One of my biggest pet peeves is when people run around the fact that they don’t know the answer to something. If you don’t know, be honest about it. Not only is it OK, but it’s actually preferred. But the question that runs through everyone’s mind is “how do I say it without sounding like an idiot?” You’re in luck! Here are 5 Ways To Say “I Don’t Know” on tour in our Short and Sweet section with 500 words or less.
1. Say It Directly
Cut the shit. Get to the point. If someone asks you a question that you don’t know the answer to, then the most simple, direct answers are the key. “Let me find out”, or “Good Question, I’ll ask”, or the corporate version, “I need to do some research on that, let’s circle back once I’ve been brought up to speed”. No one can hold that against you. If anything, they might have a suggestion on how to get the answer quicker.
2. Don’t Make Excuses
Nobody wants to hear why you don’t know the answer. 9 times out of 10, they don’t care. They’re asking a specific question because they want to know the correct answer. Instead of saying “I’ve been too busy to think about anything”, replace it with “Now that I have a quick minute, I can approach this with a clear head”. Don’t panic and provide more solutions than excuses. Always.
The best way to prepare is to ask the questions yourself. Be prepared for multiple different outcomes, and listen when people respond. For example, If a local PM tells you that you have to load-in in a way that doesn’t necessarily make sense to you, politely, (and maybe not in front of everyone), ask Why? There might be a logical reason. If not, suggest another way and listen to the details of why you can or can’t do it. Ask what other tours usually do. Once you’ve exhausted all your questions, you’ll be in the know and better prepared for when you have to sell it to your band or crew.
4. Be Confident
As I mentioned above, it’s totally ok and actually preferred to come clean instead of dancing around the point. Saying you don’t know does NOT mean that you’re not good at your job. It also doesn’t mean that you’re an idiot. You will get people that say “Isn’t it your job to know?” Fuck those people. You’re not perfect. Do your best.
5. Don’t Lie
Whatever you do, Don’t make something up to make it seem like you know an answer to something specific. If you get caught, your word from that point on means nothing. You’ll spend more time in the future defending yourself because no one knows what to believe. Don’t paint yourself into a corner. You’re better than that.
Wrap It Up
At the end of the day, it’s important to make sure you can handle your emotions when you’re put on the spot. Take your time, breathe and follow the steps above. You’re gonna do great.