How To Fake What You Don’t Know

In life there are certain things that are a given, you know like we grow old and at some point die (morbid) or that as seasons change so do our clothes (a bit more light hearted). But mostly there’s a lot that we don’t know. Like in business for instance, many decisions are based on educated guesses or ‘gut instinct’. Lots of us go on dates on the basis that ‘we’ll see how it goes’ or furthermore, invest in six inch heels with no confirmation of how many times we’ll actually wear them (answer; likely never).

Years ago in one of my previous jobs, when I wasn’t particularly happy with the way things were going I was told to just ‘play the game’. In media (and also other worlds) these words of advice are common. Office politics all over the UK are all about ‘playing the game’, acting like you know what’s going on and ultimately just ducking your head down and getting on with it. I always say to Daniel that I’m more street wise and he’s more book wise. Am I right about that? First of all who knows but there’s definitely having the gift of the gab versus being A* student and first class degree smart. Those who are fortunate to have both are therefore just, well, amazing.

From Rags to Riches

Lets take Roman Abramovich for instance. Orphaned at 2 he was raised in near poverty. After a plastic toy business, he got into oil and from there… Well. Obviously now he’s one of the richest Billionaires in the world. How about Oprah Winfrey or Ralph Lauren? Thing is it’s not all about where you’re from or what you’ve grown up with. It’s down to you. Of course opportunities present themselves but it’s the choices you make that can make the difference. So how can you act in those situations where an opportunity is there but you’re at risk of saying/doing the wrong thing and losing it? Here’s how I like to fake what I don’t know.

Keep Quiet

If I don’t know about something, I won’t comment. Especially in a room full of people. Don’t be mistaken into thinking this means you’re a budding wall flower. Quite the opposite – think of the consequences. I remember once saying ‘Yes, I’d love to go to Argentinia’… Urm, you mean Argentina Lauren?

Listen

Education is 90% listening. New media launches? New ways of advertising? Digital innovation? I’ve always been the one listening and taking notes. Listening and investigating/researching is crucial to learning new things. I learned Hebrew, Welsh, French and tried to study Spanish and without listening to others, I would have gotten no where. In business meetings, listening gives you a front row seat when it comes to processing the information to come up with a solution. Those being told twice, three times are already on the back foot.

Confidence Not Arrogance

Not to be confused. Having the confidence to speak loudly and in depth about a subject you are passionate about sets you apart from the team. So if you’re obsessed with your latest current affairs or even your designers, talk about it and engage people. Chances are people will consider you more of an expert in a certain area and will over look that which you don’t know.

Practice

Sounds obvious but often overlooked. Got a presentation? It needs to be rehearsed. Got a meeting with a cool new brand? Think about the questions you’d like to ask before hand. Meeting with the MD of a new company? Research the person in advance and think about how you’d like to approach their working history. All of these skills will make you more memorable and up your profile.

Smile

Don’t be shy. Smiling can instantly put a person at ease and help them to trust you. Body language is key in faking what you don’t know. If you’re hunched over, staring at your hands and twiddling your fingers, who is a person more likely to engage with? You? Or the person stood tall working the room and networking?

The Women Who Made Me

It’s only in the last 5 years that smashing the glass ceiling (and not pulling the ladder up behind you!) has really become something I’ve paid attention to. When I worked for a famous newspaper company, I worked on a very male dominated floor and for the first time I really saw the divide that everyone talks about around women in the workplace. For me it’s important to have a bunch of women – both whom I speak to regularly and those who are famous – to look up to. Female role models for women of all ages is so important.

SHOP THE POST

Gucci Belt – Gucci

Faux Leather Jacket – Topshop (*Similar)

Black Boots – Office

Skinny Jeans – Asos

Black Top – H&M

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6 Comments

    • Lauren
      March 23, 2017 / 9:47 am

      Thanks Meredith, thank you for your comment! xx

  1. March 23, 2017 / 9:24 am

    Listening is so important! If you never listen you won’t learn. X

    Kate// itskaterose.com

    • Lauren
      March 23, 2017 / 9:48 am

      For sure! Whenever I think about listening I always remember that episode of Friends where Joey gives Kathy the birthday present that Chandler bought and said ‘it’s because I know you like rabbits and cheese’….
      Thanks for your comment xx

  2. March 24, 2017 / 6:42 pm

    ‘Fake it ’til you make it’ is a phrase I’ve heard throughout most of my working life, but I think that there’s only so much faking you can do. While I fully agree that keeping quiet on subjects you aren’t sure about and having confidence in subjects you do know about are perfect ways to progress, there’s absolutely no shame in saying you don’t know about something or asking for help. We’re only human! Along with listening, asking for help is a really great way to learn.

    Olivia – The Northernist x

    • Lauren
      March 25, 2017 / 7:21 pm

      Absolutely agree – so many times I’ve asked for help and never been ashamed. Even in my early career, I ‘shadowed’ someone and asked them so many questions to the point where I actually got pulled up on it in a negative way – and I fought my corner! Listening and asking questions both important.
      Thanks for your comment and great blog by the way! Xx

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