What Do I Do When My Mind Goes Blank?
You have been asked to speak - you take a deep breath and your mind goes blank!
You are not alone this happens to everyone at some stage in their speaking journey.
The thought of standing up to speak and having your mind go blank is one of the many reasons people avoid speaking! One of the biggest fears for speakers starting on their speaking journey is What if I forget what I am going to say?
First thing – don’t panic! Stop, breathe, pause, smile then continue with your presentation.
New speakers will often try to learn their speeches word for word. Unfortunately what can happen is that if they forget the next word – the rest of the speech goes missing as well. Does this resonate with you? If so think about reducing your speech to dot points or concepts and speak to these. Have confidence in yourself – you know your content, your message. Believe in yourself, breathe and share your message.
Remember, every speaker at some stage in their speaking journey has had a moment where their mind has gone blank. It is not the end of the world. You are not alone.
So next time, if you do have that moment of forgetfulness:
Take a deep breath, pause, think about what you want to say, smile at your audience while you are thinking then continue.
If you need to, glance at your dot points. Using PowerPoint, can be of assistance in giving you guidance and support.
Don’t apologise or draw attention to the fact that you have had a momentary lapse. The audience will never know. They don’t know what you were going to say so if you pick up your presentation and have left out a bit they will not know – unless you tell them! Once you start speaking again you may remember what you were going to say or realise that you want to add something – just slot it into your next point and continue.
A smile is your ‘get out of jail’ card. When you smile at your audience they will smile back, they will never know that your mind is frantically ticking over getting back onto track and finding the next word to say.
Believe me it works. Yes it happened to me. I was in full flow – wowing them with my speech and suddenly I just stopped. I could not remember what I was going to say next. So I paused, breathed, smiled, thought frantically then continued. The only ones that guessed were a couple of very good friends that know me very well and know my speeches. The audience, well they were coming up and congratulating me on the heartfelt poignant pause that made them really connect with me and take on board my message!
So next time your mind goes blank – breathe, pause, smile then continue.