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Written Versus Oral Messages

Let us consider the advantages of written versus oral messages.


Written communications have certain advantages: They can be retained as legal records; they are often more carefully formulated than oral communications; and they can sometimes save time and money. They are used for mountainous paper work concerning translations, proposals, and agreements; corporate charters and other legal documents; bulletins, memoranda, contracts and claims; advertising and public relations announcements and press releases; policy statements and procedure; manuals, authority delegations and job descriptions; and many other things. Often their use is a matter of the communicators preference.

There are also disadvantages to written communications. Although the writer has the opportunity to be carefully accurate in composing his message, he often fails in this and dictates so hastily that the message is not understandable to the reader.

Because particularly in large enterprises - there exist opportunities for shifting blame to others and also for taking underserved credit, people respond by keeping voluminous written documentation as a means of defense or attack. Unfortunate as this situation may be, it is a fact of corporative life, and expensive. Since it may cost an enterprise from $12 to $15 to write a letter or issue a check and millions of dollars to write a proposal for government contract, grossly unnecessary paper work may even bankrupt a firm.

Retention for legal purposes

Every enterprise is required to retain particular information for various periods of time. It also elects to retain certain data to protect itself against charges, claims, and lawsuits that normally burden every concern. Examples include property titles, contracts, financial records, charters, and the minutes of boards of directors meetings. The advantage of retention is often obvious, but there are numerous occasions in which retention for legal purposes is unnecessary and duplicative. However, managers can develop sensible standard practices in regard to retention if they put their mind to it.


The chief advantage of oral communication is its potentiality for speedy and complete interchange. Questions can be asked and answered at once. The speaker is forced into direct contact with the listener and challenged to make himself understood. Unfortunately, for one reason or another, many listeners fail to ask the right questions and are left with inadequate or garbled () information which can result in costly error.

Furthermore, oral communication does not always save time, as anyone who has observed the lavish expenditure of conference time knows. And when each committee member may be costing from $25 to $50 per hour, face-to-face group communication is hardly economical either.


Topic #10

Date: 2015-02-16; view: 664

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