Effective Leaders Overcommunicate


An email I received yesterday:

I would be interested in your thoughts about too much communication. It has been happening that with all the communication outlets, Facebook, Twitter, text, email, that keeping track of getting the word out is becoming overkill. I have some members that say they only check Twitter or Facebook and want reminders there. But keeping track of who replies in those various social media is getting tough. Thoughts?

I opened this question up to the collective wisdom of Facebook; check out the answers before reading on…

Realities of an all- or mostly-volunteer organization:

1) There will be diversity of communication preferences.

2) It is unlikely that THIS is everyone’s (or anyone’s) number one priority.

If your goal is to get a message to every member:

Use all avenues – Twitter, Facebook, mass e-mail, bulletin board, posted notices, text, verbal announcement, note, (maybe even mail) – that apply in your situation.


Contact every member by phone.  Ideally, you have a structure, or even a phone tree, that allows the delegation of this task to one member for every 10.  That is, no one has to call more than 10 people.

Timing? It depends on the situation, but a good rule of thumb is to use the written and spoken a few weeks out, the social media two weeks out, and the phone call about a week out.  Adjust this based on the importance of the topic, or on the previous experience of responsiveness of the group.

I’ve found that following Horstman’s law, above, results in better response from the members, and less hair-pulling-out on the part of the leader.  Over-communicators seem far less frustrated than under-communicators.

Any other thoughts out there?

  1. jacque
    | Reply

    yes, in volunteer situations when your solicitating help, it’s very important to personal call and talk to everyone, thus once you have, you can mark it on your master list in which you are “keeping track of responses.” Phone trees work great.
    I agree 2 -3 weeks is usually a good time frame for people to make plans.
    We have mini-meetings at work to review any new updates or software developments just prior to new shifts and where people will be staged, and things end up running so smoothly because everyone is aware of the context in which they are existing at that time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *