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©2007 by the McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Direct and Indirect Communication Strategies
©2007 by the McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

McGraw-Hill/Irwin

Why Use Direct or Indirect Communication Strategies? 
Direct communication strategy
stating important points quickly, usually in the beginning of a message 

Indirect communication strategy
delays important points until after they have been explained

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Why Use Direct or Indirect Communication Strategies?

© Alan Schein Photography/CORBIS

© Lester Lefkowitz/CORBIS

Sometimes the direct approach is best when the message is positive and you want to get straight to the point. However, when the message is negative, the indirect approach may be a better strategy.
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Direct Strategy
‡ When Should I Use the Direct Strategy?
í audience pleasing message í neutral message

‡ Components of Direct Messages
Main idea Justification, explanation, and details Courtesy close

‡ Direct, Not Rude
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Direct Strategy
‡ Steps for Writing a Memo, Letter, or E-Mail Using the Direct Strategy
1. Deliver main idea
í clearly í straightforwardly í immediately

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Direct Strategy
‡ Steps for Writing a Memo, Letter, or E-Mail Using the Direct Strategy (continued)
2. Continue to
í express audience benefits í use positive language í justify and support message¶s overall purpose

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Direct Strategy
‡ Steps for Writing a Memo, Letter, or E-Mail Using the Direct Strategy (continued)
3. Finish message with
í deadline for a response í details for contacting you í goodwill closing

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Types of Direct Messages 
Requests for information or action
request at the very beginning of the message followed by a detailed explanation of its purpose

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Types of Direct Messages
‡ Steps for Writing Request Messages
1. State the request clearly and directly 2. Provide a brief but thorough explanation 3. Close the message politely with
í any desired action í date for response í contact information í appreciation for the reader¶s help
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Types of Direct Messages
‡ Sample Request for Information

‡ Sample Request for Recommendation Letter 
Claims and positive adjustments
begin immediately with the claim or the requested adjustment followed by support for the claim, explanations, and evidence that prove its validity

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Types of Direct Messages
‡ Steps for Writing Claims and Adjustment Messages
1. Describe the problem 2. Provide an explanation 3. Close the message politely

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Types of Direct Messages
‡ Sample Requested Adjustment 
Directives and policy statements
messages about company changes that are stated directly, followed by an explanation and reader benefits

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Types of Direct Messages
‡ Steps for Writing Directives and Policy Messages
1. State directive
í clearly í directly

2. Provide an explanation
í emphasize benefits

3. Close the message positively
í express appreciation
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Types of Direct Messages
‡ Sample Policy Statement 
Good news, goodwill, and social messages
recognize the contributions individuals have made to the company and include the main purpose followed by specifics concerning the event or purpose

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Types of Direct Messages

Goodwill and social messages recognize the efforts people have made on behalf of the company and focus praise or attention on them.
© V.C.L. Getty Images

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Types of Direct Messages
‡ Steps for Writing Good News, Goodwill, and Social Messages
1. Write promptly 2. Express sentiments 3. State primary at beginning 4. Provide brief but specific details 5. Keep focus on the reader 6. Close message appropriately 7. Refer to your future relationship
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Types of Direct Messages
‡ Sample Goodwill Message

‡ Sample Negative Message

‡ Negative Direct Messages

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Types of Direct Messages
‡ Steps for Writing Directives and Policy Messages
1. State negative news directly at beginning 2. Provide explanation, rationale, or details 3. Offer alternatives or potential solutions 4. Close message politely

‡ When Should I Use the Indirect Strategy?
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Indirect Strategy
‡ Steps for Writing Indirect Negative Messages
1. Begin your indirect message with a buffer  Buffers
statements added early in a message and include good news, points of agreement, statements of appreciation, assurance of cooperation, and recognition of the audience¶s point of view

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Indirect Strategy
‡ Steps for Writing Indirect Negative Messages
2. Follow the buffer with reasons  Reasons
follow buffers in a message and include facts, policies, and reader benefits

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Indirect Strategy
‡ Steps for Writing Indirect Negative Messages
3. Deliver the bad news  Bad news
should never be stated bluntly, can be implied, and should not be highlighted unless you are concerned that the audience may miss it

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Indirect Strategy
‡ Steps for Writing Indirect Negative Messages
4. Finish the message with a positive close  Positive close
follows the main points and reasons offered in a message to provide a goodwill statement or alternatives

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Indirect Strategy
‡ Problems with Negative Indirect Messages
í Should I apologize? í Should I anticipate problems? í Should I encourage further communication? í Avoid sounding unsure í Don¶t sound selfish í Never blame anyone í Avoid using fillers
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Types of Negative Indirect Messages 
Refusals/denials
the most common negative messages

‡ Sample First Draft and Revised Refusal E-Mail Messages 
Collections
messages that focus on recovering that which belongs to the company

‡ Sample Collection
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Types of Negative Indirect Messages
‡ Sample Social Refusal 
Social refusals
focus on the honor you feel at being offered an invitation to speak or attend an event for which you are unavailable

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Types of Negative Indirect Messages
‡ Steps for Writing Persuasive Messages
1. Begin with attention-grabbing buffer 2. Provide compelling argument 3. Reduce resistance 4. Inspire action 5. Close on a positive note

‡ Sample Indirect Persuasive Message
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Types of Persuasive Indirect Messages 
Sales messages
perhaps the most common persuasive messages and can be very creative and appealing

‡ Sample Sales Message 
Policy and directive changes
can be persuasive because employees tend to better support change if they believe it is for their benefit

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Types of Persuasive Indirect Messages
‡ Sample Policy Directive 
Fund-raising messages
need to be very persuasive and crafted carefully because the benefit to the audience from supporting or funding your cause is often intangible

‡ Sample Fund Raising Message

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Types of Persuasive Indirect Messages
‡ Goals of Persuasive Indirect Messages Goal
Generate attention (hook) Arouse interest Arouse desire Reduce resistance Push for action

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Questions

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