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Know What You Do Not Understand

 

Techniques Persuasion 101 > Know What You Do Not Understand

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

While you are working to understand the situation, yourself and the other person, including what you want and what they may want, realize that there are things that you do not fully understand and which you may need to put more effort into discovering.

When you know what you do not understand, you can decide whether you need to know more about this and plan accordingly. In particular when you are interacting with people you can plan questions that will help you to understand more.

Example

A sales person realizes that they know little about the financial background of a potential client. They hence plan to ask probing questions that will let them decide which package to offer the client.

Discussion

You cannot know everything about yourself, let alone a situation or other person, yet it is easy to feel that you do. Knowing what you do not know adds to your power and gives you choices, including whether to pretend that you know (although this of course always runs the risk of fakery being exposed).

Finding out more always takes time and effort. The choice to continue to build understanding may hence be one of 'return on investment' or choosing to spend time and effort in learning more about things that may be valuable.

Knowing what you do not understand also lets you be alert for opportunistic discovery and filling in the jigsaw of detail. For example, a simple question of 'how are you' can give useful information about health as well as general mood.

See also

The Knowledge Trap, The Curse of Ignorance

 

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