Why Letters Make Good 1

letter, paper, writer, nature, writers and expression

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Division—as in pro-rating, analysis, etc.—keeps it busy with some of our friends.

All these features wrapped up in a — Portable (22 lb.) Machine with an unusual capacity (9 billion) and a low price.

What will you do about it? Just arrange to look at this machine by filling in the inclosed card. Absolutely no obli gation to purchase.

Very truly yours, General Sales Manager.

This letter made good. It combines true concise ness of thought and expression with the subtle good nature that seems to be the result of the writer's con fidence in his product. The punctuation is not in entire accordance with orthodox rules, but the sen tences are free from elisions of the mechanical sort. This letter is human and personal notwithstanding its conciseness. To say much in a small space as this writer does and yet make the expression easy to read, and not labored or mechanical in tone, is characteristic of the art of the most expert writers of effective business English.

Abraham Lincoln was master of the suggestive and natural conciseness that is the sincere style of expres sion in the letters of the best writers among present day executives. A study of Lincoln's letters would be helpful to any one who wants to develop this style of expression, a style that is characteristic of men whose judgment is mature and whose knowledge of human nature and the subject matter of their letters is comprehensive. Of most fundamental importance, however, is the comprehensive knowledge of human nature and of conditions.

3. letters make good because the writer shows sincere deference to the reader, some what as a good host shows deference to his guest. Consider, for example, the two following paragraphs from the letter of an executive to his salesmen.

We all agree, I feel sure, that buyers of paper are busy men with many other important duties clamoring for their attention. Therefore I have secured many good customers by suggesting—after I had got pretty well acquainted with them—that they let me act as their buyer and take over all their responsibility for purchasing paper that best fills their requirements.

if you are not already doing this in certain cases, I believe the suggestion is a good one. We know that buyers of paper waste—and know that they waste—much time in seeing many salesmen in an uneconomical attempt to save money. They could save this time for other duties—if a salesman of paper of standard quality, a salesman big enough to be trusted to guard the interests of his client, were avail able.

Altho the writer was the president of a big paper concern, nothing in the letter would suggest anything but that the writer is one salesman who is talking to another. The kind of respect for employes evident in this letter is genuine in executives who accomplish most in training their men.

As a rule, when one gets a letter from a big• cor poration which seems to talk down at him rather than up with him, he will find it was written by some young man in the organization who has yet to learn the value of deference toward his addressee under all conditions. It is not necessarily egotism in the young correspond ent that causes him to reveal in his letters his feeling of importance, but generally it is a false notion that the bigness and power of the business concern with which he is connected needs to be impressed on each addressee. The right degree of humility—without any suggestion of servility, of course—is often the principal cause of a letter's making good. Consider the following letter, which pulled largely because it shows a frank recognition of the addressee's knowl edge of his own business.

May we suggest the use of hotel locks in the new Inman Hotel. No doubt you are considering the use of our series of locks with functions and master-key combinations designed for modern hotels. They find favor wherever used. The indicating attachments, by which a chambermaid can tell whether a room is occupied without trying the door, and other special features are proving a great source of satis faction.

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