When exchange of opinions is in a written form, rather than by spoken words, it is known as written communication. It includes letters, memos, reports, proposals, notices, minutes, circulars, manuals, newsletters and journals. It is a medium to make an information process which is being used in some writing process.
It is an interesting and creative part of the overall communication system. In this form, the ideas, feelings and expressions can be possible easily. It may be used for developing a substitute part of oral and written communication.
When exchange of opinions is in a written form, rather than by spoken words, it is known as written communication. It includes letters, memos, reports, proposals, notices, minutes, circulars, manuals, newsletters and journals.
It is a medium to make an information process which is being used in some writing process.
It is an interesting and creative part of the overall communication system. In this form, the ideas, feelings and expressions can be possible easily. It may be used for developing a substitute part of oral and written communication.
Principle of Written Communication
The basic principles of some worthwhile guidelines for making a better and effective written communication are given here:
- The written message must be reliable and authentic,
- The contents must be appropriate and situation based,
- The contents must be able to make a documentary proofs as well as for future references,
- The message must be in perspective and develop the suggestive aspects within the communication scenario,
- The message must be clear and cover all the needful aspects of the content,
- The message must develop the credit and cooperative behaviour of the writer,
- The message must develop and prepare its contents for effective manner towards transmitting in the computer network.
- The writer must follow as much as the guidelines for grammar & language formation.
Features of Written Communication
Following are the essential features of the written communication:
- Power or Emphasis
Unity in written communication involves three principles. At the outset the individual sentences must be unified. That means the whole message should concentrate only on one central idea.
In writing one must be direct, simple, brief and clear. A short sentence in simple direct form is always advisable. Further, proper attention must be given towards punctuation and grammatical rules.
Further, it is required that the sentences in each paragraph must relate to the central theme of the message and all possible steps should be taken so that the receiver of the message will read the full message without hesitation.
In written communication coherence plays a vital role. Here the facts must be stated in an intelligent manner. Coherence ensures clarity in communication which is highly required in written communication.
Several ideas and facts on one main topic, logical sequence as well as connection must be set up between sentences in a paragraph and between several paragraphs.
Further, adequate steps should be taken to give effect to smooth flow, lucidity and transitions. No room should be left for the receiver to misinterpret, misread or misspell the message of the transmitter.
3. Power or Emphasis:
The transmitter of the written communication has to pay adequate attention to his thoughts. Emphasis should be given, on use of figures, phrases and arrangement of paragraphs. Proper use and application of punctuation, question mark, full stop etc. must be used at appropriate places.
The transmitter of written communication has to be very careful on the following factors:
- Care must be taken that important facts must not be omitted.
- There must not be any discrepancy between the fact and the opinion.
- Relevant details must be included.
- Long and complicated sentences with incorrect uses of grammar must be avoided.
- There must be perfect clarity to the central point or theme.
- A written communication requires some creative knowledge which can multiply the efficiency of the message.
- Written message is to be well thought out as the writer gets much more time to think before writing.
- Each and every fact must be properly maintained with proper data in the written message as it acts as a vehicle of defense when the conflicts arise.
Generally written communication is used when impersonality is in order and when idea reliability and validity are important for greater stability and accuracy. Also when the speaker is not comfortable in oral communication and when crucial decisions are to be considered to avoid ambiguity and misunderstanding.
Further, written communication is very useful when the idea verification or authentication is important for managerial control and the ideas need to be stored and retrieved for future reference.
Objectives of Written Communication
Written communications have an objective or are intended to achieve or “do” something. The objectives may be to:
- Develop goodwill
Characteristic of Written Communication
Characteristics of written communication are given here:
(i) It has a permanent feature to maintain records for future references;
(ii) Written communication requires much more time than oral communication;
(iii) It provides reliabilities and acceptability in its message and contents;
(iv) The efficient and reliable presentation is more or less depends upon the acceptability and intentions of readers of the written message;
(v) Written communication can build up the image and goodwill of the concern;
(vi) It shows the views, outlooks, thoughts and ideas of the writers.
Key Behaviour of Written Communication
- Uses correct grammar, spelling and punctuation.
- Express ideas so that readers can understand.
- Organises communication logically.
- Adjusts the style, format and content of communication to the level of the reader.
- Presents data accurately to support conclusions and recommendations.
- Knows when written communication should be used rather than oral communication.
- Send communication to the appropriate parties.
