How to avoid the ‘curse of knowledge’ when it comes to effectively communicating the numbers that matter

23 May How to avoid the ‘curse of knowledge’ when it comes to effectively communicating the numbers that matter

As we become experts in our field, there is a natural tendency in all of us to fall victim to the ‘curse of knowledge’.

The curse of knowledge is the supervillain in any form of communication – even more so when that communication involves numbers.

So, what is the curse of knowledge and how can it affect your business?

‘Once you’ve learned something, you can’t unlearn it. More importantly, however, you automatically forget what it’s like to NOT know it. You lose the ability to relate to the person who doesn’t get it. “Come on!!” you say to yourself. “It’s so EASY!!” You can’t empathise.’

– Chip Heath, Making Numbers Count

When you are an expert in your specialism, you sometimes forget that others are not.

When experts are asked to communicate numbers that they themselves know forward and backward, they can often exaggerate the clarity with which they are sharing their knowledge so that you rapidly lose interest or, on the flip side, they can under-communicate, assuming that because they are familiar with the numbers you are as well.

Think about the last time you shared numbers with your team or a customer – was the curse of knowledge your supervillain?

Did you leave a trail of breadcrumbs so complicated that your audience got confused and lost interest, or did you forget to drop enough breadcrumbs so that your audience simply lost their way?

Try tapping out your favourite song to a member of your team, without humming it, and even though the song is obvious to you, they will not have a clue what it is – this is the curse of knowledge.

Click here to access our Business Bitesize library that includes our downloadable “Simplify Your Numbers” report and discover the importance of avoiding the curse of knowledge when it comes to successfully translating the numbers in your business.

If you would like to find out how we can help you or your business please call us now.