The Differences Between Speaking and Writing

In the corporate world, writing and speaking are two different types of communication that people use every day. In this article, we are going to discuss the differences of these two and the benefits (and the harmful effects) associated with them.

Writing and speaking are two-way communications. These two needs an input and output to complete the process. Moreover, these require two participants, a medium, and an outcome.

In the written form, it requires a writer and a reader (the two participants), a pen and paper (the medium). The medium could also be the hand to write and the eyes to read the output. On the other hand, spoken communication requires a speaker and a listener (the participants), and mouth to speak and ear to listen (the medium). The outcome depends on the purpose. It could be to inform, to warn or to dissuade.

Significance and Reliability

Speaking is innate to every person. We learn to speak our language, long before we learn to write. In fact, the spoken form is the “real” type of communication and writing is a mere representation. However, in the old times, written communication is the superior type.

This concept is similar in the corporate world. Employees and employers regard written memos as more reliable than those memos that are orally given. Why? Written communication is more “durable” than a spoken one. Durability refers to the quality of a language that can stand the test of time. In written form, we make and keep a copy. With quality paper, the written form can last forever.

Style and Structure

The written communication has to follow a grammar structure while the spoken language does not have to. Written is more formal as compared to a spoken communication. We use full sentences in writing a letter to make a point or be understood. Since spoken language is informal, we use word contractions or short sentences and still we understand each other without the need for further elaboration.

The outcome

In spoken communication, we receive immediate feedback from the person whom we are talking while we wait for a response if it is a written one. This benefit makes speaking a superior type when a company holds a meeting or brainstorming for its employees and top-level management. However, when company-wide changes are implemented, writing is the best form of communicating to the employees. Through writing, the implemented changes can be retrieved as a point of references when one or more of the employees divert from the purported outcome.

The role of technology

The technology creates significant changes on the way we communicate. The differences between spoken and written language have blurred. Nowadays, a recording of meetings can now be used as a supplemental reference on company laws. An employee may use a recorded video against a co-employee who maltreats a subordinate.

The birth of internet provided an avenue to people who want to reach the other side of the world without spending money on transportation costs. Companies can create a virtual world where they can hire people to work for them.

With the use of video conferencing, an international company branch communicates with the local branch and receives feedback immediately. Despite the advancement in technologies, the written communication still supplements spoken language and vice versa. One form can never replace the other form because these two co-exist.

These two communications influence each other. Before the technological advancement, all people can speak but a select few can write. Since written language can be recorded and became permanent, this has influenced how people speak right now. It is through written language that we bridge the differences between the two ways of communications

Spoken language also influences how we write. Let us take for example the word blog. It is through spoken language that this word is recorded as a newly discovered word in one of the most prestigious dictionaries. A lot of slang words are included in the English dictionary.

Speaking and writing is essential in communicating what we want others to hear from us. For people who have difficulty in spoken language, they use writing to communicate with others. The same goes with people who cannot communicate in written language.