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What you think they know

When I'm talking to someone about a topic, I have a tendency to keep what I say very brief and to not always build up all of the basic context. The reason being that I want to be efficient in my communication and not spend a lot of time communicating what the other person / people already know.

This would be a good way to go about it, except that I'm not a great judge of exactly what the other people know. So, I end up erring on the side of not communicating the things I think they already know.

However, it turns out it is much better to err on the side of communicating the things I think they might already know (but I'm unsure if they really do) by asking them to interrupt and ask me to move on if they already have the necessary context.

This behaviour is extensible to so much more than mere verbal and written communication. This approach of erring on the side of over-communicating is especially applicable to designing products and product experiences (assume the customer doesn't know or doesn't understand something when you are not sure that they do).

And learning to operate in this manner questions a lot of our own assumptions that drive our behaviours - how we behave in crowds, how we behave online, how we behave under pressure, etc.

What you think they know and how much you think they care is usually a lot less than what they actually know (when the subject is you and what you have to say).

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