The obvious benefit of written professional communication is the efficiency.
Often I prefer in person conversations because they are both powerful and un-scalable.
You are not going to misunderstand me when talk face to face or over a call.
The back and forth of email or sms communication can easily lead to messages being lost in translation.
The downside of written communication is that it strips away tone and, thus, makes it really easy to misunderstand intent.
Given that, I have found myself increasingly appreciative of the smiley at the end of sentence.
It is amazing how a colon and a closing bracket can combine to bring warmth and humor into an otherwise serious/dry written exchange.
In the process I believe smilies may also prevent misunderstandings in the process.
The small things are the big things. 🙂