Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Application Letter

Below is an example of a letter of application, which is simple, brief, and straightforward:

Gentlemen:

Please consider this letter my application for a data encoder as advertised in the Classified Ads section of the Manila Today, dated February 5, 2011.

As it is difficult for me to know from the advertisement the exact qualifications you require of an applicant, i shall outline my qualifications very briefly:

I am a graduate of the Manila Information Technology Academy in Manila, Class 2010, where I have completed a two year course in data encoding. During college, I also attended several seminars sponsored by the academy which further enhanced my data encoding skills. I can now encode data at a rate of 125 words a minute with facility.

Enclosed is my resume for your reference.

Should you require an interview, I may be contacted anytime at telephone numbers, 655-2348, or at the address indicated above.

Thank you.

Very truly yours,


Your letter of application is your personal emissary - it represents you. You are "selling" yourself to a prospective employer by offering your services, qualifications, character, and personality in a form of a letter. It's ultimate purpose is to get you an interview. Your letter should be neat in appearance, faultless in expression, and convincing in tone, so it will accord a favorable reception. Otherwise, if your application fails to attract favorably the attention of the prospective employer, the interview that might have been yours is granted to another applicant.

Kinds of letters of application

The are two classes of letters of application: solicited and unsolicited letters. Solicited letters are in response to a want ads or advertisements.  An applicant who responds to an advertisement should keep in mind that many other applicants are applying for the same position. The letter that is most carefully and thoughtfully written usually makes the most favorable impression. Unsolicited letters are written by applicants who believe there maybe an opening in a company, or who have heared through someone that an employer is looking for a person to fill a particular position.

Blind advertisement

There are employers who do not reveal their identity, or the specific requirements of the position . This is called blind advertisements. Their objective is primarily to avoid interviewing and turning down countless applicants for a position. I highly recommend that your letters, in response to this form of advertisement, should be brief and not too informative. There are some unprincipled companies that use this method as a means of getting names and addresses of individuals out of employment who might be prospects for some questionable scheme. Such advertisement should be answered warily.

An example of a blind advertisement is given below, and the letter of application in response to it is given in the example above:

DATA ENCODER WANTED: Must possess excellent encoding skills. Write P.O. Box 1234, Makati City


Plan you application letter well. Your application letter should contain all the essential qualities necessary to create a favorable impression in the minds of your prospective employer, and in doing so you may well consider these tips:

1. Attract favorable attention by using a stationery of good quality, making sure that the typing, paragraphing, grammar, punctuation, spelling, and so on are correct; explaining how the vacancy became known to you; and indicating the exact purpose of your letter.

2. Create interest by stating and then analyzing the requirements of the position; and  showing conclusively wherein your education, training and experience meet these requirements specifically.

3. Convince the employer that you are the person for the position by supplementing the statement already made with the presentation of those personal qualifications that seem most desirable; manifesting genuine interest in his business, together with an expression of confidence in your ability to adapt your particular training to meet his requirements; suggesting, if it seems appropriate, your ultimate aim as well as your immediate objective; and reassuring the employer that you do not simply want work, but rather the opportunity to handle a given problem and solve it creditably.

4. Stimulating action by offering references that will vouch for your character, education and experience; requesting an interview, which is the true purpose of the letter; and supplying the employer with the information necessary for him in arranging for the interview.

Remember, your letter should immediately arouse the attention of your prospective employer. If your letter fails in this aspect, it will most likely fail in its purpose - to get you an interview. You can be sure that your letter will be observed and judged critically. Most employers judge the applicant by the degree of excellence of the letter in both expression and thought control.


Should you mention salary?


The question of salary should be avoided unless the employer asks you to state it, otherwise, use tact in handling the situation.

I would have responded to it in the following example:

Although I find it difficult to say what compensation I should deserve, I should consider an initial monthly salary of Php 15,000.00.

Do not be too humble or apologetic.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Use of Postscripts, Additional Sheets and Envelopes

 Postscripts

Personally, I do not encourage postscripts in letters because, in my opinion, the body of the letter should cover it all. However, should you find it necessary to add last-minute items of interest or importance to your letter, you may, of course, use a postscript. A postscript is usually placed two spaces below the last line of the letter, preceded by the letters, "P.S.".

