In businesses, written communication is an important medium for passing information. This form of written communication used for business purposes is termed as Business correspondence. The correspondence in business communication can happen within the organization, between different organizations, or between client and organization.
The importance of business correspondence lies in the fact that it is the formal way of exchanging information by which professional relationship is maintained between organizations, employees, and clients. Since it is in a written form, it can serve as a future reference for the information being communicated.
Business correspondence happens daily in the lives of businessmen in the form of letters to suppliers, letters of inquiry, complaint letters, job application letters, and a few other forms.
Business correspondence is an umbrella term used for any form of written communication which happens in business relationships. It could be with business partners or internal communication within the organization.
Business correspondence is mostly in the form of letters. People related to any business understand the significance of business letters since this correspondence in business communication can be used by them to express themselves, ask a doubt or clarification regarding any uncertainty.
Business correspondence is essential in realizing organizational goals. Meeting people personally can be quite a time-consuming job hence business correspondence helps businesses with:
Maintaining Proper Relationships – The significance of business letters is governed by the fact that it facilitates effective communication which does not cost the business much. It strengthens the business by making communication, within and outside the organization, clear and concise.
Acts As Evidence – The importance of business correspondence is further solidified as it lets businesses keep records of facts that can serve as evidence at a later point in time.
Creating Goodwill – A company’s growth increases due to business correspondence. It creates goodwill between business and clients since any letter like a complaint, feedback, or suggestion promotes a healthy relationship.
Costs Very Less – Business correspondence is an inexpensive mode of communication in terms of money as well as time. This method of correspondence in business communication is very convenient for businesses.
Removes Ambiguity in Communication – It is a formal correspondence between the involved parties which helps in unambiguous communication.
Helps Businesses Expand and Grow – A business can have a seamless flow of information regarding any product or resources through business correspondence. This helps in proper utilization of manpower and time management, which in turn leads to expansion and growth in business.
A business typically uses many kinds of business correspondence in its day to day activities. There are six most common kinds of business correspondences in the business community as defined below:
Internal Correspondence – The flow of information between employees, departments, branches, and units of the same company is termed as internal correspondence. They can be formal or informal.
Some examples of formal internal correspondence are promotion letter, a formal request for approval, memorandum, etc. They are mostly printed on paper.
A routine or informal internal correspondence can be a quick instruction between a manager and subordinate, which are mostly in the form of emails.
External Correspondence – The communication between 2 different organizations or between an organization and a client comes under external correspondence. This type of correspondence in business communication is usually made to suppliers, existing and prospective clients, government offices, etc.
Sales Correspondence – Any communication related to sales is called a sales correspondence. It is not only concerned with the sale of a product or service but encompasses many other activities. It includes marketing letters, invoices, discount letters, statements of accounts, etc.
Routine Correspondence – Such correspondence happens routinely like orders, inquiries, invitations, replies, etc.
Personalized Correspondence – This involves personal and emotional factors. Some of the examples of this type of correspondence are letters of gratitude, congratulation letters, appreciation notes, letter of request for a recommendation, etc.
Circulars – This type of correspondence is used when a business has to convey a common matter to a large audience. Few examples are notices of tenders, change in contact information, etc.
Qualities of effective business communication can be summed up in the figure below:
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1. What Are The Common Components of A Business Letter?
The common format of a business letter is:
Heading – This contains the writer’s address and the date of writing the letter. It does not include the writer’s name.
Inside address – This shows the name and address of the recipient. This is a required part as it helps in avoiding any confusion and also if the recipient has changed addresses, then this can help in determining what needs to be done with the letter.
Salutation – This is a direct address to the letter’s recipient, which is followed by a colon. A comma is used in the place of the colon if the tone of the letter is friendly or sociable.
Subject – The subject line conveys the main objective of the business letter.
Body – This is the actual message.
Complimentary close – One closes a business letter with complimentary close notations like “sincerely yours”, “cordially”, “respectfully”, and other formal but non-wordy closing formats.
Signature block – This comes 4 lines after the complimentary close which has your name and signature. Your name can have the designation or position you hold in your business.
Initials – This is the initials of the writer all in capital letters.
Enclosures – If you are enclosing anything with the letter then that needs to be mentioned in the following format: “Encl: Resume” or “Enclosure: Resume.”
Copies – The end notations must also indicate if copies of the letter are sent to others. You mention this as: “cc: Mr., attorney.”
2. What Are Some of The Important Business Correspondences in Practice?
Business correspondence includes the following forms:
CV or resume
Letter of application
Confirmation of reservation
Letter of Claim or complaints.
Demand – demand response like proposal or bid
Urgency – respond to urgencies
Printed advertising and marketing materials like brochures, leaflets, etc.
Notice of Termination of employment
Letter of recommendations
3. While Writing A Business Letter, What Are The Ways to Make The Paragraphs Effective?
A paragraph in business letters must consist of the following features:
A topic sentence - It should begin with the main idea of the paragraph following by supporting content.
Unity - The paragraph must focus on only one idea.
Coherence - Sentences in the paragraph must be linked logically and are related to one another.
Development - Give examples, evidence, facts to develop the idea of the paragraph.