Introduction to Written Communication; While speech comes to us very naturally and spontaneously, writing comes after serious practice and careful organization of thought. This article explains about Written Communication – with their important topic – Introduction, Meaning, Definition, Features, Advantages, and Disadvantages. The word “write” has been derived from the old English word “written” that meant to scratch, draw or inscribe. It shows that man learned writing through a long process of drawing, scoring or incising symbols on rock faces, dried skins, tree barks, and clay tablets. The alphabet of any language is, therefore, a result of evolution.
Written Communication: Introduction, Meaning, Definition, Features, Advantages, and Disadvantages.
In the same way, the combination of the characters or letters of the alphabet into words, words into sentences and sentences into paragraphs have gone through a long history of man’s attempt to communicate, and give some kind of permanence or preservation to his communication. For this purpose, every language has evolved its own rules of grammar, though many languages grouped have more or less similar rules. But, in writing these rules have to rather strictly follow.
Speech, on the other hand, is more flexible. It also does not have the permanence of writing. Unless there is a typescript or tape or simultaneously taken down notes, the speech is heard and sooner or later forgotten. Just as it is impossible to think of a social life without oral communication, it is equally impossible to think of a business or an organization without written communication. There are various reasons for it. In the first place, in an organization, people are too many to have face-to-face communication.
They are generally spread over wide geographical distances and are sometimes not even connected by telephone. The situation is changing fast. But, even then, the exchange of letters remains as important as ever. Moreover, people have to function within defined limits of authority and responsibility. In the absence of written communication, it till not be easy to determine responsibility. It is an essential part of any manager’s responsibility to communicate on paper.
Written communication is, in this way, an essential part of organizational life. Telephone, telex, fax machines have not in any way affected the importance of letters. They have only changed the mode of transmission and made the exchange of letters or memos much faster. That is why written communication including letters, memoranda, agenda, manuals, handbooks, reports, etc., continues to flourish.
Meaning and Definition of Written Communication:
A “Written Communication” means the sending of messages, orders or instructions in writing through letters, circulars, manuals, reports, telegrams, office memos, bulletins, etc. It is a formal method of communication and is less flexible. Written communication has great significance in today’s business world.
Written Communication definition [Hindi] is; A written document preserved properly becomes a permanent record for future reference. It can also use as legal evidence. It’s time-consuming, costly and unsuitable for confidential and emergent communication. It is an innovative activity of the mind. Effective written communication is essential for preparing worthy promotional materials for business development.
The speech came before writing. But writing is more unique and formal than speech. Effective writing involves the careful choice of words, their organization in the correct order in sentences formation as well as the cohesive composition of sentences. Also, writing is more valid and reliable than speech. But while speech is spontaneous, writing causes delay and takes time as feedback is not immediate. Written communication, to be effective, should be clear, complete, concise, correct, and courteous.
Features of Written Communication:
The following Salient features of written communication below are;
- Written communication is essentially a creative activity. It is an activity that requires conscious and creative effort. The creativity of this effort comes from the stimuli produced by the mind.
- The stimuli of oral communication are picked up from outside by the sensory receptors. In other words; written communication is more specifically, more carefully thought out than oral communication that base on a spontaneous reaction to signs picked up from outside.
- As an example, let us take up the writing out of a report that we want to present or that we have been asked to write. For this purpose, we gather all the necessary information or data. We, then, process it through our logical thought processes and encode our communication.
- This is not a face-to-face communication situation. There is no interchange of messages or external stimuli. This is almost entirely a creative activity of the mind.
- The salient feature of written communication is that it has fewer cycles than face-to-face oral communication. In oral communication there are multiple exchanges of symbols, leading to multiple cycles. Most written communication is a one-cycle event.
- Usually, a message sent and receive, and that is the end of the event. Of course, letters do lead to repeated cycles of communication exchanges. But they cannot compare with the quick succession of cycles involved in a dialogue or informal meeting.
- It is a creative activity that requires a lot of imagination and effort to arrive at the finished product. While oral communication is spontaneous, written communication base on conscious effort.
- Oral communication is a multiple cycle event. Oral messages get an immediate response that leads very often to further exchange of words. This is not possible in written communication. Mostly it is a one-cycle event. Written communication is the most powerful and valid communication. Why? Beaucage this communication totally can provable when need with a valid document.
Advantages of written communication:
After meaning and features, Written communication has the following advantages;
- It has the advantage of providing records, references, etc. In the absence of ready reference, great confusion may create and the working of the organization will virtually come to a halt.
- It promotes uniformity in policy and procedure. It is the only means of laying down clear guidelines for the working of the organization.
- They give access to a large audience through mass mailings. It is common practice on the part of well-known organizations to reach out to people at large and win customers through wisely drafted “mailshots” or unsolicited circulars. For example, whenever a new brand of two-wheeler introduces in the market, or a bank comes forward with some attractive deposit/investment scheme it manages to get names and addresses of all the members of an institution/organization offering them their services on easy terms.
- Maintenance of proper records, letters, reports, and memos builds up legal defenses of the organization. Organizations usually have their legal advisors who cannot be of any help unless proper record makes available to them.
- Good written communication builds up the organization’s image. It is not at all surprising, therefore, that the outgoing letters/messages of certain well-known companies are cited as examples to emulate.
- Written communication has the advantage of being accurate and unambiguous. Great care has to take in drafting any letter, memo or report so that the message effectively conveys. Oral communication may often give rise to confusion because every speaker has his way of putting himself across.
- The growth of an organization promotes, to a large extent, by reference to its old, well-maintained records and minutes of the meetings.
- Written communication facilitates proper assignation of responsibilities. One may sometimes go back on words spoken, but not on his words put on paper. Moreover, the lower staff behaves more responsibly, and also feels secure, when communication is sent in writing.
Disadvantages of Written Communication:
Written communication also suffers from the following disadvantages or limitations:
- They run the risk of becoming ineffective in the hands of people otherwise good in their job, but poor in expression. That is why it is a serious concern of a modem organization to recruit people who are very good at expression, especially in letter and report writing ability.
- It is also a costly process. It costs a lot in terms of stationery and the number of people involved in typing and sending out letters.
- They are mostly handicapped by their inability to get immediate feedback. Both encoding and transmission of the message take time, resulting in immediate delays. It is, therefore, a time-consuming process.
- They have another disadvantage. Immediate clarification is not possible in exchange for written communication. If the receiver of a written message at a distance seeks some clarification, he cannot have it as quickly as he would like to. He will have to write a pack and wait for the reply to his query.
- It creates mountains of paper cluttered around the premises of the organization. It is a common sight in offices, and the staff has a tough time trying to handle it. Very often valuable papers get lost. The managers, therefore, have to be extra careful to keep sensitive material in his custody.
- It is time-consuming. Composing a message in writing takes much time. Writing letters, typing orders, notices, etc. and sending it to an appropriate destination requires time. The feedback process also is not instant.
- Absence of immediate clarification. In conclusion, we can say that written communication remains the backbone of an organization; whatever be its disadvantages or limitations. Almost all formal communication is in writing.