It’s one of the most popular themes we have on our training programmes, and it won’t be any different in the future.
The question ‘How do we get over Communication Overload?’ must come up more frequently than any other. The way that technology has made information so easy to transfer has brought with it so many other problems, the least of which is how do we handle the challenges that overload brings us?
Being overloaded by all the communication media we face is a common dilemma, and can only be addressed in a proactive and precise manner. You can’t expect it to go away and leave you alone. You have to make it happen yourself, and you need to display coping mechanisms that will help you survive through the the morass of information that comes your way every day. Here are 10 Ways to Stop Communication Overload:
1. Every meeting – physical or virtual – must have an objective, an agenda, a start time and an end time; everybody who attends every meeting must have a specific and definitive purpose for being there.
2. Stop adding people to processes and groups. Every person you add to every process, group, communication, team, or whatever it is you are adding to, adds complexity and reduces productivity because people tend to say and do things, then others tend to respond, and so on. It’s always easier to herd fewer cats.
3. Question the broad use of your predefined email distribution lists; reconsider every individual you cc on an email, and most importantly, don’t automatically hit “Reply to All.”
4. Reconsider internal meetings to prepare for other internal meetings, layers and layers of review meetings, the wisdom of “all hands” meetings, and panicked, kneejerk reactions to involve the whole world in a crisis.
5. Encourage and reward employee accountability, risk-taking, and initiative for resolving problems on their own.
6. Be aware of how your communications affect others; be the kind of manager that communicates well and evenly without causing people to have to request explanations or clarify what you really mean
7. Forget the latest management fads that want to sell more books. It might look new on the outside, but the truth is that most are rehashes of exising ideas that work just as well
8 . Question the ubiquitous “I want to be involved” and “keep me in the loop” micromanaging/controlling mentality.
9. Don’t use collaboration or communication tools for the sake of using them. If the net ROI isn’t clear, don’t do it.
10. Never forget that, now more than ever, time is more precious than money.
By recognising these 10 ways to stop communication overload, you put yourself in a good position to make it easier and more productive to communicate in the best way, and therefore gain better results.
Head of Training
Originally published: 19 December, 2012