Written vs Verbal Communication

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Since hospitality is a 24 hour a day, 7 days a week responsibility, effective written communication is absolutely essential.  While verbal skills are obviously necessary for any customer service profession (for example, a pharmacy technician), the ability to write efficient and meaningful communications is also necessary for effective cooperation with coworkers.  For Kathy, the three-step method might seem cumbersome, but learning to use all of its steps in some capacity is necessary for her to master written communication.

The first step, pre-writing, might seem unimportant to a memo-writer and that is probably where most of her problems come from.  Without properly organizing her thoughts ahead of time, she would fail to get to her point promptly and explain it thoroughly.  Mastery in this step is critical for excellent writing. A rambling written message is more likely to lose track of its own meaning and the reader’s attention than to communicate anything.  Taking notes about the message she is eventually going to write out so she can visualize what she is trying to say would be the most effective way of quickly transitioning from the pre-writing step to the writing step.

Step two, writing, is not usually very demanding in the case of a memo either.  But failing to use a simple and efficient structure could quickly complicate and confuse what should be straightforward.  For a memo, the pre-writing phase should have done the heavy lifting of determining what order to write the parts of the message in.  And ultimately there should be a fairly standard formula to it, anyway.  Finally, Kathy needs to understand the importance of a clear written message so she will be willing to invest the time in step three, re-writing, when necessary.  It is okay to realize at the end of a memo that it doesn’t quite say what you were going for and start over.  Time is much better spent re-writing a message then it is trying to decode a poorly written message and then tracking down the person who wrote it and hoping they remember what it was supposed to say.

What Kathy really needs to learn is the appropriate medium of communication for the task at hand.  Immediate tasks like asking someone to the desk or giving basic instructions are sensible to deliver verbally.  But for communications that need to reach someone who isn’t immediately available, or that apply to some future time or date to be sent via mail or email, need to be written.  A hard copy survives much longer than a memory of a comment.  For customers, a clearly written message is often necessary as well.  Whether taking an actual message from a visitor or caller or giving them complicated instructions, being able to clearly and efficiently write a message means they will not have to ask again.