- Ask for help from others in reviewing important documents.
Guidelines for Improved Writing
Effective written communication takes time and skill. For business purposes managers must develop their message clearly and effectively if they want to be successful. Poorly written messages create confusion or fail to achieve the intended objective.
Some of the guidelines are mentioned below for improved writing:
- One should be clear about his goal and communicate it.
- One should explain clearly what he wants the receiver to do.
- One should explain the benefits for responding to the message.
- One should establish credibility and show respect for the reader.
- One should choose an appropriate communication method.
- One should write his message in a simple manner without using buzzwords.
- One should write in an active voice only.
- The message should be interesting and always in favour of the reader’s interest.
- One should always use new and better technology for writing.
- One should be tactful in writing.
- One should avoid common English errors and for this one should improve his English writing efficiency.
In written communication, how one can speak frequently is as important as what he speaks. Unfortunately too often we focus only on the “what” of the document.
They forget that if their message is not clearly stated in a way that encourages the reader to understand and accept that message, the document is no more than a waste paper. There are a number of things one should consider while sending a written message.
Tips for Enhancing your Written Communication
Every organization wants to achieve a well-defined goal. To achieve this, every member of the organization is trying to perform their assigned work successfully and for this a well-defined communication system is required.
As a part of the communication process the written communication has maintained its superiority as compared to any other form of communication system. Therefore, it is highly required that each and every organization has to maintain a good written communication.
Following tips should be followed by the members of each and every organisation for enhancing good written communication:
- The transmitter of the written message must see that each and every sentence of the message conveys the basic theme of the message.
- The message must be conveyed directly, the language must be simple, and the fact must be brief and clear.
- One should be very careful in using jargon.
- Attention must be given to punctuation, full stop, semicolon etc. so that message can be well understood. Sometimes wrong use of this English use may change the basic theme of the message.
- It is desired that one must try to frame the message precisely with all possible reference so that the message can be identified instantly.
- Coherence is one of the very important usages in written communication as it brings smoothness in the information. Here the facts are stated in an intelligent manner.
- No room should be left for the receiver for doubt and misunderstanding.
- Logical stepping and connection between the sentences and paragraph must be maintained for making the message more effective.
- The sender has to pay adequate attention and emphasis on thought.
- Figures, phases and words must be arranged skillfully. Application of colon, question mark, full stop should not be overlooked.
Use of Written Communication
Written communication can be useful in the following situations:
(i) When the message is of permanent nature.
(ii) When the receiver happens to be at a different and distant place.
(iii) When the message is long.
(iv) When the message contains figures and diagrams.
(v) When it is almost impossible to make the message understandable orally.
Advantages of Written Communication
- Written communication can be well thought out and organised to convey the message in a more precise and explicit manner.
- It can be erased, revised, rewritten and edited before it is dispatched. Hence it is possible to take away emotions, biases and negative inputs.
- It is effective as a standalone medium.
- It can be targeted to reach specific individuals or parties.
- Written communication helps in laying down the principles, policies and rules for running of an organisation.
- It can be stored and reproduced.
- It is a permanent record of communication. Thus, it is useful where record maintenance is required. It is accepted as evidence in the courts of law.
- It assists in proper delegation of responsibilities. In the case of oral communication, it is impossible to fix and delegate responsibilities as the speaker can take back the words or deny having said anything.
Spoken words can be forgotten and cannot be retrieved. Hence, oral communication is not valid for taking decisions or instructing subordinates.
- Effective written communication develops and enhances an organisation’s image.
- It can be cost effective, as it can be reproduced using appropriate technology and distributed to a large number of parties. With the Internet, it is faster and cheaper to communicate with a large number of parties and get feedback.
Disadvantages of Written Communication
There is no doubt that the written form of communication is used widely in each and every organization. The only reason is, its advantages overcome its disadvantages.
However, written communication also has certain disadvantages which the transmitter of the message must know and accordingly work. Otherwise a sense of frustration in the mind of the transmitter may come due to wrong feedback.
Some of the disadvantages are:
- In the written form of communication, wherein impressions and reactions are exchanged instantaneously, the sender of written communication does not generally receive immediate feedback to his/her message.
- Written messages often take more time to compose because more information is to be packed for better understanding of the message to the receiver.
- Written communication is a costly process in terms of stationary use and use of human resources.
- This form of communication can only be possible where the sender has language efficiency and ability of good writing.
