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Chapter 22. Knowing Your Communication Media > Written Communication - Pg. 236

Knowing Your Communication Media 236 From the Manager's Desk When there is little urgency and it is important that each party understand details and complexities of an issue, the written word (on paper) is probably a good choice. Sometimes speed is not a good thing. Written communication is also the recognized way to keep records of conversations. If you need to document what you've said and what the other person has said, the on-paper process allows you to do that in a way that is official and legal. Because written communication is slower and more formal, people tend to be less abusive when they write. People know a letter or memo is a permanent record, so they are less willing to say really nasty things. On the minus side, it's really hard to solve complex problems via letters because the process is so slow. You can't brainstorm or throw around a bunch of ideas or interact. Written communication is also a kind of arm's-length communication. It's hard to use the written word to create great relationships or convey emotion. So if the issue is to build relationships, then other forms of communication are better. That's why it isn't a good idea to fire someone via letter.