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  • Writer's pictureAnnie Meisels

What do I do when I don't know the answer, and I'm the presenter?

You've just finished your presentation, you feel relieved and great! You ask if there are any questions. A hand goes up. No big deal, you've done all your research, you know this topic inside and out, they couldn't possibly ask a question that you wouldn't know.

You: Yes, what is your question, I'd be happy to answer?

Them: Blah, Blah, blahblah, blahblah, blaaaah, blaahhhhhh........

What?! You feel like your brain in going in hyper-mode because you don't know the answer. You don't want to look unprepared or unintelligent. You have a tendency to ramble and you don't want to do that either. You start sweating.... HELP!

Don't worry! Here are four easy steps to put you back in control:

  1. Repeat the question: "The question was Blah, blah, blahblah, ..." This will give you a second to think and let the listener know you've heard them. It also lets everyone else know the question.

  2. Acknowledge the person who asked: 'Thank you for that question, it's a good one.'

  3. Be truthful. No one wants to hear you try to answer a question when you don't know the answer. What they will be thankful for is the truth:

a. " Ya know, you've stumped me. I don't have that answer right now, but (step 4)"

b. " I don't want to tell you something I'm not 100% sure of, so (step 4)"

c. " That is a great question and I'm not quite sure of the answer, but (step 4)

4. Share your plan on how you find the answer, and let them know:

a. " But I will look into that straight away and if you give me your contact, I'll reach out . with the answer."

b. " So let me do some research and find that out for you. I'll be in touch tomorrow with

that answer."

c. " But I'm curious myself, I'll find out and get back to you."

Having a plan will put you at ease. Being prepared for everything keeps your nerves at bay. Practice these answers, or your version of these answers, that way you'll stay confident, self assured and ready for anything, even questions you may not know the answers to...yet!

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