Suppose the Switch just started, and it received a frame that contains a destination MAC address for a network device not in its MAC addresses table. What happens then? Here we describe it briefly.

When Host A sends the frame, the switch does not have anything in its MAC address table. Upon receiving the frame, it records Host A's MAC Address to Switch Port mapping. Since it doesn't know where the destination MAC address is, it floods the frame out all ports.

This assures that if host B exists (which at this point, the switch does not know yet), that it will receive it. Hopefully, upon receiving the frame, Host B will generate a response frame, which will allow the Switch to learn the MAC address mapping from the return frame.

One last note regarding the terms Flooding vs Broadcast. A switch never broadcasts frames, a broadcast is not an action a switch can take. A switch can only flood a frame. A broadcast is simply a frame with a destination MAC address of ffff.ffff.ffff. This is often confused because the end effect is the same, but they are actually different.