Friday, 22 August 2014

Assessing Superiority: Verbal or Written Communication?

Communication Skills Effective communication indicates strong, coherent thought processes. Verbal communication gives the speaker lesser time to organise thoughts, and present them to the audience, while written communication provides the opportunity to deliberate and refine a written draft till perfection before making it public.

While it is true that written communication is of utmost importance in framing policies and constructing accountable documentation, it would be unfair to give verbal communication any lesser significance. Both forms of communication play crucial, though different roles.

I feel that good verbal communication depicts a stronger, more coherent, and better organised thinking process. Verbal communication is also more efficient as it saves time and energy squandered while waiting for people to respond via emails or other written communication forms. Of course, verbal communication can be converted into an accountable written statement for official or unofficial recollection later.

Let me illustrate this with an example. I am managing Human Resources at a software start-up company. To schedule HR interviews, I can either email the candidate a list of possible timeslots, or call him up to check suitable timeslots regarding when he can come to the office for an interview. While the former procedure seems more proper and professional, it is more time consuming. If I email the candidate possible timeslots, I will wait for him to firstly read the email, then deliberate over what timeslot he should choose, and then hit the reply button to let me know about the selection. Sometimes, candidates even do not acknowledge receipt of the email till days after the interview.

So I prefer the second method. I call up the candidate, and present a possible timeslot for the interview meeting. He quickly calculates his commitments, and lets me know if it suits him. Otherwise, I give a few other options. In a matter of few minutes, the interview is scheduled. I send out a confirmation email to announce the interview schedule referring to my earlier telephonic discussion, and also furnish the email with details like the office location, interview composition, test details, and so on. This way, verbal communication via phone makes the interview scheduling a quick and happy process, while the email that follows confirms the scheduled interview in a professional, recordable, and accountable manner.

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