Saltshakers gives the following hints in writing letters:

When writing a letter to a politician or a company, there are several key elements that need to be included. It also helps to plan your letter first on a scrap piece of paper, especially if you plan to write it by hand. Even when writing to complain, it is important to write polite letters. Express your concerns and give reasons for them. Address the issue at hand, don’t get ‘personal’ or abusive. Some important items to include:

  1. Your name and address.
  2. The date.
  3. The name, title and address of the person you are writing to if you are writing a formal ‘business type’ letter.
  4. If you don’t know the name of the person write “Dear Sir”, “Dear Madam” or “Dear Sir/Madam”. If you do know the name, write “Dear Mr Jones”, for example.
  5. The first paragraph –
    This should include the topic of your letter.
    eg: I am writing to express/voice/convey (etc) my concern/disappointment about (eg) your company’s advertisement (give details) …
    Or I am writing to express/voice/convey my concern about the decision made by [your political party – name the party] to ….
    NB: If you are writing to your OWN elected Member of Parliament, it is important to tell them you are in their electorate!
  6. Try and keep your letter to one page –
    Each paragraph should have a new point in it.
    Two or three points are all that is needed. It is much more effective for you to write three short letters (to three different people!) than one long complicated letter.
  7. Request action
    Ask them to do something: remove a billboard, ask an MP for their opinion or response, ask a TV station to remove a program.
  8. Finish by asking for a reply
    eg: I look forward to your response on this matter.
  9. Close with “Yours sincerely” or “Yours faithfully” and then your name. If you type the letter, leave space for your signature, then type your name. Keep a copy of your letter (and their reply).
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