Has it ever happened to you that you are in the midst of a presentation with your boss or a client and suddenly your mind goes blank? Scary, right? Now imagine a similar scenario with a slight change of location where you are on the stage, in front of a large crowd. Going blank during public speaking is a fear even the most seasoned of speakers and orators have.
You could be an experienced political leader or a leading party anchor in Mumbai, a blank mind can strike without warning, irrespective of the number of hours one has spent on the dais. If you have a similar fear that strikes every time you step on the stage, here are a few tips to manage it successfully, if and when it happens:
Never memorize your speech or script:
Instead of becoming an actor and memorizing your lines, it is best to initiate a conversation with your audience. Do not memorize your speech, ever. You can draft bullet points of your remarks and use them during the speech. This will ensure that you never sound repetitive and the audience will find you genuine every time they listen to you.
Relax before the speech:
The more you calm your wandering mind just before you begin your time on center stage, take a few deep breaths or meditate for a while. The calmer you are, the more focused you will be in front of the audience. Go over the main points of your speech, close your eyes and picture yourself doing a wonderful job up there.
Prepare a logical speech for a good flow:
A key method of keeping your mind from going blank is to keep your speech as logical as possible. When the speech flows from one logical point to another without hindrance, it becomes easier to bridge two points or ideas. When your speech lacks structure, the mind is more likely to go blank while under the spotlight.
Draft main points of your discussion in advance:
During a debate or an interactive session with a group of people, your mind could go blank if the discussion gets hot or highly animated. Experienced event anchor in Mumbai, Gaston Dsouza recommends creating a draft of your main points. This will help you to remain focused as some questions have been anticipated and will not come at you as a surprise.
Despite taking the above steps, it is possible that the mind will still wander and go blank in the midst of a speech. What then? Here’s what you can do:
Drink water which is hopefully placed on a nearby table or lectern.
Take a look at your notes and nod thoughtfully
Find your starting point once again
Resume your presentation again
The audience does not need to know that you are lost and in all probability they haven’t even noticed it. Take a pause, a deep breath and move on. In case you find yourself off topic, tell the audience that you will come back to this point later or you will move to another point for the moment. Despite all your preparation, you may lose focus momentarily, but the key is to re- center, refocus and move ahead, things will fall into place.