Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker: The No. 1 communication mistake that even smart people make
It is a cognitive bias that describes the fact that when you know something, it's very difficult to know what it's like not to know it.
The things you know seem so obvious to you and you assume that everyone else knows them too.
SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:
The root cause of bad writing is struggling to imagine what it is like for someone else not to know something that you know. Whenever writing is loaded with jargon, clichés, technical terms, and abbreviations, two questions come to mind:
When we become good at our job or hobby, we use catchwords to shorten long-winded descriptions that we have become very familiar with.
The problem is that these catchwords become automatic. While we think these words would facilitate our communication, we forget that our readers may not understand the concepts behind these shortened words.
Be polite. The person who gets your letter will seldom be the one who wronged you. And is unlikely to pass it on to the desired recipient if you are insulting and raging.
Make plain how you’ve been inconvenienced, then propose what’ll seem to your correspondent a reasonable and proportionate redress that’s within their power to make. And be sure to phrase your redress as a request instead of a demand.
Always remember that your job, writing to a friend, is to entertain. That can mean revelling in the odd pratfall. So, don’t just write about the mundane and pleasant things, try to give them the whole picture and make them feel something.
Honesty is the most important ingredient. You don’t have to be or have gone through something to write about it but you must have a heartfelt feeling about it so you can expose that emotion through your writing.
You need to have a beginning that builds to a middle and an ending, or at least an idea of where you’re going, as it is key to explore your themes and foreshadow things properly.
Another important thing is to revise your writings. Your first draft is likely to contain multiple errors, poorly phrased sections, and inconsistencies.
To do it, you must know what your audience expects from the type of writing you’re doing and then defy it.
Without the surprise, without the twist, if you don’t pull the wool over the audience’s eyes, then it’s unlikely you’re going to be memorable. It’s precisely the fact that things are not what they seem that makes a story interesting.