Persons Name Is Dear to Them

You have many options in salutations, from using someone's name to employing the generic "To Whom It May Concern." When you start a letter or other communication with someone's name, you signal to that person that you know who he or she is. That connection encourages the person to read on.

In certain circumstances, you should adhere to formal protocol. Specifically, when writing letters to any member of the diplomatic corps, the military, or elected officials, it's usually best to adhere strictly to the standards of protocol. (Consult the "Forms of Address" section in many standard dictionaries and business etiquette books.)

In most business applications, however, there's a range of acceptable salutations. It's important that you think carefully about this issue because the decisions you make will set the overall tone of your communication and can encourage readership.

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