Communicators tend to be creators not destroyers of information, but is there a third way?
I got thinking (rare enough) about information overload when I read someone talking about having something other than music playing when waiting for a conference call to start. A couple of years ago I may have been all for it, this sounds like a great idea and it’s not a bad one if it could be 100% related to the call about to start.
If you know anything about IBM and many corps around the world, people spend more time in conference calls than real face to face meetings, well I do anyway. Some of that time is spent listening to some damn awful muzak that gives you earache.. (which I have today but is unrelated) sometimes it can be funny too. The last thing I want at work though is more information or requests to do something when I’m trying to gather my thoughts and remember what the whole point of the meeting that is about to start is all about.
I hate that sort of thing you get when you call the insurance company, “Are you paying too much for your car insurance?” – possibly copyright of Hugh Dennis.
In the light of my last post and the feelings I had to this comment I read it seems that as communicators we are to blame for a lot of the information overload that employees feel – it’s not just all the stuff they get from each other. I feel it too but I also feel that I can cope by having the skills to find information when I need it or organising it so that others can find it too. Well that’s my perception, I could be entirely wrong.
Communicators do tend to be positive on the whole and this leads to making more of everything. We like to create things. It’s our job right, to tell people things, so we need to make something to show what we have done. That has to change I think. We need to drive behaviours so the business succeeds financially and as a social hub – somewhere people share experiences and feel they are doing something worthwhile. If we continue to produce more stuff when can those behaviours happen? How can things get done?
Not sure I’m actually making myself clear here, this is at best a half thought through post and indeed the earache is getting painful..
Essentially I think it’s about leaving breathing space for people in your business. There is no need to fill every waking minute, blank wall or mb of hard disk space with a message. At the moment it seems that all the media that is being produced is not being consumed, rather it is consuming the people it is directed at and confusing them in the process.
It reminds me of an over enthusiastic family that all talk at the same time, mishear things and what should have been a 5 min chat ends up being an hour of getting confused and sorting that out.
Help people find information they need when they need it – this means skills and the tools must be provided.
Don’t assume because you have produced something now they need it now.. that is highly unlikely.
- Does information overload matter? (scottberkun.com)
- Information Overload May Just Be Surplus Attention (thetylerhayes.com)