Example Letter #1
I am really honored you chose to come to me with your question. I have been thinking about you and Jane for a few weeks now. From where I stand it seems as though you two have come to an impasse. I can only recommend you spend some time apart. Often separation provides the perspective needed to know in which direction to proceed. You may not know this, but Suzanne and I separated briefly several years ago. She stayed with her parents for a few weeks. It really renewed our appreciation for one another. Time apart may not be the solution for you two. I can only tell you about our experience. Whatever route you take, I hope you will be able to work things out. You will always have my support.
Example Letter #2
Your recent letter describing your unpleasant work environment sounds as though you are experiencing a lot of frustration. I certainly understand your disappointment in not receiving a salary increase for the past two years, especially since your performance evaluations indicate that your work is better than satisfactory.
You asked advice about accepting a better-paying position with a rival company, but expressed reluctance about leaving a place where you have many friends. I can understand your dilemma. However, if the rival company is a local firm, you could consider changing jobs and still stay in touch with your friends. Those friendships could continue while you make new friends in a new work place. I think you need to take a long-range view and do what will give you the greatest professional advantage.
I am glad always to hear from you so please keep in touch and let me know what you decide.
Example Letter #3
I was up late last night thinking about our conversation concerning your dilemma. You certainly have given it considerable thought. I am concerned that there is an element missing from the process: The spiritual. Have you considered speaking with your minister about this? The consequences of a bad decision here are tremendous. Your minister may provide you with a "longer-term" perspective. I know spiritual guidance has been helpful in my life.
It's just something for you to consider. I only encourage you to try to see all sides before you decide. Good luck, my friend.
Example Letter #4
I am honored that you would ask for my advice regarding which college you should attend. I can only tell you about my experience attending State University in Springfield. I had a very good experience there; the computer science department is the best in the state and the classes are small and personal. Compared with many other colleges, the cost of tuition is low. The social life at State is fun but not rowdy. If you are planning to study computer science, I think it would be a good choice. If you plan to study something else, I am not the best person to give advice.
Of course, there are many personal factors you must consider, but State University was certainly a good choice for me. I wish you the best of luck and have every confidence that you will make the right decision for you. Please contact me again if I can be of further assistance.
Write Your Letter Step-by-Step
1 Explain that you are responding to a request for advice about a problem or situation.
Sample Sentences for Step 1
- I am honored that you would ask me for advice on such an issue.
- I have been thinking about the schooling dilemma that we talked about.
- After talking with some of the former employees of Doe Realty, I think I can answer your question.
- Thank you for your letter asking for my opinion on how to proceed with your proposal.
- I've been thinking a lot about what you asked me last night.
- I've been considering the unhappy personal situation that you explained to me, and its impact on your work.
- After thinking about your problem for the past two days, I think you might want to consider a different approach.
Sample Phrases for Step 1
- after talking with
- after careful consideration of
- after thinking about your problem
- am flattered that you would
- am honored that you would ask me
- asked what I thought of
- asked for advice about
- following up on our discussion
- have been thinking about the situation
- have given a lot of thought
- it seems to me that
- share your concern about
- since you asked for my opinion on
- that we talked about
- that you explained to me
- the advice you asked for
- think I can answer your question
- want to let you know
- will do my best to
2 Give your advice or suggestions.
Sample Sentences for Step 2
- I really think that you should stay in school, even though you may have to take out a loan.
- It seems to me that you have done all you can short of seeing a professional counselor. I think that talking with such a counselor may be worthwhile. I have a recommendation, if you want to follow that course of action.
- I believe your resume would be more effective if you would list your work experience with single one-line statements beginning with active verbs. For example, "Ensured quality control of product."
- Because your decision will have long-range consequences, I suggest that you speak to your minister before taking such a serious step.
- At your age you should begin to save as much as possible for retirement.
- Since Dr. Doe has spent most of his life in general practice, he may not be experienced with your special situation. I would recommend that you see a specialist for a second opinion.
