In this lesson, we will discuss direct and indirect communication and how those two styles differ. Add important lessons to your Custom Course, track your progress, and achieve your study goals faster. Communication StylesEffective communication is essential to a happy and productive work environment. Let's say that instead of Kendra's order to Juan, she says to him, 'Wouldn't it be great if we could present this to our boss tomorrow?' It would be hard to imagine that Juan would take offense to Kendra's statement or its positive, friendly tone, and it's true that she has communicated the fact that she would like it if their project were finished quickly. We will also discuss the pros and cons of direct communication and why it is used so often in the workplace. The people within a workplace of any size need to feel that there are strong lines of communication that exist within the organization.
Kendra's statement here is an example of indirect communication because, even though she's let her coworker know her general preference and has perhaps suggested that she would like him to finish his part of the work that day, she has not communicated a clear, actionable goal or directed her coworker in any way.
Managers and employees should be allowed to speak to each other and receive information from each other in useful and supportive ways.
Which Communication Style Should You Use?We all use both direct communication and indirect communication styles. Although we may like to think that we say exactly what we mean and are understood and well received, that may not always be the case. When people use direct communication, there is less risk for misunderstanding, yet more risk of offending the receiver by the directness of the message, as direct communication can be blunt.


With indirect communication, there is more risk for misunderstanding but less risk of offending the receiver. Direct CommunicationDirect communication is speech that conveys clear messages or that clearly directs actions.
Direct communication is often used in the workplace to ensure clarity regarding who has the authority to give orders and what the orders are. Successful communicators often determine whether to communicate directly or indirectly based on the situation, their goals, and the people who will be receiving the communication.
Lesson SummaryEffectively delivering a message during a meeting or important conversation can boil down to communication style.
Your communication style may be direct or indirect, and many people choose their style based on the nature of the situation.
This style can be effective in many work situations, but, in some cases, direct communication may be perceived as overly blunt or offensive by some listeners. Indirect communication may be perceived by some as a friendlier way to relate information, but an indirect communicator runs the risk of failing to convey key information.
Consider how this message might differ if the supervisor chose to convey this message more indirectly, in a way that did not communicate an absolutely clear message or order you to do a clearly specified thing.
Suppose that your supervisor says to you, 'Please be mindful of your arrival time every day.' You may be aware of the fact that you are sometimes 15 minutes or so late to work, and your supervisor's words may indicate to you that she doesn't like you being late.
But, she has gone about conveying her message to you by way of indirect communication in a way that's somewhat vague or that only implies ideas.


You could very well interpret your supervisor's statement that you should 'be mindful of your arrival time every day' as a suggestion to be aware of exactly when you arrive, and perhaps to make up any time that you miss by working later in the day, for example. The less clear, indirect message from the supervisor may be more pleasant to receive, but it does not communicate a concrete or obvious idea or directive. Because of this, they can sometimes appear to be argumentative, aggressive, or just plain rude. Keep in mind that I used the word 'appear.' It is certainly the case that direct communicators may be very nice, caring people. Their behavior may be driven by the desire to achieve an objective or by a passion for what they do. Consider an example in which two coworkers, Kendra and Juan, are trying to finish up a project that they will have to present to their manager soon. Kendra may say to Juan, 'Get the proposal conclusion done by tonight so that we can present it tomorrow.' This statement would be an example of direct communication because it conveys an unambiguous message and clearly directs an action. At the same time, he may appreciate that he understands exactly what Kendra's goal is and what part of the job she wants him to complete.



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