The AMA Handbook of Business Letters

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

CHAPTER 4

Appearance of the Letter

A friend of mine is the president of a public relations company he founded in Boston. His customers include small businesses, restaurants, and financial services companies throughout New England. He is a superb spokesman for his company and is adept at convincing companies and executives that his organization can serve them better than other public relations firms can.

One reason for my friend's success is the contacts he's built over the several years he's worked as a public relations professional. Another is the good press he has gotten his clients.

But another important reason for his success is his appearance. He is well groomed and dresses well— nothing ostentatious, but when he arrives for a business meeting, the customer can tell that he or she is dealing with a public relations professional who at least appears to be very professional.

In letter writing too, appearance is very important. The message you are sending is obviously the most important aspect of your letter. However, if the reader opens an envelope and finds a note scrawled across a piece of notebook paper, the most important of messages is not going to get through to the reader.

There are certain conventions used in letter writing that are fairly well established, yet they are flexible enough to allow you to communicate exactly what you want to your reader. If you take into consideration the appearance of your letter— the stationery, format, length, and envelope— your reader will be drawn to it. Once your reader gives your letter his or her attention, your message is sure to get through.


Stationery

Letterhead design varies from business to business, but it usually consists of at least the following items:

-29-

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