Major Differences Between Oral and Written Language Styles

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  • 0:02 What Exactly Is Oral…
  • 0:29 Written Communication
  • 0:55 Differences: Oral and…
  • 2:20 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kat Kadian-Baumeyer

Kat has a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership and Management and teaches Business courses.

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:

  • Email
  • Text messaging
  • Cards and letters
  • Newspaper
  • Magazines

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.

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