Additional sheets

Most well-written letters will be confined to only one sheet, but, course, there are certain communications that require additional sheets. In such instances, the paper should be of the same quality and size as the first sheet. The side margins of the second and subsequent pages should also be the same as those of the first page.

In business letters, the name of the company should be reflected in the last page. It should be typed in bold letters,  and placed two spaces below the complimentary close.

Begin the first line of the second and subsequent pages about an inch from the top of the paper. It should contain the name of the addressee, the number of the page, and the date. It may be written in one of several ways, but I prefer the style in full block format given below:

Mr. Theo Ricco
January 15, 2011
Page 2


Folding the letter

The folding of a letter depends on the size of the stationery and the style of the envelope used. However, the letter should be folded in a way that it will be pleasant in appearance. can be readily prepared for mailing , and may be conveniently unfolded by the recipient.

The envelope address

The envelope address should contain the names of the sender and the addressee, and their respective addresses. Additional directions, such as "Personal", "Attention:", "General Delivery", "Please Forward", and "Human Resources Department", "Care of" may be added when necessary.  Such expression as "Via Air Mail" may be stamped or written on the envelope.

The style of the outside address should agree with the style used in the inside address for consistency. The blocked style is preferred. The line spacing, however, need not agree. Wherever it is possible, double spacing is preferred.

When the first line of the outside address is a company name, write it exactly as it appears on the letterhead of the company. It is not advisable to abbreviate such words as, street, avenue, building, etc. The complete return address of the sender should always appear in the upper left-hand corner of the envelope. It should be blocked, and it should be single spaced, regardless of the arrangement of the main address.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Parts of the Letter

There are seven essential parts that your letter should contain; these are:

Heading and date line,
Inside address,
Salutation,
Body of the letter,
Complimentary close,
Signature, and
Identification initials
(For business use only)

Heading and dateline


When letterheads are used, the date line should be placed two spaces below the letterhead; halfway between the letterhead and inside address. However, when you use a plain stationery without a printed letterhead, the heading, which contains your address and the date, should be typed between two and two and a half inches below the top edge of the paper for medium-length letters. A letter of one hundred twenty-five to two hundred twenty-five words is considered medium-length. In case the letter is short, the heading should appear from two to eight spaces lower on the paper than in the case of a long letter. A letter is considered short if it contains up to one hundred twenty-five words. However, a letter of more than two hundred twenty-five words is considered a long letter.

The date should be written out in full. Never use the abbreviation st, nd, rd and th after the day of the month in the date line, except in the body of the letter particularly if the name of the month is not indicated. For example,

We are pleased to inform you that your shipment of two packages containing personal effects will be delivered on the 24th.

It is always safe and preferable through out your entire letter to write out the names of the months in full rather than abbreviate them.

Inside address

The inside address, commonly referred to as the "introductory" or "complimentary address"  tells to whom the letter is written, with the complete address. The space between the heading and the inside address varies with the length of the letter. In case of the short letter, six to eight spaces should be followed. For most letters of average length (125 to 150 words) from four to six spaces are preferable.  In the long letter, at least two spaces (preferably three to four spaces) should be allowed between the heading and the inside address.

There are still those that place the inside address at the end of their letter. This form is still considered by many as appropriate in personal correspondence, formal invitations, and acknowledgements.While I do not recommend this form, it is well that it is written properly. It should appear in the lower left hand corner, at least two spaces below the identification initials.

Salutation

The salutation is an expression of courtesy intended to put the reader in a friendly and receptive frame of mind. It is typed two spaces below the the inside address and is flushed to the left margin. The degree of formality desired varies, for example:

Most Formal:

Sir: (in addressing a dignitary), or Madam:

Formal:

My dear Sir: or My dear Madam:

Less Formal:

Dear Sir: or Dear Madam:
My dear Mr. Cruz: or My dear Mrs. Santos:

Friendly or Intimate:

My dear Cruz: or Dear Elizabeth:
Dear Cruz:
Dear Alan,

A comma may be used after the salutation instead of a colon when you address a person by his first name. A colon is still correct even in this case. The plural forms for all formal salutations are:

Gentlemen:

Use this salutation in writing to a company, organization, or any other group that is made up entirely of men, or of men and women.

