BBA Business Communication Study Material Verbal : BBA 1st Year Semester Notes Study Material in English Language in PDF File Download.
After Studying This Chapter You Are Able to Understand:- Introduction, Salient Features of Written Communication, Written Communication in Business, Advantages of Written Communication, Disadvantages of Written Communication, Conclusion.
- Writing is not spontaneous like speech. It requires serious effort.
- Written communication is a creative activity of the mind.
- Written communication is time consuming.
- Written communication has fewer cycles than face-to-face communication.
- All business organizations depend on written communication.
- Written communication has many advantages like permanence, legal validity, fixing of responsibilities, etc.
- Written communication has also some disadvantages like huge costs in terms of money and time, lack of feedback and clarification, delay in transmission and so on.
- However, written communication in indispensable.
A famous English Writer Francis Bacon has said, “Reading maketh a full man, writing an exact man, conference a ready man.” In order to make himself ‘exact’ i.e. to say effectively what he wants to say, the writer has to make considerable effort. While speech comes to us very naturally and spontaneously, writing comes after serious practice and careful organization of thought. The word ‘writes’ has been derived from the old English word ‘writan’ that meant to scratch, draw or inscribe. It shows that man learnt writing through a long process of drawing scoring or incising symbols on rock faces, dried skins, tree barks and clay tablets. The alphabet of any language is, therefore, a result of evolution.
In the same way, the combination of the characters or letters of alphabet into words, words into sentences and sentences into paragraphs have gone through a long history of man’s attempt to communicate, and give some kind of permanence or preservation to his communication. For this purpose every language has evolved its own rules of grammar, though many languages grouped together have more or less similar rules. But, in writing these rules have to be rather strictly followed. Speech, on the other hand, is more flexible. It also not have the permanence of writing. Unless there is a typescript or tape or simultaneously taken down notes, the speech is heard and sooner or later forgotten.
- From the introduction given above it becomes clear that written communication is essentially a creative activity. It is an activity that requires conscious and creative effort. The creativity of this effort comes from the stimuli produced by the mind. The stimuli of oral communication are picked up from outside by the sensory receptors. In other words, written communication is more specifically, more carefully thought out than oral communication that is based on spontaneous reaction to signs picked up from outside.
As an example, let us take up the writing out or production of a report that we want to present or that we have been asked to write. For this purpose we gather all the necessary information or data. We, then, process it through our logical thought processes and encode our communication. This is not a face-to-face communication situation. There is no interchange of message or external stimuli. This is almost entirely a creative of the mind.
- The salient feature of written communication is the time factor it involves. While in a face-to-face communication situation, the sender’s encoded messages are instantaneously decoded by the receiver; in written communication some delay necessarily takes place. And there is no fixed time limit to this delay. The sender or encoder takes his own time in formulating the message. Then it takes quite some time for the message to reach the receiver or decoder. The receiver will take his own time in filtering it through his mind and responding to it. A priority announcement or telegram may get immediate response. Research reports, on the other extreme, will take weeks or months to prepare and will continue to communicate indefinitely through the file to which repeated references will be made.
- The third salient feature of written communication is that it has fewer cycles than face –to-face oral communication. In oral communication there is multiple exchanges of symbols, leading to multiple cycles. Most written communication is a one-cycle event. Usually a message is sent and received, and that is the end of the event. Of course, letters do lead to repeated cycles or communication exchanges. But they cannot compare with the quick succession of cycles involved in a dialogue or informal meeting.
Just as it is impossible to think of social life without oral communication, it is impossible to think of business or an organization without written communication. There are various reasons for it. In the first place, in an organization, people are too many to have face-to-face communication. They are generally spread over wide geographical distance, and are sometimes not even connected by telephone. The situation is changing fast. But, even then, exchange of letters remains as important as ever. Moreover, people have to function within defined limits of authority and responsibility. In the absence of written communication it will not be easy to determine responsibility. It is an essential part of manager’s responsibility to communicate on paper. Written communication is, in this way, an essential part of organizational life. Telephone, telex, fax machines have not in anyway affected the importance of letters. They have only changed the mode of transmission and made the exchange of letters or memos much faster. That is why written communication including letters, memorandum, agenda, manuals, handbook, reports, etc, continues to flourish.
- First and foremost, written communication has the advantages of providing records, references, etc. In the absence of ready reference, great confusion may be created and the working of the organization will virtually come to a halt.
- Maintenance of proper records, letters, reports and memos builds up legal defenses of the organization. An organization is like a living organism. And like any organism it is quite vulnerable to offence, both from within and from outside. Organizations usually have their legal advisers who cannot be of any help unless proper records are made available to them.
- Written communication promotes uniformity in policy and procedure. It is the only means of laying down clear guidelines for the working of the organization.
- Written communication gives access to a large audience through mass mailings. It is common practice on the part of well known organizations to reach out to people at large and win customers through wisely drafted ‘mail shots’ or unsolicited circulars. For example whenever a new brand of two-wheeler is introduced in the market, or a bank comes forward with some attractive deposit/investment scheme it manages to get names and addresses of all the members of an institution/organization offering them their services on easy term.
- Good written communication builds up the organization’s image. It is not at all surprising, therefore, that the outgoing letters/message of certain well known companies are cited as examples to be emulated.
- Written communicated has the advantage of being accurate and unambiguous. Great care has to be taken in drafting any letter, memo or report so that the message is effectively conveyed. Oral communication may often give rise to confusion because every speaker has his own way of putting himself across. While speech is very personal, written communication rises above the person, especially in a business organization where precision is the law.
- As has been said in the beginning of this chapter, written communication is permanent. The growth of an organization is promoted, to a large extent, by reference to its old, well maintained records and minutes of the meetings.
- Written communication facilitates proper assignation of responsibilities. One may sometimes go back on words spoken, but not on his words put on paper. Moreover, the lower staff behaves more responsibly, and also feels secure, when communication is sent in writing.
- Written communication creates mountains of paper cluttered around the premises of the organization. It is a common sight in offices, and the staff has 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.
- Written communication runs the risk of becoming ineffective in the hands of peoples otherwise good in their job, but poor in expression. That is why it is a serious concern of a modern organization to recruit people who are very good in expression, especially in letter and report writing ability.
- 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.
- 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.
- By the same logic it is costly in terms of the man –hours lost in taking dictation, typing , entering in the diary, dispatching etc. the same job can be done more efficiently and expeditiously by harnessing modern technology.
- 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.
Whatever be the disadvantages of written communication, its importance cannot be denied. With all the modern technological advancement, written communication remains the backbone of any organization. Almost all formal communication is in writing. Its percentage may be very small in comparison with the huge amount of informal oral communication. But no organization can do without it. Hence the importance of, and emphasis on, the executives thorough training in written communication.