Ways to Deal with Questions You are Not Familiar with in a Q&A Session
After you finish your presentation, the dreaded part comes next – questions and answers. It’s the time for you to receive questions from those who listened to your presentation.
You can use the opportunity to impress the people in the room even more. On the contrary, it could break you and make people think that your presentation wasn’t sincere, if you only memorized the details you presented.
If you know your presentation well, and you studied every detail before the day of the presentation, you have nothing to worry about. You will sound amazing, and everyone in the room will believe in you. The problem is when you encounter a question, and you have no idea how to respond to it. These are some tips so that you will still sound smart and knowledgeable, even if you don’t know the correct answer.
Refer to your visual aids
When you use slides to present information, you can always go back to them. The answers might already be on the sides. It would also be great if you have a projector ceiling mount in your office so you can fix the projector and slides before you start speaking. You probably won’t memorize every detail of the presentation, so it’s good to have a reference.
Don’t be shy to admit you don’t know
There’s no shame in admitting you don’t know the answer. It’s better than pretending you know everything when you don’t. Get the contact information of the person who asked the question and promise to connect with them as soon as you get the right answer. You can also post it on social media. It’s better to give no answer than the wrong answer. Besides, people will have the means to verify your response, and they will know if you’re bluffing. You can crack a joke when saying you don’t know the answer, so people won’t take it too seriously.
If there are answers that you don’t want people to attribute to you directly, quote someone else. For instance, if the question is factual, you can use the articles you read online or a quote from someone you saw on TV. If the information turns out to be wrong, people won’t blame you.
Pause for a while
Take a few seconds to think of a response. You might just think of the right thing to say after some time. Avoid being spontaneous to the point that you don’t say the right thing. People won’t think you’re dumb just because you paused for a few seconds.
Don’t allow the question to distract you from giving the right answer. You have to remain confident. It tells everyone in the room that you’re right and you know what you’re talking about. When you look visibly shaken, it’s a sign of weakness. You already managed to survive the entire presentation. Just carry on for a few more minutes, and it will be over.
You might not have all the answers, but you can always show that you know what to do.