Mesdames: or Ladies:

This salutation is applicable only to a company, organization, or any other group that is made up entirely of women.

The use of salutation depends on how well you know the person to whom you are writing the letter. If the person is a stranger to you, or if you wish to appear quite formal, you may use, "My dear Sir:" or "Dear Sir:", "Dear Madam:" or "My dear Madam:" Your  sense of propriety must dictate your choice.

The "Attention of or Attention:" line

Most business letters are addressed to the company rather than to an individual. You may use and attention line If you wish your letter to reach a particular individual in an organization.

Example:

Gallery Furnishings, Inc.
Ground Floor, The Gallery
Pasong Tamo, Makati City

Attention: Ms. Thia Gilda, Manager

Gentlemen:

I refer to your Dinning Room Show Case which was featured in your exhibit of  January 7 to 10, 2011 at the Philippine International Trade Center, Manila, Philippines . . . 


Unusual salutations

Business firms that are engaged in sales or advertising are fond of using novel salutations, such as " Greetings, Mr. Ricco:", instead of the conventional ones to make for greater friendliness to its clients. Such attention-getter as well as many other variations may be justified at times, but I do not recommend it for general use.Salutations such as, "Dear Customer:", "Dear Friend:", or "Dear Subscriber:" are, in my opinion, too impersonal and meaningless and should be avoided.

Use of a subject, a reference, or a file number

Business letters usually contain a subject line indicating the purpose or subject of the letter. The subject line is, either; double-spaced below the salutation and flushed to the left margin; or centered on the line with the salutation.

Example:

Gallery Furnishings, Inc.
Ground Floor, The Gallery
Pasong Tamo, Makati City

Gentlemen:     Attention: Ms. Thia Gilda, Manager

Subject: Your Dinning Room Show Case

I refer to your Dinning Room Show Case which was featured in your exhibit of  January 7 to 10, 2011 at the Philippine International Trade Center, Manila, Philippines . . . 


"Please refer to:" or "In reply please refer to:" usually appear at the top of the letter below the letterhead, or at the right of the page on a line with the last line of the inside address. All such instructions are designed to facilitate the handling of the correspondence.

Example:

Gallery Furnishings, Inc.
Ground Floor, The Gallery
Pasong Tamo, Makati City

Gentlemen:

Subject: Our Order File No. 2011-01

I refer to your Dinning Room Show Case which was featured in your exhibit of  January 7 to 10, 2011 at the Philippine International Trade Center, Manila, Philippines . . . 


In the example below, you will note that the reference line and the subject line are placed together, with the reference line immediately above the subject line, and the the word "Subject:" is omitted. I find the word "Subject:" a bit superfluous. You will note further that the subject line is underscored for emphasis, and the salutation "Gentlemen:" is placed between the subject line and the body of the letter. All of these changes  are, of course,  a matter of personal preference to give the letter a clearer and more orderly format. 

Gallery Furnishings, Inc.
Ground Floor, The Gallery
Pasong Tamo, Makati City

Attention: Ms. Thia Gilda, Manager

Our Order File No. 2011-01
Your Dinning Room Show Case

Gentlemen:

I refer to your Dinning Room Show Case which was featured in your exhibit of  January 7 to 10, 2011 at the Philippine International Trade Center, Manila, Philippines . . . 


Body of the Letter

The body of the letter contains your message. It should begin two spaces below the salutation. Single spacing should be used to give the letter a more impressive and dignified look. In cases of short letters, double spacing is allowed to give breadth. Always double space between the paragraphs, regardless whether the lines within the paragraphs are single or double spaced.

Complimentary close.

