10 rules of business correspondence

Business Correspondence Rules: Practical Tips and Examples for Companies

Business documentation is the main type of regulation of the organizational activities of a company for the recording and transmission of important information.

With the help of documents, it is possible not only to coordinate business relations within one organization, but also to communicate with regulatory authorities, partners and the public. Compliance with the canons of business writing, first of all, speaks of the prestige of the company.

For large companies, it is typical to draw up special instructions indicating the order of workflow and responsible persons. The main formal means is still the blank form. An indisputable advantage is the fact that the official fills out the established document, while saving time. Of course, the role of correspondence in the business sphere is extremely important. It should be remembered that when writing a business letter, you need to be guided by the following principles:

  • completeness and accuracy of the presentation;
  • the objective nature of the information provided;
  • brevity and brevity of the letter;
  • absence unnecessary reasoning;
  • serious tone of presentation, lack of bias, rudeness and irony;
  • operating with logical means of assessing the situation;
  • factual justification of their position.

  • Requiring a response (request, appeal, offer, request, demand)
  • Not requiring a response (warning, reminder, invitation, confirmation, refusal, cover letters, letters of guarantee, information letters)

Business writing ethics

Disrespectful tone is always felt by your opponent. A message of this kind forms a negative attitude towards both the subject of the conversation and the author of the letter. Professionals advise paying great attention to the tone of the document. This is especially true for writing refusal letters. Let's pay attention to the ethics of a business letter using the example of a letter of refusal. To begin with, it is necessary to formulate the reasons for the refusal and justification of your position, and only then proceed to the statement of the fact. Use the following phrases: "Your request cannot be satisfied for the reason ..."; “Unfortunately, we are forced to refuse your request”; "We are deeply sorry, but it is not possible to satisfy your request."

Remember that when formulating a waiver, you must beware of losing a partner or customer. Response plan - refusal to a letter containing a request or offer:

  • full repetition of the request or request (the opponent must be sure that you fully understand the conditions and essence of the letter);
  • reasons explaining the refusal, as well as preparing the addressee to a negative answer;
  • the refusal itself in a polite manner.

Business letter language

The rules are based on a popular post from Elena Torshina. Basic principles are summarized here and obscene constructions are omitted. We hope this post will be useful and you will apply these principles in your work.

Rule one: any correspondence can become public

Any correspondence on the Internet, including by e-mail, can become public at the request of one of the parties. In addition, it can be legally binding and used in various proceedings. For example, in internal investigations.

Recommendation: in any business correspondence, behave yourself and think about what you write.

Rule Two: Files First

Begin any email by attaching files. So you will avoid the situation when the letter has already been sent, the files are not attached and now you need to send everything again and apologize.

Try to use publicly available file formats like. oc or. ls, and also call them in Latin and without spaces - this way your files can be opened by 99.9% of people without any problems.

The author recommends using cloud storage, for example Google Drive + Google Docs and attaching all documents as links. This is convenient for co-editing, but in this situation there is a formatting problem - a document created in Microsoft Word will not look 100% the same as Google Docs. Be carefull.

Recommendation: before sending, make sure that the files open normally and are attached to the letter.

Rule three: the subject line should give an understanding of the content

After you have attached files and written the text of the letter, you need to write a subject. It should contain keywords by which it will be easy to find the letter later.

The subject of the email should give an understanding: What is this - a task? Force Majeure? Payment request? Documents? Prompt approval? Negotiating as usual?

Recommendation: do not write monosyllabic constructions such as "Agreement" or "Urgent" in the subject line. The recipient has probably already accumulated many of these in his inbox and your letter will simply get lost.

We share tips on how to conduct business correspondence with foreign colleagues and partners in English.

E-mails provide the ability to quickly exchange information over long distances. In terms of the speed of transmission of ideas, this equates them to a telephone conversation. However, emails are stored on mail servers and used as printed evidence of our words. Therefore, electronic correspondence requires a responsible attitude.

The task becomes more difficult if you communicate in non-native English with people from other cultures. In this article I will share what to look for in this case, how to avoid mistakes and achieve mutual understanding with foreign colleagues and partners.


Regardless of who you correspond with and in what language, do not forget about the rules of email etiquette.

