Brevity and Directness

The rambling dissertations that characterize personal correspondence between friends are inappropriate in business letters. Even though friendly and conversational in tone, the letters should never become chatty or deal with topics unrelated to the purpose of the letter. Inquiries about the reader’s health, family members, the weather, or other irrele­vant pleasantries only clutter the letter and divert the reader’s attention from the main topic.

Each paragraph should relate to the purpose described in the open­ing sentences of the letter. If it does not, it is probably unnecessary. For example:

• “I am interested in purchasing a new Ajax Tree Digger, Model R17.

I saw it demonstrated recently at a trade show in Wichita and need additional information about its capabilities.

The Tree Digger should enable our firm to double our digging operation without any increase in personnel. As you know, every dollar saved these days is important.

Please have a sales representative call on me here at the nursery. Because I need the machine in time for spring digging, I shall appreciate your prompt attention to my request.”

The second paragraph is of no importance to the purpose of the let­ter, which is to obtain more information about the tree digger. It should be eliminated.

Updated: October 12, 2015 — 12:42 am