The same degree of formality should be observed in the complimentary close as is observed in the salutation. Only the first word should be capitalized. The complimentary close is placed two spaces below the body of the letter. The standard forms used, according to the degree of formality desired are as follows:

Formal: "Yours truly," with Sir:, My dear Sir: or Madam:, My dear Madam:

Less Formal: "Yours very truly," of "Very truly yours," with Dear Sir: or Dear Madam: My dear Mr. Cruz: or My dear Mrs. Santos:

Friendly or Intimate: "Sincerely yours," , "Yours sincerely," or "Very sincerely yours'" with My dear Cruz: or Dear Elizabeth: Dear Cruz: Dear Alan.

" Respectfully yours,", "Yours respectfully," or "Very respectfully yours," are seldom used in business letters, although occasionally such a close is appropriate in addressing a high church official or anybody to whom one wishes formally to show respect.

The complimentary close is usually followed by a comma. However, when open quotation is used, the comma is ordinarily omitted. If the colon is omitted after the salutation, the comma should be omitted after the complimentary close. You should be consistent in punctuating your letters.

Signature

Signature line is usually placed four spaces below the complimentary close allowing ample space for the penned signature. In business letters, the name of the company, which is usually in bold letters, is placed two spaces below the complimentary close.

Example:

Very truly yours,

GALLERY FURNISHINGS, INC.



Thia Gilda
Manager


If a letterhead is used, the name of the company is unnecessary. The typewritten name of the sender is sufficient. If personal stationery is used, the typewritten name of the sender is also unnecessary.In business letters, the typewritten signature of the sender may be followed by his title or position, or by the name of the department of the company he represents.

Signatures of women


I recommend that women writing business letters should indicate whether they are married or not by one of the following methods:

Miss Thia Gilda

Mrs. Thia Gilda


If the signature is that of a woman who does not indicate her marital status, it is assumed she is single.Mere initials preceding a woman's surname is not advisable. 

Wrong: T. A. Gilda

Correct: Thia A. Gilda

If the surname of the signature is preceded by initials, it is assumed that the name is that of a man.

Identification initials and enclosures

In business letters, the initials of the writer is followed by the initials of the typist and are placed two spaces below the signature line. The initials are flushed to left margin.Acceptable forms are:

Very truly yours,



Thia Gilda
Manager

TAG db 
or  TAG/DB  or  TAG:DB

Thia A. Gilda 
or Thia A. Gilda: DB
DB


Substitute signatures

There are occasions when, in the absence of the writer, it is  necessary for the secretary to sign the letter in behalf of the writer to assure promptness of mailing, The secretary must then indicate that she has done so by placing her initials immediately below the signature. Since substitute signature suggests a lack of personal attention to the letter by the writer such endorsement should be used only when it is absolutely necessary.

Enclosures

When enclosures are necessary, this should be mentioned or referred to in the body of the letter. The word "Enclosure" or its abbreviation "Enc" is placed two spaces below the identification initials. If there is more than one enclosure, the corresponding number of enclosures will follow "Enclosure". It is sometimes necessary to identify the enclosure by name. The following examples are acceptable:

TAG db
Enclosure


TAG:DB
Enclosures:2


TAG/DB
Check enclosed

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Physical Appearance of the Letter

 First impressions last. Even before your letter is read, you can be sure that it will be observed and scrutinized critically. The quality of the stationery, the accuracy and neatness of the typing or the legibility of your penmanship, the appropriateness of the heading, the orderly arrangement of the essential parts of the letter, the correctness of the title and the salutation - all of these aspects make for a favorable or unfavorable impression of your letter.

Correct letter layout

Layout refers to the correct arrangement of the various parts of the letter. Your layout should conform to good usage, which is determined by approved modern practice. Unconventional layouts based on personal preference may conflict with propriety, even distract your reader's attention and create prejudice in his mind against the message of the letter. Much care and great attention to detail should always be observed.

Forms of a letter

Block forms

In the block form or full block form, all the parts of the letter is flushed to the left margin; from the date line to the signature line and stenographic reference. In recent years, this particular style had grown much in popularity because of its simplicity. However, there are still those that are reluctant to adapt this form because, for them, it suggests a lopsided, unbalanced letter.

