Sonic Restaurant Tailors Communication

A New York Times article describes Sonic Drive-In's approach to different communication styles:

"... colors near employees’ nameplates signal their preferred communication style. Red means be brief, and blue suggests that people provide more detail."


This is a simple, creative way for employees to ask to be communicated with in a way that works for them. You might also see how this could benefit communication with customers and help employees tailor their own preferred style. It could encourage employees to pay attention to non-verbals, such as moving away or losing attention, that signal someone is talking too much. The colors also reinforce the brand.

We know that responsibility for communication is shared, yet this puts added pressure on the person conveying a message. How do you shorten your own style if you're verbose? How do you add detail if you're typically concise?

Image source.


  • How would you describe yourself: blue or red?
  • Think of a time when your style didn't match that of another person. In what ways were you able to adjust, and what was difficult for you?