Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Oral and Written Communication - Meaning, Advantages, Disadvantages and Differences

Oral communication
Oral communication means communication through words spoken i.e. by speech: - In oral Communication, Both the parties to the process, i.e. sender and receiver, exchange their ideas through oral words either in face to face communication or through any mechanical or electrical device, such as telephone etc. in this system person can exchange their feelings fully and clarification regarding any doubt or ambiguity may be sought. Oral communication is preferred by rank and file employees as well as supervisors and managers, as they enjoy the opportunity to ask questions and to participate.
Advantage:
1. Economical: Oral communication is relatively less expensive. It saves the money spent on stationary in an organization.
2. Time sever: Oral communication is fast. It saves the time involved in writing the message.
3. Flexible: Oral communication is very flexible in sense it provides an opportunity to the speaker to correct himself and make himself clear by changing his voice, pitch, tone etc.
4. Quick response: Oral communication is also helpful in getting quicker response from the receiver. The speaker gets immediate response from the receiver. It thus provides immediate feedback to both sender and receiver.
5. Personal touch: Oral communication is personal in nature. It is this nature that brings superiors and subordinates closer. It is also an effective tool of persuasion.
6. Maintains secrecy: Oral communication has an added advantage of maintaining secrecy. Oral messages can be more easily kept confidential than written messages.

7. Group communication: Oral communication is an effective tool for communicating with the groups at large. Group reactions can also be interpreted immediately to arrive at reasonable conclusions.
Disadvantages/Limitation:
1. Time Consuming: Oral communication may not be time saver always. Many a times it is seen that meetings continue for a long time without arriving at any satisfactory conclusion.
2. Poor retention: Oral communication is more likely to be forgotten. The listener cannot always retain oral messages in his memory for long. Sometimes even the speaker may not remember what he actually said.
3. Not suitable for lengthy messages: Very often oral communication gets distorted. This is more so in case of lengthy messages when communicated through various level of hierarchy.
4. No Record: No permanent record is kept in case of oral communication. In the absence of record, oral messages have no legal validity.
5. Misunderstood: In oral communication, much depends upon the tone, pitch, voice etc. the speaker, due to his poor vocal expression, may not be able to make himself clear and the listener may also be in attentive. Thus the message may be misunderstood.
6. Not precise: Oral communication is not precise and to the point. People are more precise when they write rather when they speak. Very often, the exact message to be conveyed is lost in a mass of words.

Written communication
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.
Characteristics of Written communication
1. Written communication is a one cycle even because it does not get immediate response from the receiver.
2. Written communication is specific when it is meant for specific persons. It can also be general when it is meant for public at large.
3. Written communication is a creative activity. It requires a lot of imagination and continuous efforts.
4. Written communication is however not spontaneous. It requires a meticulous planning on the part of the writer.
5. Written communication is time taking. The message has to be planned, drafted and finally encoded (written) before sending.
Importance of Written Communication
1. Written communication is indispensable to an organization. Just as it is impossible to think of social life without oral communication, it is impossible to think of business or an organization without written communication. It is the backbone of the business communication.
2. Written communication is used more in an organization because face to face communication is not always possible, due to employees being spread over widely located geographical distance.
3. Written communication assigns responsibility. In an organization employees have to function within defined limits of authority and responsibility. In the absence of written communication it is not easy to determine responsibility.
4. Written communication, through its media of letters and menus to its creditors, shareholders can boost up the image of the organization.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Written Communication
Advantages:
1. Permanent Record: Written communication provides a permanent record for future reference and serves as a good guide for decision making and planning in future.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. Easy to understand: Written messages can be read and re-read again and again. Thus it is likely to be understood better.
6. Suitable for lengthy message: Lengthy messages lose their authenticity in oral communication. Written communication is thus very suitable for transmitting lengthy messages.
7. Aids control: Written communication encourages deliberation, permits editing and review, helps to prevent distortion and consequent misunderstandings.
Disadvantages:
1. 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.
2. Rigid: Written communication is rigid and lacks flexibility. The doubts and queries cannot be clarified immediately.
3. Costly: Written communication is a bit more expensive than oral communication. It costs a lot in terms of stationary, postage and typing costs.
4. Lack of secrecy: It is difficult to maintain secrecy in written communication.
5. 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.
6. 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.

Difference between oral and written communication

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