It happens to all of us. You prepare your presentation, you practice the delivery, you anticipate possible questions and prepare your responses. Then…BAM! Someone hits you with a question that you hadn’t thought of and that you don’t know the answer to. What do you do?
You could make a guess. You could make something up. You obviously don’t want to say, “I don’t know,” right? Actually, it’s ok to say you don’t know, but don’t stop there. Think about it: audiences don’t care if you don’t know the answer to a question as long as you help them get the answer. So if you can’t give it to them immediately, what can you do?
Actually, you have several options:
- Can you find out and tell them later in the meeting or by following up with an email?
- Can you provide a resource that they can use to find the answer?
- What about opening the question to the audience—if you think there may be someone present who knows the answer, give them the floor and let them answer it.
No one expects you to know everything, but they do expect you to help them find the answer if the topic is relevant to your presentation.
Below is an article on the power of saying “I don’t know” as well as a funny video that illustrates how not knowing the answer in your presentations is not that big a deal!
To learn more about managing question and answer sessions effectively, enroll in our Communication courses.
- It’s ok to say I don’t know: click here to read an insightful article on the power of saying "I don’t know".
- Fortunately, not knowing the answer in your presentations is nothing compared to not knowing the answer in this video :-)