With all the hustle and bustle of the business world, it may be easy to overlook professional courtesy. However, good manners never go out of style. Everyone appreciates writing that has a kind and respectful tone. As professionals, we must keep in mind that our writing should include those little social niceties that everyone appreciates.
In order to incorporate these niceties into our writing, it may be helpful to know what courteous writing entails. Here are some great tips on incorporating courteous elements into our writing:
- Proper salutations
Everyone appreciates having the correct salutation attached to their name. If a person is a doctor or if a woman is married, they expect to have the correct salutation in a business letter. I think that if a person has earned a specific title, like a Ph.D. or a law degree, they appreciate it when the appropriate salutation is used.
- Proper greetings
The standard and most widely accepted way that a greeting is used to open a letter is “Dear,” followed by the proper salutation, and the person’s last name. If you write a letter without using this standard opening, it may immediately alienate your reader. Also, the greeting of “To Whom it May Concern,” often comes off as cold or distant.
- Proper tone
You should always try to use the appropriate tone or attitude in your business correspondence. The better you know someone, the more informal the tone can be. However, in most business settings, the tone should remain somewhat formal. This formal tone relays the fact that your message is courteous, but should also be taken seriously. The proper tone should make the reader comfortable, while maintaining a certain level of respect.
Courteous writing should be respectful, clear, and concise. Clarity is important because it does not waste valuable time. Confusing messages will often be perceived as wasteful by the reader. Clarity of thought and purpose is another essential element of a courteous letter.
These tips can help everyone become a more courteous writer. A little courtesy can go a long way in the business world. After all, who doesn’t appreciate a simple “please” and “thank you”? I know I do!
Check out these sites for more great tips on becoming a more courteous writer: