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How to Write a Response Letter

  • Be professional and courteous by sending your response letter in a timely manner. Do not procrastinate.
  • When responding to previous correspondence, it is often a good idea to repeat important information. Your response letter is also a wonderful opportunity to ask any questions or clear up any misunderstandings you might have.
  • When asked for advice, respond quickly. Give advice only on the subject you have been asked about. Keep your advice simple and to the point, and make it easy for the person to respond if he or she wants to discuss the subject at greater length.
  • If you have been asked for advice and do not feel you can give it, express your regret, and suggest that someone else would be in a better position to be of assistance.
  • Avoid comments or expressions of personal opinion, unless they are complimentary.
  • Even if your response letter contains negative information (such as declining a job offer, denying someone credit, or declining to follow a suggestion), the tone should still be positive and courteous.
  • When responding to your reader, a long letter is generally not necessary—merely include enough information to address the issue at hand.
  • It is often a good idea to thank the reader for his or her time and interest.

Declining? Your letter should:

  • Be gracious, whatever the reason is that you must decline.
  • Thank the person for the invitation, offer, gift, suggestion, etc.
  • State clearly that you are unable to accept.
  • Briefly state the reason that you are unable to accept, if desired.
  • In closing, restate your appreciation for the person’s consideration.

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