“Speaking up” Vs. “Writing down”

“Speaking up” Vs. “Writing down”

Speeking vs writing

The more knowledge you accumulate, the more insights you amass — the better and more well-rounded person you become. Well, at least brain-wise. In order to get better not only on paper, and I mean literally — on paper — you have to grow yourself to completeness to express yourself through all types of communication.

We all know what the main ways humans interact with each other are: writing, speaking and body language. Today, I want to specifically focus on speaking your opinion to others versus writing it down for others.

Speak yourself Up

So, to give it a crack: what does speaking up accomplish that writing down doesn’t? When I talk about speaking up, I mean an “as-real-as-it-gets” challenge we all face one way or another: a fear to not being heard. That’s why in our workplace we might prefer writing our colleagues an email just to ensure they have checked our message for certain. However, this trick won’t work as something to establish relations and really get to the root of the problem. If a person opts not to give a wooden nickel about an issue you raise — you may send 10 similar messages and you still won’t get a proper involvement.

This is where the speaking up hint is much more efficient in a long-run, leading to a better bond if executed carefully. You see, speaking up can really be vital when it’s necessary, but at the same time, it might hurt when it’s necessity is far-fetched. For example, you don’t want to bargain for a price with a seller of a unique pair of sneakers you were looking for on eBay, since the seller might have a line of customers to substitute for you instantly; but, you would like to sound your concern when the same seller obviously tries to rip you off on the delivery for this pair, which in your knowledge shouldn’t be that costly.

On a basic level, this can be called empowering one’s self to speak in one case, and not empowering in another. Adam Galinsky, in this Ted Talk, calls it a person’s accepted behavior, implying that we all decide for ourselves where can we sound our opinion, and where not to. By simple definition: more decisions to speak up come from more power, and the more authority we possess. But it does not simply mean that if you are a king — you should talk about everything, and if you are a laborer — you should stay silent as a fish.

I broke down Adam’s speech into these bullet-points:

  •  If you have a lot of power, and people recognize it – speak less, give little of your professional take on the subject.
  • If you lack power and competence in something – speak up by backing up your opinion with well-constructed assertions and empirical knowledge.
  • Assert yourself by asking advice from others, even if you know better.
  • Take your opponent’s perspective if the question of power is unclear, talk his language, use his phrases and opinions before you sound up your own standpoint.

These four suggestions will coin the beginning of a change in your relations with people, and with appropriate usage – can turn your life around in a big way.

 Value of written contact

But what about writing? Is writing always in second place compared to talking?  

The answer is — yes. When it comes to discussing something, especially when the subject of discussion is truly controversial. However, writing is abundantly better when the parties are not heated with each other, but already have mutual respect and recognition.Writing down the problem is really good when it should be broken down into the focal points, which need to be addressed separately. All this does not even mention the fact that documenting an argument goes a long way, which is evidently a great asset when you need to ponder an issue for quite some time.

I would say that in a nutshell, the fact of the matter is that written communication is substantial. However, it falls short when there is a need to cope with an urgent problem, because a sincere attitude and emphatically listening to a person really gives you an edge in solving the problem by talking it out. If used properly, both writing and speaking can create great value and streamline people’s interaction. We should all push to the front one means of communication over the other where relevant, and try not to mix them up.

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