As an entrepreneur, I'm a strong proponent of face-to-face interaction, especially at the start and finish of a new client engagement, or when things threaten to go off the rails. I have a thing for eye-to-eye contact (going way back to my mom teaching me to be wary of people who won't look you in the eye) but lately I've noticed that such directness does make some people uncomfortable.

Still, I need to communicate with them in order to move my business forward. That's where writing comes in, especially written personal correspondence, which has enabled me to build rapport in unexpected and sometimes breakthrough ways. Written dialogue with colleagues on the more casual platforms -- like text messages, private social media interactions, and even emails -- tends to be an overlooked opportunity.

Here are five advantages of communicating with the written word.

Level the Playing Field 

Communicating in writing removes (even if temporarily) the physical measurements we knowingly or subconsciously take of the other person, such as body language and attractiveness. Conversing via writing also opens up a shared comfort zone that often enables candor and a certain freedom of expression that can go missing in face to face situations.

Memory Refresher

I can go back to what was said -- that is, written -- before. Having a written record is beneficial partly for refreshing my memory about what's already been said, and partly for keeping time -- how much has passed since our last interaction, for example, or remembering mentions of infrequent personal significance that are good to bring up again, like a wedding or birthday party.


Hand in hand with being able to return to a conversation to refresh our memory comes a certain accountability. "Put it in writing," we hear again and again, whether that's goals for ourselves or a promise from someone else. We hold the other person to it, and there's a record more tangible than a verbal mention in passing.

Time to Process

"I wish I had said that at the time!" How many times have you thought this? Sometimes the wittiest response comes to mind long after a conversation has ended, but written responses allow more of a time cushion between interactions, which means more time to think of exactly the perfect response.

Figure Out What You're Trying to Say

We write every day, of course, and for entrepreneurs in particular writing is a critical skill for articulating and communicating our hasn't-been-done-yet ideas to the outside world. Writing is also a way to think and, similar to a journaling exercise, it's a way to better understand what you're trying to say.

With some fine-tuning, and enough attention paid to the finesse of the written word and its potential to advance your business objectives, writing can facilitate the communication breakthrough you've been looking for.