If you’ve done lots of public speaking then chances are you have had some blank out moments once or twice. I know how that feels, believe me. You’re hitting your stride but then your mind suddenly blanks out on you. Every second you stay quiet feels like an eternity as your mind scrambles for the words.
The best speakers know exactly how to handle this crisis. To help you avoid this black hole of awkwardness here are some tips you can incorporate to reduce the risk of having a brain-freeze mid-speech.
1.Maintain a Manageable and Steady Pace
One of the most common reasons for blanking out during a speech is that you might be speaking too fast. Don’t just move through the motion of a speech, make sure that the message is properly delivered to the audience. This is not a race, the goal here is to make sure that the information is properly given to the audience.
2.Master the Art of Strategic Pausing
Insert some 5-second pauses throughout the speech. The thing about these short pauses is that no one will be able to notice it and the benefits go both ways. Not only will you get additional time to prepare your mind for the next topic in the speech, it also allows the listeners to fully absorb the information you have given them before moving forward to another point of discussion.
3.Repetition Can Help Buy Some Time
In the instance when you find yourself stumped after finishing a sentence, a good tactic to help give you some time to re-orient yourself would be to repeat or paraphrase the point of your previous statement. Repeating or paraphrasing a statement once or twice in a speech is a better alternative than blanking out for a couple of seconds or shifting the direction of the speech all of a sudden.
4.Get Some Assistance from the Audience
There is nothing wrong with asking the audience to assist from time to time. If you find yourself lost during a speech you can always ask the audience what the last point of discussion was. However, it is important for any public speaker to not show any sign of embarrassment and definitely refrain from apologizing.
5.Engage with the Audience
If you get asked a question during a speech that you are struggling to answer, a good tip is to reflect the question back at the general audience. You can do this by saying, “Before I give you my view about that issue, I would like to know what the audience think about it first. Anyone want to share their thoughts?” Not only will this give you some time to figure out your answer, some of the audience’s opinion might give you the jumping off point to give you the boost your mind needs. This will also act as a way to keep the audience attentive.