We are all too familiar with under-communicating. There’s probably at least one person who comes to mind when we think of someone we struggle to communicate with. It’s difficult to meet up with a friend if they haven’t told you what time they will be at the restaurant. It’s frustrating when you constantly need information from a coworker who is resistant to providing you with it. People sometimes end relationships due to “poor communication,” which isn’t so surprising when we consider that our relationships with people are largely built upon our conversations with them.

Over-communicating, though not as common, can be equally as frustrating. Sometimes people give more details than they need to and can actually complicate things, even when their intentions are to be thorough. The problem is that when there’s too much information, the importation parts can get lost.

Truly, we could all be better with our communication skills. There are times when we will give more details than are needed, and others when we mistakenly glaze over details.

Here are some tips to alleviate these issues:

  1. Establish clear guidelines with your coworkers. Do they want to know your schedule down to the hour, or do they want a general outline of what you’re going to get done over the week?
  2. Don’t “reply all” if it’s not necessary. If only one person needs to receive the information you’re sending, don’t send it to all 30 people.
  3. Take cues from your coworkers. If everyone has to send an updated personal schedule, do they do this on a certain day? At a certain time? Try to go with the flow to make things easier for yourself and your coworkers.
  4. Over-communicating can be synonymous with oversharing. Everyone is busy, so receiving information that isn’t necessary can bog a person down.

The key is to be somewhere in the middle. If you think you don’t provide enough details, don’t start going overboard. On the flip side, if you tend to overdo, don’t cut back too much so that people have to fill in the gaps. No one’s communication skills are perfect, but your coworkers, family, and friends will appreciate you making the effort to fine tune your methods of being in touch.