We have a value that we won’t make assumptions. We can’t expect others to know what we need unless we communicate it, and the one reliable way we can be sure our message is heard is by saying it in words.
More risk of embarrassment/rejection, less risk for misunderstanding
Direct communication states plainly what the issue is. It puts feelings, needs, desires, and experiences into words. The burden of communication is on the speaker to be clear and understood.
People who are accustomed to indirect communication can find direct communication rude and uncomfortable. Perhaps they feel they didn’t need the message to be spelled out so directly or possibly they expect harsh, hidden messages coded around the direct statement.
Indirect communication (hinting):
More risk for misunderstanding, less risk of embarrassment/rejection
Indirect communication is the “opposite” of direct communication. It uses nonverbal cues to communicate the message. The burden of communication is on the receiver to correctly interpret what is being said.
If the receiver misses the message, indirect communicators might use other tactics (such as making comments under their breath, gossiping, ignoring someone/giving them the cold shoulder) to communicate their needs. At DJ Dreaming, we ask that folks try asking directly for what they need, and get support from an ally if they need help doing so.
Based on different cultures, neurotypes, life experiences, and so forth, people will have preferences for different communication styles.
Whatever your communication style, it’s important that everyone has a shared understanding of what happened during a conversation.
- What was said?
- Was anything decided or agreed on? What?
- How do we move forward? What are the next steps?
- Who is responsible for what?
- How much time do we have?
- How do we stay accountable to what we decided? (Who will follow up? How? When?)
The most important aspect of communication is ensuring everyone understands one another.