What are the advantages and disadvantages of written communication?

Written communication is the expression of language by means of visible signs. Despite the far wider use of oral communication, modern civilisation cannot function without the written form. Business organisations need it to run their systems efficiently and effectively. It should be noted that written communication is not merely oral communication written down. It has its own dynamics. Its importance is mainly in organising and documenting knowledge.

Advantages of Written Communication

  1. Written communication provides a permanent record. It can be filed and stored for future reference whenever needed.
  2. It provides legal proof. Documents of importance are always stored in written form.
  3. It aids memory and retention. The reader can go to the written matter again and again. This aids understanding as well as retention.
  4. It is more accurate and organised. Written messages are drafted with greater time at our disposal; they are more accurate. The writer can edit and alter his message to make it as perfect as possible, and add the details needed. Words are chosen carefully to convey the exact meaning and matter is organised properly. This makes written communication an essential part of every business organisation.
  5. Written documents are always signed; hence it is possible to fix responsibility on a certain person or group of persons.
  6. Written messages have a wider reach than oral messages, as printing and photocopying make it possible to transmit messages easily to a very large number of people.
  7. Good written communication can create a good impression and generate goodwill for a business organisation.

Disadvantages of Written Communication

  1. A written message needs more time and care to prepare. It is also costlier as it needs machinery and stationery.
  2. Feedback is slow and often delayed in written messages – sometimes it may even be absent. Getting answers to queries and clarifications may become difficult.
  3. Written communication can create problems of storage. The number of documents is almost always far greater than the space and means available for storage.
  4. Written communication is essentially formal in nature. It cannot have the warmth and personal touch of oral communication.
  5. Unsuited to countries where there is a great degree of illiteracy. The lack of literacy makes it impossible to use written communication.

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