Written communication means communication through words written. In written communication, both the parties to the process,
i.e. sender and receiver, exchange their ideas through written words, graphs, diagrams, pictographs, etc. It transmits messages through letters, memos, notices, circular notes, manuals etc. While oral communication is spontaneous and natural, written communication requires conscious efforts. Written communication depends on language as a means up of sentences into clauses and of matter into paragraph etc. is very important.
What are the Characteristics of Written communication?
- Written communication is a one cycle because it does not get immediate response from the receiver.
- Written communication is specific when it is meant for specific persons. It can also be general when it is meant for public at large.
- Written communication is a creative activity. It requires a lot of imagination and continuous efforts.
- Written communication is however not spontaneous. It requires a meticulous planning on the part of the writer.
- Written communication is time taking. The message has to be planned, drafted and finally encoded (written) before sending.
What are the advantages of Written Communication?
- Permanent Record: Written communication provides a permanent record for future reference and serves as a good guide for decision making and planning in future.
- Precise and Accurate: The writer tries to organize his ideas logically before penning them down. As a result written communication tends to be more accurate, precise and reliable.
- Legal evidence: Written messages provide a permanent record and as such are used as legal evidence in a court of law. Written records are more reliable and acceptance as documentary proof.
- Wide coverage: Written communication has the widest possible coverage. It is perhaps the only means of communication when the sender and the receiver are separated by long distance.
- Easy to understand: Written messages can be read and re- read again and again. Thus it is likely to be understood better.
- Suitable for lengthy message: Lengthy messages lose their authenticity in oral communication. Written communication is thus very suitable for transmitting lengthy messages.
- Aids control: Written communication encourages deliberation, permits editing and review, helps to prevent distortion and consequences.
What are the Disadvantages of Written Communication?
- Time consuming: Written communication is not suitable when the message is to be sent immediately. It is time consuming event which requires time in not only sending it but also in putting the message in writing.
- Rigid: Written communication is rigid and lacks flexibility. The doubts and queries cannot be clarified immediately.
- Costly: Written communication is a bit more expensive than oral communication. It costs a lot in terms of stationary, postage and typing costs.
- Lack of secrecy: It is difficult to maintain secrecy in written communication.
- Delayed feedback: Written communication is mostly handicapped by its inability to get immediate feedback. The sender of the message is not able to judge the response of the receiver from his facial expression.
- Increase the workload: Written communication creates mountains of paper cluttered around the premises of the organization. The staff has a tough time in managing it very often valuable papers are lost. Therefore staff/managers have to be extra careful about the papers.
Written communication is useful when:
- A record is needed for future reference
- The message is complex
- Message requires repeated reading
- Copies of the message are to be circulated to other individuals.
- Cross functional teams