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How to Write Business Letters That Get Read Every Time

The two most important parts of any business letter are:

  • The first paragraph, which introduces the purpose, and
  • The last paragraph, which describes the outcome.

Getting started - What is the purpose of this letter?

The purpose identifies the reason you’re writing the letter.

You can get to the point straightaway; there's nothing wrong with saying: "This press release is to let you know that . . "

Introduce the Purpose

You can also introduce the purpose by, for example, saying you hope to see them soon, or thank them for a recent meeting.

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Don't overdo this. Use it solely as an introduction, and then move into the main pitch.

But, there are exceptions...

Sometimes you don’t have to include the purpose in the first paragraph.

Examples of this are:

  • Good news letters (and bad new letters) and
  • When requesting something that might have a negative reaction. For example, when asking for a raise you should highlight your accomplishments first and then explain the reasons why you deserve the raise.

Writing the Main Section

This section discusses all the essential points in the letter. The Who, What, Why, Where and How.

Write this from the reader's perspective; address their specific needs and requirements. Try to anticipate their questions and don’t stray outside the scope of the letter.

Summing Up the Letter

The last paragraph contains the outcome. It tells the reader:

  • What to do next (e.g. go online to download free software) or
  • What to expect. e.g. "I’ll call to discuss the software next week."

Keep your sentences and paragraphs short, and keep the letter's length to one page if possible.


Research shows that brief letters are read first and responded to the quickest.

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