communication overload

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  • 1.Communication Overload6/9/11 PMI-SVC Mtg Carter Engelhart, PMP

2. Communication Overload 3. USA Today Article

  • According of Jon Swartz of USA Today in his articleSocial media users grapple with information overload:
  • Corporate users received about 110 messages a day in 2010, says market researcher Radicati Group. There are 110 million tweets a day, Twitter says. Researcher Basex has pegged business productivity losses due to the "cost of unnecessary interruptions" at $650 billion in 2007.

4. Information Overload Syndrome - IOS

  • Could you be suffering from IOS ?


  • According to Newsweek articleI Cant Thinkby Sharon Begley Feb 27,2011
  • The Twitterization of our culture has revolutionized our lives, but with an unintended consequenceour overloaded brains freeze when we have to make decisions.


  • According to Newsweek articleI Cant Thinkby Sharon Begley Feb 27,2011
  • A key reason for informations diminishing or even negative returns is thelimited capacity of the brains working memory. It can hold roughly seven items(which is why seven-digit phone numbers were a great idea).Anything more must be processed into long-term memory. That takes conscious effort, as when you study for an exam.When more than seven units of information land in our brains inbox, argues psychologist Joanne Cantor, author of the 2009 book Conquer Cyber Overload and an emerita professor at the University of Wisconsin,the brain struggles to figure out what to keep and what to disregard.Ignoring the repetitious and the useless requires cognitive resources and vigilance, a harder task when there is so much information.


  • According to Newsweek articleI Cant Thinkby Sharon Begley Feb 27,2011
  • Recency Trumps Quality
  • The brain is wired to notice change over stasis.An arriving email that pops to the top of your BlackBerry qualifies as a change; so does a new Facebook post.We are conditioned to give greater weight in our decision-making machinery to what is latest, not what is more important or more interesting.There is a powerful recency effect in decision making, says behavioral economist George Loewenstein of Carnegie Mellon University. We pay a lot of attention to the most recent information, discounting what came earlier.


  • According to Newsweek articleI Cant Thinkby Sharon Begley Feb 27,2011
  • The Neglected Unconscious
  • Creative decisions are more likely to bubble up from a brain that applies unconscious thought to a problem, rather than going at it in a full-frontal, analytical assault. So while were likely to think creative thoughts in the shower, its much harder if were under a virtual deluge of data.

9. Is Less Really MORE!

  • Researchers have noted that the more people blasted by a barrage of information the more errors and misunderstanding occur.
  • Project Quality can plummet

10. The golden needle in the hay stack

  • Twitter, Facebook, email (cc), texting, RSS feeds, Cell Phones, arrays of document storage locations (aka snipe hunt), InstantMessaging are heading towards our brains like a force 5 tornado.
  • That golden nugget is being camouflaged by zillions of competing communication channels.

11. How to Stop the Madness

  • Dont schedule a meeting, WebEX or conference call without having both a clearly stated objective and a written agenda ( ahead of time ).
  • Identify the stakeholders of what you are communicating (aka the people who care ) and include them but not the rest of the world.
  • Avoid CCing and/or replying to everyone on your email system

12. How to Stop the Madness

  • Consider including each persons preferred primary and secondary method of communication within your communication plan contact list and try to honor that whenever possible.
  • Consider adding a note to each communication inviting people to effectively unsubcribe to future related communication when appropriate (people who are included in meetings, emails, etc. who were incorrectly identified as stakeholders)

13. Meeting Attendees Ideas?

  • Avoid repeating presentation information by rewarding people who show up on time.
  • Try to limit email sent to colocated staff
  • Speak up Let the message sender know when you wish to be removed from the communication channel.
  • Stakeholder analysis revisit your stakeholder analysis documents over time to ensure that only the appropriate people receive your communication.
  • Explain to the recipient(s) why you are sending communication to them.
  • Recognize when you should turn off your incoming communication channels in order to ensure quality deliverables.

14. Ideas?

  • Credits
    • USA Today
    • Newsweek
    • PMI-SVC [I-80] Roundtable Attendees
    • Images Microsoft Office Gallery (


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