Indirect Communication: What It Is & How It’s Different From Direct Communication

Everything you need to know about these two communication styles

This article was co-authored by wikiHow staff writer, Ali Garbacz, B.A.. Ali earned her B.A. in Linguistics and Asian Languages and Cultures with a focus on East Asia from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2022. She has published articles centering around culture and history for non-profits and has also done news writing for an online news site. Ali now writes as an editor at wikiHow with the hopes of becoming a part in helping to achieve wikiHow’s goal of teaching everyone to do anything. She enjoys the process of researching and learning new things to share with readers and creating content that is both informative and fun.

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Each person has their preferred way of stating their wants and needs, and some can be more straightforward and direct while others are more strategic and indirect. Indirect communication is all about reading between the lines and looking at the bigger picture, and getting used to this communication style can take some time. Read on to learn all about what indirect communication is, how it differs from direct communication, and how to navigate interactions with individuals who prefer an indirect communication style.

  • Indirect communication is a communication style that doesn’t explicitly reveal a speaker’s intentions or desires.
  • Indirect communication relies on things like a person’s body language, tone, and word choice to get the full message across.
  • Unlike direct communication, indirect communication takes social hierarchy into consideration and leads people to speak more formally depending on the listener.
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Source: HIS Education

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