Good letters make full reference to the article's source, author(s),
title and the date it was published. This enables the recipient to
better recognize the source of your concerns and complaints.
Good letters follow the
Seven Rules of Effective Communication.
Easy to read letters are
easy to understand. Active voice sentences that follow
Subject-Verb-Object construction are clear and easy to understand. The
Subject initiates action, which is the Verb, or engine of the sentence,
and directs it to the Object. Passive Voice sentences are more
difficult to understand, because some readers confuse the Object with
the Subject. Consider that your recipient may receive hundreds of
letters. Also, clear and simple sentences are going to be easier to
read than a string of complex and compound sentences.
Less is more. Focus on a
few key points and fully develop your points. If you can write a strong
sentence in five words, then do not do it in eight words. If you have a
choice between a two-syllable word and a three-syllable synonym, use
the easier two-syllable word.
The best researched
facts and the most superbly organized letter can fall flat if there are
various types of grammatical errors. Review the top 100 commonly
misspelled words, and the rules for subject-verb agreement and parallel
structure. Also, after you have spell checked, carefully read your
points are critical. If you know nothing about "the occupation," either
first do the research and then write, or take a pass. Letters that are
factually incorrect belong in the waste can.
Get your reader's
attention, and keep it to the end of your letter. Open with a hook, and
keep your style and points as interesting as possible. The best
research and approach may fall far short if the letter is dry and
Each paragraph is a unit
that focuses on one idea. A paragraph with at least three sentences is
recommended. The opening topic sentence, the second sentence with a
supporting point, and a third sentence to add full body and to complete
your point together make a complete idea in one paragraph.
Show respect for your
audience, and avoid complaining or being rude since that may undermine
your effort. If you cannot get over your anger, sleep on your letter
and/or bounce it off of a friend. That anger, no doubt, has fueled your
desire to "do something about it," but it may undermine your impact.
Maintain a respectful tone.
Now, be confident, and
write your letter with style! Do not forget to include your name,
address and day and evening telephone numbers so that your letter has a
chance of being published, if that is what you want.
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