Don’t get caught sending sloppy form letters

By Kendall Martin

Have you ever received a memo or form letter in which the sender failed to change the details to your information, instead leaving in another person’s name or company information? It probably left you unimpressed, at the very least.

That’s an easy mistake to make if your communication is in auto-pilot, but it is sloppy and lacks the personal approach to business. While form letters are the norm for many kinds of business communication, if you are sending out an offer or proposal, you need to get all of the details right.

Pay special attention to these details in your business communication:

  • The addressee’s name. Beyond the addressee information at the top of a form letter, double-check to make sure that the correct name is used throughout the letter. Don’t take it for granted that a merge with excel will work out perfectly! Proofread the entire letter carefully.
  • The date. It’s not uncommon to start writing a business letter or proposal and then come back to it at a later date. Make sure the date is current. Otherwise it could confuse the recipient, or worse, change the meaning of an agreement or offer.
  • Phrasing. Most word processing programs will identify spelling and grammatical errors, but they won’t catch phrases that should be conveyed differently. Read business letters aloud and listen for phrases and sentences that need to be reworked for clarity.
  • Company style. Verify that the tone of your letter is in line with the type of document you are sending. An internal memo should have a different company voice than a proposal to a big client.
  • Typeface. You should use only one font in business documents. If used carefully and sparingly, you can utilize bold or italics to distinguish important sections.

What’s the sloppiest mistake you’ve seen on a form letter? 


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