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Speaking in Public

Public speaking isn’t all that difficult the way we consider it to be. Increasing your speaking skill in public is an achievable goal, especially with a little knowledge of the ways that can help you deliver a great speech with confidence.

Following are some suggestion on the ways you can excel at the Art of Public Speaking

  • Know the room. Be familiar with the place in which you will speak. Arrive early, walk around the speaking area and practice using the microphone and any visual aids.
  • Know the audience. Greet some of the audience as they arrive. It’s easier to speak to a group of friends than to a group of strangers.
  • Know your material. If you’re not familiar with your material or are uncomfortable with it, your nervousness will increase. Practice your speech and revise it if necessary.
  • Practice speaking with your friend(s) or your parents.
  • Prepare a good plan of speaking. There should be:

An opening

3 good middle points;

a summary (conclusion)

  • Don’t try to speak on too many issues. In addition, don’t wander off the topic.
  • Think carefully before you talk. Use silence; it can be a great ally and cause the audience to hang off your next words, wondering what you are about to say. Don’t be intimidated by silent moments.
  • Practice a lot beforehand. If it’s for a presentation or a speech, the more you practice it, the more it will take on a life of its own and feel more comfortable to deliver.
  • Connect with your audience. Use feelings and gestures to intensify a point. Just don’t overdo the gestures or emotion – a little goes a long way.
  • Don’t look directly into people’s eyes. Focus on their foreheads or on a place at the back of the audience, just above the heads in the audience. That way you won’t feel distracted.
  • Let go of assumptions. Just because an audience is not smiling or nodding in agreement does not mean they aren’t listening or feeling positive about your talk. People often do not display encouragement on their faces in an audience situation, so don’t seek it. You’ll know from the applause level at the end how well you went and by then, the speech is over!
  • Never get confused. Try to speak fluently.
  • Speaking fluently encourages you that you are doing all right.

http://www.authorstream.com/Presentation/imprintcenter-1533624-art-public-speaking/

 

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Tips to Boost Self Esteem

Most people feel bad about themselves from time to time. Feelings of low self-esteem may be triggered by being treated poorly by someone else recently or in the past, or by a person’s own judgments of him or herself. This is normal. However, low self-esteem is a constant companion for too many people, especially those who experience depression, anxiety, phobias, psychosis, delusional thinking, or who have an illness or a disability. If you are one of these people, you may go through life feeling bad about yourself needlessly. Low self-esteem keeps you from enjoying life, doing the things you want to do, and working toward personal goals. Following are Things You Can Do Right Away—Every Day—to Raise  Your Self-esteem

  • Pay attention to your own needs and wants. Listen to what your body, your mind, and your heart are telling you.
  • Take very good care of yourself. Begin today to take good care of yourself. Treat yourself as a wonderful parent would treat a small child or as one very best friend might treat another. Eat healthy foods and avoid junk foods (foods containing a lot of sugar, salt, or fat). Exercise. Moving your body helps you to feel better and improves your self-esteem.
  • Take time to do things you enjoy. You may be so busy, or feel so badly about yourself, that you spend little or no time doing things you enjoy–things like playing a musical  instrument, doing a craft project, flying a kite, or going fishing. Make a list of things you  enjoy doing. Then do something from that list every day. Add to the list anything new  that you discover you enjoy doing.
  • Get something done that you have been putting off. Clean out that drawer. Wash your car/ bike. Write that letter. Pay that bill.
  • Do things that make use of your own special talents and abilities. For instance, if you are good with your hands, then make things for yourself, family, and friends.
  • Dress in clothes that make you feel good about yourself.
  • Give yourself rewards
  • Spend time with people who make you feel good about yourself—people who treat you well. Avoid people who treat you badly.
  • Display items that you find attractive or that remind you of your achievements or of special times or people in your life. 
  • Take advantage of opportunities to learn something new or improve your skills. Take a class or go to a seminar.
  • Begin doing those things that you know will make you feel better about yourself— like going on a diet, beginning an exercise program or keeping your living space clean.
  • Do something nice for another person. Smile at someone who looks sad. Say a few kind words to the check-out cashier. Take a meal to a friend who is sick. Send a card to an acquaintance. Volunteer for a worthy  organization.

