Effective Presentation 1

letter, words, writer, reader, business, time and advertising

Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6

For six months we have known that we could not keep to our old prices on sheet-brass. Nearly four months ago the mills raised their price per pound on some grades, and this month they are revising upward their entire price list.

It has been our hope that prices might fall so that we could avoid asking more from our customers. For several weeks we have lost our profit on some grades while waiting for better quotations from the mills. Now, however, with still higher prices in sight, we can delay no longer. To do so would, in the end, mean going out of business.

You, of course, will now be obliged to get more for your finished product because of the increased cost of sheet-brass. Undoubtedly your customers will object, at first, to what seems an unreasonable demand. But they know about the small margin of profit in your line, and I am sure that an ex planation from you will satisfy them that increases are im perative. If not, I am sure that we can help you. A letter from us for your use with unsatisfied customers will be the final proof that materials are costing you more money. I shall be glad at any time to write such a letter, or you may use the one now before you.

I need not add that we are ready to do whatever is possi ble in order to keep your business.

Yours faithfully, This letter is effectively individual and original. The letter first quoted is an exaggerated example of the old time "favor-at-hand-beg-to-remain" type of letter that is a fast-fading relic of the days when every letter was more or less a legal document.

12. Naturalness.—A marked characteristic of ef fective letters is naturalness of expression; that is, employing virtually the same words and sentences which the writer would use in a face-to-face interview.

The style of a letter must riot be too informal, how ever, for the result would often be a tone too colloquial and familiar. Written speech is necessarily some what more formal than spoken; yet the expression of a letter, naturally written, closely resembles conversa tion. The correspondent will find that it will help him in taking the other man's point of view as tho he were speaking to the addressee.

Compare these two opening paragraphs.

1. In accordance with your request, we are sending you, under separate cover, a booklet which explains our plan of advertising.

2. As you request, we are sending you by this mail a book let which tells all about our plan of advertising.

The second seems more natural, because it is more like what a person would say. It is more simple and direct. It makes use of shorter words. There is a close relationship between naturalness and simplicity and directness ; likewise between naturalness and in dividuality and originality. All these characteristics of expression, when they appear in proper degree, help cause the reader to feel that the writer is genu inely sincere in what he says. Suppose, however, that the writer of the above opening paragraph had said : I'll mail you right away a booklet on our advertising plan. This will tell you just what you want to know.

The tone is too familiar, unless the writer happens to be well acquainted with the reader. Written speech is nearly always somewhat more dignified than conversation.

13. Economy.—The natural tendency in business correspondence is toward economy : saving words and sentences as well as the reader's time and effort. True economy requires the use of enough words to make the right impression as well as the omission of . more words than are necessary for an adequate expres sion of the thought. As in the case of originality, too many writers, in trying to avoid one extreme, swing to the other. The following letter illustrates this tendency: Dear Sir: We have yours of the 18th. As requested are sending cir culars describing the ; also are inclosing photo.

Yours very truly, This letter gives the reader an unfavorable impres sion of the writer and of the concern he represents. It suggests that the business in hand is so unimportant that it ought to be transacted as quickly, and with as little effort, as possible. It causes the reader to feel that the writer is a gruff man and possibly too con scious of his own importance. In this case, true econ omy would require the use of more words. For in stance: XII-6 We are glad to send you the inclosed description of the . Please let us know if we can be of further service.

Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6