Methods of Communication: Written



Written communication is present almost everywhere. It takes the form of handwritten documents, emails, “chat applications”, reports, typed electronic documents, and short message service (SMS) messages. Just about any topic that can be chronicled in writing is captured somewhere in some manner of media. This method of communication is indispensable for any type of formal business communication, particularly in the areas of legal, accounting, compliance, and standard operating procedures.

Messages that require written communication include those contained in formal business proposals, memos, press releases, handbooks, brochures, and the like. Written communication is effective only if the right style of writing, grammar, and vocabulary are used along with clarity of language. Written communication is most effective in situations that require detailed instruction. The merits of written communication are:

  • It serves as evidence of what has occurred or what was stated.
  • It reduces the chances of misinterpretation or distortion of information.
  • It provides a permanent record for future use.
  • It creates an opportunity for every member of staff to collaborate on documentation through sharing written ideas and suggestions.
  • A simple search function in a written document allows for speedy navigation of a large document (versus trying to navigate video recordings).

The downsides of written communication are:

  • It is generally more expensive and time-consuming than verbal communication.
  • It can result in excessive formality and rigidity in personal relations.
  • Written materials may become outdated.
  • Document security may be compromised, placing the integrity and availability of the data at risk.
  • There might not be an immediate way to confirm or ensure that the receiver correctly understood the written message [4].

Methods of Communication: Verbal and Non-Verbal



Verbal Communication

Verbal communication involves the use of words to deliver the message. Verbal communication can be done one-on-one, over the phone, or in a group setting. It is an effective means of communication as it is personal and takes place between and among management and employees. It is also known as face-to-face communication and takes the form of talks, public addresses, audio-visual speeches, holdings of meetings, lectures, social get-togethers, training sessions, exhibitions, and counseling sessions.

Planning and organizing your thoughts well is a critical part of verbal communication. This involves thinking about who would receive the message and what you are looking to convey. To ensure clear communication, it is recommended you make notes before a phone call, have an agenda before going into meetings, or research the information you wish to give someone in advance. Effective communication involves more than just choosing the right words (Rohn, n.d.).

There are certain merits to verbal communication:

  • It is one of the least time consuming, least expensive, and most direct forms of communication.
  • It can reduce delays, red-tape, and formalities.
  • It is more personal, helping to generate a friendly and co-operative spirit.
  • It often gets immediate feedback, as questions can be asked, and answers provided almost immediately.
  • It plays to the collaborative nature of communication.
  • Verbal communication can be a more effective means of persuasion than other forms of communication.
  • Verbal communication is more flexible than written communication.
  • Those speaking face-to-face also benefit from the added clarity and context that comes from seeing body language and hearing the other person’s tone of voice.

All information cannot be effectively conveyed verbally, so this form of communication has its drawbacks:

  • Lengthy, detailed, and official information is often better communicated in writing.
  • Verbal communication is more likely to be affected by cognitive distortions (e.g. people inferring things that are false).
  • Because speech moves so quickly and is so in the moment, people often do not take the time to double-check facts or consider possible outcomes before making statements. This leads to mistakes.
  • Where permanency and uniformity are required, speech is not the best form of communication.
  • Verbal communication requires a good command of the art of effective speaking to be able to communicate thoughts appropriately (Rohn, n.d.).


Nonverbal Means of Communication

Nonverbal communication is a means of communicating messages without the use of words. Nonverbal communication is a vital part of the communication process and generally supports verbal communication. It includes non-word responses such as facial expressions and gestures through which messages are transmitted. It is also known as “silent language” and involves the use of cues, vocal characteristics, facial expressions, gestures, and spatial relationships between the sender and receiver (Rohn, n.d.). Nonverbal cues are actually more important to the overall message than verbal cues. According to Dr. Albert Mehrabian, author of “Silent Messages”, 38% of communication is conveyed through vocal elements like tone and volume and 55% through nonverbal elements like posture and facial expressions (Mehrabian, 1981).

5 Elements of Effective Communication



Effective communication is an art.  Like other skills, it can be learned, honed, and mastered. Communicating effectively involves more than just choosing the right words. When conveying your message, it is important that you incorporate the following elements:



You should endeavor to speak in clear terms and create room for questions from the recipient of your communication. This promotes understanding and participation between both parties. No matter how eloquently you speak, if the recipient fails to understand your message, you have not communicated successfully.



Keep your message short and to the point. Trying to use the least amount of words to convey your point will force you to select the most meaningful content. Using too many words can cause your conversation to devolve into off-topic rambling, and an important point can be lost.



Consistent messaging helps the recipient of the message know what to expect. Consistent messaging also reinforces itself over time. Branding, for example, should be consistent so that customers are able to rely on a product or service to continuously meet their expectations. Internal communications, such as performance appraisals, should also be delivered in a consistent manner to establish clear expectations and criteria for success.



Someone who is credible will consistently provide accurate, unbiased information. Credible people are also honest. Through sincerity and competence, you can gain peoples’ confidence and enact meaningful change. Credibility is more easily lost than gained, and it is difficult to regain once lost.



Use of words such as “hello,” “thank you,” “excuse me,” “please,” and “I’m sorry” are easy, effective ways to demonstrate respect. Demonstrating courtesy when communicating should be mandatory in the workplace, as it benefits everyone involved in the communication.


Methods of Communication in an Organization: Overview




Stakeholder relationships thrive or fail based largely upon the quality of communication, no matter the type of organization. Because organizations are interdependent systems, a conversation between two people could have a far-reaching impact across an entire organization. The nature of communication in the organization is also a major determinant of management and employee satisfaction (Richmond, McCroskey & McCroskey, 2005).

Managers perform various roles that require effective communication, including negotiator, spokesperson, disseminator, and liaison (Mintzberg, 1973). Managers must be able to communicate well with employees. Effective communication between management and employees establishes clear expectations, builds trust, and boosts employee morale which results in increased confidence in the company (Richmond, et al, 2005). On average, managers spend 80% of their time communicating with others.

In today’s business environment, organizations have access to several communication methods which can be used both internally and externally. Communication within organizations takes different forms: face-to-face, discussion, letters, emails, etc. Generally, communication can be grouped into verbal, written and nonverbal methods of communication.