You may be doing some of these things now. There will be others you need to work on. You will find that you will continue to learn new and better ways to take care of yourself. As you incorporate these changes into your life, your self-esteem will continue to improve.

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Do butterflies attack your stomach each time you’re about to speak? Tired of standing on stage, gripped by fear and paralyzed by nervousness? How would you like to be able to go through the entire presentation, or speak before a crowd with fear firmly at the back of your mind?

Here, are some tips and strategies which you can employ to calm yourself when on stage or speaking in public.

  1. Practice your part. Practice in front of family, friends, and relatives  and even in front of empty chairs. So that you are used to performing in front of people. Practice your speech or presentation and revise it until you can present it with ease.
  2. Know the room – become familiar with the place in which you will speak. Arrive early and walk around the room including the speaking area. Stand at the lectern, speak into the microphone. Walk around where the audience…

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Low Self Confidence

Before I begin with signs of low self-confidence and ways to improve them, I’d like to explain you’re the difference between Self-esteem and Self-confidence.

Although self-esteem and (self-) confidence are often used interchangeable, there is a crucial difference between both of them.

Self-esteem refers to how you feel about yourself overall; how much esteem, positive regard or self-love you have. Self-esteem develops from experiences and situations that have shaped how you view yourself today.

Self-confidence is how you feel about your abilities and can vary from situation to situation. I may have healthy self-esteem, but low confidence about situations involving my ability to do a work.

When you love yourself, your self-esteem improves, which makes you more confident. When you are confident in areas of your life, you begin to increase your self-confidence. Self-confidence might be said to stand on the shoulders of self-esteem. Without a healthy self-esteem, self-confidence has feet of clay. It might be temporarily ‘boosted’, but it cannot be sustained without genuine self-esteem. On the other hand, a healthy self-esteem nurtures self-confidence.

Signs of Low Self Confidence

A lack of self-confidence can be emotionally, physically and psychologically debilitating. The following are some signs that show that you may be lacking self-confidence.

  • Want to & Need to explain

The need to explain actions is one of the signs of a lack of self-confidence. Mistakes happen to everyone, but those who have self-confidence issues may feel that they have to give reasons. Suppose someone was having lunch with a group of people whom he doesn’t know very well and then he accidentally dropped his glass of coke on the floor. What will he do? Well, some people will immediately start to give reasons to explain what just happened by using comments like “oh, the glass was just at the edge of the table” or “oh, I am so tired today, that’s why I wasn’t concentrating”. Confident people don’t give reasons for their actions; if you dropped the glass or made a mistake then it doesn’t change who you are. It’s your right to make mistakes because you are human and you don’t have to find excuses for doing them.

  • Blaming Others

When people chronically complain and blame others, they may be suffering from a lack of self-confidence. This takes the responsibility off the person who does the complaining and puts it on those they are complaining about. The complainer with low self-esteem becomes the victim.

  • Response immediately to criticism

When criticized, the person who lacks self-confidence may immediately make excuses. More confident people will listen to the criticism and decide later whether or not it is constructive. The need to make excuses shows the person’s desire to keep people from thinking he is worthless. I am sure that you have experienced a situation where upon saying a small critical comment to one of your friends he replied back immediately and aggressively. For example, if you told your friend something like “your performance wasn’t that good today” and he replied saying, “no no no, its just because I was tired” or “no I was just thinking of something else while working and that’s what why I was distracted”. This shows that he lacks self-confidence. Confident people listen to criticism and see whether it’s constructive or not. If it was constructive they accept it, if not, it doesn’t bother them much. If you saw a body building champion and told him “hey, you look pretty weak”, what will he do? He will just smile and move away because he knows that he’s a champion.

