You have certainly issued or received a written communication; it is known as one of the oldest communication methods. Once it usually happens when two or more people who are not in the same place want to communicate.
There are several reasons why people use this method of communication. Within the areas where it can be used, it is in the business and/or bureaucratic organization where social relations emphasize the conveniences that preserve organizational integrity.
The written communication method has the role of a necessary working tool for fulfilling tasks and the maintenance of institutional order. It should be noted that this method is a form of interpersonal communication. It preserves some of the interactive characteristics of the conversation.
This article will clearly and briefly give you the definition of written communication, its characteristics, advantages, disadvantages, and limitations. So we believe that even the last paragraph of this article will be of interest to you.
What is Written Communication?
Written communication is a used method to send off messages or orders or instructions in a written format through emails, letters, circulars, manual reports, telegrams, office memos, and more. Written communication is an indispensable skill for any professional or business for ensuring clear, concise, and effective communication being delivered to others.
Digging deeper into this topic, it is important to note that written communication has evolved considerably over time. From the strictness or formality of the message to the means used to send or send them, nowadays, e-mail is used more for written communication inside and outside organizations.
More than exchanging emails, there are press releases, advertisements published in newspapers, and business announcements on a certain subject. Companies usually hire a communication professional so that they can exercise the function of a communicator.
He must ensure that all information in the message is clear and objective, above all, respecting the formal language to maintain or elevate the organization’s status where he works.
This is the 7th in a series of posts about how we can build an effective corporate comms strategy. Please check out the original article for learning about the other 6.
6 Characteristics of a Written Communication
The main characteristics of written communication that cannot be missing in a message are:
- Professional Grammar;
- Less Possibility of Redundancy;
- Indirect Contact;
There is a greater distance between sender and receiver. Using written communication is precisely the physical distance factor that leads to the need to use this method.
It establishes indirect contact with the recipient, who can sometimes be a person who deserves special attention and importance, which leads us to the next characteristic, which is a formality, being more thoughtful and planned.
Written Communication needs to be precisely formatted, Spelling, punctuation and must have good grammar and have less possibility of redundancy. and Communication to be considered written, the main requirement is that the contact must be indirect.
When making a written communication, the organization’s name and image are at stake, as any mistake can compromise or tarnish a career that took years to make. The messages must be written and evaluated thoroughly to filter out any error that may exist.
5 Advantages of Written Communication
Written Communication has advantages that can put it on top of the other methods or make it indispensable in some cases, like inside a company. We have listed 5 Advantages that will make all the difference, check them below:
- Staying in time;
- Control mechanism;
- Highest reflective level;
- Less possibility of distortion and interpretation;
Staying in Time
Written communication is a permanent means of information. Therefore, it only becomes effectively useful when records are needed. It is also important when delegating responsibilities and when establishing rules and procedures. On the other hand, it allows repetitive consultation of messages.
Thanks to its possibility to remain intact over time, written communication is one of the best ways to control results, laws, agreements, among others, are the documents most commonly processed by this mode of communication.
In terms of conservation, written communication ends up at the top of all levels. Documents or written messages are safe because they can be archived for future reference.
The evolution of technology has made possible the existence of other means of storing and archiving information. However, until now, the original written document remains the final proof of its existence and originality.
Highest Reflective Level
Communication professionals, before writing, make a reflection. The act of writing a message or a statement is always preceded by the process of thinking and defining what you intend to express. Even writing itself is a process of reflection. Therefore, this communicative mode is ideal for transmitting accuracy and precision.
Less Possibility of Distortion and Interpretation
Messages made utilizing written communication are less likely to distort information. In fact, in this communication system, information is permanently recorded, and sometimes contains signatures of the person who wrote it, and can be verified at any time. Thus making it less likely to distort information.
On the other hand, the chance of misinterpretation of messages is less. In case of doubt, the message can be consulted or read as many times as necessary until full understanding is reached.
5 Disadvantages of Written Communication
- Ability to Understand effectively;
- Difficulty in expressing emotionally;
- Late confirmation of Receipt or Uncertain;
- Lack of Flexibility;
Written communication is not economical. There are costs related to the material (paper and ink, among other things) and the work done, writing and delivering the writings. These costs will increase depending on the physical distance between the sender and the recipient.
Ability to understand effectively
The use of written communication requires high skills and competencies in language and vocabulary simply because it is a formal language.
When the professional does not have these qualities, the message made by him may have a negative impact and therefore compromise his effective understanding.
Difficulty in expressing emotionality
Since written communication is a reflective medium, it is more difficult to express emotions. It is a fact that poets and artists who use this medium to express beauty and emotions use techniques that are difficult for ordinary people.
On some occasions, they are successful, but on other occasions, they do not fulfill the objective of conveying the emotionality that is intended.
This type of communication is known as cold, interpersonal, and contrasts with other communication forms that may include verbal and gestural characteristics. In such a way, it is used more often in the transmission of information in which the accuracy of the facts is important.
Late Confirmation of Receipt or Uncertain
One of the problems with the written communication method is difficulty confirming the message’s receipt. In some cases, it is not even possible to determine whether the message reached the intended recipient.
Lack of flexibility
Written communication is not flexible. This is yet another drawback. after the original message is issued, it is impossible to make a quick correction of the content.
If there is a need to make any changes, this must be endorsed by the message’s recipient. Likewise, each correction made, including partial, affects the entire message.
It should be noted that almost everyone still prefers written communication. Most companies have a communication sector where all types of messages circulate among themselves are elaborated, and those that are intended for other people or organizations.
Written communication is definitely essential for companies or organizations; it is part of the communication skills that professionals and leaders apply to convey information, close deals, report on findings, and many more.
As part of one of the skills or elements of a solid corporate communication strategy, this skill is critical in ways that it can be the success or downfall of your business. I have won over $1M in grants for my company just through writing 5 pages of content, and that helped the business quite significantly. And losing that would have reduced the lifespan of the business or forced us to go into debt with banks to fund the business.
Having said all that, I think it’s also key that all corporate communication elements, from written to verbal communication, PR strategy, etc., needs to be well planned and businesses must invest in getting highly qualified professionals for those roles.