How to Avoid Drawing a Blank During a Presentation.

You’re rolling along, making your points, engaging with your audience. Then, suddenly it happens: the mental lapse. Your mind goes blank, and you can’t remember what comes next. Or even what you just said.

An article in Fast Company magazine by public-speaking expert Anett Grant presents four ways to alleviate that dreaded feeling of losing your place during a presentation:

  • Don’t oversimplify. When you encapsulate all your thoughts into one key point, you may stumble when you’re grasping for that one telling word or phrase. Better to address each point sequentially, rather than pinning all your hopes on one elegantly simple idea.
  • Don’t say how many points you’re going to make. There’s always someone out there counting. Better to say, “another one of our strategies,” rather than staking your presentation on a specific number of points.
  • Don’t end on pronouns, like that or it. They’re too vague for public speaking. And they may create confusion about what you’re referencing. Both for your audience … and you.
  • Stay in your rhythm. We’ve all seen speakers get stuck when they mispronounce a word, think about how dumb that sounded, then forget what they were saying. If that happens, the key is to stay with the flow of your talk. Take a deep breath, relax and get back in sync with your message.

Even the best speakers draw a blank sometimes. It’s normal. But the key is to relax and allow yourself a moment to readjust and reconnect with your ideas. For more insight into maintaining your train of thought during a presentation, go to the full article.