The Advantages of Paper-Based Communication

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The term "paper-based communication" refers to any kind of communication that is made on paper -- by writing, typing or drawing. It is the favoured method of communication for most official and formal purposes, particularly in the bureaucracy. This kind of communication is different from electronic communication -- whether communication over the phone, or by e-mail. Paper-based communication can be through letters, telegrams, posters, reports or memos.

Origin of Paper-Based Communication

The first written communications occurred in the Egyptian civilisation, when people printed symbols on parchment to get messages across. In about 105 C.E., paper was invented in China. People could now write on paper and send the message to someone who was not near enough for them to speak to. In the 1400s, Gutenberg invented the printed press. This gave a huge boost to written communication worldwide, helping people communicate with one another on a massive scale. Other innovations came by -- for instance, the telegram, telegraph and development of the postal system -- but Gutenberg's press remains a landmark in the history of communication.


A message that is printed on paper does not require a special gadget like a phone or computer to access it. The sender needs only basic stationery items that are available in most homes and offices -- paper and pen. In the case of more formal communication, the message may be in printed form, using a printer, which is one of the essential supplies in any office. When this is delivered to the receiver, he can access it no matter where he is -- at home, at work, or even if he is travelling.

Maintaining Records

The biggest advantage of paper-based communications for official purposes is that any messages sent to and fro are always on record. The sender can make two copies of the report or message to be sent, and maintain one in his files. He can also get the receiver's signature to maintain, on record, that a certain communication had occurred. These can be relied upon to resolve any disputes if they occur later. If the agreement or contract had been entered into orally, this would not be possible.

Time Factor

Telephone calls and e-mail happen instantly; if two parties are discussing something over the telephone or face to face, they interact with each other instantaneously. Thus, their reactions cannot be a result of a lot of deliberation. With paper-based communication, on the other hand, both parties have more time to think about the message that has been communicated to them -- and their own response -- and reply in the manner that serves their interests best.

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