The Importance of Connecting in a time of Over-communication
Last week, I captured this selfie of myself, Charlotte (Chief of Staff) and Jennifer (CEO). The significance? As they were about to walk out the door it dawned on me, all three of us were physically in the same place at the same time. I couldn’t remember the last time we were all together or even fathom the next time we might be. It instantly felt like a moment that needed to be commemorated. But why did I feel so strongly about taking this photo when I talk to these women every single day, multiple times a day? I think the answer lies somewhere in the balance between connection in a time of over-communication.
Communication is key to running a business. Collaboration, feedback, idea sharing and concise direction are crucial facets of successful teams and in turn, successful companies. Take a moment to think about how you’ve been communicating over the last year with your colleagues, partners, clients and so on. Seriously, think about it.
Has your communication increased or decreased?
Slack. Email. Texting. Social Media. Have your communication channels broadened?
Has your communication been better, more concise?
Or worse, more frantic, unclear, sporadic, emotional?
Have you shied away from communicating with certain people?
Or have you found yourself opening up, connecting and in turn perhaps over-communicating more?
You can argue that when it comes to setting employee expectations and a company’s mission, vision, values and transparency, over-communication is vital. In today’s world of distracted listening, dropped Zoom calls and inevitable interruptions brought on by our newly formed remote work environments, over-communication is not only vital, it’s necessary. However, despite the required advantages, over-communication can overwhelm. It can churn the otherwise calm waters of someone’s day, week, or month. Over-communication can bombard, turning a typically productive individual into an inefficient, stressed out mess. In short, over-communication can be a dangerous ledge to find yourself balancing on. This is where I believe connection pulls us back to safer, steadier ground.
If you know me you know I love a good synonym. Here are some synonyms for the word(s) connect/connection: relationship, bond, link, attachment, join, secure, tether.
Now let’s circle back to the significance of that selfie I took. I have a connection with those women. I am bonded with them. I am tethered to them. My work informs their work and vice versa. Our relationship goes beyond that of hierarchical company structure, and I’d venture to guess they’d say the same about me.
Connecting involves a level of comfort and trust in others. Strong connections with colleagues leads to better communication. But what happens when the comfort of that connection leads to unnecessary, unproductive over-communication in a professional setting? Look no further than the connection that initiated the over-communication to begin with.
There’s no fault in the security we feel when connecting with colleagues. In fact, a recent over-communication snafu on my part taught me exactly how to maintain relationships with my colleagues without dropping an “over-communication bomb” on them.
Our connection led to communication. It went like this:
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What are the details you’re trying to communicate?
- Here’s what I have/know
- Here’s what I can do
- Here’s what I need help with