Demand for concise, clearly written communication comes with the territory in a dynamic, fast-paced business world. The Handbook of Technical Writing lists basic types of business letters in technical writing. More specific types evolve according to specific needs of a company or an individual.
Acceptance letters accept offers such as jobs, positions and contractual agreements. They might list salary specifics and starting dates. They set the tone for future communications and help establish a professional relationship between the letter’s sender and recipient.
Letting someone know you have received an item they sent to you grows out of everyday courtesy. An acknowledgment letter prevents the sender from wondering whether or not someone received an item. A letter of acknowledgment expresses appreciation and is cordial in tone.
Complaint and Adjustment Letters
Sometimes you need a letter to express that you have not received satisfactory services or products. At times you require a letter to make an official complaint to representatives of a company or organization.
When a customer sends a complaint letter, an adjustment letter enables you to communicate any necessary explanation, to express appreciation and point out any steps to prevent a recurrence of the situation. Here you specify adjustments you deem appropriate to resolve the issue.
In a way, an application letter is a type of sales letter. It sells you and markets your abilities, knowledge, skills and work habits. It states your qualifications for a desired job, position, grant or scholarship. Remember that in business communications, your writing represents you–it is “you” on paper. Make certain it reflects what you consider yourself to be.
A polite form of communication, a refusal letter lets you review your perceptions, state any concerns, end a proposal or offer on a pleasant note.
Leaving a job or resigning from a project requires a courteous, professional letter that gives notice so that your co-workers or employer can continue without you. Is it ever wise to slam out the door, quit on the spot or fail to resign from a job in a professional manner? Probably not.
Letters of appreciation or commendation letters are types of thank-you letters that allow you to express your pleasure with a product or service.
Letters of request ask for information or for someone’s services. Order letters request something specific. Letters of introduction help a person introduce a business connection or project. Cover letters can serve as an introduction letter or tie applications and forms together for the recipient.
Business Letters–Are They Going the Way of the Dinosaurs?
When it comes to professional, courteous communications in businesses, there will remain a place for the right type of business letter for a variety of situations. Knowing when to write each specific type of letter adds much value to your worth as an employee or business owner and will contribute positively to your overall success.
Handbook of Technical Writing; C.T. Brusaw and others; 1997
Elements of Language: Sixth Course; Lee Odell, Editor; 2004
University of Nevada; Knowledge Center; “Finding Writing Examples”
Purdue Online Writing Lab; Basic Business Letters