Several differences contrast oral and written communication. Some differences seem obvious, but there's more to it. Retention, preciseness and engagement are just a few main differences.
What Exactly Is Oral Communication?
There are so many ways we engage in oral communication. In fact, by you watching this video, I am communicating orally with you.
Oral communication is really just talking to others. Through oral communication, you can:
- Share ideas
- Communicate thoughts
- Exchange information
- Give orders
- Persuade people
So, there are many things we can accomplish through oral communication. The same applies to written communication. It's pretty effective as well but in a different way.
So, What Is Written Communication, Then?
Obviously, from its name, written communication means communicating to others through the written word.
This can be done in many ways:
- Text messaging
- Cards and letters
And the list goes on and on. Now, you'd think that the major differences between oral and written communication would be as obvious, but there are several dissimilarities we will learn next.
Differences: Oral and Written Communication
Suffice it to say, in business, college and everyday life, we need to have both oral and written communication to get what we need to get done, well, done! So, to know which works best for different situations, let's figure out the major differences:
- Preciseness of the message
- Audience engagement
- Retention of the information
Written communication is precise because words are chosen by the writer with great care. Oral communication can be more effective because it involves carefully chosen words along with non-verbal gestures, movements, tone changes and visual cues that keep the audience captivated.
The written word is more organized, more detailed and is presented in a logical order. Speaking before an audience allows one to use less formal language, retract statements and re-generate interest if the audience loses attentiveness.
Writers have less control over the audience or reader's attention because he cannot go back and stress a point that the reader may have missed. Once stated, a speaker can go back to important points if he feels the audience did not respond as expected.
A book writer knows that people remember only about 10% of what they read. A speaker is confident that people remember 20% of what they hear. So, we can safely say that there are major differences between oral and written communication.
To sum it up, oral communication is really just talking to others. Conversely, written communication means communicating to others through the written word.
There are a few major differences between the two forms of communication. Preciseness of the message is stronger in the written word.
In contrast, audience engagement is much easier to direct and re-direct in oral communication. Speakers can use body language and tone to get the audience's attention. And people remember more of what they hear. This does not mean one is better than the other; it really depends on the message and the purpose.
When you're through watching the video, you should have the knowledge to:
- Explain what oral communication is
- Describe written communication
- Differentiate between oral and written communication