THE USEFULNESS OF TEACHING BUSINESS CORRESPONDENCE
Horea Ioana Universitatea din Oradea, Facultatea de ŞtiinŃe Economice, Catedra de Afaceri InternaŃionale, PiaŃa CetăŃii nr.28, ap.45, Oradea, tel.: 0359 802490, e-mail: email@example.com A subject once much discussed but lately more and more neglected is that of business correspondence. Taught intensively to students of economics, for a while, it now loses ground and tends to become extinct as a school subject. The necessity of studying the way of laying out and the manner of writing business formal letters is nevertheless unquestionable when it comes to the preparation and qualification of future economists. Key words: Business English, written communication, types of business letters, standard elements and phrases
Oral and written communication in Business English
There is a big difference between oral and written communication in English, let alone in Business English. The first step in preparing for writing business letters is understanding the importance of, and acquiring the skills of correct spelling. Accuracy is more relevant in writing than in oral communication, where mistakes can be even charming. Formal letters are even less the place to be negligent or shallow. Concise but complete, clear, concrete and correct, curt but still courteous are basic attributes to be pursued when embarking for the production of written communication in Business English. These letters are only effective if they are able to keep good relationships and at the same time to trigger some desired action usually not very facile to acquire even in oral or informal communication.
Particularities of business letters
While in teaching Business English there is a major accent on the vocabulary and the specific structures used in the economic fields, in general, the Business correspondence is somewhat different, implying a particularization, in what it is concerned mostly with specific situations that make allowance for or require communication through letters. Teaching business correspondence has one complex and distinct objective: providing information on how to use an already assimilated – and not exaggeratedly extended – business lexical material, in a tactful and official manner, in accurate writing of complete, effective and correct formal letters, skilfully selecting the most appropriate phrases and ways of addressing – from the several standard phrases that are to be well mastered – all these with a view to produce an expected effect on the recipient of the letter (business partners or people with whom the writer may be involved in the course of performing his/her business activities). In business letters, there is a behavioural component that has to be highly considered - the accurate manner and the need for tact and capacity of producing a meaningful and effective formal means of communication. Besides this, there are some strict, concrete, aspects that are to be known and applied when engaging in writing a business letter. Such are: the typical phrases that have to be used in certain situations, in typical circumstances, and the necessary parts of the letters, precise elements baring particular functions, that must be positioned flawlessly - as these official letters are supposed to follow a given format. Here are some typical situations of business relationship that may have to be met at a point by any economist, circumstances implying usage of certain phrases and conception of the letter accordingly: starting an initial letter or a response letter, good news, bad news, requests, enclosures, complaints, apologies, orders, offers, payment reminders, appointments, concluding. Each context requires peculiar formulae that have to be known by the person appointed to write that letter, thus the need to learn the special phrases is doubtless.
The parts of a letter
As for the parts of the business letter here are, in a nut-shell (table 1), the constitutive elements of this sort of correspondence and the components of the communication – of the body of the letter – in accordance to the features of the letter (table 2):
for instance. clients or partners have to be announced of the modifications occurring and this is usually done by letters from those entitled to certify this information. Business letters are widely used in the stages before concluding a contract. let’s say:
− − the inquiry letters (asking information previous to demands. furthermore.
Prior to concluding contracts
First. the latter may be a neutral. offers and all the subsequent letters that may drive from these. doing business is a dynamic activity this implying possible changes that have to be informed and notified in order to maintain good relationship between partners and proper functioning of the business affairs. On the other hand. carriage. there may be letters of complaint: about quality. quantity. According to the reason of the claim. presentations or offer correspondence. in connection to the object of the particular trade. second and third). Hence. inasmuch it may be a first letter or a response and. or to present intentions of entering business from the various parts of the future partnership. varying in accordance with the sender and the content of the letter. there are contractual clauses that are often breached and consequently letters of complaints will be quite frequent.
Contractual clauses and alterations
Then. invoicing and letters of collection of overdue accounts or reminders (first. or the letters sent in connection with orders o the order proper. a positive or a negative one. the offer itself o presenting new products to former customers or o the market entrance of new companies. In this respect there are: − − either sent by the customer or beneficiary: o letters of complaint (the proper. there is the pre-contractual correspondence: inquiry letters. Thus.
Such are. price. simple letters stating the problem noticed) or sent in response. demanding certain products as previously consulted or seen in sample catalogues. We shall note. delay in delivery. they representing the main topics of teaching this subject.Heading Date Reference line Inside address Salutation Subject line Body of the letter Complimentary close Signature Initials and postscripts Enclosures Table 1
Opening line First Reply Acknowledgement Conveying message Agreement Disagreement Closing General Thanks Wish for cooperation Recommendation Apologies Table 2
Main topics of teaching business letters
Among the most important types of business letters some are to be marked as basic. announcing all firms existent on the market in that particular field of trade. by the supplier: 969
. There are different reasons for complaint and they will account for a classification of the complaint letters. in order to establish general facts about the products which shall constitute the subject of the contracts. that there are several types of letters concerning the subject. demand or order letters. we may talk about letters of announcement or notifications. o the acknowledgement and o the reply concerning the order letters. to introduce the various aspects necessary to be agreed upon and clarified in advance of that step. nevertheless. as requests for offers). packing. damaged goods.
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1. . 2. In all fields of economy there may develop situations of such nature as to require. asking for reference. the letters may be: requests for insurance. 2004..o
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acknowledgement letters (not necessary in themselves . Finally. where cover letters accompany other documentation and are used in all the phases of the particular activities characteristic to these domains. there are the application letters that need to be edited. documentary credit letters etc. status inquiry."Business Correspondence in Drills". inquiry for insurance rate. They have to accompany the CVs. In what the insurance is concerned. but are less complicated and. Oradea.s. assuring valid channels of communication on the specific matters. quite sufficiently discussed even in the stages before beginning the economic studies. These are very much specialized and demand knowledge of a more peculiar vocabulary and comprehension of the various factual situations implied. as they are needed for all but the most insignificant jobs."English Business Letters. Banking operations can trigger correspondence such as: customer's requests of an overdraft. As for the transportation.. the production of a business letter. Knowing the ins and outs of this activity is really useful for a future economist. Harlow. freight discussion or inquiry.only stating the note of the problem and the decision of seeing to the matter .o."Writing Strategies for Business Communication". . regularly. 2004.. advice of dispatch. Alicante. Classified into objective letters or highlight letters they may follow a functional or a thematic approach. when applying for jobs. 3..but if they appear they are compulsorily followed or completed by another. we may encounter letters concerning the following: shipping instructions. 1994. one of which being represented by the various types of letters. concisely conceived and accurately displayed. mistaken account warning. as transportation. revised by David O’Gorman. the bank's replies to these. letters of indemnity a. notifications from charterer to broker. Williams J. needs to be globally oriented and based on solid and open business relationships. like the newly European integrated Romanian one. bills of exchange. response) adjustment letters (giving positive solutions to the acknowledged fault) rejection letters (denying the alleged irregularities) confirmation letters (certifying certain facts)
Other specialized business letters
Correspondence is also needed in more specialized economic fields. .. Horea I. Commercial Correspondence for Foreign Students". persuasively presented. positive or negative. Longman House. but they all shall provide the potential employee with the personal information he/she expects and needs to find.W. King F. insurance and banks. Guillén-Nieto V. at a certain point. Editura UniversităŃii din Oradea.
An effective economic society. Cree Ann D.