ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF ORAL/VERBAL COMMUNICATION AND WRITTEN COMMUNICATION.
Oral communication has several advantages and disadvantages, compared to written communication, which has several advantages too and a few disadvantages. When we look at the way these two types of communication, in relation to our day to day lives interrelate with each other, and then basic communication skills will be much more efficient and effective.
Looking first at the advantages and disadvantages of the oral communication, we will know more about it. For its good side, this kind of communication is less time consuming as compared to written communication. For instance, when the speaker is giving out the speech, he/she is able to answer the questions of audience freely and give great ideas. The speaker does not waste time referring to a particular book or text.
Secondly, the speaker and audience are closer to each other, in terms of individual personality and ideas. This is common in seminars, lectures and research meetings. As it is a direct communication process, the audience respects the speaker for he/she is the one who has the ideas and knowledge of a particular subject.
Thirdly, when we look at the world of entertainment, singers and actors are able to reach the hearts of the audience, due to the art they perform either through singing, dramatizing or giving a short speech. Just a few years ago, international artists organized a concert which was supposed to help people who were dying of hunger in Somalia and Ethiopia. By just singing about hunger and poverty, the concerts raised millions and millions of dollars which were used to buy food and medical equipment and medicines for the hungry.
Fourthly, when we look at the countryside and remote areas, people inhibiting these places have been able to get vital information through audio communication machines, the most common one being the radio. By just receiving news from such devices, the listeners get the picture or idea quickly of what is being talked of/about.
Verbal communication has negative aspects also. The first aspect concentrates on the confusion of the real and false in history and religion. Looking at religion, we will realize that the life story and upbringing of Jesus Christ and Muhammad some similarities reveal themselves. Today’s Muslims will tell us that Muhammad’s mother, Amina was visited by an angel called angel Gabriel. Looking at Christianity, Jesus’ mother, Mary was visited too by the same angel. If it is not for the written texts or scriptures such s the Bible and Koran, these two religions would be at war.
For legends and stories about the lost kingdoms, empires and cities are told by grandparents and parents orally, an audience or listener is skeptical about the real existence of the ancient lands together with their last glory. Let us look at Greece, as a good example. Some Greek citizens claim that a city called Atlantis once existed. It had endless supply of gold, precious stones and food. Then one day it sank to the ground, never to be seen again. Without written scrolls, scripts or tablets supporting this fact, then it is very hard to prove of its existence to some people like literary scholars.
Oral communication, as a means of sending messages, is known of its notoriety in distorting or exaggerating a message or messages. Like in business, some businesses have collapsed because of giving the wrong information, either from superior to the sub-ordinates or from the sub-ordinates to the superior. Because of such dangerous mistakes, several businesses have opted to modern devices such as computers, telefax and fax to communicate. In social life, friends and families have become slaves of rumors, which have split their friendship and relationship to pieces without knowing the source or cause of the rumor.
Due to the same risky occupations such as the military, police and secrete service, this kind of communication has been limited in that area because of dangers like plugging of the listening devices or being overheard by the enemies. Just by looking at the cold war era, we will come to learn how the Soviet Union states suffered politically and socially because of their agents relying mainly on wired communication devices as a means of sending delicate information. On the side of military, some civil wars have also been received by careful spies and eavesdroppers.
Institutions like campuses, universities and colleges have difficulties in teaching and training students due to relying heavily on verbal communication. Because of this, lecturers and teachers who teach courses concentrating mainly on theory in form of speech realized that the only way to drive a point home from any of these courses is by using hands, heads and legs in expressing a reaction, rate, mood, size and even shape. As today’s world becomes more sophisticate, verbal communication in training institutes is becoming confusing more and more , as materials for study and teaching increase.
Written communication has got advantages and disadvantages too. First we look at the advantages which affect people’s minds, making them to opt for this kind of communication, rather than the oral communication. In the first point, intellectual classes of people have really benefited from this kind of communication by just going through a book, newspaper, journal or sheets of a paper printed by a computer, this kind of communication method has really helped readers to acquire more knowledge about a particular subject or situation.
