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two kinds of I don’t know

September 24th, 2007 . by maria
Seth Godin discusses “two kinds of I don’t know ” .
He describes them as the difference between ” I don’t know French ” and ” I don’t know how to cook ” . The first can be fixed with a book or a class. The second is ” …either fear or lack of interest. People with this type of deficit won’t find the answer in a book or (usually) in a seminar either. ”

This was an aha moment for me. We’ve had friends who couldn’t ” get their act together ” , and we’ve tried to help, and it just doesn’t stick. I’ve also had people at work that I’ve tried to train to do something and it just didn’t stick. (Around the Helpdesk watercooler, we’ve often acknowledged ” fear of tehcnology ” as one reason people don’t get along with their computers.)

But the key in this article was, for me, recognizing that the ” fear ” problem was separate from the ” can be solved with a book or a teacher ” problem. Seth says ” If you discover that users are afraid or resistant to what you’re trying to get them to do, more information is almost always the incorrect response. ” Well, smack me, because I’m always talking their ear off. I always figured they didn’t understand how it works, and went off explaining it to them. Apparently ” The effective technique involves peer pressure and support and in changing the design and inputs of what you’re doing so that this group is more receptive to what’s on offer. ” Now, I just have to figure out how to use peer pressure to get people to archive their email…

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