Written Communication: Advantages and Disadvantages, Ways to Improve, and Principles

What is Written Communication?

This kind of communication involves any kind of exchange of information in written form. To put it simply, written language communication is communication by means of written symbols that is communicated by or to or between people or groups. Thus, written communication is the presentation of ideas or essays that make a clear point, supply details supporting that point and demonstrate unity and coherence of thought.

For example, e-mails, texts, letters, reports, SMS, posts on social media platforms, documents, handbooks, posters, flyers, etc. written communication requires careful consideration. Writing is a result of long practise and patience in learning. The written word is an indelible record of proceedings in a business environment and therefore needs to be carefully planned.



Ways to Improve Written Communication

When trying to get your point across to others in writing, here are some ways to improve written communication:

  1. Vocabulary, Spelling and Grammar
  2. Proof-Reading and Editing
  3. Brevity and Simplicity
  4. Logical Progression of Ideas
  5. Authenticity
  6. Confusing Language
  7. Poor Sentence Structure
  8. Information Overload

Vocabulary, Spelling and Grammar

Vocabulary, spelling and grammar these things do matter. A written document with a lot of spelling mistakes or grammatical errors loses credibility. It can look as if the writer doesn’t care about the quality of his or her work.

Proof-Reading and Editing

Few pieces of written work are born perfectly formed. Usually, you will need to read over a piece of writing a few times, making changes every time, to obtain a good quality finished product. If you can, it’s often a good idea to go away from a piece of writing for a few hours, days, or even weeks, so that you come back to it again with ‘fresh eyes.

Brevity and Simplicity

Try to get your written points across as simply and concisely as possible. As you gain writing experience and confidence, you can experiment with making your sentences and paragraphs more complex, but if in doubt, do keep it simple.

Logical Progression of Ideas

Most pieces of good writing – from the shortest email to the longest thesis – follow a very simple rule. This is that your written work should have a clear beginning or introduction, middle or main body, and end or conclusion.

Authenticity

Don’t pass other people’s written work or ideas off as your own – learn how to cite and reference other people’s work appropriately. Work on developing a fluid, personal writing style, and on finding your own voice.

Confusing Language

Confusing language means confusing words that can mislead the reader and cause communication breakdown or barriers between the writer and the reader. Some words are ambiguous, bombastic, vague, sexist, trendy, exaggerated, inflated and archaic.

Again, we must always remember to write to convey meaning in plain English. It is better to use the familiar word to the far-fetched, the concrete word to the abstract, the single word to the circumlocution and the short word to the long.

Poor Sentence Structure

Poor sentence structure relates to writing fragments instead of complete sentences and writing sentences that lack unity. Try to keep your sentence(s) short and compact to ensure that they are correct, logical and easy to read. Long, complicated sentences can be difficult to read and understand. Word order is important for meaning.

Information Overload

Information overload means giving too much information, hence, the reader becomes overwhelmed and confused. This may also cause frustration and cast doubts on the writer’s credibility. Therefore, as a writer, you must decide what sort of information is required in order to produce a clear, concise and relevant written work.


6 Principles of Written Communication

The following are the six principles of written communication:

  1. Clarity
  2. Completeness
  3. Conciseness
  4. Consideration
  5. Courtesy
  6. Correctness

Clarity

Written communication requires clarity of thought and clarity of expression like using simple words, active construction, avoiding ambiguity and Jargon, using simple sentences, etc.

Completeness

The writer needs to check the completeness of the message. He should verify whether all questions are answered in the message or not.

Conciseness

Conciseness is communicating complete information about the idea in a few words. Concise writing also involves being mindful of word choice. Brevity is very important for effective writing. The writer should include only relevant facts and avoid repetitions.

Consideration

This principle advocates that the writer should consider the reader in his writing. It is always better to emphasize positive and pleasant facts. The writings should reflect the integrity of the writer.

Courtesy

According to this principle, courtesy will be observed through promptness in writing and giving replies, avoidance of imitating expressions, sincere apology for an omission and generous thanks for a favour.

Correctness

According to this principle, the writer should give correct facts in the message. The message should be sent to the reader at the right time and in the correct style.

Written communication is accurate and serves as a permanent record. One can reach a large number of people through this media simultaneously. You can also fix responsibility to the people through this communication. However, written communication is much time consuming and more expensive when compared to oral communication.


Advantages and Disadvantages of Written Communication

These are the followings advantages and disadvantages of written communication:

  1. Advantages of Written Communication
  2. Disadvantages of Written Communication

Advantages of Written Communication

  1. Written communication helps in laying down apparent principles, policies and rules for running of an organization.
  2. It is a permanent means of communication. Thus, it is useful where record maintenance is required.
  3. It assists in proper delegation of responsibilities. While in case of oral communication, it is impossible to fix and delegate responsibilities on the grounds of speech as it can be taken back by the speaker or he may refuse to acknowledge.
  4. Written communication is more precise and explicit.
  5. Effective written communication develops and enhances an organization‘s image.
  6. It provides ready records and references.
  7. Legal defenses can depend upon written communication as it provides valid records.

Disadvantages of Written Communication

  1. Written communication does not save upon the costs. It costs huge in terms of stationery and the manpower employed in writing/typing and delivering letters.
  2. Also, if the receivers of the written message are separated by distance and if they need to clear their doubts, the response is not spontaneous.
  3. Effective written communication requires great skills and competencies in language and vocabulary use. Poor writing skills and quality have a negative impact on organization‘s reputation.
  4. Written communication is time-consuming as the feedback is not immediate. The encoding and sending of message takes time.
  5. Too much paper work and e-mails burden is involved.
  6. Written materials may be leaked prematurely or may fall in the wrong hands.

FAQ Section

What is written communication explained?

This kind of communication involves any kind of exchange of information in written form. To put it simply, written language communication is communication by means of written symbols that is communicated by or to or between people or groups. Thus, written communication is the presentation of ideas or essays that make a clear point, supply details supporting that point and demonstrate unity and coherence of thought.

Why do you want to improve your written communication?

Because of these reasons: letters, reports, SMS, posts on social media platforms, documents, handbooks, posters, flyers, etc. written communication requires careful consideration. Writing is a result of long practise and patience in learning. The written word is an indelible record of proceedings in a business environment and therefore needs to be carefully planned.

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