- If there is any doubt in the message for clarification, it cannot be possible to clarify immediately.
- In a technology world when organizations were thinking to reduce the paperwork burden, the written communication does not fulfill this aspiration due to the involvement of large paper work.
In spite of the above difficulties, every organization is in favour of the use of a written form of communication as it is more reliable and can be produced as and when required.
Merits of Written Communication
(i) It is a Permanent Record:
Written communication becomes a permanent record of the organisation and can prove very useful for future reference. Old orders and decisions can serve as precedents for fresh decisions. Previous years’ reports are found beneficial for formulating new policies and fixing current targets.
(ii) It is a Legal Document:
Written communication is acceptable as a legal document. That is why some executives think that even if some messages have been transmitted orally, they should later be confirmed in writing.
(iii) It is Accurate and Precise:
Written communication is usually formulated with great care. The very prospect of writing makes a person conscious. He gives a serious thought to his ideas and tries to organise them.
Since written communication is open to verification, and its authenticity can be easily challenged, the communicator has to be accurate and factual. Therefore, in written communication, there is an insistence on greater accuracy and precision.
(iv) It can be Repeatedly Referred To:
The receiver of a written communication can go through the message again and again. He can read and re-read it till he thinks he has properly understood it. Besides, there is less danger of losing any part of the message. An oral message is given just once.
Even if it is not properly understood, the receiver does not request for its repetition, for he is afraid that it might adversely reflect upon his own competence. It is also possible that some vital part of the message may be mixed through or eliminated.
(v) It has a Wide Access:
Communication media having become very fast, written communication enjoys a wide access. If the communicator and the receiver are far removed from each other, written communication sent through post is the cheapest mode and may be the only available means of communication between them.
(vi) It Facilitates in Assigning the Responsibilities:
If communication is preserved in writing, it is much easier to assign responsibilities. In case a mistake is committed as a result of oral communication, it is very difficult to ascertain whether the mistake has been committed at the communicator’s end or the receiver’s end.
Managers may sometimes have a tendency to lower staff feels more secure when it receives orders in writing.
Demerits of Written Communication
(i) Written communication runs the risk of becoming ineffective in the hands of people otherwise good in their job, but poor in expression. That is why it is a serious concern of a modern organisation to recruit people who are very good in expression, especially in letter and report writing ability.
(ii) Written communication creates mountains of paper cluttered around the premises of the organisation. It is a common sight in offices, and the staff has a tough time trying to handle it. Very often valuable papers get lost. The managers, therefore, have to be extra careful to keep sensitive material in his own custody.
(iii) By the same logic it is costly in terms of the man-hours lost in taking dictation, typing, entering in the diary, despatching, etc. The same job can be done more efficiently and expeditiously by harnessing modern technology.
(iv) Written communication is also a costly process. It costs a lot in terms of stationery and the number of people involved in typing and sending out letters.
(v) Written communication has another disadvantage. If the receiver of a written message at a distance seeks some clarification, he cannot have it as quickly as he would like to. He will have to write back and wait for the reply to his query. Immediate clarification is not possible in exchange of written communication.
(vi) Written communication is mostly handicapped by its inability to get immediate feedback. Both encoding and transmission of the message take time, resulting in immediate delays. It is, therefore, a time-consuming process.
Limitation of Written Communication
Despite being accurate and permanent; written communication has some limitations too:
1. One of the major limitations of written communication is that it is time-consuming. Accordingly, the feedback also takes time.
2. Once it leaves the sender, he has no control over its progress. Only when he receives the response will he know the effect of his communication.
3. Expressions and feelings cannot be conveyed through written communication as effectively as oral communication.
4. Written communication is not accessible to those who are illiterate.
5. Good writing skills are necessary or else written communication will not convey the message as it is intended to be.
6. In case the receiver of a written communication has certain doubts or questions about the message, he cannot seek immediate clarification as is possible in oral messages.
Features of Effective Written Communication
The communication must be complete. It should convey all facts required by the audience. The sender of the message must take into consideration the receiver’s mind set and convey the message accordingly.
A complete communication has following features:
- Complete communication develops and enhances the reputation of an organization.
- Moreover, they are cost saving as no crucial information is missing and no additional cost is incurred in conveying extra messages if the communication is complete.
- A complete communication always gives additional information wherever required. It leaves no questions in the mind of the receiver.
- Complete communication helps in better decision-making by the audience/ readers/ receivers of message as they get all desired and crucial information.
