Effective Tips to Start a Formal Business Letter

Wondering how to start a formal business letter? It’s not complex.

What Is a Formal Business Letter?

A formal business letter is a document used in communication between people in a work setting. It can enhance your business relations and improve the effectiveness of your message.

A properly written formal business letter is easy to read and understand, and it provides efficiency in regard to time and resources. Using the right phrasing in a business letter will make your correspondence look professional and polished.

When you start a formal business letter correctly, you make a good first impression.

A man in a blue shirt writing on a paper
Photo by Scott Graham on Unsplash

7 Tips on How to Start a Formal Business Letter

The language used to begin your business letter can differ depending on your writing goal and relationship with your receiver. The following general tips will help you start writing any business letter professionally.

1. Use a Consistent Typeface and Size

Make sure your business letter is readable by typing it in a clear and consistent font. Most formal business letters have a standard typeface and size.

Line spacing, margins, and font size are also important to understand the format. Start with a typeface that is easy to read, like Times New Roman or Arial 12 point. Line spacing should be at a minimum of 1. 5 inches and font size at 14-16 points.

2. Make Your Voice Professional

When writing a professional letter, your tone is crucial, and getting it right might be tricky at times. You should carefully consider the type of words you employ.

The goal of a formal letter is to look businesslike and professional. Therefore, you should eliminate any informal or conversation words or phrases and utilize a variety of appropriate vocabulary.

You should always use a professional style that shows respect for the recipient and their situation.

3. Formalize Your Relationship With the Recipient

Consider how well you know the person you’re writing to, and use a more official approach with business acquaintances than with personal friends.

Your business letter will feel more genuine if you get the tone correct. Develop a rapport with the recipient by taking the time first to introduce yourself and explain your purpose in writing.

Give the people reasoning to help them know that you are trying to reach out to them in a friendly manner.

4. Employ Personal Pronouns

In the case of the business letter, it is generally understood that this type of letter is written for individual purposes.

To give your letter a sense of warmth and personality, use personal pronouns like ‘I’ to address yourself and ‘you’ to address the recipient. When writing on behalf of a corporation, you can use ‘we’ to show you are backed by a company.

5. Make Use of Active Voice

Use the active voice in your business letter. It’s essential to know what voice you use when in a formal setting.

Using an active voice as much as possible will keep the tone of your letter professional and consistent from start to finish. Starting your business letter with an active voice rather than a passive voice will make your correspondence concise and clear.

6. Look Up the Recipient’s Name

If the recipient doesn’t have a name on the company’s website, the first step is to do more research and learn the name. “To whom it may concern:” and “Dear sir/madam” are legitimate ways to begin a business letter. But putting the recipient’s name in the salutation will make the letter feel much more friendly.

7. Double-check Spelling and Grammar

When compiling your letter, make sure that it is grammatically correct and typo-free before sending it out.

It is not recommended that you send out a letter without confirming and checking your spelling and grammar. In this day and age, spelling and grammar should always be second nature to the professional.

To Wrap Up

Formal business letters are the most common when it comes to business communications. The right letter can excite your audience or deter them from doing business with you.

A professional-looking letter can improve your chances of success and build a better relationship with those you are trying to contact. This article will help you with tips on how to start a formal business letter in the right way.

Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.

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