Was having this conversation with a coworker recently, about the importance as a trainer or a consultant and admitting when you don’t know the answer to a question. It’s a pretty common discussion in the training world, where you want to know as much as you can, obviously, but sometimes a question will come up that you simply don’t know, or have never thought of.
Often, our instinct is to try and come up with an answer, because our egos can’t always handle admitting to a group who we want to consider us as an expert, that in this one situation, we aren’t informed.
Yet, another thought occurred to me. During the course of a lengthy engagement, if a trainer never once admits to not knowing something, or needing to check and get some more information, how do we know whether what they told you is actually true? It’s the little moments where they don’t just say anything that let’s people know that all those time they gave a definitive answer, that was the truth, and now they are also being truthful when they admit to not having an answer right away.
How can I trust you if you just fire off “facts” without any doubt, every single time? Maybe the occasional “I don’t know” would help your students or clients trust you a little more when you do share some of those facts?
Do you struggle with admitting you don’t know something? How do you handle it?