Rules of business correspondence: nuances of sending traditional and electronic messages

What is it? Business correspondence involves more than just the usual letters in envelopes on official letterhead. Most of it is now carried out using e-mail, and more recently, numerous messengers have been added to it.

Why is it important? It is difficult to exaggerate the importance of business correspondence, as well as its competent conduct. From our material, you will learn what rules to follow and what mistakes to avoid.

What is business correspondence

Business correspondence is based on certain rules and regulations that should be known. To avoid problems with the drafting of documents and letters, you need to learn the basic points.

Business correspondence is a broad concept that involves numerous types of official business documents related to information and reference materials. Business correspondence is classified in various ways.

Adoption and execution of administrative decisions does not do without business correspondence:

  • In forming and making decisions, business correspondence is used to obtain information that can simplify the process.
  • When a decision has already been made, business correspondence is used to inform colleagues about the progress or timing of a project.

According to statistics, the higher the economic growth and business activity, the greater the volume of business correspondence:

a 1 percent increase in gross domestic product leads to a 1 percent increase in business correspondence;
the number of letters per capita in different countries is: in the USA – 700, in France – 432, in Germany – 252, in the Czech Republic – 68, in Poland – 48, in Brazil – 26, in India – 15, and in the Russian Federation – 8.

If you need documents printed on paper to be legally valid, use special forms and a set of requisites. As a rule, these are:

  • The name of the company or the name of the competent person who is the author of the letter;
  • background information about the author;
  • signature of the author;
  • sometimes – the seal of the company.

Documents for internal exchange of company data are called “internal correspondence”:

  • reports;
  • memos;;
  • explanatory notes;;
  • references;
  • proposals;
  • submissions.

In the sphere of managerial activity, business correspondence performs many functions.

  • The informational function is that business correspondence helps preserve important information.
  • Communicative function. Through business correspondence, employees keep in touch with each other, with management, and with other companies.
  • Social function. Solves various social problems, primarily by responding to information needs.
  • Legal function. It serves as a proof in lawsuits.
  • Managerial function. Business correspondence sometimes initiates the decisions of managers and helps to implement them.
  • Cultural function. Business correspondence can convey the ethnic and national-cultural aspects of documents.
  • Historical function. Can convey information from history to society.

Structure of a business letter

Let us consider what is included in the structure of a business letter nowadays.

  • The sender’s details and the date the letter was prepared.
  • Address of the recipient, and you need to specify the specific correspondent (the head of the marketing department) or department (for example, “sales department of NaturStroy”).
  • Address in the introductory part: “Dear Mike Johnson”, “Dear colleagues”.
  • The main text, which consists of two parts. The first part states the reasons or purpose of the letter, the second part contains conclusions, requests or suggestions.
  • References to appendices to the letter, if any: “The current price list is attached”, “Calculation of investment efficiency – see Appendix”.
  • Conclusion – “courtesy formula”. “With respect and willingness to cooperate…” – Dignified and often used wording. “Sincerely yours…” – this option is allowed, provided that the sender and addressee know each other well.
  • The sender’s signature and phone number. You should not write the sender’s postal address in the email.

How to write a business letter

Although e-mail correspondence is used everywhere, business letters are still sent on paper. Therefore, it is worth paying attention to the look of the letter as it creates the first impression about the sending company. It is very important to write business correspondence according to the following rules:

  • Printing should be done on letterheads made of high-quality paper, which legibly indicate the full data of the sender.
  • Letters to foreign partners should be written in English. The letter should be folded (preferably once) with the text inside before you put it in the envelope. Very important letters are sent in large, thick envelopes so that you do not have to fold the sheet.
  • Both on the envelope and in the letter itself all requisites can be specified, including the company logo.
  • The addressee’s address is only on the envelope. If an envelope with a transparent window is used, the address of the recipient is written on the letter itself in the upper right corner. After that the sheet is folded in such a way that the address is seen in the transparent window.
  • The address of the sender is written both on the envelope and on the sheet of the letter.

Top rules for business correspondence in messengers

Communicating via messengers requires compliance with etiquette, and not only in everyday life, but also at work. Below are the basic rules for business correspondence in messengers.

Time of communication

Let’s start with the simple: at the end of the working day, close your correspondence. The evening is the time to rest from annoying notifications.

Voice messages

Voice messages are very convenient, but many people find them annoying. Often the environment around them is not conducive to listening to such messages. According to statistics, about 31% of Russian users do not like audio messages. Try to express your thoughts in text format, because if you need to find a message, it will be easier to do it with the help of “search”, and the audio can get lost.

Before sending a voice message, make sure that the person you are talking to has confirmed that he can listen to it. Speak clearly on the point, and also send a small accompanying message to the speech, so that you can recall what the audio said at any time, without having to listen to it again.


When communicating with colleagues and management in messengers, you should pay attention not only to the wording of expressions, but also to spelling. To avoid making yourself look like an illiterate person, always reread your message before sending it to avoid mistakes. And remember, T9 is your enemy. If possible, use the PC version of the messenger – it’s more convenient to check and correct errors there than on the phone.

Allowed informal communication

The bar of business etiquette has been lowered a bit with the transition to the messengers. Informal communication has now become the norm: you can easily wish everyone a good day or success in an upcoming event. But it is important to know the measure, and not to forget that here you are conducting business correspondence, and not “chatting” with a girlfriend. For example, during the next flu or covid waves, instead of the standard “Good morning and good day to you all!” it’s more appropriate to write, for example, “I wish everyone only 36.6!”

Brevity is the sister of talent.

Messenger chats are not designed for “sheets” of text. On the contrary, brevity and conciseness are revered here. There is one rule: one message – only one idea. And never send a message in which there is only one word, and several in a row. This is very annoying in personal correspondence, and in business it’s completely inappropriate. Try not to use ambiguous phrases, colorful descriptions, and clericalisms.

Personal – in private.

A short, but relevant rule. It is not always easy to reach an understanding in business, but it is unacceptable to write to one person in a general chat. If there is a conflict with someone in particular, it’s better to move the communication to private messages.

Not by messenger alone

And although messengers are very harmoniously blended into human life as a part of communication around the world, both in private companies and large corporations, nevertheless, this channel of communication is not officially recognized. Important decisions and agreements are still better confirmed by e-mail.

Communication style

Here we are talking about audio-messages, informal communication and concise ideas. Also remember that smilies and stickers can be used in a public chat only with the consent of each participant. Be careful with the use of catchphrases and cliches – they are better for communicating with friends and colleagues, but not for business chat.

Stop spam

Don’t split one sentence into several messages – a colleague’s phone may not be able to handle such a flood of notifications. And some of them may be in an important meeting with the sound on – your tirade of messages may make not only colleagues, but also management angry. In addition, waiting for you to finish your thought in additional messages is very tedious.

Operational questions only.

This rule sums up all of the above: instant messengers – a very handy thing, but not for all occasions. Use chat for urgent tasks and discussing project deadlines. You should not move all business correspondence to chat, because messages can easily get lost among other messages, and besides, the discussion of important points may attract incompetent colleagues.

Designate chats only for general matters, and if other ways of communication and communication are not convenient for you and your colleagues, then create additional chats, such as “General”, “Solving important problems” and “Chatterbox”.

The image of a business person or organization consists not only of accomplishments and results, but also of small elements of each stage of business negotiations. Every representative of a company, from the clerk to the manager, must follow the rules of business correspondence.