The world of business is replete with various types of written communication. Written communication is so much a part of everyday business that one cannot think of a business without related correspondence.
Think of any organization or institution—bank, electric company, hotel, college or library dealing with people and there is obviously some written correspondence. It may be handwritten, typewritten or printed. In the olden days, there were people who were specially assigned the job of taking care of correspondence, even in small businesses. Such persons were popularly referred to as ‘writers.’
Enquiries, invitations, price lists, offers, quotations, announcements, due notices, new arrivals, clearance and disposal, recoveries and reminders, orders and a host of other such activities of everyday relevance for any business are to be covered through written communication.
Any business has to correspond in writing with its customers, branches, auditors, suppliers, bankers, media persons, employees, shareholders and others with whom it has a business relationship.
Written communication is a convenient way for any business to reach across to people, within the locality and the neighbourhood, and also customers, prospects and other public spread across other cities, regions and even countries. Written correspondence thus has an extremely wide reach and as such is very useful for any business whose operations are widely spread out.
Written communication has certain distinct advantages as compared to verbal communication. It has a much larger reach whereas verbal communication can only go as far as the voice or oral messages can travel.
Moreover, while verbal communication goes with the non-verbal message, written communication creates a solo impact. For this very reason, in oral communication, the communicator has to be quite conscious of the accompanying body language and other non-verbal messages, for they have the potential to distort or contradict the basic oral message.
Written communication takes several forms—from ordinary business letters to typed and cyclostyled messages, to printed pamphlets and brochures.
Advantages of Written Communication
1. Written communication has an extremely wide reach, co-terminus with the literate world
2 Written communications can be well organized to convey the precise message
3. Written communication, generally speaking, can be prepared at the time when the communicator is best prepared to do so
4. Written communication, unlike oral communication, can be effective as a stand-alone medium
5. Written communication can be targeted to reach specific individuals/Sections
6. Written communication can be composed in a language that the receiver can read and understand
7. Written communication can carry the much desired personal touch
8. Written communication can be erased, revised and re-written
9. Written communication, when stored, can be exactly reproduced or repeated
10. Written communication, organized properly can be cost effective
11. Written communication, very importantly, creates records and reference sources
The advantages of written communication far outweigh its limitations and this method of communication is extensively used in the business world.
Although written communication may not provide the depth and intensity of a face-to-face communication, it meets very well the requirements for a variety of simple and direct correspondence/messages that a business needs for its everyday transactions. There may be occasions when the business I first letter may not give all the details the recipient wishes to have, necessitating further correspondence.
Nevertheless, a good business letter constitutes the basic plank on which effective business correspondence rests. A good business letter has to create, nurture and sustain a good business relationship.