- What is written communication?
- Types of written communication
- The importance of communication in writing
- Advantages of written communication
- Tips to improve written communication skills.
Written communication is any form of communication that is presented in writing. It could be a formal or informal letter, an email, or any written message.
It is communicated through characters or symbols which is understood by the audience it is intended for.
Going back to the ancient world, written communication has been in use since the earliest man learned to communicate.
The earliest form of writing dates back to around 3200BC, in Mesopotamia, where symbols were engraved into puffed-up clay tablets.
These symbols were used as documentary proof of grain production and trade during that period. These symbols that were engraved, though not uniform, were understood by those for whom it was intended. That is the beauty of written communication skills.
Types of Written Communication
There are many types of written communication. If we consider ancient written communication, we would have to include writing and carvings on stone, rock, cave walls, clay moulds and papyrus leaves.
Coming to the modern era, written communication can take the form of formal or informal letters, emails, brochures, leaflets, advertisements, graphs and much more.
Whatever the type of written communication, the point is that it should be understood by the audience it is intended for.
Having good written communication skills is important, not only for students but also for working people.
Again, the types of written communication can be classified according to the tone of the communication.
Accordingly, written communication can be classified into three types:
1. Transactional Written Communication
This type of written communication refers to that communication that requires at least two people; the sender and the receiver.
This sender communicates to the receiver with the intention of receiving a response from the latter. It is two-way written communication.
2. Knowledge Communication
Knowledge communication refers to written communication that provides information to the audience, irrespective of whether the audience uses the information or not.
The intention is to make the audience aware. A perfect example of this kind of communication is an advertisement.
3. Directional Communication
This type of communication gives the receiver certain instructions to follow. A recipe or a map are examples of directional communication.
Notice that in all three types of communication, the main intention is to transfer information from one end to another and ensure that the receiver understands the communication.
Why Are Written Communication Skills Important in Today’s World?
Written communication skills are important, firstly because it is documented proof. Once a letter has been submitted it is evidence or proof of its existence. Therefore, having good written communication skills is important so that the right intention is put forth.
Let’s Look at Some More Aspects of The Importance of Written Communication
Written communication has intention and purpose. It is meant for the receiver to understand. It is important to have good written communication skills to enable the receiver to understand its purpose.
If the purpose of written communication is not communicated well, then it is very difficult to understand and may not serve the purpose.
Effective communication skills are important for students as well as the working population. The importance of communication skills can be seen during examinations for a student or instructional communication in an office.
For a student, writing clear answers that portray to the examiner his or her level of understanding of the concept, is very important.
The main intention of examinations is to ensure that students have understood the concepts taught in the classroom.
If a student has understood the concept but is unable to effectively communicate the same in writing, the student would necessarily lose marks.
Therefore, learning effective written communication skills are important for students
Similarly, in a workplace, instructional written communications are common. An officer may communicate to another, in writing, a list of jobs to be completed.
If this communication is not written well, the work will not be done accordingly and the work suffers. Here also, we can see the importance of written communication at the career level too.
Advanatages of Written Communication
Now that we know the importance of written communication skills, the advantages of written communication will follow. Possessing effective written communication skills has several advantages.
1. Eliminates the Need for Voice Modulation and Control
One of the main advantages of written communication is that, unlike oral or verbal communication, the communicator need not pay attention to voice tone, pitch, or sound.
Written communication eliminates the need for all these. However, keep in mind that the style of writing may at times affect the intention of the communication.
2. Chance to Edit
All written communication channels have a chance to be proofread many times before communicating it. This means there is less chance of any mistakes in the communication.
Whereas, in oral communication, something once said, is already heard and cannot be taken back.
Many live examples show the importance of written communication in this regard. Several eminent personalities like politicians and film stars are often quoted making controversial oral statements at open rallies or events.
These statements once made, become controversial, demanding apologies from the masses. Apologies are usually made in writing so that it goes on the record.
Thus, reiterating the fact that oral communication cannot be taken back, but written communication can be proofread before publication, thereby eliminating the chances of mistakes and errors.
3. Written Communication Is Not Lost
When we say written communication is not lost, we mean that written communication is always on the record. It could be in the form of emails, letters, memos, or advertisements.
Whatever the form of written communication, it is always there for revisits. You can always take up an old written communication and refer to it sometime in the future.
Written communications are almost permanent unless intentionally deleted by a party. This is also an important advantage of written communication.
4. Time on Hand
Another advantage of written communication is that the receiver has ample time to read the communication, think, analyse and then act on it. Unlike oral communication, which most of the time, requires immediate responses.
Apart from the receiver having ample time to respond to written communications, another advantage of written communication is that it saves time.
For example, you would like to send a communication to your colleagues reminding them of the meeting at 3 pm. In such a case, a simple SMS or email informing them of the same will serve the purpose.
In contrast, oral communication requires you to inform each one personally. This is time-consuming, unlike written communication which is fast and more effective.
5. Serves as A Reminder
Written communications are physical documents. Therefore, it serves as a reminder for those who have to act on the communication.
This is one of the benefits of written communication. For example, sending a written invitation to a friend for your birthday party is more effective than letting them know by word of mouth.
Written communication serves as a constant reminder, unlike oral communication that could be forgotten.
6. Written Communication Is More Effective
One of the benefits of written communication is that it is more effective than verbal communication. People are more likely to believe something that is written rather than something that was said.
7. Comfort Zone for Introverts
Introverts are more comfortable writing rather than communicating orally. It gives them the freedom to voice out their thoughts, which otherwise they might not have been able to do orally. Writing is the comfort zone for introverts.
Now that we have seen what are the benefits of written communication, let’s look at some ways to improve written communication skills so that it is more effective and productive.
Fantastic Tips to Improve Written Communication Skills
1. Legible Handwriting
If your written communication is a handwritten piece, it must be legible and easy to read. Having an illegibly written document will be difficult to read and may not be understood by the receiver.
Therefore, an important tip to improve written communication skills is to practice good handwriting.
2. Know Your Target Audience
One of the ways of improving written communication is to know your target audience. Age, type, occasion are all factors that determine your intention.
If you are communicating with a young crowd, remember to keep the piece modern and futuristic, at the same time simple to understand.
This way you can capture the attention of the audience. Different audiences demand different styles of writing- act accordingly.
The most important part of written communication is the language which you use. Written communication demands that a person knows the language well.
Writing in a language that you do not know may result in a different meaning altogether. Therefore, knowing the language before writing is an important tip for written communication.
Another method of how to improve written communication skills is to present them well. A lengthy written piece may not attract the attention of the reader.
Whereas a short, crisp, to-the-point article can capture the attention span of the reader.
When you write, it is the best way to talk without being interrupted. The beauty of written communication lies in the fact that it is one of the most effective methods of communication.
It brings out the true intent of the sender. This is because you can read and rewrite it many times before sending it. Also, it is read several times before the receiver responds to it.