- It persuades the audience.
Conciseness means controlling the number of words, i.e., completeness and communicating what you want to convey in least possible words with-out forgoing the other C’s of communication. Conciseness is a necessity for effective communication.
Concise communication has following features:
- It is both time-saving as well as cost-saving.
- It underlines and highlights the main message as it avoids using excessive and needless words.
- Concise communication provides short and essential messages in limited words to the audience.
- Concise message is more appealing and comprehensible to the audience.
- Concise message is non-repetitive in nature.
Consideration implies “stepping into the shoes of others”. Effective communication must take the audience into consideration, i.e., the audience’s view points, background, mind-set, education level, etc. Make an attempt to envisage your audience, their requirements, emotions as well as problems.
Ensure that the self-respect of the audience is maintained and their emotions are not at harm. Modify your words in the message to suit the audience’s needs while making your message complete.
Features of considerate communication are as follows:
- Emphasize on the “you” approach.
- Empathize with the audience and exhibit interest in the audience. This will stimulate a positive reaction from the audience.
- Show optimism towards your audience. Emphasize on “what is possible” rather than “what is impossible”. Lay stress on positive words such as jovial, committed, thanks, warm, healthy, help, etc.
Clarity implies emphasizing on a specific message or goal at a time, rather than trying to achieve too much at once.
Clarity in communication has following features:
- It makes understanding easier.
- Complete clarity of thoughts and ideas enhances the meaning of the message.
- Clear message makes use of exact, appropriate and concrete words.
Concrete communication implies being particular and clear rather than fuzzy and general. Concreteness strengthens confidence.
Concrete message has following features:
- It is supported with specific facts and figures.
- It makes use of words that are clear and that build the reputation.
- Concrete messages are not misinterpreted.
Courtesy in message implies the message should show the sender’s expression as well as should respect the receiver. The sender of the message should be sincerely polite, judicious, reflective and enthusiastic.
Courteous message has following features:
- Courtesy implies taking into consideration both viewpoints as well as feelings of the receiver of the message.
- Courteous message is positive and focused on the audience.
- It makes use of terms showing respect for the receiver of the message.
- It is not at all biased.
Correctness in communication implies that there are no grammatical errors in communication.
Correct communication has following features:
- The message is exact, correct and well-timed.
- If the communication is correct, it boosts up the confidence level.
- Correct message has a greater impact on the audience/ readers.
- It checks for the precision and accurateness of facts and figures used in the message.
- It makes use of appropriate and correct language in the message.
Benefits of Writing Effectively
There are many reasons why you should know how to write effectively in business:
1. Your value to the organization will be greatly enhanced which often means more progress.
2. Competent writers are not so plentiful and those who write well stand out from the rest.
3. Those who can compose effective business letters make new friends and keep old ones for the organization, thereby increasing sales and profits, which all businesses need for survival.
4. Good writing helps demonstrate leadership skills. Company heads can shape the future of their organizations and inspire employees.
5. Through a well written document, senior level supervisors can explain complex sales and strategies to their subordinates. In short, through a well written document seniors can show their subordinates that:
- They; understand all aspects of the problem and can clearly convey them.
- They understand how the problem affects various people and departments.
- They thought about potential solutions and can explain options clearly.
- They know what steps different people should take and when they should take them.
6. Similarly, by writing effectively subordinates can also convey to their superiors their understanding and analysis of the situation as well as suggest solutions.
Methods or Means of Written Communication
Written communication has a wide area and it is used for many purposes.
The methods or means of written communication are being discussed here:
1. Letters – Letters are the most widely and comprehensively used form and means of written communication. They are commonly used particularly for external communication. A letter has an objective based layout which has to be carefully prepared as each part of the layout is needed for reference.
Overall subject matter of a letter has not only given some message, but it shows the credit or goodwill of the concern. It may be sent by mail, courier, fax and email etc.
2. Memo – Memo is usually an informal message between members of the same organisation and generally relates to daily work. It is used to convey information and instructions with brief messages.
There are normally used pads of memo and preprinted formatted papers for exchange of short messages. A memo may or may not be signed and it can be personalised for top executives.
3. Notice – A notice is used when many people have to be given the same information in the organisation. It is the most popular and common method for mass communication within an organisation. A notice can be put on notice boards to develop a wide range of interaction.
