Professional and Technical Writing/Letters of Request

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A formal letter requesting some service and/or good from another individual within a professional business relationship.

Things to keep in mind while writing a letter of request:

  • Know the audience you are writing this letter to.
  • Keep it concise but not so concise that your recipient needs to try to deduce what you are asking for beyond what is plainly stated.
  • Know your purpose in writing the letter.

Always send via your recipients preferred means of transmission.

How to write a letter of request.[edit]

Choose Your Medium[edit]

Before beginning your letter it is important to select whether you will be sending an e-mail, a letter, or a memo. Depending on your company, some mediums may be more appropriate than others. For instance, e-mail might be used for day-to-day updates and communication, memos may indicate policy changes, and letters might be ordinarily used by a supervisor.

Also, it is important to keep in mind the efficiency of each medium.

E-mail is the quickest method of communication. E-mail requires no paper, stamps, or envelopes and may be relatively cost efficient in the business setting; however, e-mail is often times less personable and may give off the wrong message if it is not written carefully.

Letters and Memos are a more personable method of communication. Things that come in the mail often times seem more important and authentic; however, letters and memos take much longer to exchange than e-mails. Letters and memos also require paper, stamps, and envelopes which can take time to sort and may be costly for a company.

Know Your Audience[edit]

Understanding your audience plays an important role in writing your letter.

Be sure to keep in mind:

  • Who is your audience?
  • What do they know already?
  • What is their purpose in reading your letter or memo?
  • How receptive are they likely to be to your message?

Other things that may be important to keep in mind are:

  • Do you have a good relationship with your audience?
  • Do they ordinarily accept or reject your explanations and recommendations?
  • Is your audience positively or negatively disposed to your subject and purpose?

Considering all of these things will help you determine how to write your letter. (do we want to expand this section? More detail?)

Determine Your Purpose[edit]

Direct vs Indirect style[edit]

It is often important to decide which style of writing you will be adapting in your letter.

Direct style of communication is generally preferred. Direct style gets straight to the point in the beginning, follows up with an explanation or clarification, and ends politely. Direct communication is often used in situations of urgency.

Indirect communication is useful when a negative reaction is anticipated, or if the message is not urgent. Indirect style usually begins graciously, provides background information or reasonable arguments, and closes politely. Often times this style of communication is preferred by an international audience. (326)

John Doe
1234 Fawn St. <---------- Your Address
Bucktown, OH 23456

XYZ Corporation
1 Big Business Dr. <---------- Recipient's Address
New York, NY 12121

March 15, 2000 <---------- Always have the date you are writing and transmitting the letter.

Dear Big Boss Person

  • Salutation always aiming to be as close to the final reader as possible.

I am writing to inquire about getting a hypo-allergenic wall covering from your business I am wondering if it would be possible to get this in a very timely manner. I understand you have a number of different models of wall coverings I would be interested in receiving information on these so that I can make an informed decision about your products.

  • The beginning of the letter should get directly to the point of what you are requesting the person reading this wants to know why you are writing or they will stop reading it rather quickly.

I recently developed an allergy to a number off environmental factors within my home and so I need for a product like yours urgently.

  • Sometimes some supplemental information is necessary to justify why you want the materials you are requesting in the time period you have requested and to add legitimacy to your request.

if you have any further questions please contact me at (321) 987 - 6543 or through email at

  • Always have some way of being contacted at the end of your letter of request. While you have your address earlier, never assume that they want to look up at the top to find it. Reprint it here for convenience for them.


John Doe