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International Business Letter Etiquette

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❶How do you feel about thank-yous?

Talk, tips, and best picks for writers on the job.

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Professional Business Writing Etiquette Guidelines

Jane Smith and Mr. John Smith's envelope be addressed to Dr. Would the salutation be Dear Dr. If they are both doctors, would they be addressed as Drs. Natasha Walter-Fisk March 02, at Lynn March 02, at Dear Lynn, I went through your article about salutation.

I have some specific questions: I work for a project with a group of people; some of them are junior to me while some of them are senior. We daily interact with each other thru email, a very common situation any employed person faces. How do I open a formal email when writing to my colleague?

After reading your article I understand that there are many ways to begin a formal letter, but which one suits best for the situation I mentioned above? What salutation should I use while replying to such a mail from junior and from superior? Any answers to these questions will really be helpful. Ask, I think it is fine to use just the person's name with a comma, as I have done in this sentence.

I do not find it at all rude. If you want to be more friendly, you can simply use positive, friendly language, such as "happy to," "pleased," and "It was good to hear your view.

Why not ask other people at work how they feel about salutations? Maybe you and your colleagues can agree on the best ways to begin a message. Lynn March 20, at Rose April 05, at Lynn April 08, at Lynn April 23, at What about the case of a woman who has taken her maiden name as her middle name; for example, Sharon Smith Jones not hyphenated.

Would the salutation be Mrs. Deanna April 25, at What is the proper way to address a letter to a child? What is the correct salutation when writing a letter to a child? Larysa May 14, at I hope you can help me. I need to send a letter to three people - a married couple and a woman with the same last name. Addressing the letter is simple, but what is the proper salutation? Linda May 23, at Alternatively, write two letters.

In the first sentence say something like "I am writing to you and to Ms. Lynn May 28, at Larysa, girls and boys who are 13 or older are addressed as adults. Young girls may be addressed as Ms. Very young boys may be addressed as Master or with no title. Can we use 'Dear All' for many receivers?

Should 'All' start with a capital 'A'? Rohini May 30, at I am writing a letter to several companies to request MSDS material safety data sheets about the products we purchase from them. Is it okay just to use "Gentlemen" as a salutation? Louella May 31, at Sheila Brenton June 04, at AdminGuy June 12, at When writing a personal letter and there is more than one person signing, the closing should read as follows:.

For a business letter, the closing "Sincerely" stays the same, but each person has his or her own signature block, like this:. The signature blocks are side by side or one above the other. Each person signs above his or her name, using first name only or full name depending on the formality of the letter and their relationships. Lynn July 10, at When a woman's name is hyphenated, is it correct to write Dear Mrs.

Jones-Cooper, or since the last name is different from her husband's, is it correct to write Dear Ms. I have not been able to find any rule that addresses this situation. Leslie July 10, at How do you address a couple who are both captains?

Unusal, I know, but I am faced with this situation. Michael July 17, at Lynn July 17, at I just got married and hyphenated my last name and my husband did not.

How do we address ourselves as a couple? Kristina Parker-Wingler July 29, at Kristina, I wrote about what to call married women on July 13, , so read that post for ideas on your name. As for both of you, I believe he remains Mr. First-Name Wingler, but you can probably introduce yourselves any way you want.

In my family, socially we are the Gaertner-Johnstons, but officially we are Mr. Michael Johnston and Ms. Lynn July 30, at I need to write a letter to a gentleman all I know is his name and behind that he has Ph. Do I address him as Dr. Lynn August 29, at Business Writing Talk, tips, and best picks for writers on the job. Consider elaborating enough to make your thanks meaningful:.

Say thank you warmly. Use the other person's name and the personal pronouns I and we. For instance, write "Olga, we appreciate the artistry you brought to our project"--not "Your artistry is appreciated.

Say thank you without saying please. The purpose of your thank-you is to express gratitude, not to ask for anything. Be sure to focus purely on your appreciation.

Here is a related example: I received a phone call from Treehouse, an organization my husband and I have supported for many years. As I listened to the thanks of the caller, I waited for her to say something like "And now we would like you to increase your giving," which would have reduced her thanks to an appeal.

