The AMA Handbook of Business Letters

By Jeffrey L. Seglin; Edward Coleman | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 1

Planning the Letter
Planning is a key factor in the accomplishment of any goal. Letter writing is no exception. To successfully construct a clear, effective letter, you need a good plan.Some letters do not require as elaborate a plan as others. A letter to a customer detailing a proposal for a product purchase will obviously need a more elaborate plan than a thank-you note for a business lunch.Common sense can usually dictate how elaborate your plan needs to be. If the information you need to present in a letter is limited enough for you to outline it in your head, there is no real need for an elaborate outline featuring Roman numeral headings and subpoints beneath subpoints. The elaborateness of your plan should suit the elaborateness of the letter to be written.Of course, if you, as a letter writer, are more comfortable constructing detailed outlines for each of your letters, there is nothing wrong with following that procedure. With enough practice, however, the simpler letters should flow more easily, and the time you might have spent laboring over outline after outline can be directed more constructively to other areas of your business.The following three steps are essential in the planning of any letter:
1. Researching the facts
2. Analyzing the subject and reader
3. Knowing your objectives and how to accomplish them

If you follow these steps as you are planning to write any letter, you should find that your letters will be clear and well received, and will achieve your desired goal.

-3-

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