15 Tips For Writing To Anyone

I'm including a general "how-to-tips" of good letter-writing, in case you'd like to give this a go on your own. Sometimes the only person who can convey the right message, is you. Don't lose credibility by losing touch with your audience. 1. The best time to write a letter is when something is fresh on your mind. Details and important parts of what you need to express are readily available. 2. The worst time to send the letter is just after you have written it. Seriously. Time is typically of the essence. But sending a letter when you haven't had the time to walk away from it can be catastrophic. (Even a couple of hours can do the trick.) I've done both the immediate approach, and the think-about-it, and it will always come out better after you've had time to do something else between "draft" and "sent". 3. The most difficult thing to write about is your baby. If you are a parent of a child, you understand that you will be overly biased about your kid(s). We all do it. As a business owner, your business is your baby, so it is often the same biased thought process. If you can take the back seat on a letter to a customer defending your business, it's probably better. ;) 4. If you are heated about something, have a trusted source proofread your letter. When you are upset, you may repeat yourself, reiterate your frustration, or sound like a broken record. (If you caught my repetition in triplicate here, good work. ;) 5. If you are in a rush, make sure you outline a few points you want to touch on. "Short & Sweet" is often effective for a thank you, and can send the right message even when responding to a complaint. It is better to send something short, than nothing at all. 6. When you start to feel guilty that you have waited too long, it's probably been too long. If you are in a pickle and need a letter the same day, I can help. 7. Don't shoot the messenger. If you are writing to a company - try to imagine being the recipient. If you are voicing strong opinions about being "right", make sure to use a diplomatic voice in your letter. Often, the person who opens the email or the letter has the power to delete or forward your letter to the right people. A condescending tone will often get you nowhere. Other threatening

tones or publications can be seen as libel. (Example: A libel or slander suit can be drawn by posting an online review that a person is not fit to run his business or trade.) 8. If you are writing to a customer, remember that your words last forever. You often will need to stand behind your business and your product, but without being ugly. Anything you write can be copied and pasted everywhere for all the world to see. 9. Some business owners are better with logistics and ideas than customer service. You probably already know if this is not your strength. While hiring a full-time customer service representative may not be in the budget, having a custom letter is super-reasonably priced, and 24-hour turnaround from The Letter Shop is our standard. 10. Read everything you have written out-loud. This is a surefire way to find errors in grammar and flow. Sometimes this is the only way to see what's really missing. (It's helpful, too, in finding areas where you've been repetitive.) 11. Even when critiquing, try and make what is called a "love sandwich". Compliment, critique, compliment. See the sandwich effect? Your compliments are like bread, which make the critique so much more digestible. Yum. 12. Language barriers can be a huge enemy. If you are writing to someone who generally speaks slang, your thoughtful and nerdy approach could be totally wrong. If you aren't fluent in the native dialect of the recipient, have someone proofread who is. Be mindful of your audience. 13. If you are writing to your employer, please remember that your letter can stay in your HR file. If you are going out a lá Jerry Maguire, you have to remember your future contacts or colleagues may know of your infamy. 14. Try the Shoe On The Other Foot Method. It works really nicely if you are good at empathy. If you are hot about something, however - this trick sometimes does not work. (See #4.) 15. Send thank you letters. Don't ask for anything else, or your agenda is evident. If you are a business and you ask for future business, it's not a simple thank you. Custom Letters & Proofreading Ideally, you'll have the time and energy to write every letter you need to write. But, let's face it - it's not always ideal. Certain things will get in the way of your writing ability. If you are short on time, lost for words, or need a diplomatic approach to your letter, please get in touch with me. Subscription and bulk pricing can be arranged. © 2011 Dana Thompson - 310.372.7919

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