Over 7 billion letters
are produced each year in Canada. They relate to jobs, relationships,
fund-raising, public relations and sales.
Most of us are capable
of writing intelligent, persuasive letters. However, many writers fall
down in the attempt because they are applying outdated writing styles
to today's business requirements. This causes their written materials
to be cold, long-winded, and difficult to read.
The key for writing
in the 90s is to produce letters that build relationships. Here are
some tips to ensure your writing style is reflective of the 90s.
1. Write with
the reader in mind: what does he want to know; what does he need to
know. Omit all other details.
2. Use words the
reader can easily understand. If he or she is familiar with jargon,
use it. Otherwise, choose simpler words.
3. Don't waste
your reader's time with cold, useless phrases: as per, we are in receipt
of, we wish to acknowledge
Jump in with why you are writing:
I need your assistance to, As you requested, here are
4. Make it easy
for your reader to interpret the message. Use plenty of white space
and wide margins. Keep sentences short. Readers' attention drops off
after the 18th word. If you add a 19th, it better be good.
intimidate. Opening and closing paragraphs should run no longer than
three lines and nothing in the body over ten lines.
5. Keep the tone
warm. Use the reader's name. Write about what you can do - not what
you can't. If your purpose is to inform or persuade, use the word
you more often than the words I, we or it.
6. Always give
your readers a WIIFY. What's in for you. Too many writers stress their
own importance, or the wonders of their product/service without spelling
out the benefits to the reader.
7. Close with
what you want the reader to do next. If you have a date, give it.
Never use the ambiguous term as soon as possible. Wrong and overused:
If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact me. Better: If
you have any questions, please call me at.
readers are drowning in paper, and they don't necessarily have time
to read and follow up on your correspondence. However, if you write
in a warm, easy-to-understand, concise style, your chance of having
your message acted upon will greatly increase.