Photo from: https://thepodcastformerlyknownas.com/stand-up-blog/planning-is-important/
By Carly Gassmann
There you are, the center of attention. Orchestrating the conversation, dictating the subjects and segueing from topic to topic masterfully. The look on your face is one of complete confidence, and it’s with a firm self-assurance that you offer up your well-thought-out and educated commentary.
Suddenly, the focus of the discussion takes a turn for the bullshitting. Everyone around you starts talking about the recent update in the Refugee Crisis, but you haven’t watched the news. Your smile becomes broader. Your eyes are unblinking, and you scan the faces of your friends for any indication that they’ve caught on. You have no idea what they’re talking about.
We’ve all been there. Whether you’ve zoned out for a moment too long in lecture, missed a beat in the conversation or simply have no idea what you’re seeing.
Rest assured, you’re not alone.
But what do we do in situations like these? Does the responsibility lie with the rest of your company to pick up the conversational slack? Do you start spewing out-dated facts, irrelevant information and anecdotes about your cat? The choice is yours, and none of them are favorable. But luckily, a quick-thinking journalist near you has come to the rescue!
Here are five things to do when you have no idea what’s going on:
1. Nod, nod, nod.
Blurt out affirmatives: “Yes,” “uh-huh,” “oh yeah,” “sure!” Flash them that “couldn’t-agree-more” grin. Lock eyes with them and shake your head in utter amazement at their mesmerizing intellect. Give every indication that you’re 100 percent with them, following the conversation like a strong drink (or take a strong drink).
You can’t go wrong with this if you’re a naturally quiet person. However, if you are generally boisterous or have been contributing to the discussion until now, you might be in a bit of a pickle. People will be expecting you to contribute—or worse—will ask for your opinion. If this happens to you, try a different method.
2. Cause a ruckus.
Distract them! Lose your wallet, trip and fall or choke on a Raisinet. DO WHATEVER IT TAKES.
Nothing is too extreme when you’ve found yourself in a situation this critical in nature. If you’re caught being out-of-the-know, the implications would be catastrophic. Your reputation as the sultan of knowledge is at stake! Find a way out, no matter what.
NOTE: Even though the caliber of this circumstance is beyond anything you’ve experienced, all laws still apply. That being said, some things can be written off as a cost of war, and a cost of maintaining your dignity. Do what you have to do.
3. Blame it on the bowels.
Not everyone will be comfortable with this option, but for those of us who are secure in our own gastrointestinal integrity, toot on out of there.
Scrunch your face up in concentration, hold your breath and let your cheeks flame up like an infant in contortion, straining hard. Then excuse yourself abruptly, and people will get the gist.
Or, if you’d prefer a more forward approach (to get out of there ASAP), blurt it right out: “I’m crowning,” “The turtle is peeking out of his shell” “I’ve gotta drop off the kids at the pool.” Whatever euphamism you’d prefer.
4. Be Phone-y.
Take this one as you will. Whether it be faking an incoming call (“Oh, guys, my grandma and I talk about 60 minutes every day at this time, I gotta run”), dialing up a reliable answer-er to come save you or even answering that telemarketer, your phone can be your ticket out.
Think about it, this magical device can connect you to anyone, anywhere in the world instantly. Use and abuse this technology to manipulate these situations! Say you’re trapped in class, having been called on and having no idea what has been said for the last 30 minutes.
Don’t just sit there wide-eyed like a deer in the headlights! Scroll through your phone for an astute musical selection, pump up the volume and make an epic slo-mo exit out of the room.
5. Bullshit your way through.
The words you are reading provide a supreme example of this. (This article is my virginal escapade onto the seas of online publication. Feel special, you’re witnessing my debut.)
The shore is receding, my brain is frying and there’s no going back. What have I done? You’ve seen for yourself. Rant. Talk about poop, talk about the weather or talk about anything you can think of.
This is in stark contrast with #1, and I have yet to ascertain the effectiveness of either (someone test these and let me know). Rather than clam up and agree with everything happening around you, dominate the conversation. Allow no one to speak but you. If anyone tries to interject, forcefully reclaim the helm and steer them away from the unknown. Throw in that extra Yu-Gi-Oh fact!