We’ve all experienced it at one time or another.
It’s that dreaded feeling when your mind goes blank, where you stop in mid-sentence and… nothing.
The words you had before suddenly appear to have vanished.
You frantically go through the drawers of your mind but they’re empty!
You start to mumble: “um, so I was telling you about, um, the stuff, and now I want to confirm, um, all about the things…”.
The words haven’t actually disappeared but it’s your stress response that has temporarily shut down access to resources in your brain. 🤯
So how CAN you feel more confident and less stressed in your next interview, call or presentation?
🔸 Speak from YOU, not MEMORY
Memorizing isn’t mesmerizing for our listeners.
I know that it’s tempting to want to do that. It feels safer.
But learning word for word actually undermines our sense of security and contributes to brain freeze.
If we forget a word, we’re lost. Our train of thought falls apart like a house of cards.
AND most importantly, we can’t show up fully as who we are, our amazing unique selves!
We’re just the robotic version, stilted and artificial.
A mere hologram of the real thing.
It’s the equivalent of delivering a Michelin gourmet meal in a take-out box.
A BETTER approach is this:
Decide your message. Your point. Then think in main IDEAS and KEY WORDS to explain/support it.
By focusing on an idea rather than the exact 15 words to describe it, you are prepared but NOT programmed!
You sound conversational and it feels more spontaneous.
Of course, it still requires meaningful preparation and mindful practice on your delivery.
But the emphasis is now on communicating a message, not a memorized text.
And this keeps your brain at the right temperature!
Finally, don’t forget that humour is always your life buoy!
Laugh WITH yourself if you forget what to say.
People connect with people who don’t take themselves too seriously.
You can lighten the situation like this:
Ask your listeners with humour: “What did I just say?”
And when someone answers, you can reply: “Good, I just wanted to check that you’re all paying attention!” 😉
By hearing the words you said and repeating them yourself, it gives you a chance to climb back on the train of thought.
So let’s keep “thawing” those brain freezes & keeping calm in English!