Mastering the art of over-communication.
Interpersonal communication is often flawed. No matter how carefully we might articulate a thought, plan, or emotion, there’s always a chance that the details will drift into the land of forgotten memories, or simply be misunderstood.
In most interactions, over-communicating is as annoying as it is unnecessary. However, when it comes to illustrating and executing a plan, it should be welcomed and encouraged.
Over-communication and TMI: what’s the difference?
When people reference “over-communication,” they’re usually talking about one of two things: reiteration, or sharing more information than necessary. In this case, “too much information” means sharing details or news that might damage morale.
This doesn’t mean sheltering your team from all bad news. If it pertains to the execution of the project, it should definitely be shared so a solution can be found. On the other hand, for example, if a project manager has a conflict with the client, there’s simply no productive reason to share the emotional elements of the interaction with their team.
How to over-communicate like a master
The point of over-communicating is alignment. Reiterating a plan and maintaining constant communication can prevent casual gaps in communication from becoming full blown disasters.
Consider each email, meeting, discussion – anytime you re-communicate an element of your plan – as nurturing a collective muscle memory. It’s similar to the evolution of your handwriting – throughout the years, we fine tune the muscles and nerves in our fingers to more accurately express our mind’s vision.
In sports or craftsmanship, we call it training. In project management, it’s affectionately referred to as “over-communication.” Here’s how to do it effectively:
- Keep in sync. Hold meetings, encourage questions, and keep everyone in the loop and up-to-date on the latest advancements or setbacks. Make sure meetings are scheduled during times when everyone can attend, and allow everyone to share their concerns and progress reports. Of course, this presents the danger of all talk, no time for action, so try to keep meetings to less than an hour.
- Be efficient. Details are important, but edit yourself. Consider what actually needs to be communicated. For example, if the director of a movie tells his veteran cinematographer to “make sure you set the exposure right,” it’s wasting everyone’s time. Furthermore, don’t bog down positions with information that doesn’t relate to their work – the film editor doesn’t need to know the cast’s rehearsal schedule.
- Be humble. If inflating your ego comes before producing the absolute best version of your project, then you’re setting yourself up to fail. The best leaders aren’t concerned with their plan being right, but rather mapping out the best plan for their team. That means letting your plan evolve based on team input. Over-communicating both the changes, and how they affect the general course of action, is essential to keeping your entire crew in tune.
Make quality your overarching objective
At Beachwood Custom, we not only pride ourselves on our products, but also on our ability to communicate and over-communicate effectively with our team and our clients to ensure success in every project. Perfection is rarely achieved by sitting back and hoping for the best – it takes over-communication. Investing all you have into getting even the minutia just right takes grit, but it’s 100% worth it!