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Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Written and Spoken Communication

In my last post, "The Five Types of Communication in an Organization", i mentioned about the different methods of communication within an organization, be it structured or spontaneous.

No matter what category either structured or spontaneous, communication is either written or spoken.

Let us look at the various advantages and the disadvantages of written and spoken communication.

Written Communication

Some of the main advantages and disadvantages of written communication are:


- Written communication is good for complicated and vital instructions, which can be given in a precise and uniform manner.

- There is a lesser chance for the message to be misunderstood.

- Written instructions can be checked at a latter date. It serves as a useful reference.

- Authority is transmitted more effectively with a written order than with an oral one


- It is impersonal.

- People may not always read them.

- It does not answer questions and there is no immediate feedback.

Spoken Communication

Examples of spoken communication that is used in the workplace include conversations, interviews, counseling/helping colleagues, meetings, conferences


- Oral communication allows for immediate feedback such as the opportunity to ask questions when the meaning is not entirely clear.

- The sender is able to check and see whether if the instruction is clear or has created confusion.

- Spoken instructions are flexible and easily adaptable to many diverse situations.


- Poor presentation of the message or the instruction can result in misunderstanding and wrong responses.

- Spoken communication is influenced by both both verbal and non-verbal communication such as tone or body language which may skew the meaning of your message in the mind of the receiver.

If you have found this post useful, you might be interested in the following articles
1) The Three Different Levels of Listening
2) The Causes of Miscommunication in Daily Life
3) Conversation Tips
4) The Five Types of Communication in an Organisation
5) Understanding the Communication Process

You might also be interested in The McGraw-Hill 36-Hour Course in Business Writing and Communication: Manage Your Writing (36 Hour)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Five Types of Communication in an Organisation

In any organization, it is important to have open channels of communication, but how does information actually flow through an organization?

Generally in any organization, there are five ways in which communication can move around.

These five ways fall into two broad categories. They are: Structured and Spontaneous. Let us first look at the different types of structured communication in an organization.

1. Chain of Command:
Eg Directives from senior management to junior executives.

2. Written Word
Eg Circulars, memos, manuals, handbooks, bulletins, newsletters, publications, etc

3. Representative System:
Eg Trade union representation, meetings, discussions

On the other hand, spontaneous communication in an organization include

4. Informal Work Groups:
Eg Informal leaders, group norms, discussions

5. Gossip:
Get togethers (both inside and outside of work, recreation clubs, social gatherings)

Thus, it is obvious that communication is important, both in its structured as well as in its spontaneous form. All five ways are channels of communication in which communication can flow through an organization.

No matter what category, whether structured or spontaneous, communication is either written or spoken. In my next post, i will be examining the advantages and disadvantages of written and spoken communication respectively.

You might also be interested in
Quick Guide to the 16 Personality Types in Organizations: Understanding Personality Differences in the Workplace

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Learn to Wait

How do you handle bad news?

Do you handle the situation impulsively, go off into a flying rage, and shoot the messenger? Or do you step back and give yourself time to consider the situation analytically before you respond?

Bad news is often not as bad as it is initially perceived to be. People often react impulsively to bad news and make bad decisions based on their emotions.

How often has a loved one delivered disappointing news, and you proceed to unleash a barrage of emotional language onto the messenger?

Patience is important, and the lack of patience could be disastrous to your life and relationships. The simple act of allowing a little time to pass, can totally alter the situation, provide a solution to your problem and could even possibly render the entire situation trivial or meaningless.

Possible confrontations can be diffused and new perspectives gained. Indeed, a lot can be gained, simply by allowing yourself to step back and size up the situation impassively.

Here is a song by Take That, to remind you to "Have a little Patience..."

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Four Objectives of Communication Part 3

In my previous posts, we looked at the Fundamental Four Purposes of Communication.

1. To Be Understood
2. To Be Accepted
3. To Get Something Done
4. To Understand Others

Now finally, we will be looking at our last communication objective, understanding others.

Understanding others is an important aspect of communication.

To communicate successfully, you will have to know a lot about the person whom you are talking to, what they are like, what sort of approach they would like the most or what ideas might they have in mind... etc

You can come closest to this by studying the other person and by encouraging him or her to communicate with you, by being consistently friendly and approachable.

So, to recap all the points mentioned previously, we've established that communication will affect how well you've succeed. Hence, it is important to be proficient in the aspects of communication and to understand the four objectives of communication.

1. To Be Understood - This means to communicate something across to someone else so that he or she knows exactly what you mean. This could be facts, intentions or even feelings.

Words and ideas which seem so clear by themselves... can be understood in many different ways by different people.

Hence, it is important to be mindful about this fact, and take that extra effort to consider your audience and clarify your position if necessary.

2. To Be Accepted - It means to get people to agree with you, or at least to listen to you seriously.

Many things block acceptance, and these may include distrust, lack of empathy or even an upset state of mind.

3. To Get Something Done - Getting action involves more than simply "asking" or "telling". When we use a machine, all we have to do is to push a button. With people, you will generally need to explain, to convince and to follow up.

4. To Understand Others - Understanding others is an important aspect in successful communication. You can achieve this by being constantly friendly and approachable, offer encouragement and by studying the other person.

If i could sum up all of the above in one sentence, it would be, "Good communication skills require dedication and effort on your part!"

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: "Good manners are made up of petty sacrifices." Well, good communication skills are also made up of petty sacrifices. Take the time and effort to be other oriented and communicate better today!