Advantages and disadvantages of oral communication

What is oral communication?

Communication between people has taken many forms, but the most important and those that still predominate are included in verbal and non-verbal communication.

Nonverbal communication is one in which we use visual signs that are not words, such as gestures or the use of writing.

Verbal communication represents that in which we use words , sound or auditory signs.

Going deeper into it we can say that it is the use of words for interaction invariably to the way we use them depending on the context . It can be done in two main ways: oral communication (with the use of words or the mouth) or written communication (by means of graphic representation of signs). In a previous article we spoken about the advantages and disadvantages of written communication.

Oral communication has a wide range of forms: shouting, exclamations, whistles, laughter, crying, vocal sounds … All of them can be expressed on many occasions in substitution of formal and articulated language (language) which is the most common form of oral communication developed and clear to understand. Articulated language are structured sounds that give rise to syllables, words and sentences with which we communicate with other people.

Let’s now look at the advantages and disadvantages of oral communication

Advantages of oral communication

  •    It is better at conveying emotions and feelings when speaking, there is a facial expression, tone, position and movement of the body and other important elements of non-verbal communication. Thus, a significant proportion of the information that a person encodes in a dialect is contained not only in words, but also in emotion. You would be able to better express joy, sadness, fear, surprise, anger and anguish unlike written communication. 
  • Better at reducing conflict  : Emails and chats can be misleading because the reader don’t even know the tone of your voice,and can misinterpret your message.  Oral language feedback is immediate so the speaker would be able to temper tone , make adjustment to reduce conflicts .
  • You will justify your actions more: When talking about your emotions, you will legitimize what you do more. People will understand that it is emotions that have moved you to act as you act and that you do not do it on a whim, chance or even premeditation. And that is always more understandable and acceptable because implicitly you will be contributing your motives in the form of emotions.
  • Instant feedback: opportunities are provided in obtaining feedback – i.e. if something is not entirely clear to the interlocutor, or the topic of the conversation is not interesting to him, you can immediately adapt to these unexpected factors. It will immediately help you to identify weakness and strengths so you can make instant changes.Allows you to correct and adjust the way you communicate the message according to people’s reaction.
  • The person you are talking to will open up and be more honest: Emotional communication exposes while protecting your feelings. That, by emotional contagion, will cause your interlocutor to do the same. There will be  imitation it usually happens that the person you are talking to ends up unconsciously copying your communication style.
  • It provides more information in less time: providing Information via email or memo needs to be formal it takes time to gather the information or your thoughts,  arrange it in a correct sequence so everyone one would understand, type it and the review. Oral communication your thoughts are can be delivered to your recipient immediately.
  • It caters for different levels of knowledge : Another important difference is that when we speak, our interlocutor is with “us” (physically or by phone). Thus, when writing, such an opportunity is most often not provided and this raises the importance of clarity in writing, taking into account possible differences in the knowledge of those who will read our text.
  • Allows to socialize
  • It is more personal: This can help your listener feel good during the oral communication, since physical contact activates physiological mechanisms that help our emotional well-being.It also reduces stress, increases the production of oxytocin – related to affection – and our level of relaxation. It also reduces our blood pressure, heart rate and strengthens the immune system.
  • We have access to nonverbal information:This is essential to achieve full communication, most of the emotional information that we do not transmit with words, we do it through body language.For example: if a person writes “I’m fine”, you can’t know for sure if it’s true, unlike if you look at his expression during the moment and hear the tone in which he communicates it to you.
  • It’s faster:Sometimes it’s easier and faster to call the cell phone and explain in a nutshell what’s what, incidentally capturing the reaction of the interlocutor and his understanding of the essence of the problem
  • Informal communication: This creates a more comfortable environment,  does not have to conform to all the rules or pass through specifics channels in an organization or chain of command .
  • Improves capacity of persuasion :It is easier to convince your listener with oral communication they would be able to hear the confidence in your voice
  • Time-saving: Oral communication does not create a high workload because a lot of time is not spent on offical communication. Written communication takes time to put your ideas and thoughts together. Example if a problem arises in an organization we can give an immediate response orally unlike writing.
  • Cost savings: The previous advantage was it saves time and we all no time is money . Organization also saves money because they is not need for paper , envelopes , stamps and pen .
  •  Relationship develops: It strengthen our links and  creates bonds that help establish emotional bonds and also provides security to individuals.Having a good chat face to face, helps us develop more and better empathy with the situation of the person with whom we talk.
  • Oral communication is best in case of problem resolution. The conflicts, disputes and many issues/differences can be put to an end by talking them over.
  • Flexibility: There is no need to follow the chain of command or rules so this let you easily make changes or adapt to situations on the ground.
  • Correction of errors:If mistakes are made during oral communication it can be fixed immediately.
  • Decisions can be made more quickly : Oral communication can be spontaneous so if there is a problem changes and resolution can be made in the spot.
  • Best for group activities: They say communication is the foundation of group work I would add that it is best with oral communication because decisions can be made quickly, there is critical thinking and instant feedback . It is more time consuming to use other methods of communication for group activities.
  • Promote  morale and maintain enthusiasm within a team: The best , largest and smallest companies goes through hard times and the leaders need to keep morales high to keep their employees.  Although work is coming to work, one must never forget that employees are human beings. Asking them how they are doing or taking an interest in their life and their specific activity will help you get to know them better and make them feel valued as people , which is very important in the context of any organization. A good manager tries to be close to the people under his charge and follows human relations policies established in the company. Sending thank you emails and notes doesn’t always work face to face communication is necessary.
  • You can communicate effectively : Effective communication is that in which the sender and the receiver encode a message in equivalent form . Thus, the message is transmitted successfully: the receiver understands the meaning and intention of the message issued. This is best done with oral communication.
  • Best for maintaining secrecy: There is no text to support what was said so this method is best for internal matters that needs to be keep secret or away from media.

