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I love writing. It’s my go-to.

Others feel better when they’re verbalising.

Whether you’re a ‘writer’ or a ‘talker’ is something of a faultline in business. Proponents of the former tend to suit more operational arenas, whereas the latter occupy commercial and front line realms.

Except, it isn’t quite that simple.

Effective communicators of any arena are those who’ve mastered both written and verbal mediums, and can adeptly shift between the two. As with all communications, it’s all about identifying the medium that will help hit your message home hardest.

In the coronavirus lockdown, our options for communications have been drastically cut down. It’s made “written” communications the default (emails, WhatsApps, ‘memos’, blogs) and given us “verbal” tools which imperfectly substitute the real thing (Zoom, phone calls, webinars).

Crucially, lockdown has deprived us of the instant feedback that makes face-to-face communication so effective. Verbal interactions are now grossly one-way, with stilted interruptions and minimal opportunities for “reading the room”.

We have to be more careful than ever to choose between writing and talking, or risk drowning ourselves in a meaningless hubbub of words.


  • Words that last and last. Especially if you put real thought into crafting your message.
  • Respecting that your audience might prefer to skim read. (It’s not a crime.)
  • Deepening connections with readers who are prepared to invest in absorbing your ideas.
  • Specifing detail.

  • Words that exist only for the moment, and command the attention that impermanence demands.
  • Nuance and emotion that is best expressed by a competent orator.
  • Expressing wholly new ideas to previously unaware listeners.
  • Demonstrating care.

  • So often the best option!
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