The Curse of Knowledge

The Curse of Knowledge

How can knowledge be a bad thing?  Knowledge is facts, information and skills. It allows for informed decisions, an understanding of a topic and the sharing of information. Knowledge creates experts.

Knowledge can become a hindrance when your audience is forgotten. In technical fields, especially those with their own “jargon” (acronyms, keywords, etc.), this curse can be prevalent.

An expert in any field can become immune to their words. They see and hear technical terms so often it becomes a fluent second language to them. They have forgotten how these terms sound to someone who hasn’t heard or used them repeatedly.

In the field of accounting, I hear the term Audit and immediately think of an official, independent, review of an organization’s financial records. This formal process begins with a structured preparation, includes formal fieldwork and interviews and is then finished with a specifically worded report communicating the results of the audit.

But someone who is just trying to keep their books straight, and their business financially sound may think, “I wonder if I am doing this accounting thing right, I wonder if the processes we have in place (or don’t) works. Maybe I need an audit.”

Audit to them means, “I’m just looking for an opinion and not a full in-depth formal review.”

How to prevent the curse of knowledge

  1. First – become aware of the language that you may inadvertently use
  2. Read your audience, ask questions and keep going deeper until you find what they are really asking for. The problem your client may say they have really is not quite what they mean. Their current issue could be a symptom, not the cause.
  3. Break-down the theory or word into common language, think of explaining it to a teenager. They may not want to say out-loud that they really don’t understand.

CM Wolf LLC can review your processes in Accounting, Finance and HR. After a thorough conversation, you will receive a report of findings and recommendations. But it won’t end there, you can count on guidance through-out the process of implementing best-practices. And no confusing jargon.

The goal is to allow you to focus on the mission of the organization, and not just “am I doing this accounting or HR thing right?”.

Be sure to let me know of any Accounting, Finance or HR terms or topics you wish you could understand better. I am always looking for future subjects to cover.


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