Managing the TMI Syndrome!!
You invited a friend over for dinner and she calls up and says "what are you making" and you say "well, I was thinking of making xyz" and your friend says, "oh, I just had that last night/last week". And you want to just beat your head against the wall, thinking "Why'd I open my big mouth, now what should I do"??
Your boss asks you how a project is coming along and you excitedly say "oh, I'm almost done, 2 weeks ahead of schedule". And instead of saying "wow, great job", he says "oh, why don't you go work with xyz, he's 2 weeks behind". And you think "I'm going to kill myself"!
TMI – or TOO MUCH INFORMATION used to be the BANE of my existence. I always volunteered more information than was asked of me. And most of the time, I ended up changing meal plans, working with incompetent people who couldn't get their work done, and so on.
But I learned!!! I learned to STOP volunteering more information than was necessary. Sometimes I STILL get caught in the TMI syndrome, of saying more than I needed to and then repenting. But not too often. It happened to me recently with a client.
Me: "oh just FYI, I'll be on vacation Mon & Tues" and she said: "What, what, what if we need you?". Uh, I also said "I'll be reachable via email and it's only 2 days, really, and I'm still in the US so uh…call me??"
I've also realized that TMI is often not about WHAT we say. It's more about HOW people interpret what we said.
Curbing TMI requires the same discipline as curbing say, the desire to eat "a big bowl of chocolate chip cookie icecream with hot fudge and nuts" at 2 am.
Make it a habit, and stick to it. (I floss my teeth right after dinner, so I don't get tempted to eat anything after that. Ok, soo that was TMI, but it's meant to help!!!!)
As I was saying, MAKE IT A HABIT.
Answer succinctly and to the point, especially when:
you talk to people who'll change your menu and your plans
you know someone who is prone to paranoia
what you are going to say is irrelevant to the topic at hand
Find out WHY someone is asking you something before answering in-depth, like this:
Boss, "How's the project going"? – You "it's coming along just fine, why do you ask"
Remember the lawyers on television or in films? They "object" when a witness answers a question with more information which can hurt their client.
Object to yourself. Tell yourself that TMI will hurt your client….err yourself.
Manage TMI Syndrome by ZIPPING IT UP ALREADY!!!