Outline: Simple and straightforward – appearance – neatness and accuracy – friendly tone – should be clear, concise and to the point – unfailing courtesy – summing up.

Modern Business Letters tend to be simple and straight-forward. They have discarded commercial and old-fashioned jargon. There are several characteristics that we look for in a good Business Letter.

To start with, the appearance of a letter is important in making a good first impression. It should be typed on fairly good quality white paper. It should also have the company letterhead printed on it giving all essential information about a company-name and address, telephone number, fax number, e-mail address, website details etc.

Neatness and accuracy are other features that we expect to find in a good Business letter. A letter that is badly typed with several erasures and corrections makes a bad impression on the reader.

The tone of a good business letter must be friendly without wasting too much of the receiver’s time. The letter should be clear, concise and to the point. Business people have no time to waste in scrutinizing lengthy letters, that beat about the bush, and irritate the reader, because they take too long to come to the point. A conversational approach should be adopted rather than a formal one. It should express a readiness to serve and give due importance to a customer without being unnecessarily servile. It should show that the seller takes an active interest in the welfare of the buyer.

Unfailing courtesy is a characteristic that should that should never be absent from a business letter. No matter how irritating a customer is, or painfully slow in setting his bills, a business letter must be courteous, though firm. It must appeal to a customer’s better sense, and he will cease to be troublesome. He will try to live up to the good opinion of him expressed in the letter.

To sum up, therefore, fact, courtesy, brevity, clarity, neatness and friendliness are some of the important characteristics of a good business letter.