Help… My mind has gone blank!

Screen Shot 2013-06-24 at 07.00.09Most people fear that moment when you simply can’t remember what to say next in a presentation.  It either happens at the beginning of a presentation or suddenly bites you by the bottom right in the middle of your speech.

Well, be reassured that this happens to lots of presenters ( even the best) and having some strategies to help you deal with this scenario means you can stop, re…* and then carry on as if it had never happened.

(In my experience audiences will be forgiving if you can cope, most of the time don’t know it has happened (providing you don’t tell them) and understanding.  Having said that, if you can’t cope then they can get uppity to say the least and may think that you are unprofessional and unprepared and take that as a personal insult!  Be warned)

So here are three coping strategies:

  1. Stop.  Breathe.  Pause.  ( you will have heard people waffle on until they find their equilibrium rabbiting on about nothing much until they find the right path again)  Giving yourself a moment to recover and refocus is often all that is needed.
  2. Stop.  Breathe.  Pause (you will have heard people apologise and tell the audience that they have forgotten, missed  a slide, say sorry but they had to change it all at the last minute, haven’t really had chance to prepare etc etc etc )  Give yourself a moment to reflect and revisit what you have just said so as to kick start the next section of your presentation.  The audience will probably appreciate the breather too!
  3. Stop. Breathe, Pause.  (you will have heard people ask the audience to wait while they find their place in their copious notes or pages of script).  Look the audience in the eye, glance down at your prompts (this word is carefully and deliberately chosen), rediscover what you want to say and then say it.

So next time you are speaking, occasionally STOP, BREATHE and PAUSE ( whether or not you have gone blank) and give yourself time, space and poise to continue with your presentation as if nothing had ever happened.

Has your mind ever gone blank?  Let me know in the comments box below.

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