Everyone can relate to the title above. You’re sitting in a meeting, and all of the sudden your supervisor looks at you for an update, and you have nothing to contribute. Whether you missed an assignment or an email, or your supervisor is looking at you for support (aka save her ass), it doesn’t really matter. You’re in an awkward situation now, and you’re a little tongue tied.
Well you can’t just sit there and say nothing. And that just makes you more tongue tied.
Except for Ross. Ross should have stayed quiet.
Take comfort in knowing that everyone has been in your position before, and everyone will continue to be in your position. Having success in your career results in knowing how to handle the big questions. Here are a few tips to keep your cool when you have no idea what you’re going to say or what you’re really saying.
Speak slowly – The worst thing you can do is go into a tangent that doesn’t make any sense, or looks like you’re excusing yourself out of a situation. Take a breath, and take your time. Naturally, PR people talk SUPER fast. I usually have to remind myself to take it down a notch and talk like a normal person.
Think before you speak – This is definitely an “OK, duh,” moment, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t do it. Your supervisor may have thrown you off your guard, but maybe you do know the answer to this question. Think about the context of the question in the conversation. If you really are not sure, can you offer any information that might be helpful? Which leads to…
Admit that you are not sure – Respond with a simple “we’re looking into that this week,” or “I’ve just started that project and can get back to you with the answer today.” Don’t try to lie your way out or make up an answer. EVER.
Any way you go, keep confident - Even if you don’t know this answer, you know your stuff. Don’t let one rogue question throw you off your game. You got this!