Written Communication Types & Examples

Devon Denomme, Ashley D. Manker, Steven Scalia
  • Author
    Devon Denomme

    Devon has tutored for almost two years. They have a Bachelor's in Air Traffic Management from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and minored in Aviation Safety and Homeland Security. They also are AT-CTI certified.

  • Instructor
    Ashley D. Manker
  • Expert Contributor
    Steven Scalia

    Steven completed a Graduate Degree is Chartered Accountancy at Concordia University. He has performed as Teacher's Assistant and Assistant Lecturer in University.

Learn the definition of written communication, discover the examples and types of written communication, and read about its advantages and disadvantages. Updated: 11/19/2021

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What is Written Communication?

Communication is the act of sending, receiving, and sharing information through various forms of media. It is an important life skill to develop in order to build understanding and comprehension across a significant range of subjects. Good communicators are able to speak, listen, and write clearly, which is helpful when interacting with others in the world of business. Written communication is one of the most important forms of communication that professionals within a workplace or career field should seek to develop.

What is written communication? Written communication is defined as any type of message that utilizes written words. It is the most common form of business communication and has become increasingly important throughout the information age. Written communications can take place traditionally on paper or more modernly on an electronic device, such as by email or electronic memo. They are an effective method for transferring information within a business. Written communications are essential to any scenario involving more than one person. The other main form of communication is oral communication, or messages which are spoken.

Written communications include all exchanges of information that involve written messages. These may be done by hand on paper or digitally such as through email.

written communication definition

Written Communication Skills

Written communications require a high level of skill in order to be conducted effectively and professionally. This form of communication is very common in business, so it is important that each employee has an understanding of written communication and a continual motivation to develop and improve their skills. Effective written communications should include the following skills:

  • Clarity: All written communications should be clear, direct, straightforward, and understandable. Confusion will be prevented amongst readers if the message makes sense.
  • Concision: Written communications should be kept short to avoid repetition and avoid leaving out necessary information. Conciseness assists in making a message more clear.
  • A professional and formal tone: Keeping a courteous tone builds effective rapport and maintains a polite, respectful, and culturally sensitive dialogue.
  • Precision and composition: All facts and dates should be accurate, and all spelling and grammar should also be correct. Precision builds a professional tone and confirms effective research has been done.
  • Completeness: All necessary information should be included in the written communication

Additional guidelines which individuals within a business may choose to follow include beginning the communication by clearly stating their goal, keeping the communication simple, and staying on topic. Further, the use of an active and authoritative voice to outline goals and other pertinent information may aim to make the communication as effective as possible. Practice is an equally important activity to help develop written communication skills, and it is always a good idea to proofread or have a peer scan over communications to check for any errors.

Types of Written Communication

There are various forms of business communication that may be applied either internally to employees and business operations or externally to other clients and businesses. Some of the most common types of written communication are:

  • Reports
  • Memos
  • Bulletins
  • Job descriptions
  • Employee manuals
  • Emails
  • Instant messages
  • Websites
  • Letters
  • Postcards
  • Telegrams
  • Faxes
  • Contracts
  • Advertisements
  • News or press releases
  • Brochures

Reports are a form of written communication. They are able to deliver a message to many parties at once in an accurate and professional manner, ensuring that every person is relayed the same information.

what is written communication

Written communications are used within a business to relay information about current projects, finances, and other operational topics. If written or oral communication did not exist within an organization, departments would remain unaware of each others' statuses and be unable to successfully function as a whole. Similarly, if no means of communication existed between a business selling a product and external parties such as consumers, buyers on the market would not be informed about a product, its benefits, or the preferential company to purchase it from. External communications can help deliver products to the outside world and create an effective brand for consumers to buy from.

Written Communication Examples

Communication is a vital part of most business operations. Written communications often take place in a setting that is not face-to-face, leading to a more convenient writing and reception time between the communicating parties. The following scenarios explore written communication examples that relay information at the convenience and ease of the speaker and the audience:

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Written Communication In Business - A Practical Exercise:

The following exercise

Exercise

Tim is the President of Genius Consultants, a consulting firm located in London and New York. Recently, Tim has had issues with John Grumpypants, the manager of the London branch. Many of the employees in the London office have reached out to Tim recently stating that John was extremely rude and aggressive with them. Since Tim values how his employees are treated, he called John and discussed these allegations seriously. John agreed and stated that his behavior would change. Unfortunately, Tim just received another 5 complaints this morning, stating that they are now afraid to go to the London office given John's aggressive behavior.

Tim decided to write the following email to John.

Dear John,

Following our conversation last week regarding your behavioral tendencies when dealing with employees, we had agreed that change was necessary, and you promised me that you would change your behavior. Given the information that I have received from the London office, it does not seem like you have taken my advice to heart. This is a formal warning that your management style must change immediately. Otherwise, this issue will be escalated with our legal department. I sincerely hope that the issue can be resolved promptly.

Regards,

Tim

Required

  1. Was Tim's choice to use written communication the right one? Why?
  2. Out of the elements of effective written communication presented in your Lesson, pick one, and determine if this email meets the criteria.

Solution

1.

The answer is yes.

  • The written communication allowed Tim to save money on a long-distance phone call from New York to London while also providing legal proof of escalation in case John would eventually need to be fired with just cause.

2.

Students can refer to any of the elements presented in the lesson (e.g. the conciseness due to the short length of the email, the courtesy in the salutations, the correctness when referring to the previous conversation, etc.).

What is meant by written communication?

Communication refers to the sending, receiving, and sharing of information between two parties through various forms of media. Written communications are exchanges of information that involve written messages, either digitally or on paper. Written communications are beneficial because they do not require direct communication and they provide proof of an exchange in the event of an incident.

What are some types of written communication?

There are many types of written communication that can be used in a business setting. Written communications should be clear, concise, accurate, professional, and include all of the necessary information. Four of the most common types of written communication in business include emails, memorandums (memos), faxes, and advertisements.

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