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Lesson 11. Writing Business Letters > Structuring Your Letter - Pg. 48

Writing Business Letters Dear Eric: As you may recall, I sent you an invoice for the Brand X Relaunch Project in late July. I'm concerned about the fact that I haven't yet received payment on that invoice, and am writing to ask for your help in understanding the delay. Please let me know a convenient time I can call for us to discuss this matter. 48 An opening paragraph that spells out the reason you're writing and what you want from the recipient enables him to quickly understand and process your request. Being mindful of your recipient's time is as important in communicating externally as it is internally. The Body of the Letter In the paragraphs following the opening, you will go on to explain what you want to happen, or what information you have. Depending on the complexity of your subject, this part of your letter may be from one to several paragraphs. Keep in mind, however, that, unless it is of vital importance to him, your reader is unlikely to want, or have time for, a several-page letter. Writing the Body of the Letter Following the opening paragraph, the body of the letter to your client might look like the following box (see next page). Notice that in these three paragraphs, you've provided the detail necessary for your client to track down the invoice within his organization. In addition, you've given him two possibilities for what you believe may have happened, which you will want to discuss in the follow-up phone call you requested in the opening paragraph. Tip When writing to request something, give your recipient as much information as possible to assist him in giving you what you need. Not only is it considerate to help your reader out as much as you can, it will make it more likely that you will get what you want. Note I mailed Invoice #3106 to your attention on July 24. Since you have always been very prompt in responding to my previous invoices over the course of our seven-year association, I was surprised not to have received payment in August, or September at the latest. I know there was significant restructuring of your department in August, and other departments may have been restructured at that time as well. Because of this, there may be new requirements for how I should invoice you; if so, perhaps you could refer me to someone in your accounting department for more information. Because of our mutual travel schedules, we haven't had the opportunity to "debrief" after the Brand X Relaunch Project, as we normally do after each of our major projects. While I don't imagine the delay in paying the invoice is related to any dissatisfaction you might have with how the project went, I'd like to get your feedback on it in any case. The Relaunch Project was, as you know, an extremely complex one, and your perspective on what went right as well as what went wrong will be very beneficial to both of us as we go forward on future projects. Of course, the payment delay could be for some other reason entirely. In any case, under- standing the cause for the delay will enable me to give you better service in the future so that we don't have this sort of issue again. The Closing The final paragraph of your letter is similar to the Next Steps or Indicated Actions section of an internal document. In this paragraph, you will want to ...