  • Body Language is defensiveness

When a person has defensive body language, such as crossing the arms or legs, she may be exhibiting a lack of self-confidence by shutting others out. People who lack self-confidence always take the defensive position (arms folded and may be accompanied by crossing their legs). The gesture of closing off shows anxiety and discomfort in the environment.

  • Want to be accepted

People who lack self-confidence often need the approval of others to feel validated, according to Selfesteemawareness.com. If others accept the person who lacks confidence, then she must be okay. Not getting that approval or receiving criticism is frustrating and drives the level of self-confidence even lower. To change this, the person suffering from confidence problems needs to realize that not everyone will approve of her actions or be pleased with her decisions.

  • Compensating

A friend of mine looked really upset one day and when I told him that he replied saying ”I never get upset and I never have problems”. What happened here? Is my friend a superman who is always happy?

Of course not, he is just compensating for his lack of self-confidence. Every one compensates in his own way. One person may become arrogant, another one may reply using the ‘never’ word just like in the previous example while others turn into perfectionists.

  • Don’t relish Success

Some people’s self-esteem is so low they drive themselves to overachievement then fail to see that their ability was what brought success. They may consider themselves lucky rather than competent. They lack confidence in their own judgment, and they expect disapproval.

  • Scare to change anything about surroundings or themselves

A lack of self-confidence can also motivate people to stay in unsatisfying situations. They may stay in a bad relationship or job that isn’t right for them because of a fear of change. The lack of confidence to make good decisions for change keeps them in negative environments.

  • Pessimism besets them

When someone suffers from low self-esteem, he may become pessimistic and critical of all situations. He takes his negative feelings out on family, friends and coworkers, and lacks the ability to be optimistic.

  • Daunted by future

Many sufferers from low self-confidence worries about the future and what might happen. They lack the ability to enjoy the present because they’re so worried about the bad things that might happen.

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July 15, 2012 · 5:00 am

Self Esteem & Confidence

Self esteem increases your confidence. If you have confidence you will respect yourself and then you can respect others, improve your relationships and become happier….this is not a selfish goal as you will contribute more and share yourself with the world and those around you.

Confidence matters in :

  • relationships
  • work
  • parenting
  • life skills – decision making, achieving, improving situations or circumstances you don’t like
  • expressing yourself
  • taking up new challenges
  • being open to change
  • self improvement

It comes from several sources:

  • from within yourself
  • from others
  • from your achievements

Here, are some ways you can build your confidence and indirectly your self esteem.

  1. Face your fears challenges seem scary but your fears are usually exaggerated. Facing your fears increases your confidence and boosts your esteem.
  2. Forget your failures – learn from them. Avoid making the same mistakes again but don’t limit yourself by assuming you failed before so you can’t succeed this time. Try again, you’re wiser and stronger.  Don’t be trapped in the past!
  3. Work on your self confidence
  4. Know what you want and ask for it. Learn to be assertive – you deserve your dreams to come true!
  5. Reward yourself when you succeed. No-one else will! Isn’t everything easier when you take time to help yourself? Make a list of your successes and focus on the positive.
  6. Talk – We often make assumptions about a situation or person which are not true. Your attitude and behaviour can be negatively affected so if you have any doubt or question ask and don’t assume you know why or how.
  7. Don’t be defeated! Try something else. You are not going to be defeated by one failed attempt are you? Doesn’t everyone fail before they succeed? All you need is a different approach.
  8. Don’t fall into depression.

http://www.authorstream.com/Presentation/imprintcenter-715498-self-esteem-and-social-skills/

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Diction Exercises

Voice and diction exercises can help you speak clearly and be a better communicator. Tongue twisters are excellent exercises that can help you develop the muscles involved in speech. Practice saying tongue twisters slowly, then speed up gradually. Practice and soon you will be able to pronounce the words clearly at a normal rate of speech.

