In a few days, I will be giving my first conference talk. I have only spent less than a year in the field, and the talk will be attended by several well-known researches, who are familiar with all of my advisor's work and all of the other literature in the area as well. Of the people in the room, it is probably them who will be listening most intently -- but it is also them who I feel the least well-equipped to answer questions from.
The questions I am most worried about will be about related work. Take it as a given that:
I clearly should know the answer to the question, because the related work is very relevant at a surface-level. Indeed, my advisor is familiar with the work and has told me to try to be prepared for any questions about it.
But I don't know the answer, because I failed to sufficiently prepare. Or, to make some excuses, maybe I am relatively new to the field and have not had a chance to read every paper in full detail. Of course I have tried some to read through this work, and I have gotten from my advisor some idea of how it compares, but I am not nearly so familiar as I should be.
It seems likely that a poor response to such a question will make me come across as incompetent, unfamiliar with related work in the field, and even unfamiliar with the context of our own work. Similarly, this may damage the reputation of our research itself. How can I best respond to such a question, so as to minimize the damage?