Can you just get to the point – Inductive versus deductive communication.

Have you ever had a conversation with someone, and you watched him or her disconnect, and then wondered why? The answer could be the difference between inductive and deductive reasoning.  We all have our preferred communication style or way we want to process information.

If you think of the DISC styles, the D style wants information quickly and to the point. In part, because their brain is operating from deductive reasoning. Make your point and then back it up. The D does not need a lot of detail most of the time.

The C, on the other hand, wants the background. They want you to share the data and facts that lead to the conclusion. In fact, if you don’t give them data and facts, they might check out or dismiss your point.

How does this play out in your conversations? What happens when your audience is large and you know you have a mixture of styles? One way to address it is to use both styles. For example:

  • We are going to reorganize the department (deductive, it gets right to the point) because we have been studying the process and work flows for three months (details inductive) and have determined we can better serve our customers.
  • I have always wanted to visit historic monuments because then I can get a richer sense of history (Inductive, all of the factors I was considering for my trip.) That is why I have chosen our vacation route to stop in Virginia. (The deductive decision) That way we can see Monticello, the Smithsonian, and Williamsburg.

via Flickr and Don DeBold –

I would add that people are not always in one of these positions. They shift based on context. An executive is often operating from a deductive frame. They are trying to get to the point and make decisions rapidly. Yet, when given a topic that intrigues or excites them, they may very well switch their approach and want the story and the details.

How do we know which style they are operating from? We have to be mindful. We want to be observing their posture and their facial expressions. Are they leaning in with a quizzical look? They probably want more of the story. Are they tapping their feet or perhaps making a come along motion of some sort? They are possibly saying, “Let’s get to the point”.


If you would like to learn more about how communication can help your teams align, engage and execute, please send me an email at


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