What is indirect communication?


Indirect communication is the part of the communication process in which information is said but not clearly or concretely. It tends to be diffuse in the non-verbal part of the communication, usually being contrary to what the person says explicitly orally.

Next we will see more in depth what this communication style is, its characteristics, examples and some advantages that, surprising as they may seem, have this way of communicating things in an unclear way.

What is indirect communication?

Indirect communication, also called indirect language, is the communicative style consisting of transmitting information in a non-explicit, clear or direct way. It clearly differs from direct language in that ideas are clearly conveyed in it, verbalizing the message and making things understood as they are stated, without interpretation or confusing messages.

When a person transmits a message indirectly, he does so through his non-verbal language. In other words, it does not clearly verbalize what it wants to expose, but rather tries to communicate it through various aspects such as tone of voice, gestures, body language and other non-verbal aspects.

Indirect communication is generally used as a non-explicit attempt to persuade or influence someone to behave in a desired way. Although it does not necessarily have to be used in a negative way, the truth is that indirect language has a manipulative character or, at least, serves to convey an idea that, due to socio-cultural aspects, turns out to be taboo if it is said in such a way. explicit.

It is for all this that it is usual for there to be a marked contradiction between what the person says and does. On the one hand, the sender emits, either orally or in writing, a message (eg, "I am very calm and satisfied"), but on the other hand, either through his tone of voice ( eg, a sharp tone is associated with irritability) or body movement (eg, rapid hand movements is associated with nervousness) rather indicates the opposite.

The reasons why indirect communication appears are many, basically being the fact that the issuer does not dare to say something clearly and verbally. Whatever the reason, the truth is that it can be the source of misunderstandings, in addition to being sometimes related to a passive-aggressive communication style. It is especially not recommended in contexts where it is necessary to be sincere and honest, such as in the couple or the work environment.

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Characteristics of indirect communication

As we have discussed, indirect communication can arise for several reasons. Whatever they are, the following characteristics can be found in any indirect communication style.

Contradiction between verbal and non-verbal

As we have commented, it tends to happen that the message transmitted indirectly contradicts the message directly. There is a contradiction between the verbal and the nonverbal.

Broadly speaking, we understand as verbal communication that which is transformed into words, both orally and in writing, while non-verbal communication is what is emitted in the form of gestures, body language and tone of voice, among other aspects.

In direct communication the verbal message is clear and direct, without free interpretations. In contrast, in indirect, non-verbal communication, one must rely on tone, gestures, facial expressions, and body language.

Although in most cases the verbal and the non-verbal are in tune, in the case of indirect communication the person has a non-verbal language that contradicts the message that has been delivered verbally.

This is a communication problem, since most of the interlocutors expect the person with whom they speak to say things directly and do not expect to have to interpret, through their non-verbal language, what they really mean.

The sender believes they are transmitting their message

One of the problems that usually arises in indirect communication is that the person really believes that, through his non-verbal message, he is making himself understood. That is to say, he trusts that his interlocutor will be able to read between the lines and will understand that he means just the opposite of what he is saying verbally.

The problem is that, in reality, in most cases the receiver tends to keep the information transmitted in a direct, clear and specific way, while the indirect part can either be ignored, ignored or simply not captured. And this is the source of many misunderstandings.

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