Communication is the act of exchanging and sharing information from one person to another or a group of people. Sharing clear, concise, and precise information is possible through effective communication skills. Therefore, communication skill is an essential skill that one must possess.
Communication is carried out through different means and is of different types like verbal, non-verbal, visual, and written. Just like verbal communication, having good written communication skills is also important.
To help you understand written communication in a better way, we are going to cover various aspects of this topic in detail.
Written communication: Definition explored
Written communication is sharing information through written words. It is a formal communication method acceptable in a court of law.
Written communication involves the use of words along with the correct punctuations and grammar to convey your point. The written information can be on paper like letters, memos, etc., or shared electronically through emails, instant messages, and so on.
Effectively communicating the correct information is crucial for everyone. More so for students who must use their writing skills for projects, presentations, and exams. It is also vital for professionals and businesses to convey messages to each other and their customers.
Types of written communication
Depending on the purpose or intent of communication, written communication can be divided into five different types-
The main goal of informational written communication is to share information on a particular topic with the target reader. Informational writing usually does not require a response or action from the person reading the material. The language used for informative content must be direct for better understanding. Informational pieces are often elaborate and cover a large amount of content. Examples of informational writing include –
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
The purpose of persuasive writing is to provide information and encourage the reader to respond. This style of writing offers a solution to a reader’s problem, motivating them to take action after going through the written text. Persuasive communication is usually used for advertisements and cold emails telling the reader why a product or service is good and ways it can benefit them. The language used for writing persuasive content can be a little pushy to encourage people to make a purchase. Examples of persuasive communication are –
Instructional communication is used when you need to provide specific instructions on a particular subject. Instructional material is often a step-by-step guide to help the reader understand what must be done to complete a task. A reader can use instructional communication to perform a job simultaneously.
When writing instructional text, one must use short, simple sentences that are easy to comprehend. The topic must be covered precisely, from basics to advanced instructions, to aid readers of various levels of understanding. Examples of instructional writing include –
- Instructional memos
This type of communication is used on a day-to-day basis. Transactional communication requires the reader to take action or give a response after going through the message. The message sent in the form of transactional content is usually short and straightforward. Some examples of transactional written communication are –
- Instant messages
- Short memos
Texts that fall into this category are written to provide the reader with knowledge and help them arrive at a decision. Advisory write-ups are balanced compared to persuasive texts. They suggest a few options that may help readers decide what is suitable for them. One can often find written advice in –
- Magazine articles
- Blog posts
Pros & cons of written communication
- Any written communication is an authoritative document that serves as evidence in case of a legal dispute.
- It is easy to understand and can be referred to if things are not clear in the first instance.
- Written communication is accepted worldwide as a formal way of conveying a message.
- It serves as an effective means of communication when you must reach the masses to spread your message.
- A written text is a permanent record that one can preserve for many years for future reference.
- One can revise a written document multiple times until it is perfect before sending it out to the reader.
- In business settings, only written communication serves as a means to delegate authority. No other ways of communication are considered relevant unless mentioned in written form.
- Written communication can be presented well, enhancing a person’s or organization’s image.
- Written communication requires resources such as pen, paper, typewriter, or computer. Without these resources, one cannot write and communicate with others.
- Written communication requires more time than verbal communication in writing and sharing information. It also costs some time for the reader to understand what’s been conveyed.
- Only people who know how to write and read can use written communication. Therefore, it is not suitable for illiterate people.
- Anyone can access written communication, so maintaining secrecy becomes a tough task.
- When a message is conveyed through written communication, it takes longer to receive a response.
- Archiving written communication costs money.
- There is no personal contact between the people who send and receive written communication and therefore lacks the personal touch.
- Written communication is of no use in case of emergencies.
- It requires proficiency, and people lacking it may find written communication difficult.
- A reader can wrongly interpret written communication.
