Guide to Writing and Editing Business Communication
Listing and Ranking Goals
Deciding on format
Reviewing checklist and format
Cutting unnecessary info
Review the Don'ts
Simplifying Sentences
Reviewing for Grammar and Mechanics
The Basics
Getting Help

1. List all the things you want your letter to accomplish. (No more than 3 or 4).

2. Rank those things in order of importance.

3. Decide whether your letter should be  a direct request, a good-news or good-will letter, a bad-news letter, or a persuasive letter.

4. Review the checklist and format of the letter you've selected. Remember the basics:

5. After you write the letter, start cutting. Cut all unnecessary information.
What's necessary: 6. Review the "don'ts" of your checklist and remove anything inappropriate. Always avoid these phrases: 7. Start simplifying sentences. Remove or rewrite all expletives, passive constructions, "this is to inform you"'s, "we are pleased to announce"'s, big words, and long sentences. Try to replace the words "is," "was," "are," "were," etc. with action verbs. Try NOT to begin sentences with participial phrases (seeing that, being that, Upon viewing, etc.) Remember, simple and direct is good.

8. Look for missed opportunities to subtly promote, boast, take credit, etc.

9. Check your grammar, your spelling (don't rely on spell checkers alone), and your punctuation.

10. Look at your format. Have you used letter or memo appropriately? Have you used block format (see appendix of B & T book)?  Are your tabs and margins consistent and even? Have you shifted fonts unexpectedly? Have you initialed the memo or signed the letter?

11. Have you spelled your name and your reader's name (both individual and company) correctly?

12.  NOW Ask a reader you respect to review your letter. Ask if the tone is positive, respectful, and confident, the information clear, the presentation attractive, and the grammar good.