What to do when your mind goes blank

I had a question recently about what to do when your mind goes blank and you can’t remember what you were going to say next. So I thought I would write a couple of suggestions to help you overcome this if it happens to you.

  1. Remember that you are in control. The audience doesn’t know what you are going to say next and so won’t know that your mind has gone blank unless you tell them. This is where the pause can be a very useful tool, pause for a moment, take a breath think about what you have just been talking about and usually what you were going to say next will come back to you. When you are taking a pause it may seem like a lifetime to you, but for your audience it will just seem like a normal break in your presentation.
  2. Keep your notes handy just in case you need to refer to them. Have a quick look, find where you are up to and then move on. Don’t continue to hold onto your notes as this can make you look nervous.
  3. If you don’t have your notes with you and you can’t remember your next point but do remember another point, then continue on with the one that you can remember. Once you continue talking, chances are that you will remember the point you forgot and can say “Oh, I forgot to mention……………”
  4. One of the most common things speakers do, is to have a drink of water. Again it looks like you are taking a legitimate break. Hold up your hand in the stop gesture and take a drink, this will give you time to think about what you were going to say next.
  5. There is nothing wrong with being honest and saying “Oops I forgot what I was talking about” This will make you appear human and that you make mistakes just like your audience members, although you don’t want to say this too often as it will make you look unprepared.

Having a strategy in place will give you the time you need to collect your thoughts and then you will be able to continue on.

Hope this helps

Carrol

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