The Importance of Effective Written Communication

Updated April 17, 2017

The University of North Carolina defines written communication as, “clear expression of ideas in writing; includes grammar, organisation, and structure.” Effective written communication is an important aspect of business and personal communication because it sends messages that are flat, lacking other elements of communication such as tone of voice, a person’s body language and gestures. Written communication can be confusing, offensive and ineffective if it is poorly written, uses vague terminology or doesn’t provide concrete definitions for the message attempting to be sent.


The purpose of effective written communication is to send a message with the intention of the recipient understanding the message and responding to it. For example, if a supervisor needs to get a profit-and-loss statement to her manager, she may print it out, e-mail it or fax it with the required information in writing. If the purpose of the written communication is not achieved, the needed information may not be understood, which can cause the manager to appear to her superior as being unorganised or unable to perform her duties appropriately.


Effective written communication should use appropriate spelling, punctuation and grammar. It communicates the information in such a way that the reader can understand, logically organises the information, takes into consideration the format and style of writing based on the who it’s intended for and accurately outlines the information.


The outcome of effective written communication is productivity, purpose and clear direction. Written communication has become integrated into daily life through e-mail, text messaging and online chatting. If the written communication is effective, the recipients know what is expected and how to accomplish the goals. If it’s ineffective, more time will be spent attempting to clarify than was originally needed.


Written communication is any form of using written words to send a message. The different types of written communication are a handwritten letter, typed letter, e-mail, text message and online chatting.


Written communication is appropriate in different situations, but may be inappropriate in others. For example, if a person is summonsed to appear in court, calling the courthouse is an ineffective way to communicate with the government. Written communication is the expected and functional way to communicate with the government. In order for communication to effective, it must be sent to the appropriate people. For example, if a person has an issue with his boss, sending a letter to the customer service department would be ineffective because that department handles external complaints, not employee issues.

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About the Author

Nicole Papa has been a freelance writer since 2004 with a focus on SEO and Internet marketing. She has written for and JOLT! Marketing. She graduated from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor of Arts in mass media communications, and from the University of Texas with an associate degree in theater performance.