While the only thing you really need to do in order to write an effective apology letter is represent your feelings, following the guidelines below can help make the letter more effective. These tips may not apply to certain types of apology letters, particularly those that are from businesses, but they can be useful when thinking about how to improve your apology.
One important tip to keep in mind is that you should begin and end with your apology. The first apology makes it clear what the letter is about, and the last apology reinforces your genuine regret. If this is not elegant in your composition, you can also end with a promise of restitution.
You may also find that using so-called “I” statements is helpful when composing this type of letter, because this helps prevent the recipient from feeling defensive. Instead of saying something as a fact, you can bracket that information in a sentence structure that reflects your relationship to that information.
Some people find it very difficult to reflect tone in writing, so dictating your letter to yourself can be a convenient way to overcome this problem. If you apologize vocally, then write down that apology, you may sound more sincere than if you write it first. Avoid sounding stiff unless your apology is for a business, because a stiff letter will sound like a form letter to the recipient.
There are also some issues of etiquette you should keep in mind. For example, you need to send your letter as quickly as possible and make sure that you address the recipient appropriately. You also need to keep your apology letter short and to the point, as you don’t want to waste the recipient’s time.
The best tip for writing apology letters is a simple strategy: an apology letter is about the person you are apologizing to, not about you. So, if you keep in mind what they would want out of the letter, you will be able to compose an apology that fulfills this need. This simple guideline will help avoid many of the pitfalls people encounter when writing this type of letter, and will likely aid in repairing any damage to an interpersonal relationship.