Difference Between Oral And Written Communication

Difference Between Oral And Written Communication

6 mins read3.1K Views Comment
Rashmi Karan
Manager - Content
Updated on Nov 29, 2023 11:55 IST

Oral communication is the first type of communication that we learn as kids. Later, we acquire the ability to communicate through writing, which requires certain rules and regulations to be more efficient and meticulous. Although both types of communication are widely used and, in a certain way, similar, they differ in various aspects. Let us explore the differences between oral and written communication. Discover the power of gestures and expressions in speech and the precision and documentation in writing.


Oral Communication vs Written Communication

The main difference between oral and written communication is that oral communication is an exchange of information through spoken words, and the latter is an exchange of information through written words. 

Aspect Oral Communication Written Communication
Medium Spoken. Written.
Transmission Speed Immediate. It can be delayed.
Feedback Instantaneous. Delayed or no feedback.
Verifiability Difficult to verify or prove unless recorded. Easily verifiable or provable.
Retention Relies on memory and attention. Provides a permanent record.
Formality It can be informal or formal. It can be informal or formal.
Precision More prone to errors or omissions as there is no going back. Allows for careful editing and proofreading.
Flexibility Allows for spontaneity and adaptation. Allows for careful revision and editing.
Interactivity Enables immediate interaction and clarification. Limited direct interaction, usually one-way.
Non-Verbal Cues Includes facial expressions, tone, gestures, etc. Relies solely on written words.
Legal Validity Usually not legally binding. Can have legal validity (contracts, agreements).
Documentation and Traceability No physical record. Provides a tangible record of communication.
Requirements You must know how to speak to communicate a message and to hear to receive it. You must know how to write to send a message and read to receive it.
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What is Oral Communication?

Oral communication refers to the transmission of messages through speech. This form of communication is the most common and used in our daily lives.

Oral communication is the oldest way humans have had to express themselves. The need to express information, knowledge and ideas made our ancestors begin to establish communication between them.

However, over time, they learned to form certain words until they had the verbal language of today. We understand oral communication as exchanging information between two or more people in real time.

Oral communication continues to be temporary and immediate. In addition, it relies on non-verbal elements such as gestures, grimaces, and body language to emphasize the message. 

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Advantages of Oral Communication

Oral communication has several advantages, such as:

  • Interactive and engaging.
  • Facilitates active listening and understanding.
  • Immediate feedback and clarification.
  • Allows for spontaneous conversations.
  • Builds rapport and interpersonal connections.
  • Fosters better comprehension and retention.
  • Enables quick decision-making.
  • Promotes collaboration and teamwork.
  • Adaptable to the needs of the audience.
  • Provides opportunities for persuasive communication.
  • Builds public speaking and presentation skills.
  • Encourages effective negotiation and conflict resolution.

Examples of Oral Communication

Conversation. The conversation we carry out daily, face-to-face, on phones, on video calls, etc., is oral communication. Even though the sender and receiver are not in the same place and time, viewing videos on social networks or different platforms is also oral communication.

Debates, interviews, speeches, etc. These are the different interactions where a speaker and listerner/s are involved in conveying their thoughts and thus forming a part of oral communication.


What is Written Communication?

Simply put, written communication refers to exchanging information, ideas, or messages through written words.

Prehistoric humans communicated by painting pictures or signs on walls or floors that conveyed an idea in written form. Conveying emotions today in written form are emoticons, emojis, etc., that provide emotional context to text messages, emails, or social media posts.

You might think we don’t communicate as much in writing, but you would be wrong. What you are doing right now is part of written communication. Reading articles, watching videos, responding to emails or using instant messaging applications are one or another form of written communication.

Written communication is exchanging information through a physical channel, be it a piece of paper, a screen, or even the ground.

An example is all the messages we send daily through WhatsApp or social networks. 

This type of communication is characterized by not being simultaneous and being planned. In addition, the message generated by written communication is for the long term.

Advantages of Written Communication

  • Provides a permanent record of communication.
  • Allows for careful organization and revision of content.
  • Provides a clear and precise message.
  • Enables communication over long distances and time.
  • Can be read and responded to according to one’s convenience
  • Facilitates the sharing of complex or detailed information.
  • Supports documentation and record-keeping.
  • Can reach a wider audience and be distributed widely.
  • Allows for careful editing and proofreading.
  • Provides a platform for formal and official communication.
  • Can be referenced and reviewed at a later time.
  • Allows for effective communication when verbal communication is not possible.

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Examples of Written Communication

Listed are some popular examples of written communication:

Letters – They are a clear example since the sender writes his message on a physical channel and sends it to his recipient. Here, neither the place nor the time is the same, but the communication will occur if both know the code (the language).

Emails – Emails are like letters but more modern. With emails, you can send the same message to many recipients simultaneously and in different parts of the world in real-time.

Brochures, billboards – All forms of advertising that are on physical support both on the street and on social networks or the Internet and that are written are forms of written communication. Slogans, logos, images, etc.

Press, books, magazines – These products, physically and through the Internet, are a form of written communication.


We use verbal communication in personal conversations since it takes less time and it is easier to express our feelings and moods. However, written communication is used in business and official matters as it is the most reliable mode of communication. We hope this blog was helpful.

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What are the main characteristics of oral and written communication?

Oral communication is transmitting information between two or more individuals through speech and the code contemplated in a language. It is generally opposed to written communication, in which the information is registered in some material support to resist the passage of time.

What is the main difference between oral and written communication?

Oral communication involves spoken words, while written communication involves written words.

Which form of communication is more immediate, oral or written?

Oral communication is more immediate, allowing for real-time interaction and immediate feedback.

Is oral communication more suitable for spontaneous conversations?

Oral communication is well-suited for spontaneous conversations, immediate interactions, and quick decision-making.

Which form of communication is more formal, oral or written?

Both oral and written communication can be formal or informal, depending on the context and the participants involved.

Can written communication be legally binding?

Yes, written communication, such as contracts or agreements, can have legal validity, while oral communication may lack legal enforceability.

Does written communication require more precision than oral communication?

Yes, written communication typically requires more precision as the message needs to be unambiguous without relying on immediate feedback.

About the Author
Rashmi Karan
Manager - Content

Rashmi is a postgraduate in Biotechnology with a flair for research-oriented work and has an experience of over 13 years in content creation and social media handling. She has a diversified writing portfolio and aim... Read Full Bio