In March, we talked about the importance of writing Letters of Appreciation. Receiving a handwritten letter is always a surprising and personal way to communicate to those who are important to you. One of the biggest pieces of significance of writing a letter is it’s lasting quality which enhances it’s significance. A letter is tangible; there are no delete buttons or on-demand correction abilities. Writing a letter also takes time and consideration.
When composing a letter, etiquette is just as important when writing as it would be in any other form of communication. Consider the following etiquette tips to guide you while writing:
- Quality stationery or paper should always be used for correspondence. Personal letters should be handwritten on white, ivory or cream paper, while paper with a letterhead is used for business letters.
- On blank paper without a letterhead, the address is written in the top right-hand corner. Your name or company name should be clearly identifiable. Your address and other contact information should also be easy to find and read.
- A consistent type size and font style is recommended. The most common layout style for business letters is to justify to the left margin and to place an extra line space for new paragraphs.
- All personal letters should have the date written out in full above the body. For example, write May 1, 2012 instead of 05/01/12.
- Letter writing protocol dictates all letters begin with “Dear” preceded by the recipients prefix and last name, followed by a colon. For more personal correspondence, letters can begin with something informal such as ‘Dear John’. The closing line can end in a cordial phrase such as Sincerely, With love, Best wishes or Best Regards followed by a comma. Four to five lines should also be left for a signature.
- Proofreading is essential to any written correspondence.
- Envelopes should be neatly written, if not typed, Verify that the names are spelled correctly and that the correct forms of address are used. Your return address should be legible and easy to locate. The address should be centered, with each new line increasingly indented and punctuation should be eliminated as well as abbreviations.
And as always, writing with a quality fine writing instrument enhances your handwriting legibility, comfort level, and allows you to add your own personal flair.