Qualify your confidence levels

Speak truthfully and precisely.

  • Problem

  • People who listen to you sometimes understands you and sometimes misunderstands your statements.

  • You know things but you are not sure if you should say it because you are not completely certain.

  • People are beginning to distrust what you say because sometimes you are flat out wrong.


  • Speak of the things you know of - Speak about things you have sufficient confidence in.

  • Say your confidence levels - It is okay to say “I can only remember this lesson around 40%. Please note that this isn’t an exact quote lifted from the textbook”. This gives your audience some meta information about what you are trying to communicate. This is important context on how specific and accurate your relayed information is.

  • Inform your audience about the things you don’t know - That way they don’t have to wonder if you have already considered certain things, and it is also a great opportunity for others to share and educate you about those topics. This removes the possibility of you being mistaken as trying to mislead people to believe that you know things that you don’t.

Effective Use

  • Truth - You are able to communicate truthfully - both the known truths and the known uncertainties (the unknowns).

  • Clarity - Your audience has a better understanding of your levels of confidence in the things that you say.

  • Shared curiosity - The burden to “have all the knowledge” is not something you need to bear. By acknowledging the things you don’t know, you position yourself and your audience to ponder and question things together- facilitating learning together.

  • Humility - By admitting the things you don’t know, you humble yourself and open yourself to the opportunity of being taught by the people around you.


  • Misled - People think you know things that you don’t. You set yourself up for opportunities for people to catch you lying (whether intentionally or not).

  • Distrust - People are more doubtful of you because you are not careful with your words.

  • Proud - You struggle to admit the things you don’t know because you think you know everything. You are too proud to admit what you don’t know- so very few (if any) offers to give you feedback or correction. You end up more lost because you fail to admit what you don’t know, or to ask for help.


  • TBD.

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