Important characteristics that an effective correspondence must have for business transaction are given below:
A business letter should be simple. It should be written in a lucid (easy) language so that it is clear to the receiver. The language can be similar to that of social letters as long as formality is maintained. The letter should make an instant appeal to the reader.
2. Conversational style:
An effective letter is one that gives an impression of face to face communication. Letters are the written media by which sender of the message speaks to the receiver. Hence a letter should be written in a conversational style. Conversational style is interactive in nature and is more or less informal.
3. Clarity of goal:
The writer should be clear about what he wishes to convey. He should keep all the facts and figures of the information handy. The letter should be written in such a way that it reflects the goal clearly and easily. There must not be any ambiguity.
4. Public relation:
Business letters reflect the image of the organisation. All business letters should therefore be drafted keeping in mind the objective of enhancing the organisations goodwill, image and public relations.
5. The ‘You’ attitude:
The business letters should be written keeping in mind the reader’s point of view. It should be able to convey the sender’s interest in the reader. For this the ‘You’ attitude should be adopted. The T’s and ‘We’s’ should be avoided and more of ‘You’s’ should be included. This will show the sender’s interest in the reader.
The business letter should be courtious. Courtesy implies that the letter seeks favour politely and expresses gratitude profusely for the favours done. Thus the language of the letter should be polite and appealing.
When the ‘You’ attitude is adopted, automatically the letter becomes polite and appealing.
The basic idea behind every business correspondence is to persuade the reader be it a sales letter, letter of enquiry or letter of complaint. Thus to persuade the reader in an effective way the piece of correspondence should be well written. So as to persuade the reader in ones favour.
The business letters should be sincere. This means that the letter should be written in such a way that the readers believe what the letter says. It should not hide reality. It should also be free from hypocracy making tall claims. The matter should be stated erectly and genuinely.
9. Positive language:
The words of the letter should be chosen with care. As far as possible the language of the piece of letter should be positive. The use of negative words should be avoided as it gives an impression of negative outlook and approach.
10. Due emphasis:
Proper emphasis should be put on the content of the piece of correspondence. This requires logical thinking on the part of the writer. The writer should himself be clear in his mind what he wants to convey.
Only then he can emphasis properly. Proper emphasis is to be given according to the message Conveyed. Proper punctuation aids to this. It should also be noted that short sentences are better than long sentences.
The information present in the letter should be arranged in a logical way. This is done by using carefully the linking devices, pronouns, and reputing the key words. Unless arranged in a logical way the information will lose its meaning and thus the objectivity of the correspondence will be lost.
12. Care for culture:
All business correspondence seeks to be written keeping in mind the reader’s point of view. As such no words should be used which offends the cultural background of the reader? The best way is to avoid use of culturally derived words, slangs, colloquialisms etc. Harmless and in offensive words should be used.
13. Tactful approach:
The writer should adopt a tactful approach while writing a business letter. It can be a direct approach letter, an indirect approach letter or a middle approach letter depending on the message to be conveyed. Generally good news is conveyed directly where as a bad news or a complaint adopts indirect or middle approach.
14. Ethical standard:
A business letter reflects the image of an organisation. Therefore all business correspondence should maintain certain ethical standard. Although business correspondence should be persuasive and tactful, without ethics they will be fruitless. It may pay in short run but it will not reap harvest in long run.
15. Brief but complete:
Brevity is the soul of correspondence. In short the receiver must know what the sender wants to transmit. But briefness does not mean incomplete. An incomplete letter does not fulfill its objectives. All necessary matter should be incorporated in the letter. Thus the quality of brevity and completeness should be there in business letter.