Knowing too much has become a growing epidemic in the marketing world. “The Curse of Knowledge,” as it has come to be known, is discussed and defined in Dan and Chip Heath’s Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die. The idea is that those cursed can’t educate those less knowledgable in terms that they will comprehend.
“Here’s the great cruelty of the Curse of Knowledge: The better we get at generating great ideas—new insights and novel solutions—in our field of expertise, the more unnatural it becomes for us to communicate those ideas clearly.”
-Dan and Chip Heath
I’d Rather Be Writing, a blog about technical communication, interviewed Thom Haller who mentioned that familiarity gets in the way of clarity. Different audiences process information different ways, be it auditorily, visually or manually.
The number one tip to avoid the Curse of Knowlege: Use easy-to-understand words and presentations. There’s a large difference between simplifying something and dumbing it down for your audience. Too many social media and marketing professionals believe that dictionary skimming will help them sound professional and educated. A lot of the time, their jargon doesn’t even make sense. Your colleagues will appreciate and respect you more if you don’t condescend to them.