A telephone booth to show communicaiton.

Oral Versus Written Communication


Leah Boonstra

Have you ever played the game telephone? It is usually played with young students to convey a message. One person starts with a word or phrase and has to whisper it to a friend. The friend continues to whisper the word or phrase to others. The pattern continues until the last person gets the message. Throughout the game, people usually misunderstand the message. So, when the last person says the word/phrase, it is usually very different from the original. In an article written by J.D. Applen, he discusses the differences in oral and written communication.

Oral Communication

Oral communication can be defined as commutation through an individual’s mouth. It is usually direct and clear. Before writing existed, oral was the only form of communication that people used. It was used by story telling and explaining. Sometimes orally describing something is better than writing it down. It leaves room for explanation if something is not clear. An issue with this is that it can be misheard or misunderstood. When stories get told between generations, important details can get forgotten about. This is the danger in oral communication. Due to the fact that things aren’t written down, some facts can get left out.

Written Communication

Books, blogs, articles, and newspapers are all examples of written communication. I believe that writing stuff down is the main form of communication today. Our generation uses social media as a main way to reach one another. Technology made it so much easier for individuals to talk to each other without being face to face. The limitations of this is not being able to explain yourself or use a specific tone of voice. Unless the text clearly states the tone of voice, the main message will not be shown. Although the tone is lost when messages are written, key details are remembered. The benefit or using written communication is that no message or key detail will be left out.


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