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How to Make People Read Your Emails (and Letters) and Reply Every Time

How to Make People Read Your Emails (and Letters) and Reply Every Time

Writing business letters is something we all have to do from time to time, but we don’t usually get any training in school about how to actually do it. Getting your letter format wrong can make you look sloppy and unprofessional, but once you get the basics down and have some examples to work from, it makes business letter writing that much easier.

What’s the biggest “no-no” when writing a letter?

Probably the most common problem people have when writing business letters is using improper letter format.[1] Within this format there are a few options, but for the most part this is how it is done.

At the very top of your letter should be your contact information: name, company (if applicable), address and phone number. Some people also put their email address here.

Next comes the date and the person you are writing’s contact information: name, company and address.

Then there will be a greeting — usually something along the lines of “Dear Mr./Mrs. Jones.” The body of the letter follows, then a closing (Sincerely, Best, whatever you like) and a few blank lines followed by your typed signature. When you print the letter out you can sign it with ink.

Once you have the format down, it’s the content that can still be a little tricky. Whether you’re writing a letter of resignation or a recommendation letter, there are some basic rules you can follow. Here’s a look at 10 different kinds of business letters you might need to write,[2] the letter format for each and an example you can use as a template.

Complaint Letter: Express Disappointment

A way to formally express your disappointment in an experience, report bad customer service or let a company know their products didn’t meet the expectations.

Some tips:

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  • Don’t get emotional or angry; just state the facts.
  • Be cordial, professional and brief. Let them know what happened and what you’d like them to do to make it right.
  • Close by giving them a deadline to respond before getting a third-party mediator or lawyer involved.

Sample complaint letter | Federal Trade Commission

    Adjustment Letter: Explain and Apologize

    If you find yourself on the business side of a complaint letter, you will need to respond with a letter of your own. A good adjustment letter can help you keep a loyal customer; a bad one might spread like wildfire on the Internet.

    Some tips:

    • In most cases you’ll want to actually apologize that your company didn’t meet expectations.
    • Let them know what you are doing to make it right, or explain why you’re not doing what the customer asked if needed.
    • Be professional, concise, friendly and apologetic.

    Sample adjustment letters | OfficeWriting.com

      Sales Letters: Raise Awareness and Promote Products

      Letters writing to solicit business are still important for raising awareness of your company or products/services among potential clients.

      Some tips:

      • Keep it brief.
      • Make it about them, but not about you or your company.
      • Call to action, tell them what to do and how to do it.
      • If desired, you can also include your next steps or follow-up actions.

      Sales letter templates | Letters.org

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        Letter of Inquiry: Seek Information

        Write this kind of letter when seeking information, such as an interview request, a request for a catalog or a request for a public document.

        Some tips:

        • Be specific and brief; make it easier for the person who can track whatever you need down for you.
        • Providing some context and background can be helpful, but not the whole story of why you need a document.
        • Be courteous and show your gratitude.
        • If you are asking about the possibility of work, use the cover letter format.

        Inquiry letter templates | Sample Templates

          Acknowledgement Letter: Indicate Message Received

          Acknowledgment letters indicate that you received something (like a job or scholarship application, or sales materials) but have not necessarily taken action yet.

          Some tips:

          • Be short.
          • If there is information every person who sent information needs to know, such as when a decision will be made about hiring for a position, include that as well.
          • It might be used to thank someone for donating to cause, so include in the letter with any attachments.

          Acknowledgement letters for every occasion | Template.net

            Follow-Up Letter: Nudge and Remind

            A follow-up letter is sort of a nudge for people to make sure they received an initial letter and to remind them what you want them to do. They are often sent after a sales letter, letter of introduction or letter requesting information.

            Some tips:

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            • Be short to remind the recipient who you are, what and when you requested.
            • Include deadline if the initial note didn’t.
            • Include a call to action as a reminder.

            Follow-up templates of all sorts | Write Express

              Order Letter: Place an Order

              A formal way to place an order.

              Some tips:

              • Be concise and precise.
              • Make sure you include all the information a person would need to place an order for you.
              • Include all your shipping information and payment method.
              • Show your gratitude.
              • Provide contact information for follow-up.

              Order letter samples | How to Write a Letter

                Cover Letter: Introduce Yourself for a Job

                A cover letter is a way to introduce yourself, especially when applying for a job.

                Some tips:

                • Mention the job you are applying for right up front. You don’t have to be fancy.
                • Only cover a few relevant points on your resume, especially any related experiences.
                • Remember to mention your soft skills (e.g. communication skills, leadership skills) too.
                • Include contact information and make yourself available for answering any questions the hiring manager might have.

                Cover letter format | Monster

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                  Letter of Recommendation: Help or Reference Someone for Their Applications

                  This type of letter is often written by a teacher to help a student applying for a scholarship or internship or for admittance into a school or program. You might also write one to recommend someone for a job, fellowship or other opportunity.

