Perfect Phrases for Business Letters by Ken Q'Quin (I don't know his actual website, but he is on Facebook! Woot!) is one of those book you won't want sitting on a shelf collecting dust. You'll want to keep this book by right next to your computer and in your brief case when you go out. I can't call this an actual ‘book'. Because it's more of a reference manual than a book.
Don't get me wrong, it's NOT a reference manual. But it just has SO much raw information that it is mind blowing. It starts out with a few words and ideas for organization, then it's pages upon pages of awesome “phrases” to use in specific business situations/letters. You can't really read this book straight through because it doesn't have a story. Like I said, it's jam packed full of awesomely, awesome business words, phrases and styles which you can start incorporating into your writing right now!
I don't have any actual ‘proof' to show you that these phrases work so you'll have to take my word for it, so here is my little story of the differences I've seen so far thanks to this book. Many of you have read my articles and post before, so you know I'm not exactly the best writer on the planet. Heck, my posts could probably quality as the written qualitative of nails across a chalkboard! My business and professional letters aren't too far off. Though after making a few of the changes from the book, I began seeing a significantly better and more positive response rate from anyone I send e-mails and letters to! I even used a few ideas from the book in my day to day professional meeting and there were differences!
I'm a child at heart, though by being a bit more professional and keeping many of these phrases in mind I have managed to get so much more done than I thought possible for me. Am I saying this is the all secret book that everyone should get and it'll make you $1,000,000,000 once you read it? Um … heck no! I can't just go out and say this book saved my life. It's not like that at all. A lot of my success is because of change in mentality, the book just helped me along the way.
I wish I had a few screenshots to show you what most of the book is, alas I do not. Like I said earlier this is NOT a read to read straight through. It's like a reference manual, so you flip to the section you want and pull out the relevant phrase and ideas. The meat of this book is it's raw data. Most of it is neatly organized for you in simple to read (and find) tables. You can't really get lost it in. Just flip to the index to find what you need! Simple!
Also, which I think is the best part of this book is that it gives tips in each section. These do and do-not-do tips are gold! Well worth buying the book JUST for the tips in each section, seriously. Not to give an overly glorified review but I really do like this book and use it whenever I'm writing a professional letter!
So for example, the tips section that made me fall in love with the buy (and thus buy it originally) was the Salutations section … it also happens to be the first phrases section. The Salutations section is all about greetings and how to open a letter. Some normal things here, most people should know most of the stuff like:
- Dear Mr. Jones,
- Dear Accounting Staff, (when you do not know the exact person to contact)
- Hi Par Martin, (when you do not know the readers gender [use the full name])
Most people know things like that (or maybe you didn't 🙂 ). But what got me was the tips section (I hope the author won't kill me for writing it here):
- Do not abbreviate titles in the greeting.
- Spell all names and titles correctly.
- “Dear Sir Or Madam” and “To whom it may concern” are no longer acceptable.
- A colon or comma can be used after the name, but a comma is softer and friendlier.
Great tips I think! And that's just on page 21! Wait till you guys get further in. There are sections about:
- Sales letters: introducing yourself
- Status reports
- Letter of apology
- New release / Press release
And much more. It's pretty cool. And if you're wondering, no. This isn't a paid review of anything. I just seriously love this ‘reference' book 🙂 It could use a better cover though, A nice darker color like in the image above would be nice. The actual color is lighter and … bleh. Not pretty to look at I think. Then again, I'm a fan of darker colors usually.
I want to emphasize again: This is NOT a book to read straight through. It is boring. Boring as all heck. Sorry Ken, but it really is. Awesome points and great material, but I couldn't read more than 5 pages before I passed out. So, find the section you are looking for. Read the intro to the section and maybe a bit around it, get the info you need and be done. That's how I get the most out of this book 🙂
Though now that I think about it, it might be a good idea to actually read the whole thing through (in some way). That way you'll get the general knowledge in your head.
As usual, you can find the book on Amazon.com. Happy reading!