The Curse of Knowledge

Published: Aug 15 , 2013
Author: Alan Smith

I want you to try a little experiment.

Think of a simple tune. Something like Happy Birthday to You. (The most performed song in the English language, incidently).

Now find a colleague, friend or partner and tap out the song for them without telling them the name of the song.

Do it once. Then do it again. And now once more for luck.

Ask them to name the song. Chances are they will have not got a clue. (If they have check that you didn't mouth out the song by accident).

You have just witnessed for yourself the concept of the curse of knowledge.

Because you know what you are doing and tapping you find it almost incomprehensible that the person you are tapping it out for doesn't get it.  I first came across this phenomenon in the fantastic book by Chip and Dan Heath called Made to Stick. I have referenced this book a number of times in previous Blogs and if you haven't read it yet, you should.

But when I read it I recognized it straight away from my observations of negotiators.

Often in the real world negotiators enter into dialogue assuming that the other side knows what they want, that they understand their motives and KPI's what will float their or their organization's boat.

Maybe they will often they won't.

Being very clear about what you want and what is important to you gives you a much greater chance of getting it.

Might be better to tell them rather than tap it out.

Alan Smith


SHARE

Alan Smith

About the author:

Alan Smith
My background is marketing and advertising. After graduating in Economics I entered the agency world to become, at 28, MD of London's largest independent below-the-line marketing provider.

Read more about Alan Smith

More posts by Alan Smith

Latest Blog:

Collaborating with the Enemy

Theresa May’s speech on Tuesday last week urging her political enemies to ‘contribute and not just criticise’ was met by a barrage of exactly the criticism she was asking them to eliminate. A Labour spokesperson said that it showed that the Conservatives had completely run out of ideas and were now reduced to begging, and the Scottish Nationalists line was that if she was serious about collaboration, particularly on Brexit, then she should have offered the SNP a seat at the Brexit negotiations, as they have been demanding for the last year.

Latest Tweet:

Scotwork UK Limited
7 Fortrose St
Glasgow
G11 5NU
United Kingdom
+44 (0) 1413573989
info@scotwork.com
Follow us
Scotwork 21092 - Training Course.png
voty2016_sign_gold.png