                  Some tips:

                  • Be honest about the person you are writing about.
                  • Don’t gush or agree to write a letter for someone you wouldn’t support or don’t know very well.
                  • Use specific examples to highlight the person’s skills and abilities.
                  • Write something about why you would give this opportunity to the person you are writing about.
                  • Thank the reader for their time and include contact information should they have questions.

                  Sample recommendation letter | the Muse

                    Letter of Resignation: Resign From a Position

                    Don’t give in to any urges you might have to send an incendiary letter of resignation; you never know when you might cross paths with these people again.

                    • Keep it short and to the point: “This letter serves as notice that I am resigning my position as x effective x. Thank you for the opportunity” says enough.
                    • Consider your words very carefully if you are in a high-profile position and your letter is likely to be released publicly.
                    • You can include a reason if you like, but it isn’t necessary.
                    • Thank your boss and/or the company for the opportunities you’ve had there.

                    Resignation letters for many purposes/reasons | the Balance

                      For many other possible letters you could need in your business career, check this exhaustive list from the Balance.

                      Featured photo credit: Flaticon via flaticon.com

                      Reference

                      [1] English Sherpa: 7 Common Mistakes of Writing Business Letters). Writing a cover letter for a job application or a sales letter to gain clients is not like writing an email to a friend; certain rules need to be followed.

                      You also need to make sure that you use proper grammar and spelling, are not too casual in your writing and that you remove all of the parts of any template you may be using that should have been filled in (like a dummy mailing address at the top or the wrong date).

                      Know the basics of business letters, they are more useful than you think.

                      If you’re writing a business letter that’s going to be mailed, there are some common letter format rules that will help you get started.((The Balance: Format for Writing a Business Letter

                      [2] Houston Chronicle: 10 Types of Business Letters

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                      Sarah White

                      Freelance Writer, Editor, Professional Crafter

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                      Last Updated on January 24, 2020

                      10 Good Habits To Have in Life To Be More Successful

                      10 Good Habits To Have in Life To Be More Successful

                      Habits are behaviors and patterns that you showcase by default. They enable you to carry out crucial activities like taking a shower, brushing your teeth, getting prepared for work.

                      Interestingly, you follow this routine every day without considering them. Your unconscious habits create room for your brain to perform more advanced activities like problem-solving and choosing what book to read.

                      Everyone has habits, and several of those habits are activated every day. I would classify them into three groups:

                      • The first category includes the habits that you hardly notice as they have become a major part of your life- such as brushing teeth or wearing clothes.
                      • The second category comprises good habits to have to be more successful-like eating healthily, exercising your body and reading books.
                      • The last group consists of those habits that are harmful-like procrastinating, smoking or overeating.

                      Habits are fundamental to becoming successful in life — or probably ending up a failure. Yet, as significant as habits are, some lack the knowledge of their capabilities.

                      Habits are default activities that you engage in without giving an afterthought. They are automatic behavioral or mental activities. They help you carry out some actions without exerting too much energy. They simplify your life.

                      Several people aspire to break bad habits. For instance, some people diet to stop overeating. They exercise to reduce obesity. Habits can hinder or impact your performance and productivity.

                      That’s why I would share 10 good habits to have to be more successful in life.

                      1. Begin Your Day with Meditation

                      I recommend mindful meditation early in the morning. This practice helps you to be in the present moment. Consequently, it enables you to be mindful of challenging situations during the day.

                      Different stressors may trigger as you go through the day; meditation helps you to remain calm before taking on the challenges.

                      Personally, it helps me to devise strategies and think about ideas. Meditation is a good habit to have if you want to be connected to what’s significant in your life.

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                      2. Be Grateful for What You Have

                      Sometimes, you waste time thinking of what’s not enough. You become immersed in those daunting challenges. However, challenges justify the presence of hope. When you have life, you have expectations. You will be free from challenges when you are six feet under. The only strategy you have to stop focusing on your problems is to focus on what you have.

                      Gratitude is a time-tested pathway to success, health, and happiness. It redirects your focus to what you have from what you lack. Here’s what James Clear does every day,[1]

                      “I say one thing I’m grateful for each day when I sit down to eat dinner.”

                      3. Smile

                      Can you pause and smile before you continue reading this?

                      Now here is what just happened based on research conducted by the Association for Psychological Science; you set a pace for living a happier life when you smile. A genuine smile or what’s called a Duchenne smile is a good habit to have if you want to find spiritual, emotional and mental peace of mind.[2]

                      Smiling induces the release of molecules that function towards fighting stress. The physiological state of your body determines the state of your mind. When you slouch or frown, your mind takes cues relating to unhappiness and depression. But, once you adjust yourself by putting up a smile, you begin to feel a new level of excitement and vibrancy.

