Communication Overload

Last Sunday, I sat down at my Mac to catch up on planning for my next event. I needed some background detail on the audience and the messages the event booker wanted me to share. I knew the message was somewhere. I just couldn’t find it.

Something dawned on me as I was searching through all my communication channels. Four different email accounts, texts, Whatsapp, LinkedIn Messages, Facebook messages. I realised I had communication overload.

I counted at least 15 different communication channels. The more I thought about it, I realised two things.

  1. That I have no central way to hold all the messages so that I could easily find what I was looking for; and
  2. That we all have a preferred channel. You can tell which a person's preferred channel is because they are usually so much more responsive to a message from that channel.

I decided to crowdsource some insights from my friends on Facebook. Here’s a summary of my favourite answers as to how friends deal with communication overload and their preferred channels:

- The number of communication channels is actually counteracting the initial purpose. If you want to reach me now - call me. Email - will answer within 48 hrs (read 3-4 times a week). Text & Messengers - once a day;

- Perhaps unsurprisingly, most people use different channels for different purposes. Email and phone and maybe LinkedIn for work, Facebook and Insta for light social interactions.

- Talking - ah the old fashioned way - still the best

- The most liked comment was VHF Radio - almost certainly a reflection a good few of my friends are sailors.

- Only one person mentioned the good old letter. Still one of my favourites to sit down with a pen and paper and scribe a letter.

I'm now implementing a more disciplined regime along the lines of the first comment above. 

Switching subjects, my cousin Scott became internet famous last week.  A true hero in many senses of the word throughout his life. And the thing he becomes famous for is saving a cat from a lock in London. Its currently up 11m views on the BBC website.

On the subject of Heroes, I’m looking forward to speaking at the Hero Round Table this Friday and Saturday at the Barbican in London. Friday’s talk is a TED style talk on Culture and Values title “Why my children are my heroes” and Saturday’s talk is a workshop on “How to build a Hero Team”. There are still tickets available - it’d be great to see you there. Details all at:

Have an awesome week,