Oral vs Written Communication
Communication is the process of transfer of information from one person to another. Whether in a work situation where we are following written instructions or instructions received verbally from our superior or in daily life where we continuously chatter with everyone who comes in contact with us, communication plays a dominant role in our lives. But we rarely pause to think about the differences between oral and written communication. This article attempts to highlight the differences between oral or verbal and written communication.
Oral communication refers to spoken words and thus is dependent upon the sense of hearing of others. It mostly takes place in a one to one situation where people are talking to each other face to face. Between friends, oral communication is casual, and choice of words is also very informal. In a sharp contrast, formal communication is when a teacher is explaining a topic in a subject to her students in a classroom or when a leader is making a speech. The choice of words and the toner and tenor of speaking make all the difference.
In oral communication, one can get immediate feedback and move forward in communication accordingly. There is no text in oral communication, and this means that one cannot use it as evidence against anyone else. There is always a limit or barrier to oral communication as one can speak to a limited number of people though technological advances have meant that a spoken message can be sent to millions of people through radio or television across the world. Oral communication does not need a person to be literate, and illiterate people can easily communicate with each other. Oral communication is fast and effective.
In daily life, as between husband and wife or mother and son, oral communication is sufficient and effective. But in a work situation or in formal circumstances, written communication is sometimes very important and effective.
The do’s and don’ts in a factory are clearly spelt out and written so that no employee can make an excuse of not knowing about the rules. Similarly, in a company, the decisions taken by the top management are always distributed among the employees in the form of a written text. The knowledge of students is mostly evaluated through written text though there are also practical classes.
Written communication requires understanding of the language on the part of the recipients. One good thing with written communication is that it can be kept as a record and hence can be used as evidence.
Oral vs Written Communication
• Much communication is non verbal, non written and is dependent upon non verbal cues given by the speaker. However, in daily lives, oral communication takes precedence over written communication.
• In formal situations such as a classroom or a business meet, written communication is more effective than oral communication, since authorities have to make sure that the message has gone across to all.
• It is not possible to make corrections after a speech has been made while, in case of written communication, it is possible to rewrite and edit a message understanding of written communication requires literacy. However, level of understanding can be increased by reading the text repeatedly which is not possible with oral communication
• Oral communication is remembered much less than written communication.