Start with the main idea; the most emphatic positions in a message are the opening and closing. Ask a question or issue a polite command: will you please answer the following questions . To elicit the most information, use open questions (what training programs do you recommend?) rather than closed questions, which require a yes-or-no answer (are training programs available?) State speci cally, but courteously, what action is to be taken. Set an end date, if one is signi cant. Avoid trite and presumptuous endings (thank you in advance for ). Make it easy for receiver to comply with your request. Consider including a subject line to identify the topic and any previous correspondence. Use abbreviated style, omitting articles (a, an, the). Use lists, tables, headings, boldface, italics, or other graphic devices to improve readability. In letters to customers, promote your products and your organization. Refer to the information provided or to its use.