Don't confuse loudness for expertise

Human interaction is hard to debug; our default is to assume confidence and certainty are backed by an expert opinion.

Profile pictureToni Petrina
Published on 2023-02-242 min read
  • #opinion

Discussing a technical topic often times feels more precice than discussing sports, religion or politics. It's not an opinion, it's an argument! And usually the argument is backed by an experience or an expertise (which is nothing but distilled experience).

However, our basic instinct is still to weigh someone's opinions as valid arguments if they are delivered with a certain loudness or certainty. Why else would the person be so sure or certain if they don't know what they are talking about?

And this is the trap of loudness: people delivering them are assumed to be experts - even more so by non-technical people.

Is there a way to fix it? Ideally - argumentation with a strong focus on precision might lead to removing ambiguities and might force someone to go deeper into the topic, thus exposing their lack of expertise.

However, I've seen this backfire. Usually when the loud person has the aura of position or when they are in a priviledge position e.g. working closely with non technical person, longer tenure or merely has a larger role in a project. Then the loudness naturally wins are left with a bitter taste.

What's the conclusion? Picking battles carefully and avoiding argumentation when a clear resolution can be reached or when it cannot be reached even with a successful argumentation from your side.

This is #Day3 of #100DaysToOffload.

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