The Difference Between Inductive and Deductive Communication

Ryan Eidson  —  June 27, 2014

Today’s article is part two of “Why You Need to Use Transformational Storytelling

I decided I was going to figure this whole story structure thing out.

Back in college I had a professor who always emphasized using stories for teaching. He taught us how to use the inductive method instead of the deductive method.

A few years ago this same professor gave a presentation about the differences between oral and literate cultures. I found all this fascinating and started to incorporate it into what I do.

The Difference Between Inductive and Deductive Methods of Communication

difference-between-inductive-and-deductive-communication

Image source flickr user: _hlian | cc

The inductive method is telling a series of stories or examples to draw your audience members to their own conclusions.

For example, you tell your child a fable about a kid who hated brushing his teeth, and that kid’s teeth all fell out before he graduated high school. No one wanted to take pictures with the kid because his mouth was void of teeth.

Then you tell your child a story about when you were younger and didn’t brush all summer long, and the next time you went to the dentist, you had to sit in the dentist’s chair for two hours straight because they had to drill out so many cavities. Your child responds to these stories by going to the bathroom to brush her teeth because she doesn’t want to have a drill in her mouth, and doesn’t want to be shunned by her friends because of no teeth.

Inductive logic goes from specific instances to a general conclusion.

Rick Butts’ Wisdom Thesis model is a good example of the inductive method.

The deductive method is giving a thesis statement up front and then supporting that statement with multiple points.

For example, “You need to brush your teeth every day. Here are three reasons why you should brush your teeth every day:

  1. Your will save money with the dentist and not have as many cavities when you brush every day.
  2. Your teeth will look whiter.
  3. Your spouse will enjoy your fresh breath.”

That’s deductive logic.

Deductive logic means giving a general reason up front with specific instances later.

Ken Davis and Michael Hyatt use deductive logic for public speaking with their SCORRE method and conference.

Now that you understand the difference between inductive and deductive logic, let’s go back to my story.

Why I Started Writing Realistic Fiction Books

The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni was one of the first business fable books that I read. And it stuck, too. I’ve referred that book to several people over the years since I read it. I was fascinated by how Lencioni put together a book that had a realistic fiction story followed by an explanation of the five dysfunctions model.

In 2012 I did much research on self-publishing. I’d already released one book and started to get ideas on what became my first fiction parable book, A Couple with Common Cents. During this time I heard about Joseph Campbell’s work on The Hero’s Journey and read Christopher Vogler’s The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers.

(The Hero’s Journey is a framework for stories. Most ancient myths follow the pattern of the Hero’s Journey, and to a degree, our own lives do as well.)

The main characters in my realistic fiction series are the people in my target audience. My readers quickly identify with the characters and get pulled into the story. It’s entertainment and education all at the same time.

As for A Couple with Common Cents, the personal finance book market has more than enough non-fiction how-to materials. Why not write a story that the current generation can relate to?

So I did.

Application

Now that you know the difference between inductive and deductive communication, how will you use it?

Do this: Use stories.

Transformational storytelling captures the heart of your audience.

Readers (and listeners) benefit most when you craft a story from real-world emotions, situations, and experiences, rather than using abstract, cold, ivory tower philosophy.

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Ryan Eidson

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I have the unique ability to make complex ideas easy to understand. I am the author of A Couple with Common Cents and live in rural Missouri.