Business Correspondence

‡ Correspondence means communication by letters. ‡ In other words, correspondence is communication in writing between two persons on matters of personal, official, and business interest.

Types of Correspondence

Correspondence can be divided into 3 types:
‡ Personal Correspondence ‡ Business Correspondence ‡ Official Correspondence

Personal Correspondence
‡ It relates to communication in writing between friends, relatives etc. on matters of personal interest and welfare. ‡ As such there is no hard and fast rule for writing personal letters.

Business Correspondence
‡ It relates to the communication in writing between business houses on matters of trade, commerce and industries. ‡ Letters dealing with matters relating to purchase and sale of goods, transportation, banking, insurance and other trade matters come under this category.

Official Correspondence
‡ It relates to the communication in writing between government and semi government offices, local bodies, Municipal Corporation, panchayats etc. ‡ On matter of general administration and other allied subjects connected with various departments.

Purpose & Uses of Business Correspondence

Sometimes correspondence becomes necessary even though personal contact is possible because of the purpose and uses of correspondence. They are as follows: 1. Ideas can be put more clearly in writing. 2. It becomes a record. 3. It becomes a legal document. 4. It can be used for future reference.

Ideas can be put in writing more clearly and understood more easily:
‡ If something is put in writing, it becomes very clear and easy to understand than oral communication. ‡ Anything, which is written, can be read any number of times for understanding it.

A letter becomes a Record:
‡ Copies of letters exchanged between the two parties can be kept by the sender as well as by the receiver. ‡ Copies kept in the relevant file can become a record and can be kept safely for as long as required. ‡ This is not possible in oral communication.

Letter may serve as legal document:
‡ Any record, which is maintained safely, can be used as a legal document as a proof or evidence if need arises. ‡ Many letters, which contain vital information about a purchase transaction like an order letter, can become legal documents. ‡ They can be produced in courts if need arises.

Letter is useful for future reference:
‡ Any letter kept in the file as a record can be referred to any time in future for knowing the past dealings. ‡ This is one of the reasons why letters are kept at records. ‡ Without knowing the past, future dealings cannot be planned and carried out.

Essential Characteristics Of a Good Business Letter

‡ A good letter is able to achieve the purpose for which it is written. ‡ A letter accompanying a catalogue should succeed in persuading the addressee to make some purchases. ‡ A letter adjusting a complaint must satisfy the complainant.

Clarity & Conciseness
Version 1: I am extremely sorry to have to point out to you that we do not have these brands in stock at the present moment of time. Version 2: These brands are presently out of stock. ‡ Which one gives you the information clearly and precisely.

‡ ‡ ‡ ‡

Lack of clarity & conciseness is mainly because of the following reasons: Long involved sentences Sentences revealing over-emphasis Verbosity or wordiness Redundancy or use of low Information Content (LIC) words. ³Let us see some examples´

1. Regardless of their seniority, all employees who are expecting that they would be promoted are expected to continue their education either by enrolling in the special courses to be offered by the company, which are scheduled to be given after working hours beginning next week, or by taking approved online courses chosen from the list which are kept in the training division. (Involved Sentence)

Regardless of their seniority, all employees anticipating a promotion are expected to continue their education in either of the following ways: ‡ They may enroll in special courses to be offered by the company. ‡ They may refer to the list in the training division, select & take approved online courses.

2. I strongly believe that Mr. Kumar¶s employment record seems to show that he may be absolutely capable of handling even extremely difficult situations. (Over emphasis) 3. Our Chairman is of the opinion that only the Personnel Manager can handle this situation. (Wordiness)

‡ Mr. Kumar¶s employment record shows that he may be able to handle any difficult situation.

‡ Our Chairman believes that only our Personnel Manager can handle the situation.

4. It will be noted that the records of the earlier years show a steady increase in special appropriations. (Redundancy)

‡ The records for the earlier years show a steady increase in special appropriations.

Correctness & Completeness
Suppose you enquire from a company about the mode of payment for the equipment you have purchased from them and they reply like this: ³Send your payment by demand draft as soon as possible.´

‡ It does not give you the complete details about payment, i.e., the name on which the draft has to be taken. ‡ It does not specify the deadline for sending the draft.

‡ We need a large office space. ‡ A number of customers filed their returns today. ‡ We are submitting a cheque in the amount of Rs. 20,000.

‡ We need at least 10,000 square feet. ‡ Ten customers filed their returns today. ‡ We are sending a cheque for Rs. 20,000

Positive Approach
‡ We regret to inform you that we may not be able to grant you request for credit. ‡ It is impossible to repair your car in two days. ‡ We cannot send you the shirts until you tell us what colour and size you want. ‡ For the time being we can serve you on cash basis only. ‡ Your car will be ready by Thursday. ‡ Please check your size & colour preferences in the enclosed order form & send to us so that you may receive the shirts.

Courtesy & Consideration
Given below is a business message received by a candidate a week after submitting an application for a job: ³Your application for the post of Purchase Manager cannot be considered by our company.´

Thank you very much for your application dated««« for the post of ««« in our company. We are sorry that we are not able to offer you this position at present. However, we have noted down your credentials & have filed your application for future use. Whenever an opportunity arises in future, we shall consider your application. We appreciate your interest in working with us. Our best wishes to you.

‡ Your indifferent attitude has caused a great loss. ‡ If you do not respond to this letter also, we do not have any option other than lodging legal proceedings against you company.

‡ Had you been a bit more careful, we could have avoided this 20% loss. ‡ We hope that you will certainly respond to this letter at least so that we can avoid taking any legal action against your company.