Football players are not alone with their batting slumps. The rest of us have “kicking slumps” too. That is when we need encouragement to try harder, to take a deep breath and hold on, to blink our eyes and take a new look. When you see a person feeling low or in a state of depression, a letter of encouragement may be just the needed stimulant.

Whatever (or whoever) the cause, admit that an adverse condition exists. Trying to offer help while avoiding mention of the problem that necessitates the help requires the type of thinking best left to politicians. If, however, a problem does not exist, and you wish to make your letter more of a compliment than an encouragement, please refer to the section on Compliments in this category.
Admit that a problem exists, and mention what it is so you and your reader are thinking together, but don’t dwell on the problem. If you are offering encouragement, you must be convinced that the adverse condition can be overcome. With this conviction in your mind, it will almost automatically show in the words and phrases you use.

The really helpful part of an encouragement letter is your suggestion of how an improvement can be made. Strong, forceful language or ideas are likely to create resistance of even discouragement. A more successful way is to make a clear and simple statement. For example:

— Encourage your staff to be more aggressive.
— Please reconsider, then I would appreciate discussing your decision.
— Consult your advisor about reorganising your format.
— We will rework the equipment to provide you with better working conditions.
— You love challenges, and have met them before.
— John Howard found himself a defeated candidate for eight offices before being elected Prime Minister.
— When you feel your rope is nearly played out, tie a big knot at the end; it will help you hold on.

Letter 1

Dear [[Recipient]]:

You were second in our sales contest last year, and you had Frank working so hard to stay ahead that he was glad retirement came before this year’s contest.  I’m rooting for you to win this year.

Right now, you are neck and neck with Don.  To keep ahead, it may take just a little more push on your part.  I am sure you can make the special effort to become number one this year.

Letter 2

Dear [[Recipient]]:

Recent figures indicate that changes in the ventilation system have not resulted in the expected increase in productivity.

Work crews will be sent in to revamp the ductwork and other equipment on Tuesday.

We are fully confident that once the difficulties have been resolved, your production levels will meet and even exceed previous figures.

Letter 3

Dear [[Recipient]]:

Recent reports indicate that productivity has dropped to an all-time low in your department.  It appears that the new computer system is slowing the output of your daily reports.

Our estimate that installation of the system would result in improved efficiency was inaccurate.  We will, therefore, remove the computer and make a study of alternate computer systems.

Your operation has been hampered for a time but I am certain that, in light of past performance, your department will not only resume normal promptness but get even more reports in ahead of the deadlines.

Letter 4

Dear [[Recipient]]:

The main office empowered me to offer you the position of CEO of its Wagner facility, with all of the accompanying difficulties the position entails.  As you know, several recent strikes have literally crippled the plant and the Board has several times suggested shutting down the facility entirely.

Your continued strong growth with the company, and the abilities you have exhibited here in the last two years, recommend you as the ideal person to return the plant to a profitable operation.

Please consider the offer and let me know as soon as you have reached your decision.