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The danger of over-communicating

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Over-communicatingIf you think you’re a great communicator because you communicate every little thing to everyone, you’re mistaken. In fact, over-communicating can be detrimental too, because it tends to cause confusion or slow things down.

Follow this advice to make sure that you’re communicating enough—without overdoing it:

Share what people need or want to know. If you constantly overshare, providing every trivial detail, people may stop paying attention, and they’ll miss the important parts of your message.

Some information is unnecessary, so parse down your message to those details that people need, and offer the extra details if they ask for them.

Don’t keep everyone in the loop on everything. Many leaders do this because they don’t want to leave anyone out. However, including everyone in a meeting or conference call or cc’ing everyone when the topic is relevant to only a few people wastes their time.

Trust us, people won’t be offended for being left off a meeting invite or email chain if the subject has no effect on them or their work. In fact, they will appreciate it. Decide who needs to know what and share information accordingly.

Aim to be succinct. There are few—if any—instances at work that warrant a long-winded, drawn-out speech or explanation. People just don’t have the time, patience or attention span to listen to you ramble on about every detail.

Get to the point quickly, tell them what they need to know, confirm that they understand you and then move on. That doesn’t mean be curt or rude. You can be polite and warm and still share your message in a concise, easy-to-grasp way.

—Adapted from “Don’t Lose the Message by Over-Communicating,” Toni Bowers, TechRepublic, www.techrepublic.com.

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