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Part: I The Basics

Part I: The Basics

All letters methinks, should be as free and easy as one's discourse, not studied as an oration. . . .

—Dorothy Osborne (Lady Temple) Letter to Sir William Temple, October 1653

Successful professionals know the importance of effective letter writing. You can't have a good business relationship with customers if they don't know what you're trying to tell them in a letter. The services or products of a company cannot be marketed if a prospective customer is baffled by the service or product described. How can a salesperson expect to make a sale when, because of a muddled letter, the prospect can't even understand what it is that's being sold?

Letter writing is crucial to the success of every professional. Without letter-writing skills, the professional's effectiveness is stymied.

Approaching This Book

The objective of The AMA Handbook of Business Letters is to help you write effective letters. Ineffective letters are a waste of time and money. This realization should be enough to convince every professional of the need to be a good letter writer. Letters may not seem like the crux of your business, but if you consider that effectively written letters can increase the quality of working relationships and the quantity of business you can attract, and decrease wasted hours and money, you can begin to see the importance of learning to write letters well.

You should be prepared to approach this book with one chief goal in mind—to learn how to write effective letters. Remember, too, that although letter writing is not a simple skill, with practice you can become a good letter writer. Once you learn the basics and put them into practice, your letters will get better and begin to flow more easily.



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