Rockefeller Group Business Centers Blog

How to Address a Business Letter

Posted by Robert Blaker on Oct 13, 2015 10:00:00 AM


One of the most important, yet often overlooked, aspects of formal communication is how to address a business letter. To be clear, this is an article regarding the salutation—the person you are addressing—in a business letter, not the act of addressing the envelope. Knowing how to begin a business letter can be confusing if you are not familiar with the accepted conventions of written corporate communication.

“Dear… what should I call them?” Often, there is a moment in the preliminary stages of writing a business letter when people have to stop to ask themselves this question. Here are a few helpful guidelines on how to address a business letter.

Use a professional, polite salutation to precede your letter’s main content.

  • Dear Mr. Lastname:
  • Dear Mrs. Lastname: (if you know female recipient’s last name and that she is married)
  • Dear Ms. Lastname: (if you know female recipient’s last name and that she is unmarried, or if you are unaware of marital status)
  • Dear Dr. Lastname: (if known, professional titles such as Dr. are very appropriate, do not spell out the title)
  • Dear Sir or Madam: (if you are unaware of the recipient’s gender or name)
  • Dear Recruiter: (if name is unknown, the job title of your recipient is acceptable)

One of the most common mistakes made by those who don’t know how to address a business letter is the use of a comma after the salutation. In formal letters, one should always use a colon, rather than a comma.

Avoid using informal language in the body of your letter. This seems like common sense, but it can be hard for some people to adapt to writing in a manner appropriate for corporate communication. 

Even with written communication decreasing in the corporate culture, knowing how to address a business letter will help you when the situation arises. It can save you from appearing inappropriately informal or familiar in your communication. Of course as your familiarity and comfort with a business contact grows over time, the formality of your communication will evolve as well.

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Rockefeller Group Business Centers is built on the innovation and experience that distinguish our parent company, The Rockefeller Group International, Inc. More than 80 years ago, The Rockefeller Group developed the legendary Rockefeller Center complex and now manages Rockefeller Center’s west side properties as well as other high-profile real estate holdings across the United States. 

In keeping with The Rockefeller Group tradition of excellence, Rockefeller Group Business Centers provides stunning, fully-serviced office space, executive suites, virtual office plans and meeting rooms in Class A buildings throughout New York City.




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