“I don’t know” might be the three most honest words in the English language.
The phrase instantly conveys so many positive attributes about the speaker, including:
- Humility – I’m aware that I don’t know everything
- Sincerity – I’m not the kind of person who makes things up when I don’t know an answer
- Respect – I care enough about our you and our relationship to be transparent
- Vulnerability – I’m willing to let my guard down with you and admit a gap exists
“I don’t know” can start a conversation and invite people in to solve problems with you. Few phrases contribute more faster to building trust.
Yet, so many of us seem reluctant to say it, out of some misplaced fear of looking stupid or weak.
Unfortunately, the cover up is almost always worse than the perceived crime. Most people know when we’re bullshitting and bloviating, even if they’re too polite to call us on it.
When’s the last time you answered a question with “I don’t know”? When’s the last time you should have?