Business Correspondence Etiquette
Correspondence is a very special genre that you must master if you are going to climb the corporate ladder. Good business writing skills will serve you faithfully: they will help you in communicating with subordinates, superiors and partners, your education and horizons will be emphasized. The communication style should be restrained, focused, without deviating from a given topic.
Features of business communication
Any communication, both personal and written, is an interaction with people in order to exchange information, make an impression, and agree. Nothing human is alien to us, we sometimes give vent to emotions, but in the business sphere there should not be a place for a stormy manifestation of our feelings, characteristics of character and temperament.
It is impossible to imagine that at an international meeting the presidents of different countries sang songs, laughed out loud or expressed personal hostility. That's why there is etiquette to make our life as comfortable and orderly as possible.
An important feature of business communication is that it cannot be cut short. For each letter you receive, you need to write an answer, even if you do not want it. If you got a call and you didn’t have time to pick up the phone, you should definitely call back. Of course, talking with some people can be unpleasant. That is why stress resistance is listed in the list of managerial qualities.
A business meeting, talking on the phone, or business correspondence via e-mail will certainly have some purpose. As a result, the parties should come to conclusions, discuss the project, agree on a strategic partnership, and so on.
In writing, there are perhaps more restrictions and conventions than in spoken language. Communicating with the interlocutor directly, in person, we can make an intonation emphasis on a particular fact or clarify something if the interlocutor does not understand us. If a speech mistake is made, we can fix it right away. But in a service letter, we must express ourselves very clearly and clearly so that the words do not imply a double interpretation.
They used to say: “The paper will endure everything”, implying that even false facts can be written. We are of the opinion that business correspondence should be as honest as possible. By the way, now less and less paper letters are sent. Basically, contracts and other documents are forwarded to them. In this case, letterheads are used as evidence of the organization’s high status.
Today, in most cases, business correspondence takes place in a virtual space, and it has its own characteristics. When the dialogue is just started, it’s customary to write a greeting according to etiquette, for example: "Hello, dear Oleg Sergeyevich!" And at the subsequent appeal during the working day, the greeting can be omitted.
Written communication, including by email, requires compliance with language standards and impeccable literacy. After all, correspondence will reveal your gaps in front of an educated interlocutor. Therefore, we recommend checking what is written using special services if you are not completely sure of your own knowledge.
We list the general rules that are required by the ethics of electronic communication. They are quite simple, but many, alas, neglect them:
- the beginning of each sentence is capitalized;
- at the end of the phrase, a period is put so that the meaning of what is read is clear;
- To sort through a problem and suggest solutions, it’s useful to use a bullet or numbered list;
- for clarity, it is good to use tables, graphs, charts;
- do not try to specially seem smart, educated interlocutor, do not complicate simple thoughts with excessive participial and participial turns;
- the simpler you express your thoughts, the better;
- although culture requires avoiding jargon in everyday speech, professional jargon and borrowing from English are now considered good form in a business environment (but don't overdo it!).
Types of business letters
The following types of messages are distinguished:
- promotional offers;
- cooperation proposals.
Their structure is almost the same. As for the volume, the long text does not look good in the body of the letter. It is better to format it as a separate file and attach as an attachment. In this case, in the letter itself, after the greeting, you need to briefly indicate what is being discussed in the attached file.
Letter structure (start)
In addition to the general rules, it is important to know some of the details of business writing. We give rules that will be appropriate in the vast majority of cases.
The beginning of the email is called the header. It has the logo of the organization. It is useful to always have at hand (that is, on the desktop of your computer) a template in which this logo is included.
Unlike offline communication, modern rules do not oblige you to greet the addressee, and you can immediately, calling him by name and patronymic, state the essence of the matter. However, many continue to write at the beginning of the message: "Good morning!", "Hello!", "Good evening!" Or "Greetings." And in this, too, there is no deviation from the norm.
Requirements for the main part of the letter suggest that it is in it that the meaning of correspondence lies. The division of the text into paragraphs is considered a good form, a sign of careful attention to the interlocutor. Each paragraph refers to one or another aspect of the topic and reveals it. In addition to indicating the problem, it is customary to propose ways to solve it. So to speak, to disclose a business idea in miniature.
Letter structure (conclusion)
In the final part of the message, both formal and more personal feelings can be expressed. The wording “Regards ...”, “Best regards ...” (“best regards” in English) or a more emotional wish “Have a nice day!” Are generally accepted.
In the personal signature it is obligatory to indicate the last name and first name (and in some circles, also the middle name). Also, there should be phone numbers on which you can reach: mobile and office city. Recently, an electronic signature with the company logo has come into fashion.
An additional link to the organization’s electronic portal serves as additional advertising and in the future may increase the traffic of this site.
How to send a business message?
Most office employees have a very extensive archive of letters in their email inbox. So that the interlocutor does not get confused in a long correspondence, it is recommended to send a letter in the form of an answer. When you click on the appropriate plate at the beginning of the subject line, the English abbreviation "Re ..." appears. This is very convenient, because the recipient will immediately remember the progress of the correspondence.
You can save the entire history of virtual communication with this person, and you can leave only the latest or most significant quotes. Modern business etiquette requires a quick response to letters. Indeed, at a working computer we spend a significant part of our day. In addition, mail can be checked from mobile devices.
If you are worried if the message has reached the addressee, use the convenient "Notification of receipt" function, which is available on almost all mail servers. Thus, you will understand that the letter was viewed.
If the message is of particular importance and urgency, then it is allowed to write sms or make a phone call to remind you of the letter.
It is not worth mentioning that a quick response to emails testifies to your seriousness and mobility in solving business issues.
Do we need stamps
Among artists, the use of stamps is not accepted and, moreover, is ridiculed and condemned. But in business correspondence, cliches help reflect standard situations.
It’s useful to get yourself a virtual piggy bank of stable expressions and phrases. After all, these cliches are the basis for structured communication, paperwork, and the solution of formal issues. For example, sympathy is expressed by the turnover "Unfortunately, we are forced to inform you ...". A sense of appreciation is reflected in this on-duty formula: "Thank you for the invaluable contribution ...". And finally, joy: "We are proud to inform you that ...". And here is the final phrase: “We look forward to further fruitful cooperation” expresses hope for further business contacts.
So, we talked about the etiquette of business correspondence. These rules are needed in order to make communication as comfortable and fruitful as possible. Use them, and you will see that your affairs in the service went well!
For more information about the rules of business correspondence, including electronic, see the next video.