One of the biggest fears that some of my clients have when it comes to presenting is having and getting through a brain freeze. There’s no doubt about it, if it happens, it can be really embarrassing, you just want the ground to swallow you up, right?
Here are some points to consider that might help if you find yourself in the unfortunate position of getting blocked and for a moment, nothing wants to come out of your mouth.
1. Avoid losing your composure in the first place.
Recovering your equilibrium is not an easy task, so a good idea is to work to prevent it in the first place.
To do this, breathe with your diaphragm, stay grounded in terms of body language with feet firmly placed on the floor, open posture and control your rhythm. These combined actions will make you the look, sound, and feel in control.
2. Keep your moving forward.
If you trip over words, just correct yourself. If your notes drop to the floor, pick them up and calmly (although you may not be feeling it) take the time to get the pages in the right order. Don’t say, “Wow, I can’t talk today!” or something similar. Simply keep going. It is normal to make mistakes, nobody is perfect.
3. Stay open; don’t hide.
Don’t make the mistake of trying to hide the real you from the audience. When we take this attitude we create a lot of self-consciousness which is palpable to your listeners, and it will make them feel uncomfortable on your behalf.
Trying to hide from your listeners is impossible. So stay vulnerable. Audiences will like you more as long as you handle it with a calm energy, and they’ll think you’re someone they can trust.
4. Practice mindfulness.
This means being in the moment: the one that has you sharing something with an audience. That’s what “presence” really means—the ability to be fully present. When you experience presence, you’ll be much more focused, and less likely to have an “Ouch!” moment. If such a moment does occur, you’ll be right where you need to be to mentally to recover.
5. See your presentation as an opportunity to communicate.
Trying to “be excellent,” is fraught with problems and puts too much pressure on yourself. Instead, just focus on getting your message across. Concentrate on your desire to communicate with your audience. This means focusing your energy out to connect with them, instead of focusing it in, worrying about how you are performing and what you’re looking like. Stay true to your own communication situation and style. Any mistakes you make will just be part of a natural performance from a natural human being who is not perfect.