man standing infront of group of people

Despite weeks or even months of preparation for a presentation, you can’t expect everything to go as planned. There are instances when you don’t end up seeing what you wanted to happen. For example, when you opened the floor for questions and answers, you might not have handled the issues well. Some questions might have seemed too tough for you, and you did not know how to respond. If you encounter this problem, these tips will help you provide the best response.

Calm down

You need to calm down when you don’t know the answer. If you start to panic, your blood pressure will rise, and your heartbeat will be fast. It will be even more difficult to respond if you are in this state. Therefore, you need to calm yourself down first and clear your thoughts.

Don’t make stuff up

You don’t want to look stupid when answering a question, so you decide to make things up. It is a mistake since you are presenting to people who are smart enough to know when you are bluffing. Besides, they can verify your response once the meeting is over. They will see if you lied during the presentation, and it is not a good thing.

Use uncertain terms

To play safe if you don’t know the answer, you can use uncertain words like “might” or “could”. You can also begin your sentence with “If I’m not mistaken”. In doing so, no one will hold your answer against you because you did not guarantee that your response was accurate.

Refer to the presentation folders

It helps if you have A5 presentation folders while talking. Even if you know the details of what you said by heart, there might still be some parts that you forget. When you hand out these folders, people can use them as a reference. The people in the meeting can go back to the folder as the possible answers might be there. Perhaps, you did not discuss that part, or the person who asked the question did not read the paper thoroughly.

Promise to figure out the answer

If you don’t know the answer because things are quite vague at the moment, you can tell them that you will find out the solution and respond as soon as you can. It is better than giving a false response.

Find someone to be with you

It helps if you have someone who will serve as your assistant during the presentation. If you don’t know what to say, you can look at this person for help. You can get a note which contains the possible response to the question. Try to do it discretely though, to avoid creating a perception that you don’t know what you are talking about.

It is okay not to answer all the questions if you have no idea how to respond to them. You can crack a joke or try to divert the topic if you can. Relax and smile until you get through that part.

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