Difficulties faced in written communication
Communicating effectively through written communication requires knowledge of the language and how to use it to deliver the right message. Students and professionals are the people who use written communication daily. Whether writing an email or indulging in creative writing, many face difficulties in doing it appropriately. The most common challenges faced in written communication are –
1. Deciding the right voice
The tone of the message and the types of words used decide the voice of communication. It could be formal, informal, casual, intimate, or static, like in the Bible and Bhagavad Gita. People often find it difficult to decide which voice they should use for writing different types of topics.
2. Grammar and punctuation usage
Writing requires you to follow grammar and punctuation rules strictly. A person with poor skill sets in these areas will find written communication difficult. It is significant for students as their academic scores depend on it and for professionals who cannot afford to make mistakes in a business setting.
3. Requires more thought
Unlike spoken communication, written communication needs more effort from the writer to think and decide how the message must be conveyed. Before writing for an intended audience, one must figure out how to write so that readers do not have difficulty understanding the content. The writer must therefore put in more thought before writing the content.
4. Higher expectations
Reader expectations are higher while going through written communication. They want the information to be helpful and in detail. Plus, the content must be well-written and easy to understand. Verbal communication allows for mistakes, while written communication does not.
Resources to help you improve your written skills
There are many resources available to help you get better at communicating effectively. Some are paid resources, while some are free to use. Here we share with you a few resources to get started.
- Online Games – Games are a great way to practice and improve your command of the language. Online games to learn punctuation and grammar are readily available and can help you enhance your written communication.
- Worksheets – You can practice different types of worksheets to get better at communicating. Phonics worksheets help improve your spelling and improve word formation. Whereas, brainstorming worksheets allow you to work on your ideas before you start writing.
- Books – Books are a valuable resource when you want to master a language and learn to communicate well. Choose a book that’s easy to understand and prepares you to communicate confidently.
- YouTube Channels – In this modern age, YouTube has proved to be a boon for learners. Many YouTube channels are available to learn English grammar. All you need is the internet and a device to begin your practice.
- Activities – Performing language-related activities are good for practicing what you have learned theoretically. For example, you can do homophone activities to refine your knowledge of the topic. Activities can vastly improve your written communication if taken up regularly.
Strategies to boost your written communication
1. Prepare an outline
Creating an outline before writing, especially for longer pieces of information, helps in organizing your thoughts before you start writing. It ensures that you cover all the main points and present them in a logical order.
2. Decide your voice
Your voice should match the message you are writing. For example, you must use a formal tone when writing a proposal or a report. In contrast, you can use an informal style for writing a personal message. Decide your tone beforehand and stick to it till the end.
3. Have a clearly defined goal
Every written communication is backed by a purpose. You may have to share a piece of information or want your readers to respond to a message. Depending on your goal, write your copy. Your written communication will be clear and concise if you know what your goal is when writing something.
4. Use simple words and short sentences
Simple words and short sentences are reader-friendly and easy to comprehend. Avoid using complex words and jargon, which are tricky to understand and make reading not so fun. Use creative writing topics to practice writing simple yet engaging content.
5. Stick to your topic
Avoid straying from the topic and sharing irrelevant information. The reader may lose interest or get confused if the statements are unrelated and complicated.
6. Format for easy reading
Avoid lengthy paragraphs and use proper spacing between two paragraphs for better readability. You can also use bullet points and relevant subheadings to make it easy for the reader to go through the text.
7. Use active voice
Sentences written in active voice are simple and easy to understand because active voice requires fewer words. Readers connect better when the communication is written in an active voice. So, say “They will clean the house” instead of “The house will be cleaned by them.” To get more ideas on using active voice, read books often to get the hang of it.
8. Proofread and revise
Proofreading the written text is as important as writing it. So, once you finish writing, take a break for some time before returning to read the write-up. Look for typos and poorly framed sentences and revise wherever required. Wrong words can entirely change the meaning of a sentence. So don’t forget to proofread before sharing it with others.
Written communication not only requires language awareness but also needs you to have good handwriting for on-paper written communication and a good typing speed for online communication. Working on these areas and using the above strategies can vastly improve your written communication.
Proper communication skills can help you excel academically and build a strong foundation for professional life. Therefore, one must put in efforts to master this skill to enrich their life and communicate effectively to create a lasting impression.