Workplace Communications: Why Boring Can Sometimes be Better
According The Radicati Group, Inc., a California technology market research firm, a typical corporate employee deals with over a hundred e-mails each day. Add this to the influx of telephone calls and messages along with good old fashioned paper memos, and the amount of information that has to be filtered through can be downright overwhelming. Workplace communications take up much of employees’ time at work, meaning the manner in which the messages are presented as well as the way they are expected to be responded to has a great impact on the employees themselves.
In today’s business world, as the digital age has become more developed, high intensity is quite the rage, with companies wanting to show they are innovative and stimulating. Organizations are trying to edge out the competition by being the newest, most exciting thing on the market. Attention spans of many demographics are short and high energy, and invigorating messages seem to be the way to appeal on many levels to both current and potential clients. Unfortunately, this level of energy can be transferred inward as well, with employees attempting to maintain exhausting intensity in everything they do and every act in which they engage. Communication can become a victim of highly concentrated oomph, with each and every interaction sitting on the same plane of exuberance. Unfortunately, the lack of differentiation results in each piece of info holding the same amount of suggested importance, making none of it stand out.
Bring it Down a Notch
There are few who are capable of maintaining high levels of energy in workplace communications and, frankly, they are not heard nearly as well as those who know how and when to bring the level down to an admittedly boring state. One of the most important ways to communicate is to take note of emotional cues. When the other person requires a less intense interaction it is necessary to meet those needs for a truly productive exchange. If one person comes with high energy and the other is not equipped to deal with that, it can cause the quieter of the two to quickly shut down and remove him or herself from the situation due to discomfort. Oftentimes, people are more likely to communicate for a lengthier period of time and reveal more information if they feel as though they connect with you. This can be done through a sense of intimacy in your communication, speaking to the person and not via levels of intensity that you wish to promote. Bring a calm demeanor to these types of conversations to produce an empathetic ear, which lends itself to a more meaningful discussion.
When it comes to written workplace communications, it can behoove you to keep day to day interactions to a nice, safe, boring level to get the point across. With high intensity messages, the proper information does not always make its way through or can get lost in the chaos. Instead, send info that is clear, concise and says only what you wish to convey. If a question is asked of you, answer it. If you are in need of specific details, outline what it is you wish to know. Later, when you need to find a specific thread of communication, you will be able to easily access the details without having to first sift through a bunch of inflated rhetoric.
Boring also lends itself to subject lines in workplace communications. The average employee spends over two hours a week searching out files and information on his or her computer. This, in part, is due to a lack of straightforwardness that can be easily rectified. When sending an email or message, clarify the topic of communication with a brief, to the point description. Include specifically the keywords one might search at a later date to access it. If you receive a high intensity piece of communication that is not clear, respond with a succinct subject line and a lower keyed message outlining what you believe is stated to ensure the communication is less about excitement and more about conveying correct information.
Just because you bring your workplace communications to an attainable level, this does not mean you cannot have a little fun from time to time. If you maintain a calmer energy level in general, you can hype up specific pieces where you really wish to make an impact. Add in clever banter and get in a few exclamations of excitement when fitting. When you pick and choose the moments of pumped up communication, those pieces will stand out and actually make the impact for which you were hoping.