4. Circular – A circular is a detailed document giving information, instructions, guidelines or orders on a specific matter. It has a date for reference, proper title and is signed by the authorised person. Circulars are generally issued by official bodies and heads of the organisations. They are sent by mail or fax or e-mail or with persons also.
5. Report – A report is a detailed document prepared by an individual or a committee entrusted with the task of collecting information on a given subject.
It requires careful research, collection of data and presentation of the findings, conclusions and recommendations. Reports are of varying length and may be in a wide size as per its matter involved in it.
6. Minutes – Minutes are the written record of decisions taken at a meeting. Different bodies have their own convention of recording the discussion and the decisions. Minutes may be written by hand or typed and pasted in a minute book or types and filed in a minute file. Minutes are a legal document.
Forms of Written Communication
Written communication may take different forms in different situations. Starting from personal correspondence to business correspondence, written communication presents a different structure.
However below some forms of the written communication are mentioned for a general glance:
A report is a formal writing up of a practical experiment, project or research investigation. It has clearly defined sections presented in a standard format, which are used to tell the reader what you did, why and how you did it and what you found.
Reports are written in a way which presumes that the reader knows nothing about your experiment or research.
These are written in sufficient detail so that someone reading it would be able to replicate your experiment exactly. Reports differ from essays because they require an objective writing style which conveys information clearly and concisely.
Most reports include title, abstract, introduction, method, results, discussion, references and appendices.
A memorandum is a written statement that is prepared specially for a person or a committee in order to give them information about a particular matter. It is a short official note and it is a form of written communication. These are the most important forms of internal or intra organizational communication.
3. Office Order:
Office Order signifies a document of instruction that is meant with a view to giving effect to systematic functioning of the organization as and when required. It is usually a medium of internal communication, which always carries a definite message or instruction to a particular person or group of persons of any department or the organization on the whole.
Note is a tool of internal communication. There is one way of communicating instructions, explanation, clarifications, queries, views and opinion, decisions about any particular subjects.
Notes are a widely practiced technique of communication in every organization irrespective of the form or nature of business. Notes should not be too long; rather these should be composed of a few sentences.
“Instruction”, in written form, is the most common kind, generally used in organizations by managers to dictate the process to be followed by the subordinates. Instructions depend on the circumstances, message conveyed and the mode of approach followed by the originator of any instruction.
Circulars are letters or notices or memorandum that are prepared in number and addressed to a number of persons or intended for general circulation. The circular letter is the most common form when the same message is carried to a large number of persons. It’s great advantage is time and money saving. Circulars are impersonal and are often difficult to write.
Every meeting comprises three parts, Notice, Agenda and Minutes. The primary task of calling a meeting is sending “notice” to all members for attending the said meeting. When a meeting is called for, a written notice has to be sent to all members of the group within a specified time.
The notice should mention the name and address of the organization and the date on which it is issued besides indicating the date, day, time and venue of the meeting.
Agenda is the list of items to be discussed at the meeting. It is also called Business. Agenda not only helps the members to come prepared but also helps the Chairperson to conduct the meeting smoothly.
Minutes are one of the most integral parts of a meeting. The matters discussed and the concrete decisions taken in the meeting are recorded in official form. Thus Minutes are the official record of work done and decisions taken at the meeting of the members.
All companies, statutory bodies, social organizations, associations and committees have to maintain a record of the meetings.
10. Business Letter:
A business letter is a form of communication written by an authorized person of the organization. A letter has a definite purpose with a definite structure, layout and form. It is one of the most important forms of business communication. A good letter should be effortless reading that makes the reader want to read more.
It should be clear and concise, with short sentences and simple words. It is worthy to say that a letter is an organization’s first visual contact with another organization and makes an important impression.
Tender is a form of external communication. It is an invitation to contractors with full specification of works to be done and to submit their estimates to complete the work within a stipulated period. “Tender” means an invitation to offer for an item/items or work.
On the other hand “quotation” refers to a bid from intending parties for supplying the required goods or services. When the purchase of goods is in a large quantity, the purchaser takes the help of quotation for getting the goods at a competitive price.
Advertisement is a form of communication intended to promote the sale of a product or service, to influence the public opinion, to advance a particular clause, to gain political support to some other response desired by the advertiser.
14. Press Releases/Conferences:
Press is one of the most important media today for every organization to make a significant publication of important messages or developments. A press release is a pseudo news story, written in third person that seeks to demonstrate to an editor or reporter the news worthiness of a particular person, event, service or product.
