Wipe that Dumbfounded Look off Your Face and Ask the Question!
A Facebook friend shared an excellent post which sums up the importance of asking questions when you don't know something. The way the world is trending is wicked complex and requires an intense amount of inquiry to truly understand any given problem or scenario. It is enabling those of us who are curious, to have a leg up on our peer(s).
Many of us felt like the dummy when we asked a question in high school or even college. Later in life, realized how dumb that thought was but it's hard to understand before gaining industry experience. You see, the actions you don't take are far more impactful than the actions you do take (this obviously assumes positive intent). In the corporate world, you are judged by the words that come out of your mouth. Use an opportunity for inquiry to exhibit your passion and curiosity. At least based on the bar for the folks I have managed, the bar is always set high - there is no putting in your time and sitting there with a dumb look at your face without being held responsible for the lack of action. Not now, not ever.
There are a million and one examples to prop up but we will keep it simple. Humans are remarkable at judging ones "intelligence" not by asking a question or taking a risk - quite the opposite. In fact, the IQ test was not originally designed to measure ones intelligence - quite the contrary. Think about it this way. If you are sitting there and thinking "what the hell is going on?" Chances are, someone else is asking themselves the same. Take a moment to reflect and if you still aren't getting it, ask! Sometimes you might ask even if you think you know the answer.
People judge you based on how you make them feel. Most of us would be relieved to hear a question we ourselves had. Big sigh of relief! However, that doesn't mean you are intelligent.
Be present, be patient and participate!
“He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; he who does not ask a question remains a fool forever."