There are many instances when you’ll have to write a business letter with multiple recipients. As with all business correspondence, there are a few rules that you must follow.
This article covers the proper way to address recipients in a group business letter. But first, let’s recap a few basics.
What is a Business Letter?
A business letter is a type of correspondence between businesses or between a business and an individual. Business letters have seven key components. These are:
- Sender’s address
- Recipient’s address
Each component serves a specific purpose and contains key information. A business letter is not too difficult to write, but there are certain rules that you must follow.
Here’s a beginner’s writing guide on the standard business letter format. [link to business letter requirements article]
The Importance of Business Letters
Business letters are important across all industries because they establish and maintain communication between two businesses. Businesses use them to request information, send proposals, offer business opportunities, and nurture a collaborative spirit.
Business letters are aptly named because the person sending them usually means business. Business letters imply that the message they carry and the subject matter they cover are serious. This means recipients must give the letter a greater level of attention.
Special Conditions of a Business Letter with Multiple Recipients
Sending a business letter to a single recipient is as simple as sending a letter to one person. This is because the information contained therein is for a specific person.
This changes when addressing multiple people. For one, you’ll need to find the right tone to match your audience. Etiquette also differs when addressing multiple people.
The following section will guide you toward the appropriate ways to address a group of people in a single business letter.
Writing a Business Letter with Multiple Recipients
The general rules of business letter writing apply regardless of how many people are addressed in the letter. Your letter will still use a formal, professional tone, and This guide will mainly focus on how you should address people.
The main reason why you need to address multiple people properly goes beyond a matter of courtesy. First, it lets everyone know who receives the letter know who else is getting it. It allows recipients to temper their response depending on who else is receiving the letter.
Second, it motivates recipients to respond to the letter. People are inherently more likely to respond when they know a message is meant for them. Understanding the proper way to address multiple people will help you avoid offending people and will help you get the results you want. Let’s begin.
Carbon Copy (CC)
There are two ways to address multiple recipients. A carbon copy is an exact copy of your main letter. It shows your main recipient, the other people who have received the letter. The carbon copy function is used to address the main recipient, typically the final decision maker and other people involved.
For example: If you’re writing to the head instructor of an academy and want to include other instructors, write your letter like this:
Cmdr. John Shepard
[State and Zip code]
-Skip one line-
Cc: James Vega, Ashley Williams, David Anderson, Steven Hackett
This way, John knows that his colleagues are also receiving copies of the letter. The instructors also know that you’ve sent a letter to John and want them to have the information as well.
Blind Carbon Copy (BCC)
A blind carbon copy is similar to a carbon copy in its function. It differs in how it allows you to copy another recipient without notifying the main recipient.
It’s a way to notify others that you’ve sent an email without making things more uncomfortable than they need to be.
For example, Grissom Academy’s HR needs to send a warning email to one of the instructors for their decline in performance. HR can send the warning email to the erring instructor and use the blind carbon copy function to notify the head instructor.
This allows HR to send disciplinary emails to team members and notify their supervisors without making things more awkward.
Addressing Whole Groups
If you’re writing a letter to a whole collective, you can write the group’s name in place of a recipient’s name.
For example, You want to send a memo to Grissom Academy’s faculty as a whole. You can address your letter to the faculty, followed by the company name and address.
Your salutation will now be:
Dear Grissom Academy Faculty
Even as technology changes frequently, the rules of politeness remain the same. Properly addressing someone is one of the most important fundamentals of courtesy.
Writing a business letter with multiple recipients is not a challenging task. It’s more a matter of propriety than skill.
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