Consonant Tongue Twisters Exercise

Twisters with “t” and “th”

Those toes aren’t these toes. These teas aren’t those teas. This tike ties threads together twice. That tike ties together three threads. Those threads the two tikes tied are tight. Twist twice to tie tightly. Thirty tee-shirts are tan, and thirteen tee-shirts are tie-dyed teal green. The teal tee-shirts total thirteen, the tan tee-shirts total thirty.

Twisters with “r” and “l”

The rickety ladder rattled right and left before it crashed through the glass. Rotten lettuce really reeks. Loose, leafy lettuce reminds me of really pretty, green trees. Real lemon, real lime, which would you pick every time? Ribbons rolled, ribbons loose, hair untied, what’s your excuse? Tip and tap, rip and rap, lip and lap. Tip, rip, lip, tap, rap, lap.

Twisters with “s” and “sh”

She’s so sick, and she’s so sore, I wish her well forevermore. A shout from the south woke the sleeping sherriff. Something sure is fishy in this city. Silver slivers shimmer softly in the sunlight.

General Consonant Tongue Twisters Exercise

  • High roller, low roller, lower roller.
  • I need a box of biscuits, a box of mixed biscuits, and a biscuit mixer.
  • Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.
  • A peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked.
  • If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers,
  • Where’s the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?
  • He thrusts his fists against the posts and still insists he sees the ghosts.
  • Friday’s Five Fresh Fish Specials.
  • Imagine an imaginary menagerie manager imagining managing an imaginary menagerie.
  • The Leith police dismisseth us.
  • Twixt this and six thick thistle sticks.
  • Red leather, yellow leather.
  • She sells seashells by the seashore, and the shells she sells are seashells.
  • The sixth Sikh Sheik’s sixth sheep’s sick.
  • Three free thugs set three thugs free.
  • Charles deftly switched straight flange strips.
  • Gwen glowered and grimaced at Glen’s gleaming greens.

Vowel Tongue Twister Practice:

Twisters with “i” and “ee”

Bumblebees briefly buzzed beneath the bins of beans. Feeling ill or feeling well, Phil will hardly ever tell. Feeling full, Phyllis didn’t eat a bit of the beets. Treena tripped on the tree root, and really ripped her raincoat. Tins of tiny sardines filled the field. She sells slippers, sleepers, and tiny little creepers.

Vowel sounds //, /a/, //, //, /I/, //

  • Betty Botter bought some butter, but she said “This butter’s bitter.
  • “If I put it in my batter, it will make my batter bitter.”
  • So, she bought some better butter, better than the bitter butter.
  • When she put it in her batter, the butter made her batter better.

Exercises for Vowels

  • Fancy! That fascinating character Harry McCann married Anne Hammond.
  • Lot lost his hot chocolate at the loft.
  • Snoring Norris was marring the aria.

Exercises for Everything

  • Eleven benevolent elephants.
  • Girl gargoyle, guy gargoyle.
  • She stood on the balcony inexplicably mimicking him hiccupping and amicably welcoming him in.
  • Six sick slick slim sycamore saplings.

Repeaters

  • You know you need unique New York.
  • Toy boat.
  • Lemon liniment.
  • Three free throws.
  • Blue black bugs blood.
  • Red lorry, yellow lorry.
  • Giggle gaggle gurgle.

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April 8, 2012 · 6:24 am

Overcoming Stage fright

Do butterflies attack your stomach each time you’re about to speak? Tired of standing on stage, gripped by fear and paralyzed by nervousness? How would you like to be able to go through the entire presentation, or speak before a crowd with fear firmly at the back of your mind?

Here, are some tips and strategies which you can employ to calm yourself when on stage or speaking in public.

