#1 Enemy of Internal Communications: The Curse of Knowledge

internal communications

I’m gonna tell you a secret. It’s something really personal (aka a suitable topic to address next time at the local hairdresser), and when I reveal what it is, I think it may shake the world a little.

Here it is: I have a crush on Ian Harris, head of content at Gatehouse Consulting and author of the book Rock Your Comms – 98 Tips from Internal Communication Pros.

internal communications

(Don’t worry Ian, my love for you is mostly platonic).

Yes, it’s true. And this is why:

On Ian’s LinkedIn profile, his headline says he can help you “explain anything to anyone”. That’s no lie or exaggeration: Ian writes in the clearest, most elegant way I ever experienced in the field of corporate writing. He can explain the most complex thing in a refined, yet easy style. I can’t find enough words for my admiration of his work.

Just a note: Until recently, I thought of Ian Harris as an old man, because of his always so wise advice. Imagine my surprise when he appeared quite young on his online photo. 

The Challenge of Internal Communications

In my profession as an internal communicator, I often experience the curse of knowledge: the more you know about a subject, the harder you have to communicate it well. But I find it difficult to convince managers and other employees that it’s true.

Therefore, I was really excited when I received Ian’s newsletter where he explained the curse of knowledge as the number one enemy to internal communications in his usual, easy to understand way. This was the explanation I’ve been looking for!

I’ve made a presentation out of Ian’s great advice and I will use it when I speak about internal comms in the future.

Watch it below: my tribute to Ian Harris – in my opinion one of the most talented communicators in our time!


Have you ever experienced the curse of knowledge? Please do tell in the comment box below!

What readers say about this topic:

Photo credit: JD Hancock via photopin cc

About the author

Anna Rydne is an award winning and highly skilled communications specialist with +13 years of experience in the field of internal and external communication, PR and marketing. What distinguishes her from others in her field of expertise is that she treats communication as entertainment. It's simple to explain why: if it isn't funny or relevant enough, people switch channel. Anna has a special interest in personal branding and she believes the road to success is trying. Based in Stockholm, Sweden, she's determined to uncover the secrets of how successful people and companies communicate. She tweets about all things comms, social media and marketing @CoSkills and writes for SteamFeed.com once a month. She holds a bachelor's degree in psychology. Contact her at communicateskills@gmail.com.

5 Responses to #1 Enemy of Internal Communications: The Curse of Knowledge

  1. Chad Miller says:

    My communication fails because I believe that if I know something, everyone else must know it too. By not sharing the things that I know, I miss a lot of opportunities to build my influence.
    I’m definitely learning to share my knowledge of “stuff” in the most simple terms to ensure that others are learning and growing around me. Of course, this can be a fine line as I don’t want to insult anyone’s intelligence.
    Anna, you said it best, the more we know, the harder it is to communicate it well. Once we’ve learned this skill, our influence and alliances will grow beyond measure.

  2. Ian Harris says:

    I think I just found my new favourite blog!

  3. […] Your Comms – 98 Tips from Internal Communication Pros (read more about my admiration for him here), arrived in my inbox. As Ian always writes the most entertaining and eloquent, yet highly […]

  4. Katie says:


    Can you explain the reason why the curse of knowledge makes internal communication so valuable?

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