Sometimes experts are so close to their own ideas that they might not see how others perceive what they are saying. It’s a form of what is called ‘the curse of knowledge.’ 

I recently fell afoul of it myself. In my case, the mistake lay in the title of a presentation. The title was ‘Talent: How to Grow or Crush it.’

In my world, an assignment often begins when a client calls a speakers’ bureau, and asks for advice on the most suitable speaker and topic for an event. The bureau will then call two or three well-suited individuals and discuss the event with them. On a number of such occasions, I had recommended this presentation as a good fit with the client’s needs. 

My agent always pushed back, showing a sense of discomfort with the topic. One day she openly told me, “I’m always hesitant to recommend that one to the client. It sounds like a speech on how to be a manager, and that’s not at all what they are looking for.” 

Her feedback was very useful. She saw the topic in a certain way, and it wasn’t at all what I meant to say. This spurred a discussion in which I was able to correct the misconception, and also, to correct my own description of what the topic was really about. Here is the new description, depicting what the topic actually covers: 

Raw Human Talent - What the Science Says

Is there a generally accepted ‘formula’ for human talent? Do we understand the elements of genius in various spheres of performance? Can you raise an outstanding performer, or even become one by your own design? Also, what on earth is ‘myelin,’ and why are scientists calling it ‘the Talent Chemical’? 

Professional Speaker Douglas Kruger unpacks the latest findings about our remarkable brains, and the abilities potentially lying dormant in each of us. 


This is a far cry from what the title, ‘Talent: How to Grow or Crush it’ originally suggested, which calls to mind images of a mid-level manager, who is either very motivating, or very discouraging. But I was too close to my own topic to see it. 

Does your outbound messaging say what you think it says? Could you be ‘un-selling’ yourself, based on an incorrect impression that you are creating? 

A little high-level feedback could help you to correct any errors that you are not aware of. Say what you really mean, and you could become the greatest in your game.  


Douglas Kruger is a professional keynote speaker at conferences around the world. He specialises in disruptive innovation and expert-positioning, helping brands to become more memorable than their competitors’. See him in action, or sign up for his motivational newsletter, at Book him to present for your leadership team: email