What do all letters have in common? A beginning, middle and end. Review the beginning (B),
middle (M) and end (E) of the following seven familiar types of correspondence.
1. Information or acceptance
B: State the topic.
M: Discuss or explain it.
E: Say what you want done about it.
2. Sales or persuasion
B: Capture your reader’s attention with an idea or offer.
M: Bombard the reader with convincing facts and emotional appeal.
E: Urge the reader to act (or to agree) immediately.
B: Disclose what you want.
M: Describe, when appropriate, why you want it.
E: Thank your reader for the help you hope to get.
B: Announce what’s wrong.
M: Provide details enabling your reader to help.
E: Say what you expect your reader to do next.
B: Build a bridge of sympathy to your reader.
M: Bury the rejection in the middle, justifying it while allowing the reader to save face.
E: Emphasize anything good you can say about the situation.
B: Courteously present the details of the overdue payment.
M: Ask politely for immediate payment.
E: Mention any action you plan if payment is not made immediately and enclose a
B: Express thanks, praise, congratulations or sympathy; extend an invitation.
M: Support expression with personal details.
E: End on a warm note.
Adapted from Ellen Roddick, Writing That Means Business, Macmillan Publishing Co.
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