According to the dictionary, “avalanche” is defined as a sudden great or overwhelming rush of something. Hopefully this hasn’t occurred to you however it’s something we all need to be aware of when we communicate.

As an example, when we’re giving a presentation, interviewing, leaving a voicemail or any type of situation where we want to get our message across, we’re at risk of creating an avalanche for our listener(s). Once this happens the person or people we’re addressing may tune out or become confused. Wondering how this happens?

Ways we inadvertently create the avalanche effect:
1. Speaking excessively
2. Providing information that isn’t relevant
3. Focusing on what matters to us vs. our listeners

Best practices to avoid avalanches:
1. Conduct advance research on your listener(s).
2. Speak in sound bites.
3. Remember BLUF (bottom line up front).
4. Time yourself as you practice delivering your speaking point(s).
5. Attend to the reactions you’re receiving from your audience.
6. Ask questions periodically to verify you’re clearly understood.
7. Anticipate questions that may be posed and practice your response(s).
8. Follow-up on any promises or action items.

By focusing on these guidelines you’ll be taking a proactive approach to communication. Think about how you feel when you’re on the receiving end of a communication avalanche—now put your energy toward avoiding avalanches by communicating effectively.