The second factor is that is has expanded the horizon of education all over the world. With the availability of reading materials for all students and pupils in school, campuses and colleges, the effectiveness of learning has really improved in almost every part of world. Second world and third world countries have really benefited from this kind of learning skill, through written materials.
The other factor is that unlike in telecommunication and other modern forms of communication, written communication is much cheaper in terms of expenses. To send a message to someone living far away from his/her home, a person can just write a letter and take it to post office, where one is charged less. But modern machines such as the computers, telefax and fax have proved to be much more expensive.
Fourthly, as this kind of communication concerns the writing of information on various materials, the writing of information on various materials, the written information can be kept for future reference, especially in libraries. Unlike in oral communication where information is distorted or forgotten, the written information can’t change its meaning or fade. Man has managed to unravel many ancient mysteries through the use of scrolls, tablets, scripts and booklets which show what really happened in a particular place with its date and name indicated. These materials have really helped us to learn and understand more about the historical Bible lands.
The last advantage is that concerning general facts, written communication is not exaggerated. Unlike in the oral traditions and customs where myths, fables and parables were used to convey a particular message in the past by ancestors, ancient libraries like the light house of Alexandria stored information, which was very important and fulfilling to the human race.
During that age, a historian or philosopher usually narrated his experience to a group of writers, who wrote the message they heard in scroll and scripts. If it was not for these libraries, we wouldn’t know about the life story of great leaders, such as Alexander the Great and Ptolemy the first.
Even though written communication is supported by several advantages, it can’t lack a few negative factors which make people’s decision to be harder on judging the best communication method to use.
The first disadvantage is that if written information is not well stored or cared for, the information is lost or distorted. For example, if we look at the loss several libraries and archives have suffered, the number of vital information which vanished is unthinkable. In this modern world, fires have spread havoc in the shelves and cabinets which vital information.
Secondly, literates are the only people who can apply this kind of communication almost everywhere. Looking at illiterates, we will come to realize that reading materials such as newspapers or writing a letter and filling in a cash book is their major problem in this kind of communication, focusing on this situation we will notice that a boundary has been created separating literates from the illiterates.
Lastly, written communication is a slow method, if we look at the way people send letters to distant people. For instance, a letter from Nairobi to New York will possibly take days to arrive as compared to telephones, telefax and mobile phones, which take a few minutes to complete a conversation or message.
Randall McCutchem, James Schaffer and Joseph R. Wycloff (1994). Communication Matters . West Publishing Company, United States of America.
Warren K. Agree, Philip H. Ault and Edwin Emery. New York (1988) Introduction to Mass Communication. Ninth Edition. Harper and Row, Publishers, United States of America.
IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample 17 - Compare the advantages and disadvantages of three of the following as media for communicating information
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IELTS Writing Task 2/ IELTS Essay:
You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.
Compare the advantages and disadvantages of three of the following as media for communicating information. State which three you consider the most effective.
Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.
You should write at least 250 words.
Model Answer 1:
In our daily life, we communicate information through lots of different media like the internet, televisions, radios, books, cell phones, films etc. We are living in such a time when information is one of the most important issues and the information technologies as well as the communication media greatly influence our lives. The rapid-growing websites and TV channels are many of few little examples how media are spreading to make information easily accessible. All the media for information interchange have advantages and disadvantages and not all can attract all types of audiences. Comics, books, radios, televisions, film and theatre are all very powerful media for communicating information. In my opinion books, televisions and film among those aforementioned six media are most effective.
Books are the witness of history and the main source from which we gain knowledge. From a very ancient period till now, books have been working as the light-house for our society. In our childhood, we gather most of our knowledge and skills from books. It opens new horizons in front of us. The writer writes down their experiences, imaginations, knowledge, explanation etc. about each and every issue of our lives. Books are the long-lasting protocol to make a bridge among writers and readers.
