Why we over-communicate, and to no effect

If you have said it over and over again but not received the expected behaviour, then you are over-communicating.

Have you found yourself asking any of the following?

“How many times do I have to tell you this?” “We have said this time and again.” “It’s in your contract, I sent you an email plus it’s on the noticeboard.”

You get the idea.

Well, here are three key reasons why we over-communicate, to no avail.

The big one is a lack of connection.

When we have not established a rapport with those we hope to sway, our words are destined to hit a brick wall. Think about it, how many strangers do you know that will do what you want. Yes – our employees, employers even our children can qualify as strangers if the relationship we have with them is, well, strange. So, forget belting out orders and spend time knowing these people. Find a way in by understanding them first.

The second is using your authority instead of building trust.

Injecting fear with expressions like “Because I said so,” “I will fire you” and even “Do you know who I am?” does not do you any favours in the long-term. Quite the contrary, it indicates that we should only do what you say when we fear you, aka when you are around. Fear propagates a rebellious attitude where people feel the need to assert their significance by conveniently forgetting what you said. You are better of expressing your faith in people, so that failure to perform is not letting you down but rather, it is letting themselves down.

The third is your failure to listen.

Occasioned by one-sided meetings, you may be missing out on the other side of the picture. You may be speaking at them – not with them, not to them. They may have said it, but you brushed it as flimsy. They have been trying to get your attention, but you are to busy. They may even have said it, point-blank, that they won’t or can’t do it, but you missed it because, well, you do not listen. The solution is glaring at you, take time to listen, and they will take time to act. People like to feel heard. To be thought of, not as machines but rather as highly-regarded professionals.

For people to understand us, we need to understand people first. Communication is a skill, not a weapon.


By Caroline Nderitu, a Certified Behavioural Consultant, Life-Career Coach and Professional Trainer


©carolinenderitu, 2019