It has become one of the most commonly used means of oral communication. It is used to place and take orders, to exchange urgently needed information, to make appointments, to establish valuable business contacts, and numerous other things.
Advantages of the telephone
I. It saves time by enabling a person to have instantaneous communication.
II. On the telephone, it is possible to get immediate feedback.
III. Although telephone communication is not as good as face-to face communication, yet it is possible to make it more effective through subtle modulations of voice.
Disadvantages of the telephone
I. Frustration caused by telephone tag: one might get bogged down by telephone tag. Instead of getting through to the concerned person, one gets to his answering machine or the secretary.
II. Dependent entirely on voice modulation: in telephone conversation, the communicants cannot use facial expressions and gestures to establish rapport, to achieve emphasis and to create mutual understanding.
III. Greater chances of missing or misinterpreting something: the receiver of the telephone message has only one chance to receive and study the message. He cannot go over it again and again as he could do with a letter. Similarly the caller has also only one chance to give the message. Since while talking on a telephone there is hardly any time to think, there is all likelihood of miscommunication or missing something vital from among the facts to be communicated.
IV. The caller may make a call when it is not welcome: on a telephone, it is not possible to ascertain the appropriateness of the time of making a call. A visitor can always see the mood of the person he comes to meet and make suitable adjustments in the message itself or the delivery of the message. But the telephone caller does not enjoy this advantage. His telephone call may catch a person when he is in a bad mood or is busy and cannot properly attend.
V. Not a permanent record unless taped: a telephone message does not provide a permanent record for legal purposes, although to overcome this disadvantage, it is now becoming a usual practice to tape important messages.