However, all are not happy to read books. They expect something easier and more vivid. Music, radios, films etc. are more appealing to them. Television is another powerful media. Watching television is a part of our daily lives. Most of the people who have a TV set, watch programs, news etc. with apt attention. It is a strong medium for Government and other organisations to send their messages to the mass population. Program representatives also broadcast the people's view and opinions about different controversial issues in TV programs. However, this medium has lots of demerits and bad impacts. Government and politically biased organisations often send negative and misleading news. Again young people watch different satellite channels and try to adopt the alien culture which is really harmful for the culture and tradition of a country.
Films are an audio-visual representation and can catch the attention of people from different geographical locations, races and cultures. A good film can shape someone's morality and doctrine and the film-makers with their huge amount of money, are so careful to make their films realistic and eye-absorbing. Every film has a direct or potential message or moral. On the contrary, some films also bring a wrong message to us. For example, protagonists are always smoking in the films and it seems that smoking is a good and smart habit. It causes many younger people imitate them smoking.
In conclusion, I would like to state that books, televisions and films are the most powerful and effective medias for communicating information.
(Approximately 459 words)
(This model answer has been prepared by the site developer. However, please note that this is just one example out of many possible answers.)
Model Answer 2:
Communication media plays a vital role in today’s world. It enables us to stay informed of the happenings in the entire world, provides access to real-time information, and entertains us. There are different kinds of media in use today, namely comics, books, radio, television, film, theatre etc. out of these, the most effective are the television, radio and books.
Television, or TV for short, is an electronic device that enables us to see and listen at the same time to an act that has been recorded. These can be replayed any number of times. News on a TV enables us to view the current events occurring in different parts of the world. Video of an event can be telecasted live as it happens through remote satellite links. A TV can also be a source of education and entertainment. Educational channels, such as Discovery channel, telecast several interesting programs on topics such as wildlife or solar system. Other channels, such as Star movies, telecast movies throughout the day.
A radio is an electronic device that uses microwave communication to send and receive information. Unlike a TV, a radio cannot display an image or a video, and the communication is limited to voice only. Typically, a radio is used for access information such as news and live traffic updates. The information is conveyed on fixed bands of microwave frequency called channels. A user can set the frequency of the radio to access a particular channel.
Books are the one of the oldest kind of communication medium. A book typically consists of several pages, made from wood pulp bound together. A book is typically identified by a title and an author, and optionally an ISBN number which identifies a book uniquely. A book usually contains a material on a given topic, divided by sub-topics in form of chapters. Books are often classified by genre, which is a theme in which the topic can be classified. Examples of genres include fiction, non-fiction, science fiction, mystery etc.
Of all the communication media available today, television, radio and books are the most important and effective ones. These are also the most commonly used media in the world today and they are responsible for binding the world together.
(Answer by Pankaj Kohli)
Idea Generation for this IELTS Essay:
Essay Type: Comparing the advantages & disadvantages + Discussion.
The main question of this IELTS Essay:
A. Pick three most effective media for communicating information.
B. Compare advantages & disadvantages of these three media for communicating information.
C. Explain why these three media are most effective for communicating information.
Advantages: 'Comic' as a media for communicating information.
- Comic books provide information in the most interesting and interactive way to the readers.
- It is more efficient for kids who are yet to start reading big books.
- Comics are often very effective to convey information and to produce an aesthetic response to the readers.
- Readers of comic books find it very easy to remember the information delivered by stories and cartoons in comics. It is less time consuming to read a comic.
- Comic books provide information to the reader in the most interesting and interactive way.
- Comics represent the oldest continuous form of communication in history and a much-revered form of communication between generations.
- Comics can transcend language and cultural boundaries.
- Comics and comics’ techniques could be used in various types of business and technical communications. When Google launched its Chrome Web Browser the accompanying technical documentation was a widely distributed comic book. The visitors guide for the European Organization for Nuclear research is also a comic and that proves the efficiency of comics to educate people.
