Poor Communication: Are You in the Curse of Knowledge?
For the same topic and being an accountant, if I discuss with accountants, action plan would be ready within half an hour; if I discuss with non-financial people, who knows how long it would take? Why does it make such a difference? I used to believe as accountants we are smarter. However, I found that the answer is not that straightforward actually since I heard about the concept of “Curse of Knowledge”.
As per Wikipedia, the curse of knowledge is a cognitive bias that occurs when an individual, communicating with other individuals, unknowingly assumes that the others have the background to understand.
The most common example I had was assuming all my audience understand debit and credit entry or are aware of month-end period in the month. This is definitely not the case, especially for non-financial people.
I also realize I used to assume the end of the month is always the end of the gregorian calendar month until I joined my current company after working for the same company for 10 years. Therefore, while having communication with people who have different backgrounds from me, I always remind myself to be aware of the impact of the curse of knowledge.
In addtion, the curse of knowledge is not just with expertise but also could “curse” our feeling. For example, in the raining day, your friend gets wet as he forgets to bring the umbrella and you feel sorry about that. However, your friend may feel happy as he doesn’t need to worry about watering the garden, and the more importance is that as he is a firefighter, raining helps a lot with his work.
Without Empathy, the ability to feel and share other’s emotion, the curse of knowledge may cheat on how you feel.
Then, is there any way we could stay away from the curse of knowledge?
Yes, definitly. I will share with you in my next article.
 Kennedy, Jane (1995). “Debiasing the Curse of Knowledge in Audit Judgment”. The Accounting Review. 70 (2): 249–273.