Clearly indicate the subject of the email (Subject)

According to a study by the Radicati Group agency, business representatives receive up to 80 emails a day. To convince the user to read your email, create a headline that fully reflects the content. The clearer what is being said, the faster the interlocutor will read the message.

Yes: "H ow to boost online sales by 15% by the end of Q4 2017".

Use a professional greeting and avoid familiarity.

Re-read the letter before sending. Mistakes and typos will negatively affect your image in the eyes of the interlocutor.

If you are introducing a new interlocutor into the correspondence, briefly describe the background of the question. Don't make him scroll down and read all the posts on the topic. Describe the essence of the question, what was discussed, what do you want to say about it.

Reply to messages. If you do not have time to research the topic now, confirm that you received the letter and indicate when you can take up the issue.

Email is the main source of communication at work. We correspond daily with colleagues, management, customers and clients. Sometimes recipients cannot come to an agreement or spend too much time on letters. We have compiled 15 rules that will help you save time for yourself and your counterparty and quickly resolve business issues.

Write the subject line

Subject - as a title, helps to quickly find the desired correspondence in the mailbox. Be sure to include it to make it easier to work with letters. The wording of the topic should be informative. The recipient will not understand what he is being offered if the letter is called "Cooperation", "Photos", "It". The topic is there, but it is useless. Add specifics: "We offer placement in our magazine" or "Photos for the travel section."

If the subject has changed during the correspondence, do not change it in the letter. Let's say you started a dialogue about developing a website for dentistry, but in the process a new order came - a website for a children's center. Do not mix projects in one correspondence and do not change the subject when another question opens. Start a new conversation for him. Observe the rule: there is a separate correspondence for each big question.

Call by name

If you know the recipient's name, be sure to contact him by name. Otherwise, it is not clear to whom the letter is addressed at all, and it looks impolite. If there are several recipients, list by name everyone from whom you expect a response or action. A person may think that the letter does not apply to him if it is addressed to everyone. By addressing by name, we remove this problem.

Talk about business

Working letter is a short genre. Imagine how long it will take for the recipient to get to the essence of the letter through lengthy reasoning and abstract digressions. It is not worth writing what happened, what will be and how the heart will calm down if this does not affect the solution of the issue. Take care of your own and other people's time - go straight to the main thing.

Specify exact date

Do not write "urgent" in the subject or body of the email. This concept is extensible: for one - an hour, for another - a week. Better to indicate the exact time and date when you are waiting for an answer or result.

Format the text

Unformatted text is hard to read, so separate it. Indent one after each paragraph and two after the greeting and before the signature. Do not insert links in the middle of the text - place them at the end of a paragraph or letter, in a list. Explain each link: which document it leads to and why the recipient should click on it. Try not to overuse bold, italic, and color. Keep the text calm.

We write business letters almost every day, but the reaction to them does not always coincide with our expectations. They do not open them, they do not answer letters. And if they do answer, then sometimes not quite as we expected.

Worse, sometimes, without the knowledge of the sender and the recipient, the letter flies into “Spam” at all. The rules of business correspondence by e-mail is an expert territory, where every wrong step costs money. Often - a lot of money for a very small mistake.

Today I will talk about how to follow the rules of email correspondence and how to write business letters that are read, understood and accepted. This is easy enough to achieve if you have a clear plan in mind beforehand.

Business Correspondence Rules: Content Moments

The technical rules of correspondence (in terms of content per se) are 2 main factors:

  • The structure of the text, its style and readability.
  • Logical and semantic links.

There is already a large separate article on the site about what the structure of a business letter should be, as well as how to maintain the correct style and readability.

But the logical and semantic connections are worth mentioning separately. But, again, there are some points in the article at the link above, so it is recommended to read both materials together.

Logical and semantic links

Not everyone understands how important a clear text logic is in the format of business communication. If the recipient has dozens of correspondences, then your failure to comply with the rules of logical and semantic connections can quickly break any, even very successful, cooperation.

A person will simply feel uncomfortable coming back to your E-mail again and again, because “the devil himself will break his leg there”.

To be "convenient" for the recipient, it is enough to follow a few basic rules:

Always quote what you want to say, unless it is directly related to the current conversation. Yes, you may already remember all the nuances of correspondence, but your opponent is not at all obliged to remember them.

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