Oral vs. Written Communication

Topics: Writing, Nonverbal communication, Linguistics Pages: 4 (1404 words) Published: March 27, 2006
In our English class we had to tell an embarrassing story orally to the entire class. We then made transcripts of our oral story and wrote a descriptive version. Both versions were significantly different from each other in many ways. Our study is on the differences between oral and written communication. When we are speaking and writing to people, content, style, structure and process are all key factors that determine our delivery. My oral introduction was short while my written introduction set the scene with details to introduce my story more formally and substantially. In my oral story I began with where I was and what time it was. In my written version I clearly introduced what time it was, where I was, how I was feeling, and where I was going. For example, "At 3 in morning I grabbed my skateboard and my backpack and left my friend's apartment…" While I was talking to my audience I could see their facial expressions and knew they understood and felt it was unnecessary to expand on those details. This is precisely where the structures of written and oral delivery differ. I can gage the reaction of my audience in real-time—their reactions to my story are instantaneous and visible to me—the speaker. Using audience reaction, a speaker can choose to incorporate or leave out certain details that are, perhaps, unavoidably features of a written story. This is not to say that reactions to written work are not instantaneous, for they are, but those reactions are invisible to the author and can only be received in the form of critical or evaluative communication after the fact.

My oral and written body paragraphs tell exactly what happened; however, the written version incorporates the details. My oral version was quickly explained, for example, "About mmm 30 seconds later I just got clothes-lined from the back." My written version is very detailed and informative missing minor details from the experience. For example, "They had funny expressions...
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