I went through a massive communication detox a while back. All of the push notifications on my phone had been reset, and for a couple weeks I was shaken by the consistency and sheer amount of interruptions there were.
Breaking down the list of distractions that affected my train of thought over the course of the day went as followed (and each one had a beep, buzz, ding, or on screen message)
- Google daily agenda at 5am
- Text from early rising friends
- Morning Facebook posts
- Morning Instagram posts
- Morning emails
- CP24 news alert
- CBC news alert of cp24 news
- Twitter posts about cp24 news
- LinkedIn alerts
- Midday social
- Email alerts
- Text messages
- Gchat messages
- Skype messages
- Afternoon recap on morning news
- Tweets about recap
It never really ended.
These are just the notifications on my phone from things that I have chosen to receive. Add in-person conversations, external media, other people’s devices, social responsibilities, family responsibilities, and professional responsibilities, it’s amazing we bother trying to add more influence to a person’s day.
This is the reality though. I am a pretty normal example of a connected person and I have little to no room for anymore noise. I can’t imagine what a person with young children has time for.
But these are often the “target audience” when we are crafting communication plans. We speak about the “overworked parent” or “busy professional” , but we still try to cram our message, slogan, offer, or jingle down their throat.
Effective non-selfish communication planning takes a few things into consideration:
- How much free time does my audience have for what I want to share with them?
- In knowing that they probably don’t have free time, what time/task in their day can I replace with what I want them to know and care about?
- Knowing that I am probably asking them to give something up in order to make time for my communication, is what I am sharing compelling or “worth it” for this audience?
The presence of distractions will change the value of your messaging. We are interrupting people and we should treat the situation accordingly.
In my next post I will be talking about “engagement threshold” or how much we can ram in a person’s head before they stop taking information in, or worse, forget something critical we originally told them.