  1. Practice your part. Practice in front of family, friends, and relatives  and even in front of empty chairs. So that you are used to performing in front of people. Practice your speech or presentation and revise it until you can present it with ease.
  2. Know the room – become familiar with the place in which you will speak. Arrive early and walk around the room including the speaking area. Stand at the lectern, speak into the microphone. Walk around where the audience will be seated. Walk from where you will be seated to the place where you will be speaking.
  3. Know the Audience – If possible, greet some of the audience as they arrive and chat with them. It is easier to speak to a group of friends than to a group of strangers.
  4. Learn How to Relax – You can ease tension by doing exercises. Sit comfortable with your back straight. Breathe in slowly, hold your breath for 4 to 5 seconds, then slowly exhale. To relax your facial muscles, open your mouth and eyes wide, then close them tightly.
  5. Visualize Yourself Speaking – Imagine yourself walking confidently to the lectern as the audience applauds. Imagine yourself speaking, your voice loud, clear and assured. When you visualize yourself as successful, you will be successful.
  6. Realize People Want You To Succeed – All audiences want speakers to be interesting, stimulating, informative and entertaining. They want you to succeed – not fail.
  7. Don’t apologize For Being Nervous – Most of the time your nervousness does not show at all. If you don’t say anything about it, nobody will notice. If you mention your nervousness or apologize for any problems you think you have with your speech, you’ll only be calling attention to it. Had you remained silent, your listeners may not have noticed at all.
  8. Concentrate on Your Message – not the medium – Your nervous feelings will dissipate if you focus your attention away from your anxieties and concentrate on your message and your audience, not yourself.
  9. Turn Nervousness into Positive Energy – the same nervous energy that causes stage fright can be an asset to you. Harness it, and transform it into vitality and enthusiasm.
  10. Gain Experience – Experience builds confidence, which is the key to effective speaking. Most beginning speakers find their anxieties decrease after each speech they give.

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Impromptu Speech Guidelines

An impromptu speech will unnerve the best public speaker. One of the most daunting experiences a person can face is the request to deliver a speech without notice. When caught off guard, many people can suffer extreme anxiety about speaking off the cuff.  Here are some tips to help you given an extempore speech without any hurdles.

  • Know your direction. You’ve got to know how you want to deliver your speech before you actually speak.
  • Decide quickly what your one message will be – Keep in mind you have not been asked to give a speech but to make some impromptu remarks.
  • Start off strong and with confidence – If you at least plan your opening statement, this will get you started on the right foot.
  • Focus on one point – talking in general is an easy task, but becomes tough when you have to talk about a particular topic. Any topic on which you need to talk about would have certain main areas. Understand that you will not be able to cover all the points in a speech, therefore concentrate on a single point and take it forward.
  • Prepare some backup . It isn’t uncommon to forget what you were going to say. What separates a good speech from a disaster is how well you can catch yourself. It’s good to have a backup plan for the times when your mind suddenly blanks.
  • Do not try and memorize what you will say – Trying to memorize will only make you more nervous and you will find yourself thinking more about the words and not about the message.
  • Plot a course. Before you speak, try to make a quick mental outline of what you want to say.
  • Keep it short and sweet. Impromptu speeches aren’t expected to be long, epic narratives. In fact, the more concise you get, the better.
  • Limit your speech to your knowledge – many people tend to talk a little more without having any prior information. Talking for the sake of talking does not yield any results. It is always important that you talk as far as you know correctly about the topic and nothing more.
  • Decide on your transitions from one point to the other – After you have decided on your opening remark or line, come up with a simple transition statement that takes you to your main point.
  • Maintain eye contact with the audience – This is easier to do if you do not write down all kinds of stuff to read. Look down at your next idea or thought and maintain eye contact with your audience and speak from your heart. Focus on communicating TO your audience and not speaking AT the crowd.
  • Be enthusiastic. Enthusiasm is contagious! Before you present your ideas, think about the aspects of the subject that you find most interesting, and don’t be afraid to let that interest come through in your voice.
  • Use quotes, stories and anecdotes. Along with their obvious entertainment value, quotes and stories can lend authority to your topic and provide concrete examples that people can relate to.
  • Speak with confidence. Deliver your message loud and clear. Maintain eye contact with your listeners. Don’t mumble or slouch.
  • Say you and we, not I and me. Instead of telling people what you want them to do, present ways for them to work together to achieve their goals. Involve listeners in the success of the group.
  • Occasionally Throw in an off-the-cuff remark And add your sense of Humour– Because you want your style to be flexible and seem impromptu, trust your instinct and add a few words which just pop into your head. Keep it conversational and think of the audience as a group of your friends
  • Finally, have a good conclusion – Gracefully just state, “And the last point I would like to make is ….” Focus on opening and closing statements – the opening and closing statements decide on how the audience welcomes your speech. Making an impact which can keep them glued to your speech with your opening statement and remembering your speech by the closing statement is important.

