Business etiquette is fundamentally concerned with building relationships founded
upon courtesy and politeness between business personnel. Etiquette, and especially
business etiquette, is a means of maximising your potential by presenting yourself
Writing a business letter is not simply a matter of expressing your ideas clearly. The
way you write a letter and the etiquette you employ may have a significant impact on
your success or failure in business.
Failure to observe correct business letter etiquette can result in you adopting an
inappropriate tone, causing offense or misunderstandings, lack of clarity or purpose
and hostility or soured relations.
The foundation of good business letter etiquette is â€˜Think before you writeâ€™.
You should be considering who the letter is addressed to, how and why? This will
then influence style, content and structure.
Here we cover some of the main issues relating to good business letter etiquette:
Addressing the Letter
Always make sure you have spelt the recipientâ€™s name correctly. It may sound
simple, but you would be surprised at how many people fail to do so. The recipientâ
€™s name should include titles, honours or qualifications if deemed necessary.
Many people use the â€˜Dear Sir/Yours Faithfullyâ€™ formula when addressing the
receiver. Although this is acceptable for routine matters it is impersonal and should
not be used when dealing with those you know, queries or complaints. With these the
â€˜Dear Mrâ€¦./Yours Sincerelyâ€™ formula should be adopted.
Once a certain level of familiarity is reached it is not considered bad etiquette to use
phrases such as â€˜Kind Regardsâ€™ or â€˜All the bestâ€™ at the end of the letter.
If the content of the letter is sensitive, personal or confidential it must be marked
appropriately. Marking the letter â€˜confidentialâ€™ will suffice in highlighting this
fact. If you only want the letter read by the receiver without the interception of a
secretary or PA, mark it as â€˜Privateâ€™, â€˜Pe