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Questionnaire: How Well Do You Communicate in a Letter?

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 5 Jul 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
Letters Communication Emails Notes Memos

It can be very easy to assume that you write a good letter, after all everything you write makes sense when you write it. But do those who receive your letters really understand what you are trying to get across? Before you write another potentially misunderstood missive, take this questionnaire.

Simply answer 'yes' or 'no' to the questions below, add up your answers and find out if how well you communicate in a letter.

Questionnaire

1. Do you have one main topic in each letter you write?
2. Do you avoid including unnecessary facts and figures in your letters?
3. Do you use common vocabulary rather than jargon in your letters?
4. Do you adjust your writing style for each intended letter recipient?
5. Do you highlight or italicise words that you want letter readers to register?
6. Do you include the intended recipient's full name in a letter?
7. Do you keep your sentences and paragraphs short in your letters?
8. Do you spell check and proofread your letters?
9. Is your handwriting legible on letters and envelopes?
10. Do you include information on how letter recipients can contact you if needed?
11. Do you include a subject line when sending an email, memo or formal letter?
12. Do you include dates in your letters so that others have a time frame for the information?

Do You Communicate Well in a Letter?

If you answered 'yes' to between one and four questions then you most likely do not communicate well in a letter. Take a hard look at the last letters you have written to find out more about your natural writing style. This style obviously works for you, but you are not necessarily making things easy for those who read your letters. The next time you write a letter, refer to the above questions in order to make sure that you are following some of the most basic rules of writing a clear communication.

If you answered 'yes' to between five and eight questions then you may communicate well in a letter. Chances are you can still brush up on some further tricks to make your letters more clear, so take note of your 'no' answers and focus on them the next time you write a letter. Also, ask those who receive your letters regularly for input on what you can do to make them more reader friendly. With just a few small adjustments you will be well on your way to becoming a master of clear, concise communications.

If you answered 'yes' to between nine and twelve questions then you probably communicate well in a letter. But don't think this lets you off from any further work! Stay vigilant about clear communication in every letter you write, from the topic to the structure to the handwriting or printer you use. Each letter is a new chance to show off your skills, so don't disappoint anyone with a scribbled note or a hasty email that fails to live up to your usual high standards.

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