Impromptu speech is better developed by constant practice. Confidence is the key to help you develop this method of communication to a large audience.

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Ways to Improve Writing Skills

Writing skills are essential for achieving career and business goals. It is an important medium of communication. Unfortunately, today, these skills are being neglected. If one wants to achieve his goals, superior writing skills are imperative. There are a variety of methods to enhance and hone one’s writing skills. A little effort will go a long way to achieve your goals. This is what sets you apart from your peers.

Communication skills, including writing, are one of the most important transferable skills that workers possess. Most business professionals, such as marketing, finance, and research and development managers, need excellent writing skills to properly convey ideas and concepts. There are many reasons that writing skills are important in the business world.

  • Read in English

When you want to master a language, you can never read enough. Every new book, short story or article you read teaches you new words, new ways to formulate sentences, and more natural ideas on how to use the language. They go to your subconscious and slowly start becoming more natural to you, until one day you notice that you start to think in English and know that you’re on the right track.

  • Improve Your Vocabulary

A good writer has a good vocabulary — one that is both broad and deep — because a good vocabulary is essential to clarity, power, and precision. If you have a large stock of words, you can choose the most effective word. The more words you know, the easier your words will flow. Improving your vocabulary can come from incidental learning from context, direct learning, or a combination of these.

  • Listen to native speakers

Blogging is a form of public speaking, which is why one of the best tips for making your text come alive is to write as you speak.

But if you don’t speak English every day, this is a rather tricky advice to follow. So, one thing I have found useful in practicing conversational writing is to watch and listen natives speak.

  • Improve Your Spelling

Learning to spell is integral to good writing, because correct spelling ultimately helps you communicate your message to others. Since language is shared, then your spelling must follow the accepted standard pattern.

  • When writing in English, think in English

This is one of the most important tips that separate a decent foreign language writer from a lousy one. The lousy writer thinks in his own language and then tries to translate his thoughts to English. But that simply doesn’t work: the idioms, grammar rules, and cultural differences make text written in this manner sound clumsy and unnatural.

  • Improve Your Grammar

Good grammar prevents ambiguity. By contrast, bad grammar confuses your reader, slows their reading, and shows your ignorance, which can lose you respect, influence, and credibility.

Make sure you at least know the parts of speech, such as nouns, verbs, and adjectives. Find fun ways to learn the parts of speech.

  • Practice Writing

The best way to learn anything is by throwing yourself out there and practicing. With writing practice is even more important. When you are just starting out with your blogging, you should write something every day to really get your writing routine developed.

  • Trust your gut

The human brain is an amazing machine. You put in the source material by reading, listening to people talk, and speaking. Then you start writing your own blog posts and tune in the mind set of writing in English. And all of the sudden, words just start flowing from straight from your brain to the keyboard.

  • Proofread

When you have finished writing your article and it seems nearly perfect to you, the next thing to do is to check it for typos, grammar mistakes, and just some plain weird sounding sentences.

