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What if you don't know the answer?

By Lumbergh77 ·
It's impossible to know everything in this field, but people outside the field tend to assume that a person who works in one area of IT is supposed to know EVERYTHING there is to know about computers. The same people wouldn't expect a sinus doctor to do back surgery.

Anyway, sometimes I'm faced with a question that don't know what the answer is. How do you respond to those questions without looking like an idiot?

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No shame

by GuruOfDos In reply to What if you don't know th ...

There is no shame in not knowing an answer...if you are honest enough to admit it.

If you 'should' know the answer but don't, then rather than plead ignorance, return the question with another question, or plead an urgent mission, then look for the answer elsewhere!

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Never be afraid to say. . .

by maxwell edison In reply to What if you don't know th ...

...I don't know.

Some things I might say:

When in a seminar type setting where I'm the presenter: "That's something I haven't run across before"; or "That's something I haven't figured out yet. Can anyone else shed some light on this?"

People love to help answer a question, and it will probably jog some thoughts from others as well. Not only that, it helps keep the audience involved and interested.

With a one-on-one: "I don't want to misspeak, so let me look into that and I'll get back with you."

There's no shame in not knowing "everything", and it's actually a sign of confidence to admit that you don't.

What's worse, admitting that you don't know something, or pretending that you do - and be discovered that you really don't?

There ya' go.

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Same as in sales

by Oz_Media In reply to What if you don't know th ...

You know that's a very good question and one I am not completely sure of, let me find out and I'll get right back to you, okay?

In IT, it's a very odd issue and I woudln'twant to miss anything. Let me look into it properly and see if I can resolve it, okay?

A closed ended but polite reponse anyway.

Then you can Google/DEJA it :-)

Nobody knows everything.

Those that know what you don't, don't know what you do.

That's why we have place like TR. There are people here who can network circles around me and show me security flaws in my networks I had never dreamed of. I can build communications systems and design line services that can save controllers money they never dreamed of and Improve entire infrastructures. We have a cimmunity here that provides an unlimited source of divers knoweledge, IT needs communities for just that reason, we don't all know everything.

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It is Worse to be Caught Pretending You Know......

by sleepin'dawg In reply to What if you don't know th ...

All the above are good answers and all are correct in that you are better admitting to the lack of knowledge than pretending you know everything. Remember the old cliche,"It is better to remain silent and thought ignorant than to open your mouth and remove all doubt." or "No one,
except youself, knows how ignorant you are until you open your mouth and tell them."

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