How to deal with difficult questions after a pitch?

For many entrepreneurs it is the fear number one; Difficult questions in front of a big audience. What happens if you don’t have an answer? Or even worse, what happens if your answer is negative and makes your company look bad? Yes, that indeed is frightening.

Don’t worry, I got your back.

They key to answering difficult questions is preparation. Prepare your answers and you’ll be shining during the Q&A section. Here’s what you should do:

  1. Write down all the potential questions you can get
  2. Write down all the answers to these possible questions
  3. Write down all the positive aspects about your company
  4. Blend the positive aspects into your answers.
  5. Study your answers and rehearse them out loud

 

Check out the Ultimate Pitch Guide for more information on difficult questions.

Hi! I’m Ralph. I help startups to get funded by designing a persuasive pitch.

How to leverage questions after a pitch?

Many entrepreneurs are afraid of the Q&A after their pitch. They’re afraid the audience will fire difficult questions, which they can’t answer. Check out the Ultimate Pitch Guide to learn how to deal with difficult questions.

So how do you leverage questions after a pitch?

It’s actually pretty simple, talk about topics you want to talk about.

Let me explain it.

Politicians mastered this strategy for years. When a journalist asks a difficult (negative) question, the politician will always answer with a positive answer.  Although the politician might not answer the question exactly, the answer creates a positive feeling about the politician. Here’s how you can do this too:

  1. Write down all the potential questions you can get
  2. Write down all the answers to these possible questions
  3. Write down all the positive aspects about your company
  4. Blend the positive aspects into your answers.

There you go. Every time you get asked a (tough) question, you come up with a positive answer, which makes your company sounds even better!

Hi! I’m Ralph. I help startups to get funded by designing a persuasive pitch.

How to make the audience ask questions in a pitch?

After your pitch there is usually room for Q&A. For many entrepreneurs this is the scariest part of the pitch, since they’re afraid of difficult questions. Check out the Ultimate Pitch Guide to learn how to tackle difficult questions.

 

Tackling questions can be learned.

However, what do you do when you don’t get any questions at all? Getting no questions can be pretty awkward, since this usually means your audience isn’t really interested or simply doesn’t understand what you just pitched.

To get the questions started, you can fire some questions yourself. This will generally stimulate your audience to ask questions too and will create extra engagement.

‘Many of you are probably thinking: How much revenue did they generate so far?’ or ‘A question I get asked a lot is: Why did you choose for this business model?’. Follow up with clever answers and you’ll leverage your Q&A to your advantage.

Hi! I’m Ralph. I help startups to get funded by designing a persuasive pitch.

How to interact with the audience in a pitch?

A normal pitch doesn’t last longer than 3 minutes. Because you are limited on time, you can’t afford to go into too much interaction with your audience. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t interact or engage with your audience.

In a normal situation interaction simply means talking. In a pitch however, this is slightly different. Instead of having your audience talk (and create a lot of chaos) you want your audience to participate in another way. Here are a few examples you can use to create interaction with your audience.

#1 Ask a yes/no question

This is the most simple solution to create engagement with your audience. I sometimes like to start my pitch by asking a simple question like this: ‘ raise your hand if you’ve ever been afraid of public speaking’. Asking this question to your audience accomplishes two things:

  • You activate the brains of your audience, they have to think about your question
  • You become more likeable to your audience, since you show interest in their feelings

#2 Make your audience imagine something

‘Imagine. What would it feel like if you would be the president of the United States? How would that feel?’ [Don’t say anything for 5 seconds]. ‘Great, that’s exactly how you’ll feel after this pitch’.

Again, this activates the brain of your audience.

 

#3 Give your audience an exercise

‘Smiling makes you happy. I invite you to listen to the rest of my pitch and try to smile as much as possible’.

By giving your audience an exercise you activate your audience in a fun way. Although this one creates a lot of laugh (and works pretty good), you run the risk of creating too much chaos. Research your audience up front and decide how they will respond to your exercise.

 

Whenever you’re pitching to big audiences there is no time for a two-sided conversation. Therefore, you have to use tricks like these to activate and engage with your audience.

Want to know more about the perfect pitch? Make sure to check out the Ultimate Pitch Guide.

Hi! I’m Ralph. I help startups to get funded by designing a persuasive pitch.

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