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"I don't know!" is NOT an answer.

When you are making a presentation or in a meeting and you are appearing as the expert something happens – someone challenges you with a question and you don’t know the answer.

You freeze.

In your head you think you look stupid.  You feel unprepared but you spent hours preparing for just this presentation, this meeting.

Out of your mouth come the words, “I don’t know.”

In your head, you have now confirmed what you were thinking – I am sooooo stupid and the world knows it.

Solution:  May I challenge you to re-frame your answer?

“That is a great question, let me get back to you.”


“Thank you for asking.  I will get back with you on that.”


perhaps there is someone in the room who may know that answer and refer to that person, “(Name), do you have any thoughts about that question?”

And sure enough, you find the answer and relay it back to the individual who wants to know.

What did you learn from this experience?  That it is impossible to know it all.  People are curious and they want to challenge you to think, especially older individuals in your network.

Just breathe.  It is OK to NOT know the answer, but it is NOT OK to NOT learn and reach out to find the answer.

If you want to learn more and want to build confidence around not knowing, please schedule a complimentary 30 minute coaching experience.


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