cognitive estrangement

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April 1, 2013

Now Showing: A PowerPoint Presentation

You know how this happens – see if this reminds you of your meetings: The presenter (a senior manager who wants to seem smart), makes it clear that he knows the topic much better than anyone in the room. Are you convinced? (That’s called the “cognitive estrangement” that sets up the rest.) And so you quickly believe you’re watching something you don’t fully understand. And why should you? It’s not your job to know this stuff. Then the presenter moves on and leverages this weakness (the one we think we must have), and we settle into listening, passively watching with what Coleridge long ago termed the “willing suspension of disbelief.” And then you sit back and go along for the ride. Well, next time you present (or the next time you watch), add a big Zero and place it up front. Call it the 0/10/20/30 Rule. Yes, a Big Zero – for NO selling, NO buying, NO uncritical thinking. Just a good tough discussion to make sure that you’re right.