A condolence letter lets a grieving friend, co-worker or acquaintance know that you're thinking of them and supports them in their time of sorrow. Writing a condolence letter is a wonderful way of helping a co-worker through a difficult time. The goal of this article is to show you the proper etiquette of writing a meaningful condolence letter.
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Things you need
- Scrap Paper for Practice
Gather the details needed to write your sympathy letter correctly. Ensure that you know the name of the co-worker's deceased relative or friend because the last thing you want to do is get the name wrong.
Think about whether or not you've met the deceased individual. If you have, try to think of a fond memory you have of that person. If you don't know the individual well, or at all, simply think about what he or she meant to your co-worker.
Begin by writing in your letter how you heard of the loss your co-worker is experiencing and what feelings you have about it. You may have read it in the newspaper. Your co-worker may have told you, or you might have discovered it some other way.
You probably feel empathetic and sorrowful for your co-worker. By letting the co-worker know how you found out and what you feel, you make the letter more personal and touching. An example of this section of the letter might be, "When you told me you had lost your father, I was filled with deep empathy and sorrow for you."
Add your condolences next by letting the co-worker know that you are sorry for their loss. An example might be, "I cannot imagine what you're going through. It's terrible to lose someone you love, and the only comfort comes in knowing they've gone to a better place."
This lets your co-worker know that you are empathetic to their loss and that you know they're going through a rough time.
Mention the name of the loved one in your letter often to bring comfort to the co-worker. This not only makes your letter more meaningful, but it allows your co-worker to gain comfort just by reading their loved one's name.
Let your co-worker know you are there for him/her by offering what you can. Whether it's reassurance or an offer to handle their workload while they are absent, offering your services can take a great deal of pressure off of your co-worker. It also lets them know that in such a difficult time, they can count on you. An example might be, "I'd like to help by speaking to your clients for you. Please let me know if this is all right."
Avoid offering generic help, such as saying, "Let me know if there is anything I can do for you." Most times, the recipient of a condolence note will feel uncomfortable asking for something from you when this kind of general help is offered. However, if you mention something specific, it will be easier for them to take you up on the offer.
Close the letter with genuine sentiments reassuring your co-worker that time will heal their pain, and in the meantime, they have someone to count on. An example might be, "Losing a loved one is a difficult thing to experience, but we can find comfort in the fact that your grandfather was a man of faith and is now experiencing a peace beyond any words available. I hope that a similar peace finds you soon."
Tips and warnings
- Don't send a condolence letter via e-mail. Hand-write the letter, and mail it or deliver it yourself.
- Read the letter out loud to determine how it will sound as your co-worker reads it.
- Don't mention anything unrelated to your co-worker's loss.
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