- Comic readers do not have to spend a lot of time on reading. This is preferred by many readers who do not like reading pages after pages.
Disadvantages: 'Comic' as a media for communicating information.
- While reading comics readers often do not pay attention to the main information due to irrelevant cartoon or story.
- It can be a waste of time for readers who wanted to receive useful information from comics.
- Comic books are often published based on pure fiction and imagination and might have negative effects on the psychology of young kids.
- However, because of the simplicity of comic books, they can only communicate short information.
- Comics are not as much informative as books are.
Advantages: 'Books' as a media for communicating information.
- Books are very instructive and effective in conveying information as they comprise the writer's thought and life experience and are usually written over a longer period of time.
- The book is a significant media to receive information ranging from basic skills to professional knowledge.
- Reading books help us to nourish our mind and keep us moving forward in a positive direction.
- A reader always has a wide range of choices to pick a book based on his/ her interest.
- Books are everlasting while the basic formation of other media changes a lot over the time.
- Readers pay more attentions while reading a book and that is why they can learn better from reading.
- Books are the accumulated version of history, knowledge, experience and wisdom. Books have endless offerings and stories to bring out the best of creative readers.
- Reading books can give us an insight into many different cultures, and civilisations.
- The secret to a successful life is knowledge and information. The answers to nearly all our problems and query are documented in texts somewhere.
- Books can stimulate and excite a reader’s imagination as well as arouse his curiosity, thus bringing out the creative oneself.
- Books help to articulate our thoughts and reading books improve our vocabulary and communication skill.
- Reading the book is like peeking into the minds of the greatest people - A book is like a conversation with the writer and reading many books gives us an insight into the thinking process of different writers.
- Intercultural understanding will be developed by reading more related books. Humans will become more familiar with demographic of nations as they read more books about them.
- Individuals will have a better comprehension, grammar, communication skill, and more variety of vocabularies.
- Readers always have a wide range of options to read books that would entertain and interest them.
- Books are portable and people can access it from almost anywhere.
Disadvantages: 'Books' as a media for communicating information.
- Books are not always attractive to many people. For those people, books are not the greatest source of information and knowledge.
- It required more patience and time to read books.
- Book production requires cutting down trees, and that has a negative impact on our environment.
- Information presented on books could be outdated in many cases.
- Sometimes a writer can instil an ideology to a reader and can influence his thinking in a negative way.
- People have to have a high level of literacy to read some specific and advanced books.
Advantages: 'Radio' as a media for communicating information.
- Accessible in anywhere and anytime, during driving or travelling.
- Radio is less costly than the other media devices, like TV. Unlike TV, which users have to pay a monthly payment for cable, Radio does not need this cost.
- It is available in the rural areas as well.
- Have less detrimental issues.
Disadvantages: 'Radio' as a media for communicating information.
- No access to any visual features which TV has.
- Less being developed compared to TV or other media devices. Every year, new versions of TV, like introducing of smart TVs, have led users to be satisfied more, while there are no any significant changes in the technology of Radio.
- Less accepted by the new generation.
Advantages: 'Film' as a media for communicating information.
- Becoming familiar with other cultures by watching movies.
- Watching films is a kind of entertainment. People have less stressful lifestyle by watching more films.
- Some films improve viewers’ relationships. Family films are the best ones helping families to have a better communication.
Disadvantages: 'Film' as a media for communicating information.
- Cultural invasion can happen. Young’s minds are more affected by watching other countries’ films.
- Addiction to watching film may be costly and time-consuming. We have to pay fees for Netflix or the cinema and have less enough time to concentrate on our work.
- It can reduce juveniles’ study performance. Instead of studying, they spend their precious time on watching plenty of films each month.
- Violence and sex scenes that are shown on movies can phenomenally increase the rate of crime among viewers.
[The above-mentioned points should be helpful for you to generate your own ideas and then turning them into a nicely written IELTS Essay. Add any point you think we have missed in the comment section at the end of this article.]