Personally, the block form is my choice of preference, and all the sample letters you will find in my blogs are presented in this form.

Example of a full block letter:

January 15, 2011


Mr. Theo Ricco
27th Floor, The Pacific Belle Condominium
Legaspi Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City

Dear Mr. Ricco,

Thank you for your interest in our Dinning Room Show Case which was exhibited last January 7 to 10, 2011 at the Philippine International Trade Center, Manila, Philippines.

All the household furnishings showcased in the event are crafted to perfection by local masters from all over the country, using only the best materials available sourced from both local and foreign countries. We take pride in our products and offer only the best to the most discriminating clients like yourself.

Enclosed is a brochure of our Dinning Room Show Case, containing details of the dimension,  the materials used, including the price and terms of payment.

Please fell free to contact us at (02) 655-5792, or visit us anytime at our showroom located at ground floor of The Gallery, Pasong Tamo, Makati City, and we will be more than happy to assist you in any way we can.

Again, thank you for your interest in our products and look forward to serving you soon.

Very truly yours,



Thia Gilda
Manager

TG:DB
Enclosure



The modified block is a variation of the full block form where the date line is centered under the letterhead, or typed flush to the right margin. The complimentary close and signature line are either centered or typed flush to the right margin. Stenographic references, however, are aligned with the left margin.

Example:

                                                                             January 15, 2011


Mr. Theo Ricco
27th Floor, The Pacific Belle Condominium
Legaspi Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City

Dear Mr. Ricco,

Thank you for your interest in our Dinning Room Show Case which was exhibited last January 7 to 10, 2011 at the Philippine International Trade Center, Manila, Philippines.

All the household furnishings showcased in the event are crafted to perfection by local masters from all over the country, using only the best materials available sourced from both local and foreign countries. We take pride in our products and offer only the best to the most discriminating clients like yourself.

Enclosed is a brochure of our Dinning Room Show Case, containing details of the dimension,  the materials used, including the price and terms of payment.

Please fell free to contact us at (02) 655-5792, or visit us anytime at our showroom located at ground floor of The Gallery, Pasong Tamo, Makati City, and we will be more than happy to assist you in any way we can.

Again, thank you for your interest in our products and look forward to serving you soon.
                                                                              Very truly yours,



                                                                              Thia Gilda 
                                                                              Manager

TG:DB
Enclosure



Semi-block form


In the semi-block form, the date line is centered under the letterhead or flushed to the right margin. If you use a plain paper, the heading which consists of your address and date line, is blocked and placed about two inches from the top of the paper with the longest line ending at the right margin. The inside address is blocked but the first line of each paragraph is indented five to ten spaces. The complimentary close and signature line are typed at the center of the page. The stenographic references are flushed to the left margin.

Example:
                                                                                                                                   January 15, 2011


Mr. Theo Ricco
27th Floor, The Pacific Belle Condominium
Legaspi Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City

Dear Mr. Ricco, 

              Thank you for your interest in our Dinning Room Show Case which was exhibited last January 7 to 10, 2011 at the Philippine International Trade Center, Manila, Philippines.

           All the household furnishings showcased in the event are crafted to perfection by local masters from all over the country, using only the best materials available sourced from both local and foreign countries. We take pride in our products and offer only the best to the most discriminating clients like yourself.

                Enclosed is a brochure of our Dinning Room Show Case, containing details of the dimension,  the materials used, including the price and terms of payment.
 

               Please fell free to contact us at (02) 655-5792, or visit us anytime at our showroom located at ground floor of The Gallery, Pasong Tamo, Makati City, and we will be more than happy to assist you in any way we can.
 

               Again, thank you for your interest in our products and look forward to serving you soon.

                                                                                                                                    Very truly yours,


                                                                                                                                         
Thia Gilda
Manager


TG:DB
Enclosure


Stationery

Your stationery should be of good quality. Again, you can be sure that it will be observed and scrutinized critically. The 8 1/2 by 11 inch-size is widely used for personal or business correspondence. As for legal use and technical reports, the 8 1/2 by 13 inch size sheet is more appropriate.

