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Tips to overcome those 'blank' moments during a presentation

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.

#1 Prepare

Follow the 5Ps – Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance

By preparing both your material and yourself 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.

#2 Breathe

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!

In her TED talk, Amy Cuddy provides easy exercises that can be practised every day.

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.

What techniques do you use to help you when you go blank during a presentation?

Share your comments here.

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Maria Pantalone

Maria Pantalone is the author of Success Talks: Conversations with Everyday Leaders. Maria works with individuals and teams to make communication their strength so that their message is heard. She provides tailored programs in presentation skills, business writing and effective communication as a leader and team member. Maria’s programs help her clients to excel in their role and be recognised as leaders in their field.
30 Business Communication Tips

Looking for tips to help you with your speaking, writing and interpersonal communication?

Then download my free ebook, 30 Business Communication Tips.

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