I was delighted that she did no such thing. She said, "I just wanted to let you know how much we appreciate your ongoing support. Thank-yous for job interviews are an exception to the rule about focusing completely on your appreciation. In such a thank-you, it is smart to remind your reader of your strengths and good fit for the job, without coming on too strong.

Here is a good example of a thank-you sent by email:. Thank you for the chance to interview for the position of administrative assistant. It was a pleasure to learn about your business, and I would welcome the opportunity to work for you.

As a detailed-oriented "bean counter," I would relish keeping track of your accounts, managing the shopping cart, updating the websites, and coordinating your calendar.

The schedule would be ideal for me, and walking to work would be a dream come true. Again, thank you for the opportunity to meet. Please let me know if you need any other information to make your decision. Say thank you for gifts, even if you do not really like them. A gift is a gift, even when you wish it were something else, and a thank-you is required to support the relationship. Write a simple message like this one:. Jeff, thank you for the lovely fruit basket. It was very thoughtful of you to think of me.

I am sharing the grapefruit with the team, and everyone is enjoying the luscious, healthy treat. Use whatever communication medium will help you get your message out: Here are brief guidelines:.

Thank-yous generally take just a couple of minutes to write and send. The good feelings they generate will live on. Unfortunately, the opposite is also true: If you do not thank someone for their gifts or other contributions to your success, they are likely to remember the oversight. Write mighty thank-yous to nurture and build your work relationships. Do you need a gift for a new grad or someone who's working toward a promotion? Consider Business Writing With Heart. It's filled with examples and advice on writing reminders, saying no, giving feedback, apologizing, replying to angry messages, and more.

Get the paperback from me at Syntax Training. Or buy from Amazon without the discount. It's the season of graduations and weddings, wonderful opportunities to celebrate graduates' accomplishments and individuals' commitments to one another.

If you are a recent or soon-to-be bride, groom, or graduate, congratulations! Life is just beginning for you in many ways. One of the ways people celebrate your new life is by giving you gifts.

And one of the ways you celebrate people's generosity is by writing thank-yous. I would like to know what's going on in the everyday world of thank-yous, and I would love to hear from you if:. I'm curious about this topic because I'm considering whether expectations around thank-yous have changed. As I grew up, I learned that it was necessary and kind to write thank-yous. All my life I have worked to express my gratitude in writing. I'm sure I missed some opportunities, but any blunders were not intentional.

Now when I give a special gift--for example, for a wedding or graduation--I normally expect to receive a written thanks. I know communication has evolved, and I'm happy with a note, an email, a text, or another type of online communication. In a few days, I'll share some tips for quick and easy thank-yous.

The standards of writing change. What was once correct in business messages now comes across as old-fashioned--or does it? Take this true-false test to check your knowledge of basic formatting standards for business letters and emails. The questions and answers apply to business writing in Canada and the United States. Standards may be different in other countries. In business letters, paragraphs should be indented.

In business emails, paragraphs should be indented. In a business letter "Dear" is the standard way to greet the reader. Business letters should be single-spaced.

Business emails should be single-spaced. In business emails, dates should be expressed like this: In emails and letters, normally one space--not two--should be inserted between sentences.

Emails require a subject line. Business letters require a subject line. It is standard in emails to include the writer's name at the end of the message. If a business letter does not fit on one page, it is acceptable to have only the closing content complimentary closing, signature block, etc. If a business letter is short, it is acceptable to widen the margins and increase the space between the date and the inside address.

Although it is acceptable to indent paragraphs in the modified-block style of business letters, it is no longer the predominant style. Paragraphs are commonly not indented in business letters. Paragraphs are not indented in email. In the simplified letter style, no salutation is included.

Business letters are single-spaced, with a blank line between paragraphs. Emails are single-spaced, with a blank line between paragraphs. When readers may misinterpret the date, spell it out. One space between sentences has become the standard. I know of no current U. Every email should have a subject typed on the subject line. Although a subject line is a good way of indicating what a letter is about, it is not required. In the simplified letter style, a subject line replaces the greeting.