 Disadvantages of oral communication


  • The receptors cannot go at their own pace : too slow or too rapid a speech will be counterproductive; they cannot go back if they have not understood a passage; the storage means are limited to those used by the transmitter (if it uses one); the time left for their own reflection is dramatically reduced to that of questions and answers (provided that the transmitter uses it).
  • Oral communication is speaker / dependent : some are spontaneously gifted; others are not. If they do not try to optimize their way of transmitting to the brains and touching hearts, whatever the quality of the content, they lose both the advantages of written communication and those of oral communication.
  • No proof : Perhaps the biggest disadvantage of oral communication is that there is no real evidence of the content of the communication. Part of the communication may be able to take notes during the discussion, but if there is a problem will always be the word of one party against another, without any verifiable evidence to show what actually happened during spoken communication. With other forms of communication, such as email, it is an electronic copy of the communication that is out of date and time stamped, showing what was said by whom and when. Oral communication does not offer this type of protection.
  • The absence of textual support, the words fly away: Once oral communication stops there is no text to support what was said.
  • Problems in conveying complicated facts and instructions:example it would difficult to orally communicate to a friend the steps for making a complex dessert compared to giving him a written recipe.
  • Difficult to organize :While oral communication is more personal, you can put both parties at a disadvantage due to the difficulty of agreeing on a time or place to engage in communication. This can lead to misunderstandings and delays in the transmission of important information in a business context.
  • May not go as plan :thoughts often turn into speech instantly and without preparation, repetition, deviation from the essence of the matter and other signs of spontaneous speech can occur more often than with writing.
  • The risk of personal interpretation is greater: 
  •  Is short – lived: The listener would not remember everything you especially if you didn’t relay the information in a manner for him or her to remember. 
  •  You cannot file or reference it: Written communication can be file or used for reference at meets this is not the same for oral communication. 
  • Can cause conflict : written language provides an opportunity to think over, the content of the text, turnovers, secondary words. .
    And in the oral one, that the speech may not be smooth , you say what you think on the fly, so your message is misunderstood causing conflict 
  • Cannot be expressed accurately : to express something accurately and unambiguously – then it is better on paper. Just think a little, you’ll spread your brains – you’ll write it all right.
  • Limited use: Its is not well suited for long message since important points may be left out , and for legal messages.
  • Probability of omissions: Sometimes the message a leader needs to give to his employees is so long that he forgets certain details . If time is short he may omit information that is important.
  • The receptors cannot tends to forget : If polices are given to receptors orally they tend to forget overtime . If there is written communication they can regularly check the polices to remember its content.
  • Confused speech: If a presenter  or speaker is nervous , inexperienced or not well spoken they may confuse the the receptor. Improvisation without a specific objective (what I want them to know, or what I want them to know how to do, or what I want them to want to do) means that the listeners do not retain anything .
  • No legal validity: Oral communication cannot be used in court or legal situations unless it was taped or written. It would be considered” hear say.”
  • Can be time consuming : Oral communication is a business that takes time in the corporate world. It is at least two different parts that can have two different sets of understanding the subject of the discussion. Spoken communication leaves the door open to a metaphorical rebuke or requires a long explanation of the matter by hand. This can take time away from other projects and cost the business money in the long run due to the time and resources lost to oral communication.
  • Late decision:Because of instant feedback it take a long time to come up with decisions and more so if it is a group.
  • The information is not well structured and is not very rigorous: Unlike written communication we can take our time to structure what we want to say for better understanding.
  • It can be repetitive: Many speakers tend to repeat the same message over and over resulting in unlike a written memo which gets to the main point immediately.
  • You may lose the receptor interest : The overabundance of ideas or messages means that most listeners disconnect and don’t remember anything. Also repetition of previously abundantly developed ideas sows discontent for the speaker .
  • Depends on the speaker persuasion maybe difficult : One of the most useful features of oral communication is the ability to effectively assess the other party’s attitude or concerns about communication, and to temper their own being more convincing for the desired result. This type of persuasion is often difficult to fight when engaging in spoken communication and can be a disadvantage for one of the parties involved. The use of persuasion in oral communication in the business can lead to misinterpretations and misunderstandings which can end up costing the individual or the company involved.

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