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- Written materials may become outdated.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 .