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The Curse of Knowledge

I am currently reading, Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die

This book is a business book, but it has been on many church leader's top book lists. When a book receives so many accolades from people I respect, I take notice.

Another motivation to dive into this book is that communication is one of our biggest challenges at Big Creek. I am only half way through the book, but I just finished reading a section on the "Curse of Knowledge" and after reading it, I thought to myself - this is exactly our problem at the church.

From the book, here is an explanation of the Curse of Knowledge:
This is the Curse of Knowledge: Once we know something, we find it hard to imagine what it was like not to know it. Our knowledge has "cursed" us. And it becomes difficult for us to share our knowledge with others, because we can't readily re-create our listeners' state of mind. (page 20)

I am here at the church all the time. I am in team leader meetings and staff meetings all the throughout the week. Therefore I know exactly what we are thinking and planning at the church. I have been cursed with this knowledge. But for those you who come to Big Creek, mileage varies on how much you actually know about these same things.

Once I have knowledge, it makes it hard to communicate effectively. I know what I know, but I don't know what you don't know. (is that confusing :-) ).

Because of the curse of knowledge at Big Creek we assume too often what we are communicating clearly. Here is an example: If you have had any experience or questions about our end of the year ask these past several weeks, you are perfectly aware that our communication with our ask was as clear as mud.

The leadership knows with the end of the year ask what we we were asking. We were cursed with knowledge. But those of you receiving the letter and the envelope didn't have the privilege or exposure of that knowledge and therefore you were at a disadvantage. There was confusion. But that wasn't your fault, it was ours.

At Big Creek, it becomes our job and responsibility to communicate in a way that presupposes your, the receiver of the communication, point of view.

Key point that we must always remember: Just because it makes sense to us, doesn't mean that it will make sense to you!

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