Writing Professional Government and Business Correspondence

In today’s electronic age, the written word is becoming less and less commonplace and is being replaced with electronic forms of communication, such as email and texting. Even our government representatives frequently communicate through electronic devices. Regardless, when working with Congress or communicating with a representative, it is important you do so in a manner that is professional. Even if your communication takes the form of an email, it is still important to ensure it is written clearly.

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First, observe basic business etiquette in any type of congressional correspondence. The basic format of business correspondence should be adhered to, including contact information, date, proper salutation and title. If you are not certain of the title of the individual to whom you are writing, obtain this information in advance.

The correspondence itself should contain an introduction, body and concluding paragraph. Proper grammar should always be used. Acronyms, which are becoming increasingly common because of Twitter and phone texts, should not be used to abbreviate words or phrases. In addition, all caps should not be used as it is the equivalent of shouting. (Unless your goal is to be ignored, in which case shout away….)

All congressional correspondence should be backed up by solid research. To be most effective, it should be written in a manner that is polite. Keep in mind that even if you are writing to oppose a particular action taken by a member of Congress or to oppose proposed legislation, it is still important to assure your communication is polite and written in a businesslike manner. Not only will this assure you a more effective outcome, but it will also allow you to be seen in a more professional and favorable light.

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When your communication is perceived as being well-researched, well thought out and handled in a businesslike and professional manner, you will also increase your chances of being contacted for follow-up regarding the issue at hand rather then getting a form letter response.

TheCapitol.Net offers two courses in our Word Workshop that can help you learning to better prepare professional and business correspondence when communicating with government officials and members of Congress: Writing for Government and Business: Critical Thinking and Writing and Writing to Persuade will help you to learn to draft correspondence that is professional and more effective.

For more information about contacting Congress, see

For detailed information about research and writing skills, see these resources from TheCapitol.Net: