“If you don’t give people information, they’ll make something up to fill the void.”~Carla O’Dell
We highly recommend “overcommunication” to our clients. We tell our clients, repeatedly, that they should share with others what they know, what they don’t know, what they can disclose, what they can’t disclose, why they can’t disclose something, when they might disclose something – basically everything possible. Because if they don’t – if they leave a void – the people around them will make something up.
That’s how rumors start. The president of an organization doesn’t want to share about possible layoffs until she’s certain…and someone gets wind and panic strikes. The leader of a team decides not to let others know about an upcoming change in management…and his team members sense something and start to speculate. A parent chooses not to share with her children that their grandparent is ailing…and the kids notice the tension and begin to fear the worse. People have a huge need to know, and when we don’t share information, they’ll often make up something so they feel more prepared and more in control.
How much easier it might be if we truly did “overcommunicate?” If we shared all that we could, and others knew we were sharing all that we could. Maybe then the rumors would lessen and we could all get back to dealing with the realities that truly are at hand.
The next time you find yourself not sharing all you know, take a step back and reevaluate your choice. Then share more if you can.
Where are you holding back information? Why are you holding it back?
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