High confidence in declared insecurity
When being asked about your point of view or advice about developments to come you always have four options: a) you say “I don´t have a clue” or similar, b) you are simply estimating, c) you are determined with a fixed forecast, d) you are declaring your insecurity by adding confidence interval to your guess. According to a newly published US study the last one proves to be the most trustful – just imagine sentences like „I think the weather will become good tomorrow, at least up to 80%.“
This is independent from how close or far away one´s own estimates is from the confidence interval: we follow insecurities which are openly declared in such a way preferably. „Fake knowledge“ appears to be outdated – at least in specific circumstances.
Gaertig/Simmons, „Are people more or less likely to follow advice that is accompanied by a confidence interval?“, in: Journal of Experimental Psychology – General, 2023, Vol. 152, No. 7, 2008–2025.
From the practice:
Good news for all seriously and professionally communicating experts and advisers! Hence we need not to pretend to know everything and to be able to evaluate any development which is approaching on the horizon. On the contrary: if we declare our reading of the coffee grounds transparently by adding concrete probabilities we may even increase the number of our followers (this is true even outside of social media).
Why is this so? Perhaps because more and more people are fed up with boasters who want to cover up that they do not have any clue. Perhaps because numbers even when they are used „only“ as confidence intervals basically enjoy high credibility. Or perhaps because this type of communication comes across differentiated, reflected and likable. This is what I believe in at least up to 90%.