We explain what is written communication and what are its main characteristics. Its importance, elements, advantages and disadvantages.
What is written communication?
Written communication is a mode of transmission in which the sender elaborates his message without having to coincide spatially and temporally with his receiver when doing so. In fact, that effective coincidence is not even necessary. The proper subject of this communication is the human being.
Written communication accurately encodes spoken language, in this sense, there is a link between orality and writing, but written communication has particular features with respect to the use of language, far from being a mere “substitute” for oral transmission.
Characteristics of written communication
Description: They can be people, places or actions, it is the image made with words. It is to represent an object so that the person who reads it is able to reproduce it in his mind.
Narration: It is the story of one or several events ordered taking on a meaning of their own. Narrating is telling, relating actions, connecting situations. Your order can be chronological where the facts are presented in the same order as they happened or climatic where they are presented as the author wants.
Argumentation: It is a more elaborate discourse, the value judgments that are held on a topic. The writer persuades the reader about the point of view.
Exposure: It is information presented in a simple way but does not emit value judgments from the issuer. It is the opposite of argumentation.
It is needed to achieve clarity, objectivity and concreteness. For all information to be complete you have to answer these questions:
- What? (the event).
- Who? (the person the communication talks about).
- How? (the way events unfold).
- Where? (the place of the scene).
- When? (weather).
- Why? (explanation of cause).
Advantages and disadvantages
- It has permanence, the information can be reused.
- Before writing a document you have the possibility to think, reflect, define and rewrite what you want to say.
- The information is recorded.
- It is a source of consultation.
- There is no immediate feedback. It is the main difference between written and oral communication.
- It originates a lot of printed material.
- There is no person who explains its content as in a conversation, there may be a misinterpretation of the message that was intended to be given.
- It can encourage isolation.
This form of communication always requires a means. Today we could talk about physical and virtual media. Among the valid written communication formats we can mention:
Epistolar format: It already existed among the ancients. At present we recognize, for example, the commercial letter (means for the sale, request for information, advertising, etc.) of the business sector.
Journalistic format: Characteristic of our mass culture, represented by the newspaper, which does not contemplate a single receiver but a multitude to which it transmits news with the use of a simple lexicon.
Literary format: It is not addressed to any particular recipient but is distinguished by a rich and imaginative handling of language.
Memorandum: Communicates administrative matters to institutions, governments and companies.
Instructional format: Referred to a set of rules, such as payment instructions and regulations.
Academic format: Linked to a comprehensive and disciplined exhibition mode, among others.
Spelling and grammar rules
As for orthographic rules, accents, commas and punctuation marks are used for the correct writing of the text and the correct formation of the different words that form it. Hence, there are organisms, such as the RAE, that are responsible for creating writing standards to create a common system. Thanks to these institutions it has been possible to create this common framework and share a culture and standards among all.
Grammatical rules are basic when it comes to understanding the text. The correct formation of the sentences, the verb tenses or the order of the words would be within this characteristic. It is essential to pay close attention to grammar rules if we want to create a quality text.
It is not the same to write a children’s text as a technical text about the functioning of the human brain. Therefore, we must always adapt the vocabulary used in our texts to the context and the recipient.
Cohesion of ideas
Within a single text or writing, a large number of ideas will appear that sometimes have little to do with each other. That will be our mission to give cohesion and unite themes so that they form a single general theme.
Connection between paragraphs
The writings are formed by paragraphs, sometimes by many on other occasions by a few, but there must always be a connection between them. If in a paragraph we speak of an idea, in the next we must make some reference to it to demonstrate that both parts of our text speak of the same thing.
Clarity and order
We should not create texts that are not clear and is that the reader will not have anyone to ask their doubts about the text we have written, so we should facilitate the compressive task of our reader. By facilitating the reader, creating simple and clear texts, we will help the reader to understand the idea we wanted to convey with our writing.
Also, if our text lacks order, it will not make sense or be understood. That is why it is essential that all writings have a logical order from the beginning to the end, while respecting the rest of the rules.
Very much related to the previous characteristic, logic appears. And it is that if the writings lack logic, the readers will not be able to understand neither their message nor their meaning and our text will become a set of words without logic or value for almost anyone.
As we discussed in the introduction, the permanent character of the writings is a differentiating feature of this type of communication from other communications, such as oral communication. A writing is premamámente, eternal, remains exactly the same over time, without possibility of modification.
Unilateral relationship between the sender and receiver
There is no space for the reader’s reply in written communication. The author writes his text and the reader can say, but never directly or instantly with the author of it. It is one of the most important characteristics of written communication.