documents

• Plan and organise message


Understand subject / situation
Define audience and purpose
Decide how to order content

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Writing Style of
Business Documents

• Language
Clear: short, simple words
Concise: strong verbs, active voice
Coherent: linking words, list
Correct: grammar / spelling
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Writing Style of
Business Documents

• Tone
Polite: respect reader
Positive: stress what can be done
Personal: reader's perspective,
personal pronouns
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Writing Style of
Business Documents

• Formality depends on:


Position of writer in relation to
reader
Purpose and subject of
communication
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Formal Letters

• Recipient: external
• Form: print
• Tone: formal
• Format
Block / modified block / indented
Open / closed / mixed punctuation
BE CONSISTENT!
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HO BEE PLASTICS COMPANY
(1) Letterhead
Tannery Complex
623 Tannery Road, #10-01
Singapore 587623

10 November 2013
(2) Date
Mr Dennis Loke
(3) Inside Address – include Managing Director
reader's name and designation Everlast Products Ltd
14 Travis Street
Singapore 899014

(4) Salutation
Dear Mr Loke
(5) Subject line
PROMOTION FOR PLASTIC WARE

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx. 

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.
(6) Complimentary close
Yours sincerely
(7) Signature block
Gerry Chan
Ms Gerry Chan
Manager
(8) Enclosure (optional)
Enc. (2) 11
Memos

• Recipient: internal

• Form: print / electronic

• Tone: less formal than letters

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MEMORANDUM

(1) To line
TO:         Patrick Tay, HR Senior Executive
(2) From line FROM:     Yeo Heng Soon, Sales Manager
(3) Subject line SUBJECT: Purchasing Procedures
(4) Date line
DATE:      10 November 2013

Note: No salutation or
Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
inside address xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.

Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.

1. xxxxxxxxxxxxx
2. xxxxxxxxxxxxx
3. xxxxxxxxxxxxx

(5) Signed initials – no


YHS
complimentary close
 
cc: Janice Goh, HR Manager
(6) Carbon copy (optional)
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Emails

• Recipient: internal / external

• Form: electronic

• Tone: informal / formal

• Email etiquette
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From: sally_fong@kayaexpress.com.sg
Date: 10 November 2013, 10:30 am
(1) To line To: chongbin@coffeeshophub.sg
(2) Cc line (optional) Cc: joey_lim@kayaexpress.com.sg
(3) Subject line Subject: New Kaya Samples

Dear Chong Bin


(4) Salutation

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX.

(5) Complimentary close


Best regards

Sally Fong
Sales and Marketing Manager
Kaya Express Singapore
(6) Signature block 21 Pandan Loop Singapore 879021
Tel: 6789 0987 Fax: 9789 0986
Email: sally_fong@kayaexpress.com.sg
Website: www.kayaexpress.com.sg
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Email Etiquette

• DOs

• Create appropriate signature block

• Use proper spelling and grammar

• Review message for accuracy,


readability and tact before sending
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Email Etiquette

• DON'Ts

• Forget subject line

• Use only UPPER CASE / lower case

• Attach very large files

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Types of Messages

• Good / neutral news

• Bad news

• Persuasive

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Types of Messages

• Good / neutral news – DIRECT APPROACH

Opening – main idea; state purpose

Middle – more info / details

Ending – state action you want readers to take;


positive, friendly statement to build goodwill
Examples: accede to request / adjustment,
acknowledgement 19
Types of Messages

• Bad news – INDIRECT APPROACH


Opening – buffer / show interest, concern
Middle – briefly state refusal, explain reasons behind
negative response
Ending – alternative solution (if possible), positive,
friendly statement
Examples: decline invitation, refuse request /
adjustment 20
Types of Messages

• Persuasive
Opening – gain attention
Middle – stimulate reader's interest (state benefits
Middle (cont’d) – stir reader's desire (provide
reasons, facts, evidence)
Ending – encourage reader to take action, show
reader how to take action (make it easy)
Examples: sales letter, job application letter 21
International
Correspondence

• Use commonly understood words and phrases

• Avoid humour, jargon, idioms, slang

• Consider decision-making style of recipient's culture

• Choice of spelling – US vs UK spelling


• Check for appropriate forms of date e.g. 1/10/13 =
1 October 2013 or 10 January 2013
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Final Remarks

• Be professional in all business correspondence


Be objective

Maintain dignity

Be sincere

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BE PROFESSIONAL
• Be objective

Your salesperson was so rude and


unapproachable. He was shouting at the top
of his voice and forced me to buy the product.

The salesperson behaved in an inappropriate


manner by raising his voice and using pressure
tactics.
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BE PROFESSIONAL
• Maintain dignity

Since we really value you as a customer,


please give us another chance to prove we can
do a good job.

As a valued customer, rest assured that we


will make every effort to ensure you receive
the best service in the future.
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BE PROFESSIONAL
• Be sincere

Your phenomenal contribution to our


understanding of tax procedures is remarkable.

Thank you for helping us gain a better


understanding of tax procedures.

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