How To Write Great Letters: Media Skills
Help ensure that you get the response that you want or need from the things that you write.
Sounds too good to be true, doesn't it? Cynic! but you can help it happen. First, you need to avoid being misunderstood. Think about how you want what you write to affect the reader. Sounds simple? But amazingly lots of people don't do this. But simply consciously running through the desired effect in your mind beforehand can work wonders. The golden rule here shall forever be: "make sure you don't write to be understood, write so that you cannot be misunderstood".
Keep your letters as short as possible - this will increase the chances of it getting read swiftly and in full. A long letter will probably be scan read once it has reached the top of a very deep pile which it was shoved to the bottom of for someone else to read.
How about a positive ending to the letter, just to show that it is not all gloom and doom, if that is the general nature of the letter. It might actually be one of the first things that the reader looks at, so if it nice and cheery or positive then it can help you get what you want from the letter.
Make sure that the recipient is actually the subject of the letter - this means lots of uses of 'you' and so on and so forth. Your first line is of great importance and can set the whole agenda for the letter. Make sure that you think carefully before writing it, experience will tell you what to use and what is most effective in each situation. Trying to establish a personal and friendly relationship from the top can help.
Finally, if you are sending a letter by email, please do take the time to cast an eye over it before sending it. People tend to be looser with emails than they would be with a letter, and so can either miscommunicate their point, or perhaps come across too aggressively in what they write. A bad email can upset lots and lots of people, whereas letters may not have such an impact. So exercise caution when you are communicating by email, remember the golden rule and whether the email is likely to have the desired effect or just annoy people.
Enjoy your letter writing, it can be a great benefit to you in getting what you want.
Questions about letters: