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Written communication – an overview

There are many modern communication methods available today but the traditional business letter still remains a very important means of transmitting printed messages. As the business letter acts an ambassador for the company, it is vital that it gives a good first impression. In this respect, it is good business practice to ensure good quality stationery and printing of the letterhead paper. The business letter also conveys an impression of the company in many other ways.

Constant developments in communications technology mean that on many occasions business letters are being replaced by fax messages and electronic mail; within organizations memos are used for written messages, or e-mail for speed. All these methods will be further discussed later in this unit. However, whatever method is chosen to convey your printed message, the aim should be to ensure a high standard in each of the above three important areas. The main reason for this is because such high standards in your printed communications suggest similarly high standards in business generally.

It is worth mentioning here that although the telephone or face-to-face discussions are often the key means of communication within an organization, printed messages are often needed. This is when a memorandum is used. As similar rules can be applied to writing the body of memos as to writing the body of letters, I have included a section here on correct format and structure for this important method of printed communication.

Developments in technology have made it possible for us to have instant communication all over the world. Speed is now becoming the key to successful business communications. As a result fax messages and electronic mail are now taking the place of many business letters. It is also true that instead of a secretary being asked to type documents, many employers are keying in their own text and sending messages straight to recipients. However, that important ‘first impression’ should still be considered. By setting high standards in the important area of printed communication you will be helping to create and enhance the corporate image of your organization. So although very often it is time saving for the employer to prepare his/her own communications, it is good business practice to allow a secretary to ‘tidy them up’ and ensure correct presentation, layout and structure.

Remember that in today’s competitive business world, high communication standards are vitally important. Therefore, it is important to ensure that the need for speed does not result in decline in the standards of communications. Instead, the constant advances in technology should help us to improve and enhance our communications and thereby maximize business potential.

As it takes time and energy to write letters, it is of utmost importance that letters are written quickly and effectively. Thus business letters should be brief, to the point and accurate in its facts and figures. Personal opinions, speculations and beating around the bush are unnecessary and time wasting. As business people are busy people, letters should just say what is required and nothing more.

This website deals with some of the intricacies of writing effective business letters. The sample letters given are meant to give an idea of how to write effectively for various situations. The ready-to-use documents can be copied or adapted to meet your precise needs. They will help you to say what you want to say and achieve the desired results. You will be able to save time and do your job better, more effectively and easily without spending ages thinking about what to say.


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