It is standard in emails to include a first given name or a full name, depending on the degree of formality. Some authors type their first name above a signature block that includes their full name.

Even in back-and-forth threads between people, closing with one's name helps to identify who's writing or wrote each message. It is standard to include at least two lines of the body of the letter on the second page.

To make a short letter appear more attractive on the page, margins may be widened and space may be added after the date. If you don't agree with particular answers, please let me know which reference books support your preferred formatting. I would be happy to change the answers based on new style guides. But with regular use, there can be abuse. Text because people want or need to hear from you, and make the messages convenient for them—not just for yourself.

Get permission before you start texting people. Not everyone wants you to have ready access to their attention day and night. Text during normal business hours. Make communicating convenient for them—not just for yourself. Although sending a text on Monday might be convenient for them perhaps because the Sunday service inspired or irritated them , they know that receiving it that day would not be convenient for him.

Choose the best medium for the message and stick with it. When my new glasses were ready, I received a clever text that they were available for pickup. Why make me reach for my phone twice? I got a phone call reminder the day before from a live person and a text the day of the appointment. I need to deal with each one. Include your name at the beginning or end of your text unless your identity is obvious. Remember that unless customers and clients have added you to their contact list, they will see only your phone number, not your name—unless you include it.

Jim will contact you to reschedule. Being courteous means using a greeting and a positive tone and—depending on the message— please and thank you.

You can easily identify the more courteous text in each of the pairs below. Please approve this photo for the cover. This cover photo needs your approval. Ask yourself whether you need to text or communicate at all.

I recently made a dinner reservation by calling a restaurant. One short hour later the restaurant texted me on the same phone to confirm the reservation. Why interrupt the customer with a text? Meanwhile, Melissa is driving there and needs to pull over to safely read an unnecessary message.

Think twice before sending a group text. It may be easy for you, but it can drive recipients crazy. Facebook, Twitter, and email may work better for communicating to groups of students, members, or project participants. Proofread before clicking SEND. Texts are a written medium, so make it easy for your associates to read them. Yes, emojis and XO are perfect for some communications to friends and relatives. But when you text at work, your text messages are professional communications.

Would you insert a yellow smiley face or a beating red heart on your resume? When your relationship with a customer or client becomes very friendly, an emoji may be perfect in your text.

Let the communication end. Begin each letter with a salutation that greets the recipient, and then continue with the body, which explains the purpose of the letter. Business letters provide the sender and the recipient with written documentation of important matters.

They are easily filed through traditional filing systems, or scanned and filed electronically for future reference. More formal than email, business letters are a professional way to communicate with a wide range of individuals, companies and organizations.

Following appropriate business writing etiquette ensures that letters are formatted properly and contain necessary information to craft a clear and concise message. Business letters should be clear and avoid jargon. Miranda Brookins is a marketing professional who has over seven years of experience in copywriting, direct-response and Web marketing, publications management and business communications.

She has a bachelor's degree in business and marketing from Towson University and is working on a master's degree in publications design at University of Baltimore. Skip to main content. Definition A business letter is a written form of communication that company owners and executives, consumers, job seekers, employees and community members use.

Formats People can format business letters in three ways: Sections Business letters have specific formats and include several key portions.


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Greeting and salutation: Letter writing protocol dictates business letters begin with “Dear” followed by the addressees honorific and last name, followed by a colon, not a comma. For example, write “Dear Dr. Smith:” Again, Dear Ms Smith is best for first time letters.

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Definition. A business letter is a written form of communication that company owners and executives, consumers, job seekers, employees and community members use.

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If you aim for accuracy, clarity, and coherence, and follow the basic rules of form and grammar, you can master the craft of writing business letters. The Parts of a Business Letter The format of a standard business letter includes these parts. Business letter writing can be quite daunting as there is proper etiquette to follow to convey a formal tone. You can know more from the business letter etiquette .

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The first rule of letter writing is, clarity. This rule applies while writing both, business as well as personal letters. Without clarity a letter . Your company has expanded and you now have clients and business associates all over the world. Before you start sending out international business letters, learn more about the etiquette involved in writing them. When written appropriately, your business letters will be easy to read and won't unintentionally.