Information needs to be recognized and categorized in at least two streams:
1. That which needs to be simply shared – no action required or expected on the part of the recipients
2. That which needs to be processed by the recipients (some work is required on their part if the information is to be received and interpreted as intended by the sender)
On the subject of communication effectiveness, there is indeed such a thing as over-communication. Technology allows for several instances of the same data getting transmitted by various well-meaning teams, individuals and towers across the Organization. So what can we do to address this issue?
Communication education and awareness is helpful, but in addition, the Communication process needs to be documented across the Organization in order to define:
a. The various Communication types and guidance for criticality (High, medium and Low)
b. Appropriate medium to use (Written, Phone Call, Face – to – face meeting, Video/Audio conferencing, etc)
c. Guidelines for appropriate Audience determination for each communication type (to avoid including individuals and teams arbitrarily who may not need to be included, orr who do not need to know)
d. Guidance on how to determine if a communication is urgent or Important (or both as the case may be; Sometimes we get impacted by things that are or appear to be urgent but may not be truly important, and end up placing our effort and focus in the wrong place)
e. Awareness of the cost of communication overload (IT systems, Network usage, Bandwidth, stationary, email/snail mail costs, personnel costs of people being engaged in communication threads for no valid reason – in terms of the time and effort invested).
If the above steps are considered there is an opportunity to streamline and create better process discipline in the way we disseminate information in our communications.