15. Business Correspondence:
Business correspondence serves a variety of purposes for the business world. The art of good correspondence is more important than ever. There are certain general rules to be observed for any business correspondence.
I. Any correspondence should be addressed to a particular person by name or designation.
II. Matter of the letter should be brief and mostly it should be within one page of length.
III. Letters should be written in a good quality paper and there should not be any grammatical mistakes or spelling mistakes.
IV. Write a letter that is unique and specific to the individual.
V. Keep a copy of the correspondence for future record
16. Secretarial and Company Correspondence:
These letters form an important part of secretarial correspondence. Every company has a secretary, and the role of secretary in a company is to correspond internally and externally. A company secretary is an important official occupying a central position in an organization. A secretary while writing to a director has to be very courteous.
Secretary’s correspondence with shareholders is very important as shareholders have a stake in the welfare of the company and it is only natural that the Company Secretary should receive a continual stream of letters from them.
17. Bank Correspondence:
Modern business cannot work without the active support of banks. Banks have a lot of active support in the financial sector. Due to the varied service rendered by the bank, a lot of correspondence has to be operated by banks externally and internally.
Since a bank provides different services to its customers, it has to answer different types of queries to its different customers, and in this context bank correspondence has a special importance.
18. Trade Correspondence:
Inland trade correspondence and Import-Export correspondence are mostly similar. Only their correspondence differs depending on the situation. There are various kinds of trade correspondence. These are orders, letters of credit, shipping instructions etc. Most import-export correspondence is in the form of routine form letters.
Process of Written Communication
The business world is replete with various types of business writing, such as business letters, circular messages, printed pamphlets, brochures etc. Any organisation will have some amount of business communication, whether handwritten, typed or printed.
The process of making a written communication involves the following steps:
- Revising or editing
- Proof reading to eliminate errors.
Plan 1 – Planning:
This stage involves the following:
- Identifying the Purpose:
This is two-fold- the main reason for writing the message, and the need to build goodwill.
The main reasons could be-
- Order or
The relational purpose is to maintain goodwill.
Analysing the Audience:
- Their needs, interests, attitudes and culture,
- Whether they are being contacted for the first time,
- If possible, visualising them as individuals,
- Their names correctly spelt and appropriate salutation
- Their level of knowledge regarding the subject and the information they need in this communication,
- Their likely response, whether positive or negative.
For instance, managers read technical and scientific documents for a variety of purposes:
- To aid in making decisions
- To assess current situations
- To maintain their general level of expertise
- To evaluate projects and employees
In general, managers read for the bottomline, a concise summary of the present situation and specific recommendations for action.
It should be remembered that the readers do not have:
(1) The same vocabulary or knowledge of the subject,
(2) The same mentality or ability to understand.
Hence it is necessary to adapt to individual situations. However, while addressing a group, it is necessary to visualise those with the least level of education, knowledge and understanding, so that no one is left out.
- Choosing the ideas to be communicated depends on the type of message, situation and cultural context. If it is a spontaneous letter, it is a good idea to list the ideas, brainstorm, pick and prioritise the ideas.
If the message is a response, it is a good strategy to keep the letter in front, highlight the main points to be discussed, write down the responses on the margin and then plan the message.
- Collecting Supporting Data:
- All concerned names, dates, addresses, information and statistics,
- Company policy, procedure, details of product or service offered or is being discussed, and
- Any legal issues that may arise.
Plan 2- Organising the Message:
It could be done as:
(1) Direct or deductive request plan, when the audience is expected to be receptive to the message, and so all necessary explanatory details for decision taking are included with an appropriately friendly closing;
(2) Good news plan (for instance confirming job appointment/granting a request etc. and offering further help);
(3) Bad news plan; and
(4) Persuasive request plan.
Plans 3 and 4 can result in audience resistance. Hence, the writer will have to deliberate on the subject and be careful while preparing.
The Golden Rule for Written Communication
The Golden Rule for Written Communication is to take care of the big “W”s:
- WHO… Who is the primary reader? Who should get the copies?
- WHAT… What are you trying to accomplish? Action? Inform? Apologise? Refuse? or Propose?
- WHY… Why are you writing now? Why is this important or interesting to the reader?
- WHEN… When will things happen? When is the deadline? When will additional information follow?
- WHERE… Where will it happen? Are directions needed? Where can additional information be obtained?