                      Can you smile again?

                      4. Start Your Day with a Healthy Breakfast

                      Starting your day with a healthy breakfast is a good habit to have and forms a crucial part of your life. Nevertheless, about 31 million Americans skip their breakfast each day.[3]

                      If you are fed up hearing that breakfast is a crucial component of your day, you are only fighting the truth. If you want to become more successful, you need to ‘break your fast’ with healthy foods every morning.

                      This habit is not difficult to form if you usually rush out the door every single morning. You can wake up earlier to fix yourself a meal so you don’t break down during the day.

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                      Get inspired by these 20 Healthy Breakfast Choices That Will Save You Time.

                      5. Exercise Daily

                      One of the good habits to have is to exercise your body and muscles every day. You don’t have to run a marathon or lift a weight. You only need to engage in less strenuous activities that oxygenate your blood and inject endorphins in your body.

                      Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter, classified exercise as a good habit to maximize his already jam-packed schedule.[4] He said,

                      ‘I wake up by 5, meditate for 30 minutes, seven-minute workout times three, make coffee, and check-in.’

                      He said on Product Hunt that he follows this routine every day as it gives him a steady-state that empowers him to be more productive.

                      6. Manage Your Time as You Manage Your Finance

                      Another good habit is the act of managing your time effectively. This goes a long way to impact your achievement.

                      Time management is what separates the successful from the rest of the world as we all possess the same amount of time. How you leverage time determines your potential to succeed in life.

                      So how do you manage your time effectively?

                      Here’s Jack Dorsey’s recommendation in one of the Techonomy events;

                      “I accomplish effective time management by theming my days and practicing self-discipline. These themes help me handle distractions and interactions. If a request or task does not align with the theme for that day, I don’t do it. This sets a cadence for everyone in the company to deliver and evaluate their progress”.

                      And this is Dorsey’s weekly theme:[5]

                      • Monday – Management
                      • Tuesdays – Product
                      • Wednesday – Marketing and growth
                      • Thursdays – Developers and partnerships
                      • Fridays – Culture and recruiting
                      • Saturdays – Taking off
                      • Sundays – Reflection, feedback, strategy, and preparing for Monday

                      No wonder he was able to run two companies when others were struggling with one job.

                      7. Set Daily Goals with Intentions

                      Everyone has goals. It may relate to business or personal life. The truth is, we’re all tending towards a particular direction or another. Nevertheless, while long-term goals can offer you direction, it’s your daily goals that you establish that help you develop short-term goals that are essential for your success.

                      Long-term goals may not give you the motivation you need to keep on. But when you implement your short-term milestones daily, you become fired up, and you can overcome the challenges that come with taking on bigger tasks.

                      Here’s the main truth:Successful people don’t set goals without establishing their intentions. According to Jennifer Cohen of Forbes,[6]

                      “What helps you to achieve your desired expectation is ensuring intentions accompany your daily goals.”

                      Be intentional about your daily goals!

                      8. Seek Inspiration

                      It is usually difficult to be inspired for a considerable length of time. Sometimes, you become discouraged and feel like giving up on your goals when things are not working out as intended.

                      A practical approach to stay on top of the situation is to inspire yourself each day. When you wake up in the morning after meditation, watch some motivational videos, and let the story of great leaders inspire you.

                      Establish what Anthony Robbins called the ‘hour of power.’ Determine how many minutes you spend but make it count. Inspiration is the fuel for achievement because when you can conceive it in your mind, you can accomplish it.

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                      Michal Solowow, an investor and the founder of Mitex, a construction company puts it this way,[7]

                      “The problems I encounter in everyday life motivates me to find solutions. This is a self-propelling mechanism. becoming a billionaire was never a motivating factor.”

                      9. Save Steadily, Invest with All Prudence

                      I can exhaust the good habits to have without talking about saving and investing. Most times, you overlook the significance of saving for the future when you are living in your present moment. According to CNBC, a $1000 emergency will propel several Americans into debt.[8]

                      However, it is not enough to save, and you must invest your fund and be wise with it. If you pay attention to this now, you will set yourself for a life of success in the future. Ensure you save at least six months in your emergency account so you can be prepared for any future emergency.

                      10. Budget and Track Your Spendings

                      Benjamin Franklin warned of taking the precaution of little expenses. He said,

                      “A small leak sinks a great ship.”

                      It is easy to discard little expenses, but the truth is they always add up. This happens when you fail to budget.

                      Budgeting is a good habit to have, which can impact your financial life significantly. The money you spend on extravagant lifestyles can be saved and invested in your future.

                      The Bottom Line

                      Endeavor to cultivate these good habits to have to become more successful as you journey through life. The quicker you cultivate them, the faster you achieve your goals.

                      More About Habits

                      Featured photo credit: Andrijana Bozic via unsplash.com

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                      Reference

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