A crucial skill to have in the modern Information age is ‘Written Communication.’ A written message which is exchanged between two or more people is termed Written Communication.
Written communication holds great importance in today’s business world. It involves creativity and innovative ideas of the mind. It is necessary for business owners and managers to develop effective written communication skills and encourages the same in the employees too. Effective written communication is essential for preparing valuable promotional materials for business development. Effective writing involves careful choice of words, their organization in the right manner in sentence formation as well as the cohesive formation of sentences.
Meaning of Written Communication
In a broad sense, written communications include letters, circulars, manuals, reports, telegrams, office memos, bulletins, and other types of written correspondence.
It is a more rigid and formal way of communicating. It is not open to changes. A properly kept written document creates a permanent record for future use.
There are many advantages of written communication, such as ease in preserving, ease in understanding, serving as legal documents, and many more. But just like everything has two sides, so does ‘written communication.’ There are a few disadvantages of written communication which we will be discussing further in this article.
Before that, let’s hop on to discussing the advantages of written communication, which are indeed plenty.
Advantages of written communication
1) Easy to Preserve:-
One of the main advantages of written communication is that the documents are easy to preserve if they are in written form. Oral and Non-verbal communication is not preserved. Though it can be recorded, it is not convenient to record it every time. Written communication serves as a means of collecting important information from the previously preserved data.
2)Clarity and Clear Understanding:-
Another advantage of written communication is it provides a clear and comprehensive grasp of the message to be conveyed. Written communication provides us a facility to read the message many times until the recipient fully comprehends it. Furthermore, there are lower chances that any information in the communication is missing or not being conveyed. As a result, the recipient receives and comprehends the exact meaning that the sender wants to convey. Oral or non-verbal communication can be forgotten easily, and sometimes the recipient is not much focussed while listening. This is not the case with written communication.
3) Permanent Record:-
Another important advantage of written communication is that the documents of written communication act as a permanent record. Furthermore, an organization’s records are usually in the written format, which can be very worthy for future references.
For Example:- Previous instructions and decisions might serve as guides for future decisions and other references. It will save time and effort in the future if it is in written form.
4)Makes Presentation Easy:-
Written communication provides us the advantage of representing any complex matter or information easily and more attractively. For business organizations, the executives can present the information more accurately and clearly through written communication. It provides a direction to describe the facts in the simplest way.
5) Serves as a Legal document:-
Documents in the written format serve as legal evidence for important business activities and transactions. In the event of a lawsuit, the one which is used as admissible evidence is written communication. As it is legal evidence, it is kept with due care and proper responsibility, and also, while drafting it, proper requirements are fulfilled.
6) No wastage of time and money:-
Written communication can serve another advantage as it prevents waste of time and money. It is because all the parties or members communicating their ideas or data can share it even without meeting each other, i.e., the communicators and the receiver can exchange their views without even meeting.
7) Fewer chances of distortion:-
Written communication also reduces the chances of distortion. As in written communication, information is stored permanently, so the possibility of distortion or any alterations of the information decreases. In the case of oral communication, the communicator may lose specific points or some facts which are important while speaking. However, as the contents of the communication are written, the likelihood of distortion is minimal with written communication.
8) Maintaining Image:-
Written communication helps the organization as well as the person to maintain its reputation and image in front of others. Effective written communication also can create goodwill in the organization and promote its business.
9) Ease in verification –
you might have easily guessed this advantage of written communication. You can easily verify if there is some confusion. You can refer to the written record and verify if something acclaimed or said is true or not. It is easy to verify in case any misunderstanding occurs between the parties.
10) Other Advantages of written communication are:-
- Written communication is often used as a reference.
- It can be used as a controlling tool for controlling the activities of the organization.
- The recipient of the information gets sufficient time to think, act and react.
- In the case of long-distance communication and repetitive standing orders, written communication is very useful.
Disadvantages of Written Communication
One of the disadvantages of written communication is being costlier than other communications. For written communication, paper, pen, ink, typewriters, printing machines, and maintaining such equipment and machinery, a computer and a large number of employees are necessary for its execution. Also, it is expensive as a group of individuals to prepare and distribute the organization’s letters which is quite costly for any organization. Hence it is expensive.
2) Time Consuming:-
Written communication is not only expensive but also very time-consuming. Drafting and forming a message in written form takes much more time than conveying orally. A written message can take two or three days to reach its intended recipient, but an oral communication message can be conveyed in a matter of seconds over the phone. Furthermore, Written communication is also time-consuming as the feedback is not immediate. Also, It requires a lot of time to encode and send a message.
3) Lack of confidentiality:-
Keeping the information confidential is not always possible in written communication which serves as one of the biggest disadvantages of written communication. Since written communication is forwarded to every person who is concerned with the information or particular matter, there is a possibility of leakage of information by any employees, which is likely to have negative effects on the organization and may also lead to losses.
4) Delay in response and decision making:-
If the recipient of the message lives far at a distance and has any doubt which is required to be clear, the response is not spontaneous as there is a lack of immediate response, which eventually leads to a delay in further decision making.
5) Red Tapism:-
It is one of the biggest disadvantages of Written communication. The time taken for approval of any project is called Red Tapism. All the messages are usually conveyed on the basis of the Scalar chain, but sometimes it may happen that any written message or letter is kept on file without any immediate action. The concerned person intentionally caused a delay in response and which will eventually lead to a delay in further decision-making.
6) Impractical for Illiterate:-
Another disadvantage of written communication is it becomes futile if the communicator or the recipient is someone who can not read or write. If the sender is illiterate, then he won’t be able to draft a written message, and if the recipient is illiterate, then that written message makes no sense for him as he can’t read it, and this often leads to ineffective communication.
7) Fabrication of the information:-
When any written message goes against the interest or concern of any higher officials or someone authoritative, there is a likelihood of fabrication of such messages by the employees. They may flatter or inflate the information conveyed to gain the recognition of the higher authorities for their personal benefits. Also, When the sender attempts to avoid criticism from others, they may flatter and exaggerate the facts in the written letter.
8) Complexity in formation:-
Drafting and forming any written messages requires the use of various rules and procedures, and several formalities are to be fulfilled. It should be in proper format as per the objective of drafting it, which often creates confusion for the sender/ drafter of the information.
9) Other disadvantages of written communication are:-
- written communication usually doesn’t provide a personal touch. Therefore it becomes quite difficult to persuade and convince people through written forms of communication.
- Being written in nature, it is less flexible and cannot be changed easily.
- Sometimes due to the use of complex words, it becomes difficult for the reader to understand. Sometimes a lot of jargon is used in written records and reports, which makes them difficult to understand for laymen.
- There is often a delay in quick clarification and correction of the information. In oral communication, you can quickly ask a follow-up question to seek clarification. This is not the case for written communication.
Though there are some disadvantages of written communication, it is still a widely used mode of communication. It is a strong medium to communicate when it comes to legal and business affairs due to its manifold advantages.