Media for Despatch in Written Communication
Written communication can be sent by the following media:
This form is used for communicating with out-station parties in matters demanding prompt attention. The text of the telegram should be as brief as possible. With the increasing popularity of email, telegrams are not common.
2. Fax Facility:
In urgent and important matters (including legal and financial messages), managers may use fax facilities to send messages, wherever available.
3. Registered Post, Speed Post:
This method of delivery is used in sending written communication when receipt of despatch is required. With the advent of IT enabled services, movement of the document till it reaches the addressee can be tracked online.
This is a paperless form of communication to be used by managers having computer facilities supported by internet or intranet connectivity and can be widely used for subjects where legal or financial implications are not involved.
Various media of mass communication, such as press, hoardings, audio-visual communication, Internet based publicity.
Forms of Written Communication
Communication is a process of transmitting information into different parts of an organisation. It is one of the basic functions of management in any organisation.
For communication within an organization and with employees, written communications are used such as- in-house magazines, journals, reports and bulletin boards to transmit ideas, thoughts and information.
Forms of written communication in an organization are:
1. Employee Handbook:
Employee handbook given to the new employees at the time of induction or orientation programmatically provides the complete information about the organization with details on the nature of the business, its customers, products, policies, benefits and service available to its employees. Some organizations use charts and photographs and cartoons to make it more interesting for reading.
2. In-House Magazines and Journals:
Organizations publish quarterly or monthly in-house magazines to keep employees updated about the latest development in business, activities conducted in the company like social, cultural, and achievement by the sales team.
Management can unite with the employees in an informal and direct way through these magazines. It also contains promotions, retirements, honors and awards with pictures of employees receiving awards from management.
3. Financial Reports to Employees:
Financial reports published for shareholders and the general public with all the technical language and terminologies do not serve any purpose for the employees.
So, some organizations publish financial reports specifically for the employees with details on expenses, income, profits and distribution of profit which gives the idea of financial standing of the organization to the employees.
4. Information Racks or Display Stands:
Information racks or stands are usually placed at places like the front lobby, factory gate, cafeteria, shop or at a place which is most frequented by employees. These stands are used to display books dealing with a wide range of topics such as help yourself, hobbies, sports accident prevention etc.
5. Bulletin Boards:
Bulletin boards in attractive colour and types can be used for display of clipping from newspapers, magazines, clippings on retirements, honours, marriages, and other events in the lives of employees.
6. Museums and Exhibitions:
Small museum or an exhibition can be used to display quality control ideas, old photographs of the factories, old designs and good quality products. It can create interest among the employees in their work.
Postures are used to display topics related with health and safety, hygiene, improvement in production process etc. Along with text matters it should contain pictorial diagrams, charts and diagrams to explain the topic in a simple way.
8. Notice Boards:
Notice boards are usually placed at the main gate. These are used to display notices and circulars issued by the management for the administrative purposes.
Memos are business letters used within an organization and only for employees. Memos are used to give information to employees such as change in some procedures or rules or policy change or for some specific purpose like request to attend a meeting.
11. Suggestion Board:
In some organizations, a suggestion board is used to provide an opportunity for a working communication with the management. Employees can use the system to give positive proposals for improvement in machines, devices, techniques, or to procedures or to express their dissatisfaction to the existing facilities or particulars.
There is no doubt written communication is a powerful method of communication. History is replete with instances where a piece of writing was involved in the event of great significance in love, war, peace, unions and betrayals. The power of writing is eloquently expressed in the saying “The pen is mightier than the sword”.
Invariably written communication creates a record that can be preserved overtime. Though most businesses communicate through technology, the traditional skills needed for effective writings still reign supreme in today’s business organisation.
Effective written communication takes time and skill since such a small portion of our communications are contained in the words themselves.
Business managers must deliver their messages clearly, succinctly and effectively if they want to be successful. Poorly written messages create confusion or fail to achieve their intended purpose.
It is therefore clear about your goal and communicate it, explain the benefits for responding, establish credibility and show respect to readers, choose an appropriate communication method and finally explain what you the person receiving it to do.
In any business communication, one should be careful about spelling, grammar and punctuation. Errors in typing are much more tolerated in email messages than in business letters because people understand that they are usually written quickly.
But sometimes many people are offended by sloppiness, so it is better to reread messages before sending. Whatever difficulties, problems a written communication may face, in the business communication world written communication is inevitable for every organisation.