What I learned about communication from a virtual Zoom workout

What I learned about communication from a virtual Zoom workout

Anyone who knows me is painfully aware that I’m a self-professed fitness junkie — hell, I’m pretty sure I even mention it in my LinkedIn bio. Therefore it should come as no surprise that the majority of my writing draw parallels between [insert random topic here] and the principles of fitness. I wish I could tell you that this article is going to be different: my breakthrough moment, my quantum leap into new topic territory — but of course I would be lying.

Anyone who knows me is painfully aware that I’m a self-professed fitness junkie — hell, I’m pretty sure I even mention it in my LinkedIn bio. Therefore it should come as no surprise that the majority of my writing draw parallels between [insert random topic here] and the principles of fitness. I wish I could tell you that this article is going to be different: my breakthrough moment, my quantum leap into new topic territory — but of course I would be lying. So take a seat (in a comfortable squat hold against the wall if possible) and enjoy yet another whimsical tale in what is slowly becoming a Guinness World Record for the most fitness analogies ever published.

There’s no such thing as over-communication

This is a common phrase recognised across (probably) every role in every industry, but one particularly celebrated in the world of product. As a PM a huge part of your job is to ‘always communicate the why’and ensure your team understands, supports, and advocates the context and narrative behind the work you’re doing. This means that you find yourself repeating the same words, the same story, the same evidence time and time again — in fact, you start to worry that people think you’ve lost access to 99% of your vocabulary. This is definitely a real fear that I’ve faced on many occasions in the not-so-distant past but one day everything changed, and all it took was a flicker of a thought during a zoom-hosted fitness class. The thought? “_How many reps was it again?_” Unbelievably profound, I know.

The thing is, when I’m taking part in a pretty intense workout all of my mental energy is focused on the task at hand — avoiding a collapsed lung — and not on storing and retaining menial information. You can explain the exercises to me in advance, tell me exactly how many seconds work there’s going to be vs how many seconds rest, and I will literally forget every single word you said as soon as the timer starts. Fast forward 45 seconds when you’re barking at me to shift gears into the next exercise and my panicked brain starts clawing for answers (“what exercise was it again?” “how many reps am I supposed to be doing?” “does this medically qualify me as a masochist?”). What I really need to hear in that moment is the exact same thing you said less than 60 seconds earlier — I need you to over-communicate.

Timing is everything

Whilst it’s true that you may have felt a little silly repeating yourself, I promise it’s nowhere near as silly as I felt springing to my feet for an explosive tuck jump when the rest of the on-screen bodies were nose-to-the-floor in a pushup. Now who was at fault here? Was it my responsibility to memorise the instructions, or was it the trainer’s responsibility to ensure I had access to the right information at the time I needed it most?

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