Letterhead

Business firms usually use letterheads for their official correspondences and communications. The letterhead should contain the name and nature of the business, the address and contact information such as telephone and e-mail address. The company logo may also be printed. The letterhead is not a proper place for advertising, and I, personally, discourage it.

The letterhead should not occupy more than one-fifth of the sheet. However, the appropriateness and pleasing appearance are the determining factors

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Plan Your Letters Well

A successful letter that gets immediate action and favorable results from its reader is usually the result of a carefully planned letter.

Before you start making a letter, you may want to ask yourself:

To whom am I writing?
What is the objective of my letter?
How shall I make clear this purpose?


 Make an outline

After you have considered these questions carefully, your next step is to know what you are going to say and how you are going to say it. I suggest that you gather your thoughts first, then make an outline of your ideas and you will find it a great help in thinking through your subject. It will give you an opportunity to choose your ideas well and arrange them in a way that is most emphatic.

Draft your letter

After you have outlined your ideas, you are now ready to make your first draft. Write fully and freely. Be creative! Expand those ideas you made in your outline. Put those ideas on a paper, and fine phrase them until you revise. If you attempt to organize your ideas and phrase your material at the same time, you will be confronted with creating on the one hand and articulating on the other with the most likely end result that neither will be well done.

Revise your draft

In revising your draft, consider those qualities that I have outlined in my previous blog, "Effective Letter Writing". Check your draft if your English is clear, your letter concise and correct, concrete, the tone cheerful and courteous, considerate of the point of view of your reader, original in expression, thus giving your letter a distinctive touch of your character. The idea of editing and revising your draft is to make certain that before your letter leaves your desk, it incorporates all those qualities essential to effective expression.

Your final draft

Your final draft should now be free of any error in grammar, sentence and paragraph structure including punctuation and capitalization. There should be no room for misspelled words, no ungrammatical expressions, no faulty phrasing. Moreover, the physical appearance of your letter should be neat and attractive.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Effective Letter Writing

If you were to study and analyze successful business letters, you will find that each letter contained qualities common to all. In every letter you will find the English clear, concise, correct and concrete: the tone cheerful and courteous; the point of view considerate of the reader; and originality of expression, giving the letter distinct character.


Clearness

Your letter should not leave any doubt to your reader's mind as to what you mean.  Write simply and directly. Present one idea at a time in each sentence before you move on to the next paragraph. Arrange your sentences in a way that is easy for your reader to follow. Do not jump from one sentence or topic to another. Be coherent.

    Not clear:  He had a nice painting in his gallery of which he was very proud.

Was he proud of the painting or of the gallery?

    Clear: He was very proud of the nice painting in his gallery.

Do you see the difference? In your letter, avoid ambiguity, vagueness and doubt, as these will only confuse your reader.

Conciseness

Conciseness is simply expressing your ideas in the fewest possible words without sacrificing completeness of meaning. Wordiness suggests fuzzy thinking while conciseness reflects keen thinking. When you write concisely, you express an entire thought in a matter of few, well chosen words.

Let us compare these letters:

It is my wish that each and everyone of you who receives this letter and has a worthy suggestion to make, please do what you have to say on the enclosed  folder, affix your signature therein, and send it to the mail at once, so that I may know his opinion the soonest possible time.

Given the example above, the writer wrote 55 words, when it can be said in 14 words as shown in the example given below:

Please write your suggestions on the enclosed folder and mail it to me immediately.

Here is another interesting contrast in conciseness:

(88 words)

I received your letter of January 7 in which you state therein that the package you received did not arrive on time, and that the contents of five vases were damaged beyond repair.
 
While it is not necessary for us to tell you how much we regret this inadvertence on our part, you have our assurance that we shall send you at once the replacement at the soonest possible time.
 
We thank you for calling this incident to our attention and hope to do business with you again. 

(56 words)
  
Thank you for calling our attention the matter of the the damaged five vases referred to in your letter of January 7.
 
