In a world where knowledge is power, real strength is shown when you make an admission and show weakness.
It’s such a weird paradox. People have been trained to believe that “not knowing” makes them look weak. So, instead of owning up, they fake the funk, fast-talk, or engage in disfluency and other generally circuitous behaviour.
In trying to look strong, they end up looking weak.
Whenever I’m in a meeting and get asked a tough question that I don’t know the answer to, I own up. I say “I don’t know the answer to that but I’ll find out for you.”
Depending on the question, I may say this: “I don’t know why that is/was, but my best guess is…”
If you do know the answer to the rest of the questions, your simple admission becomes that much more powerful and tells your audience that you really know your stuff.
Whenever I’ve been in a meeting or on a call and someone patently doesn’t know the answer to a question or the reason behind something happening, it’s painful listening to them waffle on, speaking around the subject for the sake of pride.
Painful and selfish to everyone else involved. No, best just to say “I don’t know” and move on. Don’t waste everyone’s time and patience.