Stop yourself from going blank during that big presentation
How to prevent going blank during a presentation
You’re standing confidently on stage. Your audience is eagerly awaiting your next word. And then it happens. The dreaded blank. Read on to find out how to combat it.
The presenter-in-the-headlights scenario is all to common. You’re mid-flow, passionately delivering your presentations. Your slides are captivating everyone, the audience is enthralled. Suddenly, the words escape you and a chilling sense of silence fills the room.
This nightmare fuels many people’s fears of public speaking. If it’s happened to you, you’re well aware of the chaos it causes, both for you and your audience.
But this doesn’t have to be your reality. We’ve pulled together a few of the top tips from experienced public speakers to help you shape a presentation future where going blank isn’t a threat anymore.
1. Memorise your message, not your speech
Ask an actor how exactly they manage to remember all their lines, and they’ll probably tell you that they learn the character first.
Apply this rule to your presentations to stop the fear of the freeze. Know your content inside and out.
Memorising words creates a rigidity for your performance, and can make a mental block more likely. Learn the flow, remember the main points and jot them down. Your presentation will become an engaging performance, not a recital.
2. Rehearse. Outside if possible.
It goes without saying that rehearsing your presentation is the best way to get it firmly planted within your memory. However, there is a huge difference between running it over in your head in your office, and standing up to perform it in front of an audience. Our advice? Head outside!
Embrace distractions and learn how to deal with them. Teach yourself the skill of being able to say your words in any situation. Do this a few times, in different places and at different times of the day (2am in the rain, anyone?). The place in which you actually deliver the presentation will then seem far more controlled and predictable, helping you to overcome going blank.
3. Structured notes are your safety net
Ideally, your presentation will radiate engaging energy, holding your audience’s attention without you needing to read from your notes. However, populating PowerPoint’s speaker notes with all the crucial info serves as a helpful backup.
It’s not ideal to have to read from the script, but a glance at your screen won’t detract too much from the performance and can provide you with a necessary boost of confidence if you find yourself beginning to drift.
4. Relax, man.
A relaxed presenter is a confident, effective presenter. The degree of relaxation you can inhabit is dependent on your experience, but even novice presenters can help themselves get the best start and avoid going blank.
Inc. go into greater detail about how to relax right here, but cultivating a healthy lifestyle with adequate sleep, nutritious eating and limited caffeine is beneficial to keeping you calm under pressure.
If you momentarily lose the thread of your presentation, stop, take a deep breath and think for a moment. You’ll likely find your way back in again no problem. If not, subtly consult your notes and the continue.
Take these handy tactics on board and the fear of going blank will be a relic of presentations past. Giving presentations should be an invigorating, or maybe even enjoyable, experience.
Still need some guidance? Our expert presentation consultants are ready to elevate your PowerPoint experiences, helping you to overcome your fears and learn to present with confidence.
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