When I was a Kid there was a show called You Can’t Do that on Television. Which had a number of running gags but one of them is that whenever a character would say “I don’t know” a bucket of green slime would be dumped on their head. Now I love a cheap gag as much as the next guy but i have to wonder if they could have chosen a better phrase. I am not sure that reenforcing the idea that saying I Don’t Know is bad is a good message for kids show.
I was speaking to a possible client the other day about the Use of Erlang in his product. Now this is an area where I am an expert and I was trying to convince him to hire me for a project.
Then he asked me a specific question about a part of the Erlang runtime that I was not very familiar with. My response I don’t know. As a consultant you want to be seen as the expert on all things related to your specialty, after all that is why they pay you big bucks.
However I think the best thing a consultant (or person in general) can say is I don’t know. After all by saying that you don’t know means that you can learn. IF all else fails don’t say I Don’t Know, say I don’t know, let me get back to you, this gives you a reason to follow up with your prospect and provide real value to them.
Leave a comment with something that someone asked you that you didn’t know!