We regret that this incident happened and assure you that we have taken steps to prevent this from happening again. The replacement is now en route which you will receive within 5 business days.

Correctness.

Your letter should be correct in physical make-up, free of any error in grammar, sentence and paragraph including punctuation and capitalization.

This topic merits considerable study as many writers, sad to say, fail in this aspect. I shall discuss at length this very important topic in my coming blogs under a separate post.

Concreteness

Using definite, specific, and concrete words that illustrate a picture vividly  in the mind of your reader will give life and meaning to your letters. It is well to avoid abstract and general terms as these will only confuse and bore your reader.

Let us use the example given in "The Making of a Successful Writer" which best illustrates concreteness:

An ordinary writer would write,  " Our menu is very appetizing".

But to the imaginative writer, " Our steak has a matchless aroma and flavor, with a richness you will find like no other; the richness and fullness of luscious, especially grilled , marinated  meat, blended with spices and herbs and delicate seasoning. . . "

Cheerfulness

Who does not want in the company of cheerful people? Cheerfulness is one of those qualities that attract others to them. It conveys a message of friendliness, ease, confidence and optimism to anyone who receives it. Write positively rather than negatively; be polite and courteous; avoid anything that might offend your reader; avoid brusque and tactless language. Use your letters to build friendship among your readers rather than court contempt because of inconsiderate and offensive words.

Consider the letter below which shows a great deal of cheerfulness:

Thank you for your interest in our Dinning Room Show Case which was exhibited last January 7 to 10, 2011 at the Philippine International Trade Center, Manila, Philippines.
 
All the household furnishings showcased in the event are crafted to perfection by local masters from all over the country, using only the best materials available sourced from both local and foreign countries. We take pride in our products and offer only the best to the most discriminating clients like yourself.
 
Enclosed is a brochure of our Dinning Room Show Case, containing details of the dimension,  the materials used, including the price and terms of payment.
 
Please fell free to contact us at (02) 655-5792, or visit us anytime at our showroom located at ground floor of The Gallery, Pasong Tamo, Makati City, and we will be more than happy to assist you in any way we can.
 
Again, thank you for your interest in our products and look forward to serving you soon.

Courtesy

Courtesy implies deference, respect and consideration. Little words or phrases of courtesy always encourage positive response from the one who receives them. Expressions such as "Please" or "Thank you" are always appreciated when they are used sincerely and not in a mechanical way. Therefore, avoid all statements that may offend your reader.

Perhaps the example given above deserves a second look.

Consideration

Before you begin to write, consider the person to whom you are writing, why he should be interested in you, what you can say that will arouse his interest, and the most effective way of saying it.

Character

A letter that has character reveals the individuality and distinctiveness of the writer's personality. Such a letter is free of worn-out and mechanical expressions. Be creative and original in writing letters. Choose your words or expressions carefully and arrange them in a creative way that your reader will remember you and what you have written. This is character at its best!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Making of a Successful Writer


You are probably asking yourself now, "What qualifications must I have to become a successful writer?"

Successful writers usually have an unusual keen imagination, a good sense of humor, a great understanding of human nature, an excellent command of English, and good judgment.

Let me elaborate further.


A keen imagination.

We would not have skyscrapers, cars, jet planes, computers, cell phones were it not for the imagination of men. Imagination is an indispensable tool to a successful letter writer. It gives color and meaning to his writings. He writes vividly and convincingly in compelling language. He visualizes in his mind words and phrases that will appeal to his readers and induce them to act. He is one who avoids long, worn-out words and phrases that are no longer in use and have lost their timely appeal. Colorless and vague expressions find no place in his vocabulary.

An ordinary writer would write,  "Our menu is very appetizing".

But to him who is imaginative will write, "Our steak has a matchless aroma and flavor, with a richness you will find like no other; the richness and fullness of luscious, especially grilled, marinated  meat, blended with spices and herbs and delicate seasoning . . ." 

So, there you are . . . 


A good sense of humor.

