Do you have “expert-itis”?

Just because you know everything about a topic doesnt mean the person your talking to wants to hear it.

Just because you know everything about a topic doesn't mean the person your talking to wants to hear it.

Do you know your issue inside-and-out?

Can you talk about all the intricacies of your campaign plan and all the political tradeoffs it will take to win?

Have you felt the need to explain the whole history, significance, and vision of your organization to people who don’t know about it?

You may have expert-itis.

Definition: Expert-itis is a condition in which someone has deep knowledge of their topic area but does not have a filter to regulate how much of that information their audience needs.

Expert-itis can impede social interactions and can inhibit effective community organizing and fundraising efforts.

Treatment: Since expert knowledge is a good thing, treatment of expert-itis focuses on developing the filters necessary to know when to stop talking. Treatments include:

  • Asking: Since a sufferer of expert-itis has difficulty understanding what is too much information for a non-expert, it is important that patients develop the skill to ask, “should I keep going,” or “what do you need to know about this?”
  • Seeking Help: You may not be able to overcome expert-itis on your own. Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Ask a trusted friend or co-worker to let you know when you’ve said too much. Please not, this person must not also have expert-itis in the same field as you, though expert-itis in a different field is acceptable. For example, a climate change expert and a craft brew expert could support each other in knowing when to stop talking about carbon emissions targets or carbonation levels in stouts versus pale ales.

You don’t have to let expert-itis ruin your social life or your organizing efforts.

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