In the business world, sending letters (either in the form of a traditional mail or e-mail) is one of the many ways of communicating professionally. Either from one company to another or within the company itself, there are hundreds of e-mails being sent daily. However, unlike the messages you send to your friends and families over Facebook or Twitter, business e-mails are crafted professionally, and there are certain things that you have to consider and remember to ensure that your readers —who are also professionals—will not only be impressed but actually be interested in what you have written. The following are some disciplines that need to be remembered when writing business letters; they are called the Six Cs of disciplined business writing.
Correctness. This is the most important thing that you have to ensure when writing—that all you have written is correct and not an ounce of fallacy or misinformation has been included nor have you fabricated anything to convince your readers. This may take a good deal of research on your end, but this will also reflect your reputation and credibility as a writer. In business writing, ensure that all names of people or organization you are writing about or to are spelled correctly, all important places and dates are cited and/or spelled correctly, and most all, brand information and statistics have to be updated and taken from a reliable source. Imagine how you would look like in their eyes if you have to send a correction for your letter because you misspelled an important name or given the wrong address or time and/or date of an event. Aside from this, correctness means that your letter is free from any form of typographical errors and the proper uses of punctuation and capitalization have both been observed.
Completeness. This is very important in business writing, to deliver a complete message in a single e-mail or letter. If you are sending and invitation for an event, ensure that all the details are given—the dates, the venue, the time the event starts, who will be there, the dress code (if applicable), and things as such. If you are sending an advertisement or a press release, make sure that the details of the company or brand are all given, the contact person if they need to respond is also mentioned. Why is this important? In the business world, not everyone has the luxury of time to read another letter or e-mail from you simply because you forgot to include a detail on your previous message.
Coherence. Especially when writing a long letter, you must stay coherent. What does it mean? It means that you have to stay within the topic or reason why you are writing. Aside from that, ensure that your thoughts are arranged logically, either inductive of deductive and stay with it all throughout the letter—be consistent. It will help you if, before you write, you outline all the thoughts you need to convey (with subtopics and substeps if necessary), to help you later on when writing the letter—which comes first and which follows. This will ensure that your letter stays in focus and does not go around in circles. This will also help you connect all related ideas with transitional expressions to help readers see the big picture as well as the pieces of the puzzle.
Clarity. Being clear does not only mean that you go directly to the point at the opening of the letter; it also means that you need to watch your language or manner of writing. You need to choose the exact words and keep it simple to avoid ambiguity and confusion. Do not use superfluous words to impress your readers; rather, make sure that they understand what you are trying to deliver.
Courtesy. Always assume that your readers are intelligent and interested in your ideas, but they cannot read your minds, so address them politely. Also present your thoughts in a way that the readers will feel that these are personally significant to them and it deserves their time. Although the letter may be about you as the writer, make it seem like the reader is personally involved—avoid the “me” and “I,” and start using expressions that involves the readers in the best way possible.
Conciseness. Business people, as mentioned, do not always have the luxury of time, so try to deliver your message in the shortest way possible. However, when doing so, make sure that you do not sacrifice the other Cs mentioned—be concise but correct, complete, coherent, clear, and courteous.
It is also beneficial to remember that these Six Cs do not only apply in writing business letters, but also applicable to any writing with the readers kept in mind. Whether you are writing an article for a blog, a feature article for a magazine, or a letter to a friend or a family member, it is best to keep these Six Cs in mind to ensure that your readers all grasp the thoughts you are trying to convey.
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