Oral and written communication

Oral communication is a type of communication that is established between two or more people who exchange ideas, thoughts and emotions through spoken language.

Written communication is a type of communication that allows ideas, thoughts and emotions to be expressed through the signs that make up written language.

The distinction between oral and written communication has to do with the means used to express oneself, with the possibility of receiving feedback or response from the interlocutor and with the ephemeral or permanent nature of said communication, among other differences.

Oral communicationWritten communication
DefinitionExchange of ideas between two or more people through spoken language.It is the expression of ideas in written language.
Elements that make it up
  • Transmitter.
  • Receptor.
  • Message.
  • Canal.
  • Code.
  • Feedback.
  • Coding.
  • Decoding
  • Context.
  • Transmitter.
  • Receptor.
  • Message.
  • Canal.
  • Code.
  • Feedback.
  • Coding.
  • Decoding
  • Context.
  • Structure.
  • Style.
  • Ephemeral.
  • Snapshot.
  • It depends on the ability to speak and the knowledge of the language.
  • Permanent.
  • Deferred.
  • It depends on reading and writing skills.
  • Spontaneous.
  • Planned.
  • Instant messages.
  • Emails.
  • Websites
  • Newspapers and printed and digital books, etc.

What is oral communication?

Oral communication is one that occurs between two people or a group of people and whose essential means of transmission is oral language.

Elements of oral communication

The communicative process has some key elements, which in the case of oral communication are applied as follows:

  • Sender : is the person who issues or sends the message. In this case, it is the person or persons speaking.
  • Receiver : they are the ones who receive the message. In oral communication the recipients would be the listeners.
  • Message : is the content that you want to convey (idea, thought, information, emotion, etc.)
  • Channel : is the resource used to communicate. In this case, it is oral language, the ideas transmitted through the voice.
  • Code : refers to the common element that both the sender and the receiver will share in order to communicate.
  • In oral communication, the code is oral language.
  • Feedback : also called feedback , it refers to the receiver’s response to the message they have received.
  • At that moment, the receiver becomes a sender and the one who was a sender now becomes a receiver.
  • Coding : involves adapting the code so that the receiver understands it (vocabulary, tone, etc.).
  • Decoding : it is the mental process of the receiver to interpret the message of the sender.
  • Context : is the situation in which communication is generated (work, informal, family, news, etc.).

Characteristics of oral communication

It is ephemeral

If no records remain (audio recordings, for example), the message may be lost or misrepresented. Communication ends when the sounds emitted by the voice in the form of words are no longer heard.

Depends on oral language

Therefore, the speech apparatus, responsible for the voice, must function optimally in terms of pitch, volume, speed, pauses, etc. The same happens with the auditory system, since it is responsible for receiving the message.

The communication process occurs in real time

The sender can get an immediate response from his receiver, which includes feedback .

You can rely on other resources to complement communication

Body language, gestures, grimaces, onomatopoeic sounds and even the appearance of the sender can serve to emphasize the message.

Types of oral communication

Oral communication is classified into two categories:

Spontaneous oral communication

It is the type of communication that we have most of the time. It occurs when the sender unintentionally sends a message to a receiver and the receiver responds. It is generally used to communicate ideas, reflections, or moods.

An example of spontaneous oral communication would be a conversation between friends.

Planned oral communication

It is the type of communication that, by its nature, requires a prior structure.

The planning of the message and the communication process can have informative, entertaining, and even personal objectives, but they will always have a pattern with a certain beginning and end.

Planned oral communication can be:

  • Unidirectional : when a sender addresses a receiver or group of receivers.

An example of planned one-way oral communication is when a teacher lectures.

  • Multidirectional : when the roles of senders and receivers are not static, but are continually interchanged.

An example of planned multidirectional oral communication would be work meetings, assemblies, etc.

See also Verbal and non-verbal communication.

What is written communication?

It is a form of communication that allows the expression of ideas, thoughts, information or opinions through written language.

This means that written communication is expressed in words, sentences or paragraphs that must be coded in a common language for all those involved. If the sender or receiver do not know the rules of writing, the communication will have failed.

This also means having reading skills, to be able to receive and interpret the message.

Elements of written communication

While the sender, receiver, message, code, etc. are essential elements of any communication process, written communication has other additional factors that are necessary for the information exchange process to take place:

  • Structure : refers to content planning (what do you want to communicate?).
  • Style : it is the way in which the message will be communicated (how is it going to be communicated?).

Types of written communication

Written communication has as many types as there are physical supports. Therefore, it is natural that as technology advances, new media and formats are created to replace old ways of communicating.

Currently, these are some of the most common types of written communication:

  • Email.
  • Books (printed and electronic).
  • Legal documents.
  • Newspapers (print and digital).
  • Web pages (informative, entertainment, personal, etc.).

Characteristics of written communication

Requires literacy skills

Participants in the communication process have to know how to read and write in the language (language) in which the message is transmitted in order to be able to issue, receive and respond to it, if applicable.

Feedback is not immediate

Unlike oral communication, in written communication the process does not occur in real time, so the response of the receiver can take time, and sometimes there is not even a response.

Its permanent

Written communication remains in time, since it is a record in itself and will last as long as the physical medium that contains it. A book, a letter, an email, an instant message will remain there as long as they are not destroyed, erased, altered, etc.

Requires planning

Written communication implies an organization and hierarchy of ideas so that the message can be transmitted correctly.

See also:

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