The Curse of Knowledge

And what you can do about it to improve your communication

We overestimate how much people understand us, it’s that simple.

Once we know something, we find it hard to imagine what it was like not to know it. This makes it harder for us to identify with the other person’s situation and explain things in a manner that is easily understandable to someone who is not ourselves.

Scientifically speaking the curse of knowledge is defined as: “a cognitive bias that occurs when an individual, communicating with other individuals, unknowingly assumes that the others have the background to understand”. The same curse affects your business, be it your products or your communication, oftentimes both of them.

Last week I talked about how it’s a good idea to ask your clients what they want and then improve your product based on that feedback. That approach is widely adopted for product development but it can be equally valuable to get feedback on your marketing. Yes, you can ask your potential customers what they think about your marketing too.

For example, to assess how well we’ve been communicating and see what to improve for the launch of BizKaizen, my team sent out a questionnaire last week. Instead of simply scratching our heads in search of possible clues of inaction – or worse – do nothing to improve, we decided to ask you a few questions to make sure we had our messages straight and that we understood the key reasons holding you back. As usual, the outcomes were surprising!

You see, it’s easy for everyone to fall into the trap of thinking that there’s nothing wrong with our communication since we believe it is clear enough for a 4-year-old kid to grasp. “How can we explain it better than that?!” – we wonder. Unfortunately, the reality is often very different from what we may assume.

Harsh truth. Not everyone reads your marketing messages, and if they do, they rarely read them all. And even when they actually get to read or to watch what you put out there, they just skim through pages fast. This is why the average person never spends more than 15 seconds on a web page unless it is considered relevant and why a video of over 2 minutes is not even played. It’s a fact, we are living in times of information overload so that is easily explained.

The good news, however, is that if you are jumping to the conclusion “they didn’t take action when I asked = they are not interested in my offer”, well, you’d better think again. As it turns out, the reality is that most of them still don’t know exactly what you are talking about. They just need a second chance to catch up.

Here are some real case answers we got from the questionnaire:

Question: Are you satisfied with the content you can get on the platform?

Ouch! Over 35% of the people taking the questionnaire (over 400) did not even know what they would get. How about that for an eye-opener?!

Here are some more interesting insights, and considering that those are some of our key benefits, the story gets really interesting.

70% did not know that BizKaizen is a smart platform that recommends content based on your needs

57% did not know that there are 3 benefits that are ONLY for lifetime members and will be gone later

58% did not know that there is a closed FB group ready to welcome and support them

59% did not know about the 14 day trial period

And in case it wasn’t been obvious enough, this came up as the ultimate proof…

Question: Has your impression of our lifetime offer improved after this short survey?

Screen Shot 2017-04-24 at 19.24.47The results of this survey are a perfect example of the curse of knowledge in action.
If you know your product well you think you’re communicating clearly because whatever blanks there are you automatically fill them in. Unfortunately, just because that thought takes up so much space in your head, it does mean that your customers share the same insights.

It’s crucial to recognize that it’s not their lack of insight but rather your lack of clarity that often prevents your communication from reaching its maximum effectiveness.

As you can see from the satirical cartoon, there are also examples of intentional knowledge biases, but that’s beyond the topic of this blog post.

What can you do to reverse the bias?
  • Get the outside perspective using surveys and talking to people. As you saw in our case, using short questionnaires and being proactive with feedback seeking is a good way to understand the roadblocks of your communication. It’s a simple way to know yourself as well as your customers better. It can be used both as a preventive measure to set up your communication and also as a corrective one to improve continuously.
  • Schedule your regular communication. If you go silent for months, you’re setting yourself to failure, because you miss valuable opportunities to build the trust, stories, and knowledge necessary for people to care whether you exist or not. This is where using your business blog can go a long way to achieving all those goals.
  • Remind people why you exist in the first place: you could use a confirmation autoresponder email to reinforce your mission and reiterate why they probably signed up for it in the first place. Remind people who you are, why you’re there, and how you can help them. That’s information people need to keep you on top of their head. Also, it makes it very easy for them to explain why you exist to their friends.


Yesterday 24 April we opened up the lifetime deal again, so you can get:

  • Lifetime access to ALL of the courses we’ve done over the last 7 years. If you want an extensive list you can check it out here
  • A friendlink that will benefit you (with a 25% bonus for every payment your friend does) and your network (you offer them a beautiful platform that could really help them expand their businesses).
  • The opportunity to be part of the sponsorship program and help entrepreneurs in developing countries to help themselves.
  • The 10X personal marketing assessment from the most detailed, personal business retreats that Nisandeh has ever done.
  • The opportunity to pay your lifetime fee in 3 payments instead of 1.
  • A 14-day 100% money back guarantee


As of 2nd of May you can only become a monthly member of BizKazen. The three above mentioned benefits will no longer be available, but you can still get access for a small monthly fee.


1. DO


3. GO ON

Feel free to do 1 or 3 if you prefer, but you see, the good thing about letting us support you is that you will be able to get better results and contribute more, and we will show your story to others and those others will want to join us too so that we can help even more people and you can get support from even more members. This is the famous ripple effect that is behind the name Open Circles and is the single most important idea upholding the existence of Open Circles Academy.

After the survey, we have collected all the most important questions and given all the answers on the next page.

Now back to the topic we were discussing. Question for you: Do you recognize the same fallacy in your communication and how do you deal with it? I’d like to know your thoughts in the comment box below.

Looking forward to seeing you on the platform!

To your success,

Screen-Shot-2016-10-11-at-23.32.41Nisandeh Neta

Share This