Elements of Structure of Business Letter/Layout of Business Letter
Business letter is one which appears well, is written well and communicated well. It includes several parts and the parts are arranged in sequence to make it meaningful. Arranging various parts in proper sequence in letter is called structure of business letter. The structure is heading, opening, body and closing.
The first impression a business letter makes on its reader often determines whether that letter will actually be read, and it also may determine the reader’s reaction to the contents of the letter. Therefore, business letter writers must, in addition to composing well-written sentences and paragraphs, be able to communicate their thoughts in efficient, appropriate letter form. A well-dressed executive projects a quality image. A well-dressed letter also projects a quality image.
The following elements usually constitute the structure of a business letter:
- Inside address
- Complimentary close
- Identification marks
Heading covers the address of the sender and of the recipient.The address contains complete address along with telephone number,fax,email,web-site below the name of the company.Logo if any is placed suitably.Since companies have to write large number of letters,the letter heads are printed.The letter head serves the purpose of providing the address and other details for correspondence as alo it act as an advertisement.
Date is generally written 2 spaces below the head address in the right hand corner. Some letterheads contain a printed line indicating where the date should be typed,in others the typist chooses the right place for it. The date,month and year should be indicated in the upper right corner as: 2 September,20016 or September 2, 2016. Both methods are acceptable.Perhaps the first method is preferable.It proceeds in the logical order of day,month and year.
It is written on the left side of the paper in the same line as the date.Reference number makes it easier to file the letter at the right place and connect it with earlier correspondence for sending replies.Extreme care should be taken to mention the reference numbers a exactly what was written in the correspondence of the other ther party,no changes in punctuation,small or capital letters etc. should be made to avoid ambiguity.
4. Inside address
Complete address of the person or company to which the letter have to go,must be written carefully containing all details so that the letter reaches the right person.It is normally written two spaces below the date and two spaces above the salutation,sometimes this inside address may be used as outside address also,as in the window envelope,so it is important that the address here is given correctly and completely.
An attention line allows you to send your message officially to an organization but to direct it to a specific individual, officer, or department. However, if you know an individual’s complete name, it is always better to use it as the first line of the inside address and avoid an attention line.
The salutation in a letter is an essential ingredient.It is lie greeting a person when you meet him.It is placed two spaces below the attention line or if there is no such line then two spces below the nside address.The choice of salutation depends upon the personal relationship between the writer and the reader,and on the form of inside address.If the recipient of the letter is a man or women,write Dear Sir or Dear Mam respectively.If letter is addressed to a business firm and not a particular official,the greetings in Dear Sirs.
Subjects are common in business letters.The purpose of the subject is to let the reader know immediately what the letter is about.The word subject should be followed with a colon.For emphasis,capitalize or underline the subject.
8. Body or Substance of the Letter.
It is the main part of the letter as it contains the writer wants the rader or receiver of the letter to get.Special attention should be paid in organizing and arranging the contents so that the desired impact on the person who is to take action.The body is written two spaces below the salutation or subject line as the case may.
9. The complementary close
It is a form of saying goodbye or a courteous way to take leave from the reader.It is a polite way of ending a letter.It is typed two spaces below the last line of the body of the letter.The close must agree with the salutation as shown below:
It is the signed name of the writer of the letter and is placed two spaces below the complementary closure.The signatures are put just above the name and designation which are typed.The initials and surname are typed and no “Mr” or “Miss” is used.The signature has lot of importance as it is the signatory of the letter who is held responsible for the contents in the letter.
11. Identification Marks or Reference Initials
These marks are put in the left margin to identify the typist of the letter,one or two spaces below the signature.For example,if the letter has been dictated by Mr. M.L .Kapoor and typed by Mrs.Geeta Sharma,the identification marks may be put in either of the following ways:
The enclosures is the material that has been enclosed with the letter and is written on the left side below the signature.It is marked either as “Enc.” Or “Encl”.
If however the documents attached are important they are specified as:
Encls: 1. Agreement dated 12 April,2001.
2.Cheque No. P4637 of 12 April,2001.