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Too Much of a “Good Thing”

We’ve all heard the saying “knowledge is power”. While this is true, taking-in “knowledge” has its limits. Whilst looking to “live the dolce vita” on my recent trip to Italy, I found myself with information overload.

We had a fabulous tour guide that knew Italy inside out. And that was just the beginning. An avid history buff on a good day, our tour guide would forget more about ancient history than I could ever hope to remember. Passionate and enthusiastic, he shared his knowledge with us at every opportune moment. On day three of the trip, my travel companion turned to me and said “enough – I’ve got to unplug” – literally (we had been given headsets so in a crowd we wouldn’t miss a thing).

They say “there is no such thing as a coincidence” and strangely enough I was mid way through the Heath Brother’s book “Ideas that Stick” and it got me to thinking I’m guilty at times of “feeding my clients with a fire hose” so to speak.

The Heath Brothers refer to this as the “Curse of Knowledge”. Once we have a “deep knowing”, we forget what it was like not to know and assume others (and we all know what they say about assuming) need to know everything we know and in a fraction of the time it took us to hone our craft.

Combine this with neuroscience’s finding that it takes up to 25% more energy to take in new information (due to the use of our executive frontal cortex vs. subconscious part of our brain) and you’ve got a case for information overload.

Next time you find yourself sharing knowledge or information deploy the KISS method and whittle your information down to the core – identify what matters most and deliver that nugget. Those on the receiving end will thank you – and as a bonus, retain the information.

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