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Reader-Friendly Reports: A No-nonsense Guide to Effective Writing for MBAs, Consultants, and Other Professionals by Carter Daniel

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LETTERS AND E-MAIL

Business letters have to be organized and efficient, just as business reports have to be. But letters are different in enough ways to require a separate set of rules. Here are five.

Rule 1. Write as if You Were Speaking

Do not use weird phrases like “In reference to the above-captioned communication,” “Please be advised that we are in receipt of,” “We beg to acknowledge your esteemed favor of the nineteenth,” or “Per your request, herewith enclosed is.” Nobody talks that way, and nobody should write that way. Letters are by nature personal, so they should sound personal.

Rule 2. Identify the Purpose of the Letter as Close as Possible to the First Sentence

Since letters never have a title and usually don’t even have a subject ...

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