Later, when I was in business school, the Content-makers and Commentators began to stand out even more strongly. As we discussed case studies and current events, there were some people that would listen more than speak. And when these people entered the conversation, their insights would always move the discussion forward.
When it comes to communication, quality beats quantity any day. I recall one leader during my time at Goldman Sachs saying to his team, "If there is anything I need to know, you have a responsibility to tell me. If there is something that I don't need to know, you have a responsibility not to tell me."
We should all be on a quest to stop diluting what is important with the tendency to add noise – often by sustaining a culture of commentating. Consider a few tips for focusing on the real meat of your business:
- Email Discipline: One executive we interviewed claims that any email he receives that was sent to 7+ people is automatically deleted. He explains, “Yes, I have interest, but in managing time, these excess communications have somewhat negative returns for me.”
- Inquire: Ask your managers what is interesting and not interesting to them, and then start filtering your communications accordingly.
- Restraint: When making a comment in any meeting, strive to be a Content-maker rather than a Commentator. Ask yourself, “How will this comment shed new light on this issue? How will it add value to the overall conversation?” If you can’t answer the question, then sit back and listen.