Have you ever been part way through a presentation and suddenly gone blank? You don’t remember where you were up to in your presentation and you look at your audience who in turn are watching your every move.
In reality, your audience is not watching your every move. What they are doing is digesting the information that you have been presenting to them. They may be able to relate to it at an emotional level or may be thinking about how they can apply the information to their unique situation.
Most people in your audience will not notice that you may have gone blank. That is the first point to remember.
Here are a four more tips.
Follow the 5Ps – Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance.
By preparing both your material you will feel more comfortable and confident when it comes time to deliver your presentation. Know your material and practise as often as possible prior to presenting. The more comfortable you feel with your content and any visual aids, the more confident you will feel when you deliver your presentation.
Have you ever sat through an interview and realised at the end that you had not breathed throughout that time?
Breathing from the diaphragm helps to relax your muscles and ensures oxygen is making it to the brain so that you can think clearly whilst speaking.
3. Fake it till you make it
Social psychologist, Amy Cuddy, an associate professor at Harvard Business School, has provided research on how our body language can have an impact on how we think and behave. Essentially, if your body language is showing confidence and you continue to practise this in your stance at every opportunity then your mind will believe it too. What happens when we think we can? We can!
By gaining confidence, the mind is less likely to go blank at crucial moments during your presentation.
4. Ask the audience
Confidently ask your audience the question: ‘Where are we at?’ By doing this, you are able to engage the audience within your presentation and give yourself time to gather your thoughts.
It also encourages the audience members to think about what has been covered. By verbalising their interpretation of what has been covered, they are able to internalise the learnings from your presentation. So it is a win-win situation.
Practise these tips on a regular basis to confidently deal with those moments when your mind goes blank during a presentation.