Step 6: Formulate a gripping entry
The entry - like the subject line - fulfills various functions. On the one hand, it is intended to arouse the interest of the reader and, on the other hand, call the topic and establish the key. Typically, you speak to the reader right away with the first sentence and refer to it. So put high value on the first sentence and do not write from the I or we perspective, but turn directly to the reader.
The first sentence should always be short. Use short, known words. First, call the acquaintance, then the new. Anyone who communicates something known makes it easier for the reader to understand the following statements; the general and the familiar provide the framework in which the particular and the new can be classified.
First call the simple, then the serious or complicated; first the concrete, then the abstract. Explain the problem first, then the solution.
Step 7: Formulate a convincing middle section
In the message section, name your arguments. Pay attention to a "dramaturgical structure" - that means:
Start with the weakest argument and then increase. Never make an argument without subsequently proving it and giving examples.
Step 8: Formulate a goal-oriented conclusion
The last sentence is also read very carefully. Therefore, remember exactly what you are writing here. Avoid phrases ("If you have any questions, we are always available by phone") and long-winded chants. Instead, use questions that ask the receiver for an action, such as:
- "Could we help you with this information?"
- "Do you agree with this proposal?"
- "What questions do you have left now?"
- "Do we want to make calls next week?"
- "When do you want to start?"
- "Have we met your expectations?"
- "What else can I do for you?"
- "Are you satisfied with this proposal?"
Step 9: Formulate an adequate greeting formula and an appropriate PS line
The greeting as well as the salutation forms the relationship with the letter partner. If you are unsure, choose the conservative version here as well. Incidentally, the DIN 5008 recommends "Kind regards". "Sincerely," is considered slightly outdated.
There are also some formalities that you should take into consideration in the greeting formula:
- According to the greeting formula, there is neither a comma nor a point, nor an exclamation mark.
- If more than one person signs, the higher ranking places his signature on the left.
- You should write any attachment or distribution notes, separated by a blank line, under the name of the signers or to the right of the greeting part.
- The attachments should already be mentioned in the letter text and can be (again) listed exactly.
The PS line is read very carefully.
Nevertheless many letter writers do not use the PS line! Make it better: Use the PS line for important, additional information. Do not write more than two lines. "PS" as intent is outdated.
Better and more modern are phrases like "By the way: ...", "Anything else: ...", "Please note: ...", "Last but not least: ..." or "Remember: ...".
Step 10: Correct the letter
In the last step, read your completed letter carefully - not only on the PC screen, but also printed out. In this way, you are likely to discover errors that you would otherwise have missed.
It is best to read the letter (half) aloud. Leave (important) letters at least one day to get clearance, and let it be read by uninvolved third parties.
The following checklist helps you eliminate errors:
- Is the address correct?
- Do the address and the name match the salutation?
- Is the text correct in content?
- Is the text formally correct?
- Is the text orthographically correct?
- Have the superiors released the text?
- Are affected employees in the house informed?
- Are all attachments included?
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