How to Request Something in a Business Letter

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Request letters are a common type of letter that most businesspeople and academics have to write. Whether you need an author to speak at your luncheon or more information on your retirement benefits, you will need help from someone at least once during your career. Many people have difficulty writing a request letter because they feel that they are inconveniencing the recipient, However, in the business world and in academics, the workplace relies on connections and favors.

Type the date and skip a line. Type the recipient's name and title, her company name and her company address on separate lines. Skip another line, and type "Dear Mr./Ms. (Last name)" followed by a colon.

Introduce yourself and state your request politely. Be specific and up front about what you need. For example, "My name is Sarah Lawler and I am the Director of Production at Georgia Pine Products. I know that your organization helps corporations design methods to recycle waste from wood products and I was interested in speaking with you about your services and how they might assist us here."

Provide any details about the request in subsequent paragraphs. Be specific and detailed to prevent back and forth e-mails and clarifications.

Thank the recipient for his time and give any deadlines or information that the recipient needs to respond to your request. Provide your telephone, fax, and e-mail if they are not listed in the letterhead.

Close the letter by typing "Sincerely," and skip three lines. Type your name and title and print the letter on company letterhead. Sign your name above the typed name.

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About the Author

Natalie Smith is a technical writing professor specializing in medical writing localization and food writing. Her work has been published in technical journals, on several prominent cooking and nutrition websites, as well as books and conference proceedings. Smith has won two international research awards for her scholarship in intercultural medical writing, and holds a PhD in technical communication and rhetoric.

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