Posted by: westerlundi | November 22, 2009

Canadian communication style

Canadian communication style is so called neutral communication style.  This means that people use the direct style of verbal communication. Communicators meet only to accomplish objectives, and often the parties at a meeting don’t know each other very well. Speakers are typically direct and focused. Personal style of verbal communication focuses on the speaker and reducing barriers with the audience. In the personal style, people use first names and address each other informally and directly on an equal basis.

Canadian communication patterns are much more low key than in US. Reserve, understatement, diplomacy and tact are key attributes and contrast sharply with the more direct approach of many Americans. Canadians still like to be direct and say what they mean. It unusual to find Canadians using overtly coded language. ‘Yes’ will usually mean ‘yes’ and ‘no’ will mean ‘no’. Canadians see evasive language as suspicious and would prefer any problems to be put onto the table for discussion. Still if you come from a culture where communication is very direct, you may wish to soften your demeanour and tone so as not to appear threatening. Canadians like their space and prefer to be at an arm’s length when speaking to someone.

Bilingual country
Canada is officially bilingual and the official languages are French and English which brings more challeces for PR professionals. Communication styles vary most between Anglophone and Francophone parts of the country. Francophones are generally more indirect than Anglophones, although less so than the French. They also tend to be more exuberant than Anglophones. Anglophones do not generally interrupt someone who is speaking. They consider it rude not to let a person complete their thought before entering the discussion. Francophones are more likely to interrupt another speaker.

Canadians are reticent to discuss their personal lives with business associates. They expect people to speak in a straightforward manner and to be able to back up their claims with examples. They do not make exaggerated claims and are suspicious of something that sounds too good to be true.

More information: Canadian communication style World’s Most Emotional Countries – Communication Styles also Differ by Culture
Zimbio: Cultural Considerations: Canada
Bnet: Internal communication in Canada

– Johanna –



  1. Does the different communication styles demand different kind of PR done in Francophone parts of Canada than in Anglophone parts?

  2. Yes Heli it does, and that is the reason I wanted to bring up this view. In the same way you can`t do similar PR in the different countries, there is also differences inside one country and you need to always notice audience and context when doing PR and working with people.

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