Staying confident when you don’t have the answers

Let’s set the scene:

You’re in a client meeting, going over details for an upcoming campaign. You’ve run through all the pertinent information, answered a bunch of questions and you’re confident you’ve hit all the bases and are ready to get out of the meeting and move onto other things. But wait – your client has one more question to ask.

You listen attentively and open your mouth to answer when the question is complete but – oh no! – you don’t actually know the answer! You begin to sweat and you’re at a loss. What do you do now?

Like those Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books I loved as a kid (and Neil Patrick Harris’ autobiography – genius approach btw!), there are a number of ways this could play out. Unfortunately, though, “I don’t know” and a quick escape is not an option and, regardless of how you proceed, confidence is key. Here are some tips and tricks on how to keep your confidence up on each adventure.

If you suddenly know the answer…
…Speak slowly to keep yourself calm.

It’s great that the answer just came to you, but remember to stay calm and steady. An answer is no good if no one can understand it. Take a breath, take a minute to think it through and then begin your answer.

If you think you know the answer, but need an extra minute…
…Ask to clarify or repeat the question.

Buy yourself an extra minute by asking your client to repeat their question. If they begin to clarify what exactly they’re looking to know, the explanation may trigger something in your memory to help you come to your answer.

If you don’t know the answer, but it’s something you should know…
…Say “I don’t have all of the information on hand to answer that, but I can get it for you by XX.”

This is my least favorite of the scenarios. It’s no fun to be caught even the least bit unprepared. But by admitting that you don’t have the information you should in front of you, you’re being honest, which is always appreciated. By offering a concrete deadline, you’re showing that you do take the question seriously and are already working on having the correct information ready for your client.

If the question is unrelated to the discussion…
…Say “I don’t know about that, but I can tell you…”

People go off-topic sometimes. That’s a given. The best way to steer the conversation or questions back to relevant items without being rude is to answer with information similar to what your client asked about, but related to the discussion.

If you don’t know, but you think someone on your team does…
…Say “I don’t have the answer to that, but I’m pretty sure XX does!”

It’s totally ok if you don’t have an answer, but someone else on your team does. That’s great actually! It means that you’re all working as a team, you’ve been able to appropriately delegate tasks to ensure that all tasks are completed and the best people for the job have been working on it. You may either put your client in touch with the right person or get the answer for them in a timely manner.

If you really don’t have the answer…
…Say “That’s a great question! I don’t have an answer at the moment, but I’ll find it!”


It’s unfortunate, but we can’t have all the answers all the time. Admit what you don’t know and  reassure your client that you’re on it and will find an appropriate answer to satisfy them.

Remember, no matter what the situation is, remain calm, cool, collected and confident!

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FridayFive: NYC Must-Sees

FridayFive: NYC Must-Sees

I love NYC. It’s no secret. I love the hustle and bustle and the fact that there is never a lull. Though I only lived there for a brief time, I love that there are places and things that I was able to make my own. New York feels like home.

In honor of yet another visit to the city that never sleeps next week, albeit for work and not pleasure, today’s Friday Five is dedicated to the five places I plan to visit while in NYC.

My NYC Must-Sees

1. The Strand

I love books. They’re fantastic. And The Strand, located at 12th and Broadway, is home to 18 miles of books. I’ve happily spent hours getting lost among the bookshelves. Any book lover should take the time to visit The Strand’s rare book room to check out the treasures for sale.

2. Little Italy

I have a deep love of cannoli and the inability to find good ones when I want them most. Whenever I got the craving in NYC, I’d take a walk south to Little Italy and pop in a bakery for my favorite treat.

3. Central Park

I love Central Park, especially when the weather is nice. There are so many things to see and do and places to go in Central Park that no matter how often you visit, you can always find something new.

4. Washington Square Park & the Village

When I lived in NYC, I lived on Washington Square Park West and it was fantastic. Washington Square Park may have been pretty shady back in the day, but I enjoyed sitting in the park on a sunny day with a book. I can’t wait to take a stroll through the Park’s white arch & visit one of my favorite restaurants due south on Thompson.

5. Sept. 11th Memorial

I worked for a small 9/11 memorial and museum on the south side of Ground Zero when I lived in NYC. It wasn’t quite the national memorial and museum, but it was the only one at the time. The last time I saw the national memorial, workers were running a final test on the waterfalls in the reflecting pools during construction. Going back and seeing everything now that it’s completed is a must for me.…

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In defense of lazy weekends

In defense of lazy weekends

Lately, every day of the week has been jam-packed for me, but I try to set aside one weekend of the month for a lazy weekend. I know plenty of people who make plans for nearly every second of their weekend and, while it’s great to make memories and have fun, I think the value of unplugging and recharging is entirely underrated.

We spend so much time connected to work and other people that we don’t always realize the extent of it. Between the constant buzzing of our phones, the background noise from Netflix, Spotify or whatever other streaming service we’re connected to and the thoughts bouncing around inside our heads, we never really give our brains or bodies a chance to turn off, reset and recharge. 

I’ve found that when I take a weekend off to myself, staying away from work and stress, I feel a whole lot better and more creative and focused. My mind is fresh and I tend to be better able to solve problems and think creatively.

So what constitutes a lazy weekend? I do as little as I possibly can. I spend time cooking, because it’s calming. I do laundry and clean, because I can feel like I accomplish something without being stressed by it. I read and go for walks, because I can’t do these things and pay attention to my phone, too. I take long showers, or even better, a bath, because all of my best ideas seem to come to me when I’m in the shower. When I really need to disconnect, I binge on Netflix for as long as I can, because there’s nothing like mindless entertainment to relax and recharge.

It doesn’t matter what you do, only what it does for you. Whatever you do, make sure that it’s something that you find relaxing, calming and restorative.…

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