Difference Between Written Communication and Oral Communication (With Table)

Communication is the most important life skill. Efficient communication skills can help one to reach heights in almost every aspect of life. From personal relationships to formal meetings, communication acts as a significant part. Humans have been dependent on communicating with each other, either for any purpose or without any purpose. Written and oral communications are two types of communication forms.

Written Communication vs Oral Communication

The difference between written communication and oral communication is that the former one uses written words for communicating. But, the latter one uses spoken words for communicating. Written communication is more rigid and well-structured, but oral communication is flexible and loosely structured.

Written communication is generally used for formal purposes. The written message is expected to have correct grammar, spellings, structure, and form. Other than that, the text messages we share with our friends are more on the informal side of the continuum. The rigidity is a bit more flexible in informal settings.

In our everyday conversations, oral communication is used. Oral speeches are flexible and are allowed to have fillers, incorrect grammar, and a lack of structure. In formal settings, oral speeches can be very well structured and expressed, but still, there is a scope of fillers and instant modifications.

Comparison Table Between Written Communication and Oral Communication

Parameters of Comparison Written CommunicationOral Communication
Mode of communicationWritten wordsSpoken words
StructureWell-structures, minimal mistakesLoosely structured, allowed to make a few errors.
Permanence It can be preserved as proof.There is no record.
Access to the informationAnyone can have the write-up.The audience can be chosen by the speaker.
Feedback from the recipient DelayedInstant

What is Written Communication?

Written communication, as the name suggests, is a written form of communication. Written words are used while communicating with people. Messages, mails, letters, contracts are some examples of written communication.

While communicating formally in written form, the language is kept concise and legitimate. The written message or document can be used as proof. Also, it cannot be tampered with if the document is encrypted properly.

Generally, the goal of written communication is to communicate information to the audience. In formal scenarios, written communication helps deliver the ideas of one individual to the other one efficiently.

A written text is more permanent, and hence, it can be traced back as per requirements. For instance, a reader can look at this article again anytime, as per their requirement. Hence, the terms of a contract are communicated in written form so that it can be reread to interpret it.

However, there is a lack of secrecy in written communication. The person on the receiving end may circulate the written message to anyone.  

Moreover, there is limited scope for instant feedback. The intended recipient may reply or give their feedback in due course of time. Also, the written text must be comprehensible and well-structured so that the idea is delivered clearly to the recipient.

What is Oral Communication?

Oral communication implies that spoken words are used while communicating. It is widely used when people communicate with their friends, relatives, employees, and partners. It also includes speeches, presentations, lectures, and discussions.

Oral communications are more flexible. They are modified according to the listener’s level of comprehension. For instance, a PhD holder delivers speeches in an undergraduate college, according to the audience’s level.

Oral communication is especially efficient in resolving issues. There is scope for the recipient to give their feedback, advice, or concerns immediately. Decisions can be made instantly due to immediate replies from the other end.

Further, there is minimal scope for misunderstandings in oral communication. The speaker can choose their audience, and hence, the information is also safe. However, gossips are also a form of oral communication. Gossips can be easily spread because there is no record of the communication.

Oral communications are less organized and may lack essential information. Besides that, the speaker can digress from the intended topic, which may lead to wastage of time and energy.

The informal nature of oral communication can help in building interpersonal relationships. But it is not recommended to keep records of business meetings and contracts. Oral communications have comparatively less value in courts, and hence, it is recommended to keep a written record of formal matters.

Main Differences Between Written Communication and Oral Communication

  1. Written communications are based on written words, whereas oral communication functions on spoken words.
  2. Written communication is densely packed with information, but oral communication allows gaps and fillers to make the conversation lighter.  
  3. The written communication can be saved for the future, as proof or memory. On the other hand, there is no record of oral communication unless it is specifically recorded. 
  4. Written communication can be shared with anyone by the recipient without the knowledge of the sender. But, while communicating orally, the speaker can choose his/her audience.
  5. In written communication, there is little to no space for changing the final message. But, in oral communication, the speaker can modify his/her message even at the last moment.

Conclusion

Communication is probably the most basic yet necessary skill. An individual learns to communicate from a very young age and gradually hones his/her skill to become proficient.

Communication can be of various forms and types. Written and oral communication are the most dominating ones. Forms of written and oral communication can be easily spotted anywhere and everywhere. This article itself is a form of written communication.

Both oral and written communication can be formal or informal, as per the context. Formal speeches, business presentations, lectures, and ted talks are examples of oral communication in a formal scenario. However, our speech is not as formal while conversing with a well-known person.

Presenting your thought well, either via oral or written form, is the key takeaway. The difference between oral and written communication is major, but both are necessary skills. In almost every context, either of these types is involved.  

References

  1. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=hVBcAgAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PP1&dq=what+is+written+communication&ots=FaQoJX33ht&sig=NzXPggrYhoGJ57l5RwtAYZJEAwU
  2. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1540-4781.2006.00390.x
  3. https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED296333
  4. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/141f/9dfc25d4a9c3ee41119155253dff6fbc1e7f.pdf
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