You are good at what you do!
You could explain the in's and out's of your business to anyone who is willing to listen. In fact your passion for what you do causes you to salivate at the opportunity to share all that you know with anyone who is willing to listen.
You find yourself saying stuff like "I aggregate end-to-end paradigms." Or "We incubate value-added models." Of course I'm over-exaggerating your technical jargon... you aren't that smart! :)
Or even worse you use initials to describe what you do! "We get to the SDD array through the primary IDE monitor."
Of course you wouldn't ever do that!
But the curse of knowledge is a real thing.
You are cursed because of this fact: You are always on your mind!
For some reason we seem to believe that other humans spend just as much time thinking about us as we do thinking about us.
Whelp I got some bad news for you, and I'll try to let you down gently... No one is thinking about you that much! Not even your spouse, mom or kids!
So because we know so much we have a tendency to have insider speak when we talk. This confuses customers and is costing us business everyday.
Our one-liners aren't engaging, our emails are confusing, and we waste money on our websites because none of it is accessible to people who don't do what we do.
Thankfully it doesn't have to be this way.
You can communicate clearly what you do to others. And don't buy into the lie that you now have to "dumb it down." Albert Einstein said "If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself."
Thanks Al for the input!
So here is the biggest thing that will help you avoid "the curse”: Remember your brand is not the hero, your customer is.
What this means is the fine details of our business, the things that really are technical and impressive aren't all that impressive to someone if they don't know what it means.
Too often, people over-complicate things because they are trying to sound smart and be seen as the hero. They are are attempting to display intelligence, when in reality they end up pushing people away and ultimately losing credibility.
So take a backseat, show a little humility and be willing to evaluate your role in the relationship with your customer. Do you want them to win? Yes of course! So set them up for success and make what you do easy for them to understand.
Paul Sorenson who is a Particle Physicist studying Quark-Gluon Plasma with the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider at Brookhaven National Laboratory explains his job in this way, "Where I work, we slam together small things to break them into even smaller things until we have the smallest things possible. This is how we know what matter is made of."
If this guy can simplify what he does to the average person, so can you!
So how do you know if you have "the curse?” Whelp sometimes it’s impossible to tell because you’ve been too close to your product or service for so long that you have no idea what an “outsider” might feel.
So here’s what you need to do:
1. Test things out on an outsider.
If you don't want to grab a random stranger on the street and start talking to them, maybe you should grab your spouse or teenage kid!
Find an outsider and get their feedback. My wife is great at this. I'm constantly asking her if I can practice a sales speech to her or have her read an email I'm sending. Normally whole sections are deleted after her edits!
Get someone with fresh eyes to look at your website, your emails, and all your communication material. Test your one-liner on people who aren't in your industry.
With your website you need to ask, "Does this pass the grunt test?" Meaning, if a cave man looked at it would he be able to easily understand what problem you solve, how you solve it and how he could do business with you, in 5-8 seconds.
Wow! That's a short amount of time! But the truth is that's all the time you have before someone is clicking away from your website. The curse of knowledge is that dangerous. It could be costing you tons of $$.
There's a cool site that actually will do this for you: https://fivesecondtest.com/
Upload your website and get feedback!
Remember, feedback is what superhero's eat for breakfast!
2. Hire a communications expert
Consider hiring someone who would have a fresh perspective on your industry.
Remember you are still the expert and your voice matters most in what is being communicated, but hiring an outsider could help take your communication to the next level.
Remember if you are confusing people your are losing their business!
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