Most people have a tendency to believe that they’re more knowledgeable about a topic simply because they’re more familiar with it. They may have years of experience in a field, but still lack the detailed information required to accurately explain it. Teachers often discover this flaw when they attempt to explain a topic they thought they knew. To counteract someone’s claims that they “know” a field or subject they might not actually be that knowledgeable on, ask them to explain their position in detail first…

This strategy has two advantages: for starters, by allowing the other person to speak first, you open them up emotionally. Rather than starting off on a confrontational tone, allowing them to voice their perspective makes them feel more validated and, thus, more willing to listen to outside input. Secondly, it gives you a better look into how well they understand a subject, and where you can offer specific information that conflicts with their understanding. The more detailed and specific information you can offer contrary to their viewpoint, the easier it may be to persuade them to your side. –Eric Ravenscraft

Fiction Writing Prompt: Use this principle to put your protagonist in an uncomfortable position.

Journaling Prompt: Write about a time when you learned that you didn’t know as much as you thought you did.

Art Prompt: What you don’t know

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about this principle and share the technique for validating others in conversation.

Photo Credit: PhotoAtelier on Flickr

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