Stop Repeating Yourself

Overcommunication

For standard communications, this means proactively communicating when you are blocked, struggling, or have a win (big or small) — and not expecting others to magically know. An easy way to get used to this level of communication is to schedule a brief weekly email to your manager, including these details.

3 I’s of Effective Virtual Communication

When using overcommunication, it’s also important to follow the 3 I’s of effective virtual communication. The messaging should be:

  1. Informative — Provide all the context the other person needs. Help them understand not only the ‘what’ but also the ‘why’. You most likely came into the conversation with much more context than the receiver. It would help if you caught them up.
  2. Intentional — The communication should be on point and concise. It’s important to provide context without confusing the message you’re trying to get across. You should also be intentional in the way you communicate the message (ex. Don’t cause them to waste time thinking, “this should have been an email”).
  3. Inquisitive — Don’t just talk at people. You should be asking questions, having them tell you what they understand, and proactively finding out what came across and didn’t. Make sure the receivers aren’t just parroting back what you say. Our goal is understanding, not memorization.

Stages of Overcommunication

So, now that we understand ‘what’ overcommunication is, it’s time to put it into action. Unfortunately, this is where a lot of people end up stuck. So, I created the Stages of Overcommunication to provide you with a framework to effectively communicate virtually.

Prep

The first stage is the most commonly skipped step, but it’s also the most important. The point is to give a heads up to the receiver that this information is coming soon. This gives people time to prepare, research, and brainstorm, while also triggering their brain to look out for and pay attention to this upcoming messaging.

Detail

You’re probably most familiar with this one, so I’ll keep this short. In this stage, you lay out all the context and information.

Listen

In the third stage, you’re giving the receivers a chance to ask questions and allowing them to communicate what they understand. Hone in on what’s coming across and what’s not. Then, adjust accordingly.

Reference

You can do all other stages in either a synchronous or asynchronous format, but the reference stage must be asynchronous. This stage provides reviewable resources around the details.

Revisit

This final stage helps you close the loop and keep everyone accountable. Use this stage to make relevant connections and to continue to build on understanding.

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