How To End A Letter
How To End A Letter
Do you worry that the closings of your business letters sound stilted or overly abrupt? In this tutorial, a professional communications consultant explains how to avoid endings that are impersonal and formulaic.
I'm going to talk about how to end a letter, and this is something I find lots of people agonize over. They spend ages trying to find something to put before the "Yours, sincerely". Does that sound familiar? It's especially true if there are only two or three lines on the page, and you feel that it just looks terribly bald.
So, what is the best way to end a letter? Is there some kind of formula? I think the answer lies in the beginning. When you start a letter, you're establishing a connection with the reader, and if you end the letter very impersonally, or you peter out, or you put something formulaic in, then you're losing that connection. So it might help if you try and think about, "What can I say to this reader that is relevant to them and sincere"? Think about ending on a warm note, a positive note, and looking to the future.
So here are some examples. "I wish you luck with your further studies". "It was great working with you and I hope we can repeat the experience soon".
"Thank you for dealing with this so efficiently". "I'm in the office all week. If you have any other questions, do get in touch".
All of those will do. But here's one ending which I suggest you avoid. And I've seen it lots of times in business writing, and it goes something like this, with variations.
"If you have any questions or queries, please do not hesitate to contact me on the above number, or the number at the top of this letter, and I will endeavor to do my best to resolve your concerns." I think we've all written something like that at some point. And what's wrong with it? Well, it's very long winded.
It's negative and old fashioned, that "please do not hesitate". It's repetitive, "questions or queries" means the same sort of thing. And it's copied and pasted from a thousand other letters.
It's completely impersonal. If you really want to leave the door open for somebody to give you a ring or write back to you and ask something, say so honestly. "If you have any questions, please contact me".
But if it's closure you're after, it's best not to say anything at all, and in those cases, "Yours sincerely" will do very nicely. Do you worry that the closings of your business letters sound stilted or overly abrupt? In this tutorial, a professional communications consultant explains how to avoid endings that are impersonal and formulaic.