Collaboration Part 10: Too Much Noise

by Chance Smith

Conversation channels, emails, and meetings can become incredibly overwhelming. No matter your mode of communication, you must be diligent with the number of incoming messages you get.

There is a signal-to-noise ratio to balance, right?

Noise gets ignored; rarely unsubscribed from

At Sodium Halogen, we’ve said for years that we’ve never heard a client say, “Please stop. I’m getting too many updates about the project.”

While that is still true today, if the messages were too overwhelming, they’d figure out how to overlook them.

People only tell you when a channel is too quiet. Yet, if there is a lot of noise, instead of giving feedback, you’ll learn to ignore it; tune it out.

Another example, the more junk mail in your mailbox, the more you ignore and devalue the incoming mail.

We adjust to our surroundings — but we don’t have to.

2 Ways to fix the noise

  1. Ask for permission to give feedback.

Ask everyone for their opinion about the current level of communication and make adjustments. You don’t want communication to be annoying or overwhelming.

Team, do we need more or less? 👍 👌 👎

  1. Reset to zero.

Have a week of no communication. With fewer distractions, pay attention to what you wait, worry, or wonder about. (3Ws) Those concerns can tell you what you need to ask your team about.

You could start with a full day of focus time. Our team at Lifeway does this practice of focus twice a month. Two Fridays a month we have focus time. No meetings, no Slack, no calls. It’s a day to get work done or study.

The point is

We’re balancing the frequent updates with being free of distractions.

We’re balancing collaboration with autonomy.

Thanks for reading this. If you’re interested, a whole collection of posts about better collaboration exists.