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Are You a Know-It-All?

May 23rd, 2006 by Bob Bly

To me, a Know-It-All is someone who feels compelled to tell you his opinion — except he states it as fact.

Example: I recently sent an e-mail to my list announcing a tele-seminar I was leading.

TB, a reader, quickly e-mailed me back to let me know his displeasure with my choice of a tele-seminar as a way to convey my content: “Put it in print. Nobody wants to sit and listen to blather.”

Hey, TB: if “no one” wants to listen, and everybody wants to read, why do thousands of people attend tele-seminars, Webinars, and live lectures every day of the year?

What TB is missing is that HE might prefer reading, but others may not. He SHOULD have said: “Is there a print version available? I like to read, not listen.”

TB, people learn in 4 different ways:

1. Reading.
2. Listening (audio).
3. Seeing (video).
4. Experiencing (workshops and training).

Most of us learn through multiple modalities, and most of us have one or two we prefer.


This entry was posted on Tuesday, May 23rd, 2006 at 8:51 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

16 responses about “Are You a Know-It-All?”

  1. Joel Heffner said:


    It will take some time before more folks realize that there are different ways to learn. For many older folks, reading was the only way to learn. They don’t even realize that you can listen and absorb information. To the younger generation, those who have iPods attached to them, listening is THE way of doing things. Within the past year or so, iPods have even moved listening one step further…adding video to the audio. Just as live TV gave way to taped programs, so are live presentations giving way to those that you can get on a CD. Many people prefer a presentation that can be heard, seen and read. For those who don’t like that way to learn…they can go to Amazon. The best presenters provide information, as you do, in a variety of ways. For example, although you have an article online about getting out of a rut, I got your audio tape. I like to get the message both ways. The more ways to get to the senses…the better for learning.


  2. Ed Kohler said:

    What a strange reaction from TB. Why not just delete the email after thinking, “That’s not for me.”

  3. Bob Bly said:

    Ed: I agree with you completely. But I have noticed that, since the use of e-mail became widespread, people not only feel compelled to voice their opinion at the drop of the hat, but feel no reluctance to express displeasure and anger with rude and even foul language.

  4. Gary Bourgeault ( said:

    People do want their information in a variety of formats.

    One thing consumers that really like what marketers have to offer is that once they trust and follow what that marketer is saying, they want everything that the marketer has to offer in all formats that are available.

    That’s what true fans of what we offer demand. It seems like TB is just trying to create the world in his image and way of doing things. Maybe he’s just not one of your ‘true believers.’

  5. Jeff Cogswell said:

    I think in addition to this person treating his own opinion as fact, there’s also a second personality issue here, and that’s the “I’m in charge” mentality, where the guy wasn’t asking Mr. Bly, he was flat-out telling, instructing, demanding. I myself have gotten plenty of email from readers telling me that I “need to” do this differently the next time the book comes out (or worse, they put such instructions in their reviews). I’ve also gotten “tips” from friends who advise me on the publishing industry when they themselves have never been involved in publishing; but, you would never know from their attitude and tone they have no experience in the industry.

    I believe the phrase, “Humble thyself” factors in here. I wrote to Bob Bly recently and suggested a topic for his blog. I didn’t tell him he *had* to do it, and I didn’t act like I know more than him. (Obviously I feel he knows more, because I’m here to learn; otherwise I wouldn’t be here.) Instead I politely, even humbly asked if he might consider it. And he wrote a very nice letter back and then included the topic in his blog.


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    I think there are only downsides to being a know-it-all. I remember I had this class fellow who was a know-it-all kind of a person. And, when I was having trouble writing the dissertation proposal, I asked for his help and upon doing so, I realized that he actually knew nothing and was just a show-off.

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