Sample Phrases for Step 2
- a better resource might be
- after you have done all you can
- because your decision will
- before taking such a serious step
- best course of action may be to
- even though you may have to
- has such long-range consequences
- it seems like a good idea to
- it seems to me that
- knows quite a bit about
- may need professional assistance
- may want to contact
- may not be aware of
- may wish to consider
- may be worth a try
- might consider trying
- really can't give you specific advice
- sounds like a wonderful opportunity
- suggest that you
- the best advice I can give to you is
- think this through carefully before
- unless you find a very good reason
- would recommend that
- would be more effective
- would hesitate before
- would advise you to
3 Explain the reasons why you feel the way you do.
Sample Sentences for Step 3
- The extra expense of finishing school now will be made up many times over in the next few years. Long-term studies show that the income of college graduates is significantly higher than that of non graduates.
- Sometimes we are too close to a problem to see the solution. A third party can be a valuable aid to persons who genuinely want to solve a difficult problem.
- The use of strong verbs in this way conveys a crisp, effective message that gives the reader the feeling that the writer is competent.
- I think you need to consider the consequences for your children, as well as for your own emotional stability.
- A small percentage of your income invested each month will provide a significant return over a period of thirty years. You will probably need such savings to complement your regular retirement and possible social security payments.
- You shouldn't worry about Dr. Doe's reaction. You should be in charge of your own health, and he must understand that you need more information.
Sample Phrases for Step 3
- although it would give you
- are extremely concerned about
- considering where your interests lie
- considering the pros and cons
- doing so would almost certainly
- farther down the road
- for your current needs
- from my own experience
- from personal experience
- have learned the hard way
- have your best interests at heart
- have no doubt that
- in the next few years
- in the long run
- most beneficial to you
- see no reason to
- should understand that
- shouldn't worry about
- the extra expense of
- the advantages of this course of action
- think you need to consider
- will pay off in the end
- would be in your best interests to
- would be to your advantage to
4 Add a comment that releases the reader from feeling an obligation to follow your advice.
Sample Sentences for Step 4
- Of course, this is my personal opinion. Others may disagree.
- What I have written comes from my own experience. There may be factors that make your case different.
- I like this approach but you may want to look at others, as well.
- Of course this decision must be your own. I have only given you my opinion.
- There may be other ways of accomplishing your long-range financial goals. This one has worked for me, but it may not be the one for you.
- Of course, you are closer to the situation than I am, so there may be other factors that I have not taken into consideration.
Sample Phrases for Step 4
- am not really qualified to
- cannot promise immediate results
- cannot know the entire situation
- comes from my own experience
- give you something to think about
- has worked for me
- is my personal opinion
- is only one approach to
- is just my opinion
- know better than I do
- may want to take another approach
- may not agree with
- may want to look at other options
- may be factors I haven't considered
- may be other ways to
- must be your own decision
- of course, you are closer to
- only one suggestion
- others may disagree
- something for you to consider
- take a little time to
- there may be additional factors
- use your own judgment
- your case may be different
5 Close with a note of encouragement and confidence.
Sample Sentences for Step 5
- I think you are on the right track and will make the right choice.
- You have a good sense of right and wrong, so I am confident that you will make the right choice.
- You have been so meticulous in preparing this document that I am confident that the end result will be good.
- You are wise to get input from others before making a decision.
- After you have had a chance to talk with him, I feel that you will be able to make a wise decision.
- You are smart to begin planning this way in your early years. With such foresight, you will undoubtedly succeed.
- I wish you success in whatever decision you make. You certainly deserve it.
Sample Phrases for Step 5
- after you have had a chance to
- am confident that you
- am sure that you
- certainly deserve to
- feel that you will
- have confidence in your ability to
- have a good sense of
- hope that you will
- let me hear from you
- please let me know
- the end result will be
- whatever decision you make
- whatever you decide
- will do a great job
- will undoubtedly succeed
- will make a wise decision
- will do the right thing
- will support you in
- will make the right decision
- will turn out fine
- wish you success in