  • Have English-speaking friends who are not afraid to correct your mistakes

The best way to learn to sound like a native is to hang out with them as much as you can. By paying a close attention to how they speak, you will learn the sayings they use, the slang, and even the jokes that they throw at you. All of this is important in making your English sound more natural and conversational rather than something learned from a book.

  • Relax

Last comes the most important tip of all: Relax, and enjoy your writing. To be a great writer, you have to put in a lot of effort, but it’s not going to happen overnight. So, while you are practicing, don’t panic. Just write the best content you can with the skill set you have right now.

 

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Basics & Etiquette of Business Letter Writing

Writing a business letter is not simply a matter of expressing your ideas clearly. The way you write a letter and the etiquette you employ may have a significant impact on your success or failure in business.

Failure to observe correct business letter etiquette can result in your adopting an inappropriate tone, causing offense or misunderstandings, lack of clarity or purpose and hostility or soured relations.

The foundation of good business letter etiquette is ‘Think before you write’. You should be considering to whom the letter is addressed, how and why? This will then influence style, content and structure.

Here we cover some of the main issues relating to good business letter etiquette:

Addressing the Letter

Always make sure you have spelt the recipient’s name correctly. It may sound simple, but you would be surprised at how many people fail to do so. The recipient’s name should include titles, honours or qualifications if necessary.

Many people use the ‘Dear Sir/Yours Faithfully’ formula when addressing the receiver. Although this is acceptable for routine matters it is impersonal and should not be used when dealing with those you know, queries or complaints. With these the ‘Dear Mr../Yours Sincerely’ formula should be adopted.

Once a certain level of familiarity is reached it is not considered bad etiquette to use phrases such as ‘Kind Regards’ or ‘All the best’ at the end of the letter.

Confidentiality

If the content of the letter is sensitive, personal or confidential it must be marked appropriately. Marking the letter ‘confidential’ will suffice in highlighting this fact. If you only want the letter read by the receiver without the interception of a secretary or PA, mark it as ‘Private’, ‘Personal’ or ‘Strictly Confidential’. If you have received such a business letter it is good etiquette to reciprocate and ensure that all future correspondence is kept at that level of confidentiality.

Style

Proper business letter etiquette requires that a consistent and clear approach, combined with courtesy, be employed. As a rule of thumb, aim to keep all business letters formal in style. Even when the receiver is familiar to you, it is advisable maintain a certain level of business etiquette as the letter may be seen by others or referred to by a third party in the future.

However, this does not mean you should use long or uncommon words to express yourself. This merely looks odd and makes the letter unreadable. It is best to read a letter first and consider whether you would speak to that person face to face in the same way. If not, then re-write it.

Letters should be signed personally. It looks unprofessional, cold and somewhat lazy if a letter is left unsigned. However, having a secretary or PA sign on your behalf is not considered a breach of business etiquette.

Humour

Humour can be used in business letters but only when the writer is completely positive the recipient will understand the joke or pun. From a business etiquette perspective it may be wise to avoid humour. This is because firstly, the letter may be read during a crisis, after receiving bad news or on a sombre occasion. Any other time the humour may have been appreciated but under these circumstances it may dramatically backfire. Secondly, the written word is open to misinterpretation. Your sarcastic or ironic remark may be taken the wrong way. Thirdly, it is possible that the letter may be read by a third party who may deem the humour inappropriate and pursue a complaint of some sort.

Responding

Good business letter etiquette calls for letters to be responded to promptly or within certain guidelines. This may normally be considered as 5 working days. If this is not possible then some sort of acknowledgement should be sent either by letter, fax, phone or e-mail.

Always use reference numbers or clearly state the purpose of the letter at the top, for example, ‘Re: Business Letter Etiquette Enquiry’.  This allows the receiver to trace correspondence and immediately set your letter within a context.

When replying to points or questions the proper etiquette is to respond in the same order as they were asked.

Using business etiquette in all matters and especially in business letters will ensure you communicate effectively, avoid misunderstandings and maximise your business potential. 

 

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