What to do if a viewer’s question stumps the speaker?


Take a broad view of the topic and use the “deferred communication” method. This advice comes from the Pitch Avatar team.


We’ve all faced the situation of a “tricky question that can’t be answered immediately,” whether as viewers or presenters. There is a fairly common category of viewers who consciously come up with perplexing questions. Some of them genuinely want to understand a difficult point, but many such individuals simply enjoy watching the speaker struggle for an answer. This is their way of asserting themselves. By crafting a difficult question that the presenter cannot answer, they feel smarter and more significant. The risk of encountering such questions increases significantly during online presentations, as the entire internet is at the questioners’ disposal.


First of all, let’s say that, from our perspective, this is a completely normal, routine situation. It is obvious to any reasonable person that no matter how thoroughly the speaker or presenter prepares for the event, and no matter how deeply they study the topic, it is impossible to know and remember every detail. Nonetheless, it is not uncommon to see a presenter get flustered and come to a halt when faced with a question they can’t answer on the spot. Some may remain silent for several minutes while searching for an answer, others may frantically sift through notes, or try to find the necessary information using a laptop or smartphone. All these options are mistakes because they disrupt the presentation’s flow. Here are two simple ways to steer clear of this predicament without breaking the dynamic.

1. Broad perspective

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Typically, a tricky question is not difficult in itself. It is related to phenomena and circumstances connected to your topic but not directly part of it. For example, imagine Robert Fulton conducting a presentation on the steamboat and being asked how a steam engine can replace horses for land travel. If Fulton, like many modern presenters, focused solely on his topic during preparation, he might find himself stumped. However, if he had applied a broad perspective, he would have known about George Stephenson’s experiments with locomotives and could have shared brief information on that topic with the audience.


Do you get our point? Just to be clear: When preparing your presentation, take time to briefly review work in areas related to your topic. This will significantly reduce the number of questions that could stump you.

2. Deferred communication

As you might guess, the above method does not guarantee the complete absence of tricky questions. They will still occur, though less frequently. In that case, turn them to your advantage. Calmly state that the question is very complex and requires time for a thorough answer that goes beyond the scope of the presentation, and suggest discussing it separately on another day. Additionally, invite other viewers to sign up for this essentially additional presentation. This way, you not only gain time to prepare your answer but also create an opportunity to further engage potential leads.


In conclusion, we note that the process of answering viewers’ questions can be simplified with our AI presenter assistant, Pitch Avatar. It allows you to create virtual hosts and speakers based on your own or fictional personas who will conduct the online presentation and answer questions, seeking help from their creators only in challenging cases.


Good luck to everyone, successful presentations, and high profits!


Source: Pitch Avatar Blog

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