I actually learned about this a couple of weeks ago following a share by one of my colleagues. Invision, maker of a digital product design platform, released a report with findings from a well-scaled survey they conducted. What I appreciated most from this report is the measurement rubric and language they used, both which give a vocabulary and some benchmarks for discussions and assessments within an organization.
Below are the opening two paragraphs of Chapter 16 of Make Yourself Clear. What do you think follows?
Imagine that you’re watching a tightrope walker. You’re watching her walk from one pole to another across a thin wire, occasionally changing speed. Though her wire flexes a little bit, she is light on her feet, almost dancing. By objective measures, that is a pretty amazing accomplishment.
In our forthcoming book - Make Yourself Clear: How to Use a Teaching Mindset to Listen, Understand, Explain Everything, and Be Understood, Steve and I write about “unwanted immediacy.” This is often evident in notifications, reminders, and unsolicited emails that appear in inboxes.
Not everything that can happen immediately necessarily should. Sometimes, these acts of immediacy border on intrusion. How much unwanted immediacy are you creating for your constituents? How much unwanted immediacy are you experiencing yourself?
To reflect further on this, we suggest the following mixed-media exercise:
I think I have a pretty good handle on my email and alerts, but in 16 minutes I had more than a few notifications. The first calendar reminder I received I guess was helpful, but I dismissed it before even reading what it was. I had to reset the alert just so I can make the screenshot (the contents of which I then edited out for this post).
Most notable, towards the end of my brief experimental period, was a sales/marketing email from a company from which I have received many unsolicited messages. The problem is that the "1" above my mail icon could be something internal and useful, or it could be useless like this message. I did select the option to stop sending the emails.
Give this exercise a try - even in 5 minutes you may be more aware of your relationship with reminders, alerts, and other signals of immediacy.
These are the slides we used to facilitate a 4-hour workshop with a regional independent school leadership cohort.
I've been communicating with a book production manager in India who has been assigned to lead the design and production of my next book. It has been super convenient to be able to send annotated PDFs with suggested changes.