The other day a friend told me, "I didn't send you the article because I didn't want to overwhelm your email inbox." I replied, "You can never send me too much email!"
For people I know, there's no such thing as sending me too much email. The marginal cost of each additional email is minimal and I have gotten proficient at handling large volumes of it. For a slightly smaller circle of folks I apply the same principle for phone calls or text messages.
If I'm overwhelmed or don't have time, let me make that call and reply to say as much.
This is my approach for two reasons. First, I genuinely enjoy talking, brainstorming, and catching up with friends. Second, I think communication is really hard. Miscommunications happen all the time. Relationships end over miscommunications. While improving the quality and clarity of correspondence helps, I think increasing the raw quantity helps, too.
Even very busy CEOs maintain a "proactive open door" policy when it comes to email. Marc Benioff, CEO of salesforce.com, plasters his email address everywhere and regularly encourages employees, customers, and partners to email him anytime.
Bottom Line: I believe in overcommunication. As my friends know, my parting line on the phone or in-person is almost always, "Stay in touch."
(thanks to Brad Feld for teaching me this concept.)
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6 comments on “I Believe in Overcommunication”
Hey Ben, I’m curious what your take is on my post on being a more productive emailer at work. One person told me that my strategy was too time intensive…I disagree. Once you learn to write a good email, it becomes second nature.
Batch emails (don’t check too frequently). Reply length about as long as
email to you in most cases. Avoid sarcasm. There are other things…
Avoid sarcasm…wish I’d known that rule earlier.
Generally in agreement, but it’s a little different if one’s main occupation involves focus and production as opposed to communicating/synthesizing. They’re very different modes and not particularly compatible. At a minimum, the latter requires that the communication stream be entirely asynchronous.
I’m about to blow up your inbox, bro.
i thought that your parting line was “god bless”