Sharing, musing, reflecting...

THE C.O.K, the Beginner and The Friend Test

I’ve noticed that the more I learn about something or the more I develop a particular skill, the harder it is to remember how it was when I first began to learn it e.g when I was a novice. Change is often like that. Once the change is made, we can sometimes forget what it was like before.

So why does this matter?
Here are 4 reasons I think are worth considering…

1) Helping people learn

As part of my profession, I’m paid to teach people. When you’re teaching people who are new to a subject that you are more experienced in, you need to be able to remember how it was at the beginning. You have to put yourself in the shoes of someone who is just starting out. You have to go to Beginners Mind. And that’s not always easy but it’s important if you want people to grasp what you’re sharing. Otherwise you risk leaving them stranded in a side street wondering where the hell they are. And it’s not only teaching that requires Beginners Mind.

2) Business presentations, meetings or a new business pitch

This will often involve explaining or selling perhaps quite complex ideas and concepts to people who don’t know what you know. And this is where I see the Curse of Knowledge [C.O.K.] show up – alot.
And there’s a particular C.O.K that’s rife in business. Perhaps you’ve suffered from it occasionally yourself. It’s called Jargonitus. It’s a widespread condition, particularly in the world of business. You’ll recognise it by the frequent use of terms that only make sense to the speaker and their colleagues. It’s like another language. It’s abstract and often confusing and it alienates your listener/audience. And there are those who think that using Jargon makes them look clever and knowledgeable. Big mistake.

So what’s the cure for Jargonitus?
It’s The Friend Test.

How would you communicate your idea or concept in a way that your friends will understand – friends who have no involvement or understanding of your industry or topic?  The more complex or challenging the topic is, the more it should be expressed with simple and concrete terminology. If it passes the ‘friend’ test, it’s probably Jargon free.

3) What about your own learning and development?

This is perhaps one of the most important applications of Beginners Mind.
As you continue to develop new understanding in any area of your life, your ability to go back to Beginners Mind will ensure you stay open to new possibilities and new understanding.

4) Listening to people through a Beginners Mind

As we begin to become more skillful and have more experiences, we sometimes stop listening. We think we already know or we think we know enough. And that kind of listening is like a padlocked gate. It stops us connecting with people.  It can prevent new information or ideas from landing.

When you listen like a beginner or a novice, you will get new insights that will otherwise remain unavailable to you if you listen from an ‘expert mind’. You’ll see beyond your biases or pre-conceived ideas which opens up new possibilities.

So be aware of the C.O.K.  You never know when it might rear it’s familiar head.

Chantal Burns ScreenshotChantal Burns

Executive Coach, Speaker and Bestselling Author of

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This entry was posted in Leadership, Sales, Sales & Persuasion, Self awareness, State of Mind, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Comments are closed, but you can leave a trackback: Trackback URL.
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