Advanced business correspondence
From the introduction:
Within recent years the subject of business correspondence has found a place in the curriculum of most of our large universities. To the collegiate schools of business, of course, it is practically indispensable; their graduates could hardly be sent out without a mastery of this tool of modern business.
In such institutions as do not have a separate school of business, the college of arts or the school of engineering has in some cases established a course in business correspondence. Recognition here will doubtless increase as educators become more responsive to the changed conditions whereby so large a proportion of graduates ultimately go into some form of business instead of the "learned" professions.
Already they have begun to realize that there is no valid reason why the teaching of English composition should be limited to forms that only five per cent of the graduates will ever have occasion to use, and should neglect business correspondence, a form that ninety -five per cent are certain to use. Already they have begun to heed the cry of the business executive, "Give us men who can write good letters."
The principles of English composition, as a matter of fact, can be taught in business correspondence as readily as in the fields of literature. In some ways, they can be better taught in business correspondence, for students have a more Hvely interest in their work when the end to be accomplished is clearly in sight and is of self-evident usefulness.
Moreover, there is no better way to get a bird's-eye view of the whole field of business, its operations and its ideals, than through the study and practice of business letter writing. One of the chief obstacles to the extension of the study has been the dearth of suitable textbooks. Most of the books on letter writing that have been available were designed either for the man in actual business or for the students in high schools and commercial colleges.
In books of the former class, the tendency is to lay undue stress upon methods, with comparative neglect of basic principles. In the high-school text, it is necessary to give much space to matters of technic, such as grammar, sentence structure, and diction. Both types of books are valuable; neither is perfectly adapted to the needs of university students.
Advanced Business Correspondence was designed to fill this need. It is intended primarily for classes of university grade. It presupposes such familiarity with the requirements of good English technic as should be obtained from a four-year high-school course or its equivalent.
It does not presuppose any extensive knowledge of business transactions, such as might be obtained from a few years of actual experience in a business office. It attempts to explain and illustrate the fundamental principles that govern all kinds of business letters, and to give practical methods of handling the more typical situations. In a word, it tries to show attainable ideals and sound strategy in business correspondence.
All this has been done with the needs of the university student continually in view. The result, however, should be of considerable value to the businessman. In the dozen years or more during which the authors have been teaching the subject of business correspondence and gathering material for this text, they have been fortunate enough to have access to the correspondence of many of the foremost business houses in the country.
They have observed the wide differences in quality between letters of different companies, and even between letters of different departments or individuals in the same company. They have had a share in the work of standardizing and improving the correspondence of several leading businesses. They feel justified, therefore, in believing that any businessman may read Advanced Business Correspondence with the certainty that it represents not impractical theory, but proved experience.
I. Every Letter a Selling Letter 1
IL The Essential Qualities of a Letter 27
III. How to Construct the Letter 49
IV. Credit Letters 78
V. Collection Letters 113
VI. Compl.\.lnt and Adjustment Letters. :»m- .... 158
VII. Letters Applying for Positions 183
VIII. Sales Letters 219
IX. Sales Letters (Continued) ........ 252
X. Business Promotion Letters 278
XL Appeals to Different Classes. 302
XII. Follow-up Sales Letter Systems 330
XIII. Follow-up Sales Letters 368
XIV. Inquiries and Replies 390
XV. Augumentative Letters 411
XVI. Correspondence Supervision 431
XVII. Form Letters and Form Paragraphs 446
XVIII. Business Reports . . '. 466
Appendix A. The Mechanical Make-up of a Letter 487
Appendix B. The Legal Side of Letters .... 501
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