The success of your letter will depend largely on how you deal with people and, in the most part, your view of life itself. Successful writers are friendly and gracious. They smile in the face of adversity, take themselves seriously but not too seriously, are mindful of human strength and frailty and are well aware of the fancies and foibles of human nature. A good writer strives for perfection but does not despair when all else fail. He is as ready to take criticism as he is to give it. He has a sense of balance and understanding of human nature.


A great understanding of human nature.

A successful writer is a keen observer of human nature. He likes  people and studies them. He knows and understands very well their shortcomings and their virtues, their weaknesses and their strengths, their likes and dislikes, their failures and their accomplishments, their joys and their sorrows, their hopes and aspirations.

The more you know about the person to whom you are writing, the easier will be your task in approaching him. You cannot hope to influence or convince people until you know them - their lifestyles, their tastes, their attitudes. Can you write to them as naturally, and as unaffectedly, without knowing them, in a style most suitable to the individual reader? Are you adaptable and flexible without being insincere? Can you keep a sense of dignity which indicates that you, a stranger, respect the reader's personality, and yet not be forbidding about it? Such problems as these are not difficult to the person who understands human nature.


An excellent command of English.

In today's  highly competitive world, businesses are seeking for individuals who are well informed, particularly those who have an excellent command of English. Nothing is too difficult to them  should they be tasked to write a correspondence or a memo, prepare a technical report, conduct a meeting, or speak in a forum. Individuals with forceful and pleasing personalities are in great demand today, and such persons always have a ready opinion and an able pen.


Good judgment.

Individuals who possess and render good judgment do not allow prejudices, preferences, or personalities to influence their decisions. They have a keen intellect, a normal perspective of things, a thorough understanding of human nature, sincerity and integrity.

If you have all these qualities, you, without a doubt, have the making of a successful writer.

Dare to be different!

I'm sure at one point or the other you have written a letter or two; it could have been in a form of a memo, a business correspondence, a letter of application for a job, or simply a small note to a friend, colleague, or a family member, right?

Did your letter satisfy the purpose for which it was written? If it did, I'm sure you got what you wanted, right? If it did not, what were your thoughts then? How did you feel? You don't have to tell me. I have been there myself. But I have learned my mistakes and moved forward.

Having learned my mistakes, I went back to basics and did some research. I went as far as going to a local bookstore and bought a book on  "How to Write Effective Letters."  Well, I admit that I tried copying some ideas provided by the book, thinking that it would somehow get my message across effectively - just the way I wanted it to be. But somehow I knew that  it wasn't me writing that letter. . . Frustrating? It's an understatement! It felt  horrible. Why? I felt I was a second rate, trying hard copycat! But did it satisfy my purpose of writing it? Well, honestly, it did, but only to a certain extent.  But then again, it wasn't me!
Yeah, right! That wasn't me writing that letter . . . it was the book!

The operative word here is being "DIFFERENT."

Later on, I came to realize that writing a letter must come form the heart, be it a  memo, a business correspondence, a letter of  application, or a small note. In other words, your sincerity in writing a letter plays a single role in defining the contents of your letter, the purpose for which it is written, and more importantly, it conveys to your reader your personality as the writer of the letter.

So, in this blog, I will outline and discuss at some length the basics of writing a letter in all its forms, which includes, but not limited to, personal letters and notes, memos, business correspondences, reports, and even legal forms which I hope you will find very useful in all your writing needs.

Now, it is time to get down to the brass tacks!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Writing a letter is simply SELLING YOURSELF!

It is usually in the way your letters are written that the recipient gauges the value of its content, the purpose for which it was written in general, and the personality of the writer in particular. The construction of the sentences, grammar usage and choice of words, or on how your letter is presented reflect much about YOU! So, much care in writing letters is very important.

Successful letter writers are not born overnight. Surely, anyone can write a letter, but when it comes to effective letter writing, you need to dig deep and harness your creative side. 

Some will argue that creativeness cannot be learned because it is a talent. That is true to some extent, but i believe you can improve your creativity and writing skills over time through patience and constant practice.

Thinking out of the box will drive you far, and it is often the difference between success and failure.

Dare to be different!



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