What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Written Communication?

Written communication has many advantages and disadvantages, but one of the major advantages is being able to refine a message before sending it. A major disadvantage of communicating in writing is the lack of immediate feedback.

Communicating via email, report or memorandum gives the writer time to craft a detailed message and edit it thoroughly before distributing it. Having time to get a message just right prevents misunderstandings and gives the writer an opportunity to address several concerns in one message.

Written communication is especially important for businesses because it creates a paper trail. If an employee sues a company, executives will have their emails, employee performance reports and memos to back them up in court. Documenting employee performance reviews in writing makes it easier to terminate an employee without negative repercussions.

Sending written messages also gives the recipient time to think about an appropriate response and edit his or her message until it is just right.

Some of the advantages of written communication can also be seen as drawbacks. Because recipients have extra time to formulate their responses, they often wait several days to give feedback. Having a written record of a conversation is also a disadvantage in some cases, especially for an employer or employee on the receiving end of a lawsuit.