Unpopular opinion: Admitting you don’t know something makes you MORE of an expert, not less. How?
It depends on how you say it. I don’t mean BSing if you don’t know the answer to something.
I mean the opposite. I’ve put together 5 ways to say “I don’t know” that show that you’re more of an expert.
1. “Let me get back to you on that”
This is the oldest trick in the book.
But to do this well,
you have to actually get back to the person who asked.
If you’re saying this in public, be accountable. Follow it up with “Shoot me an email and I’ll get back to you”.
“This is not my area of expertise, but maybe you can look up xyz”.
You are an expert on a very specific area.
It’s not your job to know everything. Be candid about it and point the person in the right direction.
2. “I haven’t come across this yet. do you mind sharing it with me?”
This response works if someone is asking you your opinion on a trend or a person that you don’t know.
Be transparent about your lack of knowledge and show an interest in learning more.
3. “I’m currently investigating this myself. I’ll share what i can”.
What if your boss asks you about something your team is still working on?
Tell them the steps you’re taking to find the answer to reassure them things are on track.
4. “I appreciate you asking this, but what i want to talk about is…”
If someone asks a question that distracts from your key message, you can use this response to get back on track.
Be careful: the person might insist on knowing, in which case you can use tactic #1.
Would love to know what you think.