Indirect Approach to Business Communication

Business letters are official documents intended to convey information to external shareholders.

In organizational communication , business communication or cross-cultural business communication , business letters play a very important role in supporting the purpose of the message being delivered, minimizing the occurrence of misunderstandings and other problems arising from improperly written business letters.

The example of misunderstanding in business communication in question is an error in interpreting the message.

There are three strategies for writing business letters, namely direct strategy, indirect strategy, and persuasive strategy.

A direct strategy is usually recommended for neutral and good news papers. Meanwhile, an indirect strategy is recommended for negative newsletters.

And persuasive strategies are recommended for persuasive letters. Thus, what is meant by an indirect approach to business communication is the strategy of writing business letters and notes in an organization that is used to deliver negative news.


According to Insley (2016) what is meant by an indirect approach to business communication is one of the business letter writing strategies used to deliver negative news.

The main ideas of the indirect approach are presented after describing or building the reasons that support the negative news that is presented.

The examples of business letters or messages in business communication that are rooted in an indirect approach in business communication are request refusals, claim refusals, credit refusals, job rejection letters , and other situations that contain negative responses.

For some, the indirect approach is a strategy for writing letters and messages that is difficult to do.

This is because people generally do not want to read things that are negative. Therefore, in contrast to how to make persuasive messages in business communication , this type of approach requires special attention to the writing strategy and elaboration of the core problem.

In a sense, the writer must pay attention to and truly understand the process of composing messages in business communication, especially those relating to the delivery of negative news.

The core of the indirect approach of business communication is to put forward the reasons that support the negative news that will be delivered at the beginning of the letter and after that, then mention the main idea.

This is intended to provide a kind of framework for the basis of decision making so that it can be better understood by the reader.

It may be that the reader does not feel happy with the negative news delivered, but at least the reader can understand why the decision must be taken through the logic flow that is presented.


Generally, the indirect approach to business communication consists of several components, namely:

  • Opening paragraph

In the indirect approach, the opening paragraph presents things that are neutral in accordance with the topic of the conversation.

The main concept of the indirect approach of business communication is that no negative news or positive or negative news is hidden in the opening paragraph.

  • Paragraph body

The body part of the paragraph contains various reasons that support negative news delivered, negative news statements, offer various alternatives that can be applied, and maintain good relations. The body of the paragraph begins by parsing various reasons that lead to negative news decision making.

Then, negative news is stated clearly and full of tactics. It would be better if it did not end the body of the paragraph with only negative news statements but instead followed by offering various alternatives.

This will make the reader feel valued and given various choices of situations that cannot be controlled by the reader himself.

  • Closing paragraph

The concluding paragraph presents a statement maintaining good relations including the opportunity for further discussion if possible.

In the closing paragraph, the author intends to direct the reader towards the future. In a sense, the author does not apologize and repeat the negative news that has been delivered.

What the writer does is express and explain the negative news clearly and tactically in the body of the paragraph and reduce the reader feeling disappointed by providing several alternatives.

The closing paragraph should be closed with a statement while maintaining good relations and the possibility of further talks.

Business letters intended to deliver negative news should be well written in accordance with the provisions above.

But sometimes the author does not heed this so that the business letter that was made was not very good.

Here are some of the common mistakes writers make in making business letters using an indirect approach, namely:

  • The author tends to use the direct strategy in addition to the indirect strategy in the opening paragraph. In a sense, negative news is conveyed in the opening paragraph.
  • In the opening paragraph, it is seen that there are too many details in the first two sentences so that they are judged to be too wordy.
  • In the body the paragraph is always opened with news that is pessimistic.
  • In the body of the paragraph, the author does not offer several alternatives.
  • Then in the closing paragraph, the author reminds the reader about the negative news from the first paragraph.
  • The author offers an apology to the reader.
  • Closing paragraphs are not entirely friendly to the reader.
  • The absence of further discussion is stated in the closing paragraph.

Thus a brief review of the indirect approach of business communication. Hopefully it can add to our insights and knowledge about the understanding and components of an indirect approach to business communication


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