Don’t Assume Too Much

A post from the daily blog from Harvard Law Schools Program on Negotiation offer this advice regarding when negotiators assume too much:

One pitfall is that decision makers often overlook others’ viewpoints. When we do take others’ thinking into account, we tend to assume that they know as much as we do. For this reason, marketing experts are generally worse than non-expert consumers at predicting the beliefs, values, and tastes of consumers.

Similarly, individuals who correctly solve a problem overestimate the percentage of their peers who will be just as successful solving the same problem .

This advice resonates for answering a legal research question as well.

  • how much data is the asker looking for
  • what is the depth and breadth of the answer expected
  • where is the starting point that is expected

Everyone knows how the word ass+u+me breaks apart. Make sure you manage expectations by not assuming too much.

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