My wife Linda recently got a great book on networking called “How to Work a Room” by Susan RoAne. In it, Ms. RoAne outlines some great strategies for increasing your comfort level approaching strangers to increase business and social contacts.
One of the “ah ha” moments for me was when I read the line that “only incompetent people think they know it all”. Wow. If I think about all the really smart people I know, none of them are afraid to admit when they are wrong or that they don’t know something. If I think about the other end of the spectrum, they are the ones who always have an answer – even if it is just a temporary measure to make themselves look good.
I think that is another aspect… people who can admit that they are still learning are typically more confident in themselves and not concerned that others will look down on them for asking the question. When you see the ones who appear to be confident, probably coming off as cocky, they may actually be trying to make up for a lack of confidence in themselves.
The moral of the story: don’t be afraid to admit that you don’t know what you don’t know. No one knows everything, and everyone knows something.