In our day to day job, we communicate on various things. On various occasions, we try to formulate the reply. It is true that we choose certain words in certain situations. This game of response becomes trickier when someone asks our opinion. This is the point where we try our utmost to put absolutely correct words in place. Because this opinion is taken as it is in the professional world. Almost everytime this reply begins with either “I think” or “I believe” but, never “I know” or “I am confident that“. Why?
The answer is lack of knowledge, lack of confidence and fear of being wrong. In a highly dynamic industry, nobody wants to be wrong, nobody wants to put anything in writing which can be used as a gospel truth. So, using I think and I believe provides an escape route of plausible deniability. Among the reasons I mentioned, lack of knowledge can be eliminated just by acquiring the knowledge; lack of confidence can be eliminated by little consultation but, what about fear of being wrong? How can one deal with it?
Fear is the worst enemy of knowledge and progress. But, this certainly plays a role in our professional lives. There are some ways to tackle it which I learned from my experience. I would like to share those with you. (If you want to add to this list please feel free to comment! 🙂 )
- Understand the question or the query
- Make sure to read the question or query at least twice
- Break down the question into pieces to tackle them separately
- Try to read between the lines and context
- Find out the time frame in which you have to give the answer. Not everytime you have to respond immediately!
- Be clear about ‘What you know’ and ‘What you don’t know’
- After reading the question as yourself ‘Do I know or have the solution?’
- If yes then write it down somewhere and read it twice before responding
- If not then try to acquire knowledge then respond
- If you have limited time then certainly ‘You don’t know the answer’. Try to reach out to someone who has more knowledge of the stuff.
- Analyse different aspects and scope of the solution or reply
- See if there can be more than one way to respond
- Understand the scope of the solution
- Make sure that the response if precise and to the point
- If there is some data, graphical or pictorial representations then use them! It will help to convey your response in the best way possible and will give credibility to it.
- Be courageous, tell the truth
- Whether you know or don’t know the solution, make sure you are not fooling yourself as well as others
- Telling the truth always helps. It takes away the burden off your shoulders.
- Don’t be afraid of failure
- There is nothing wrong to give a wrong answer
- Just in case you thought you knew the answer but, were proved wrong eventually, be gracious to accept the mistake. Make sure to understand the real solution, get your confusion/doubts cleared. Move on!
- Remember, Fear is the worst enemy and failure is the best teacher
- Failure is not bad but, not learning from the failures is certainly harmful to your professional life.
- Don’t be afraid!
So, next time you type I think or I believe think if you can simply write I know or I am confident that.
This is my recipe to tackle the Fear of being wrong. I would like to hear your thoughts and your experiences. Thank you!