How to Recover From Going Blank During a Presentation

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I’m going to let you in on a secret: even the most experienced speakers have gone blank in the middle of a presentation. The difference between you and them is how they handle that moment of blankness. Experienced speakers use the following four simple tricks to deal with going blank and the self-doubt that comes with it:

  1. Don’t Panic
  2. Retrace your steps
  3. Check  your notecards
  4. Move on to the next section

 

1. Don’t Panic

This is both the hardest and the most important tactic available to you. Yes, you are going to want to freak out and yes, you will have the urge to run away and hide in the toilets but what you need to do is pause and take a deep breath, a really deep breath. Then take another, this will get oxygen into your brain and help you relax and allow your brain to do its work. Now that you’re starting to relax move on to step 2.

2. Retrace your steps

Think back. What were you talking about before you went blank? Go over what you just said in your brain, usually going over the words again will trigger your memory of what comes next, this should get you through most situations. If not then try steps 3 or 4.

3. Notecards

This is the emergency situation. Calmly take out your notecards and look through them to find what you should be saying next (and only check the notecards, not your script, checking your script may take too long). You could casually explain the notecards by saying something like “this is important so I really want to get this right”. If the notecards don’t help them then try step 4

4. Move on to the next section

If you have learnt your presentation in chunks then you are in a great place because you can keep going, you can move to the next chunk of your presentation and continue. This is why we recommend that you learn your presentation in chunks as each “chunk” is a mini-speech in its own right so forgetting part of the speech doesn’t mean that you can’t go on. Also what you will find happening is that as you continue through the rest of the speech, you’ll remember the important points that you forgot and you can cover them at a later  point in the presentation.

 

To solidify these 4 steps in your mind then as you’re practicing your presentation, make note of the areas that you have difficulty with or that you keep forgetting and ask yourself “If I go blank during this section, what will I do?” The answer naturally is to follow the four steps and if you forget things during rehearsal then practice the 4 steps so that they will naturally come to you if you go blank during the actual presentation.

 

 

If you enjoyed this post then why not try more of our presentation tips:

Image: Het Nieuwe Instituut (Flickr)

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Use Your Evaluation To Inspire

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On the surface an evaluation at Toastmasters is about showing a speaker their strengths and suggesting how they can improve further but a great evaluation goes further, a great evaluation will inspire your speaker to become a better communicator. A great evaluation will make them excited about their next speech they’ll start planning it immediately and they’ll be imagining how amazing they’re going to be. This should always be your goal when you give an evaluation.

This is not as difficult as it might sound.

The best place to inject inspiration into your evaluation is in the conclusion, it will have the most impact there. In your conclusion be sure to include the following:

  • Acknowledge – Acknowledge all that the speaker has achieved so far, this shows them that they are already on the path to their goals and they’ve already achieved great things.
  • Believe – Encourage them, show them that you believe that they have the ability to reach their personal speaking goals.
  • Challenge – Challenge them, give them a new target to aim for, keep them striving to be better speakers.

The key to success is your choice of challenge. It could something small like not using notes or controlling a crutch-word or it could be a bigger step like speaking outside the club or taking part in a speech contest. From your preparation you already know what level the speaker is at, you know what their goals and objectives are and you have seen the speech so use this information to select an achievable but challenging task for the speaker.

Make them excited by the new challenge. Show them that you believe that they can achieve it. Inspire them.

 

This post is part of our series of tips to help you become a better evaluator. To learn more about evaluating, check out these posts:

 

image: symphony of love/chattygd (flickr)

Merry Christmas From Cogito!

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Merry Christmas to all our members and also to all the people who have visited us in the last year, it’s been a great year filled with speeches, workshops and laughs and thank you for making it happen..

Next year it’s only going to get better, as well as the usual speeches, table topics and evaluations we’ll have the club International Speech and Evaluation contest in March, we’ll hosting the area contesrs in April and the Tall Tales contest in June

There will be no meeting next Tuesday and we’ll see you back in the new year at the Lantern Centre on Tuesday January 10th .

 

image: Kevin Dooley(Flickr)

Celebrate With Us this Tuesday

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“Christmas is a season not only of rejoicing but of reflection.”

Winston Churchill

For our last meeting of 2016 we’re going to embrace the theme of “Reflection”, we’re going to look back on the year and celebrate our personal and group achievements.

Derville will be our Toastmaster, we’ll have speeches from Jag,  Kevin and Jean-Marie and visiting  toastmaster Miguel keeping us on our toes with his selection of table topics.

There may even be cake…

When: 7.30pm, Tuesday 13th December

Where: The Lantern Centre, 17 Synge St (click here to see a map)

To sign up or see the agenda of the meeting, click here

 

image:  Rev Stan (Flickr)

Become More Confident Speaking in Front of an Audience

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Speaking in front of a group of people can be very intimidating, it’s enough to make even the most confident person tongue-tied and unsure of themselves. And it doesn’t just happen to you, it happens to everyone.

The difference between you and confident speakers is that they have found tricks not to let the scariness of speaking in public stop them from presenting. And that’s Toastmasters is about, giving you the tricks to work with your uncertainty and the confidence to stand up and speak in front of a small or large audience.

At Cogito Toastmasters Dublin, each of our meetings are designed to provide a supportive environment where you can feel comfortable speaking and after practicing in the club you will have the skills and confidence to give a presentation at work or at an interview.

Come along to our next meeting and see how we can help you become the speaker you’ve always dreamed of being!

We meet at 7.30pm  on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays in the Lantern Centre on Synge St (off Camden St), see you there.

Improve Your Presentations with the Ten TED Commandments

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For anyone interested in speaking and listening to interesting speakers, TED is always a great place to visit. Each TED speaker is given the “TED Commandments” to help them create a talk to suit a typical TED audience.

These commandments are useful not just for TED speakers but for anyone who has to stand up and speak in front of an audience. They’re filled with guidelines that, if followed, will make your speech entertaining and interesting for the audience while at the same time allowing you the chance to enjoy yourself.

The TED Commandments are:

  1. Dream Big. Strive to create the best talk you have ever given. Reveal something never seen before. Do something the audience will remember forever. Share an idea that could change the world.
  2. Show Us The Real You. Share your passions, your dreams … and also your fears. Be vulnerable. Speak of failure as well as success.
  3. Make The Complex Plain. Don’t try to dazzle intellectually. Don’t speak in abstractions. Explain! Give examples. Tell stories. Be specific.
  4. Connect With People’s Emotions. Make us laugh! Make us cry!
  5. Don’t Flaunt Your Ego. Don’t boast. It’s the surest way to switch everyone off.
  6. No Selling From The Stage! Unless we have specifically asked you to, do not talk about your company or organization. And don’t even think about pitching your products or services or asking for funding from stage.
  7. Feel free to comment on other speakers’ talks, to praise or to criticize. Controversy energizes! Enthusiastic endorsement is powerful!
  8. Don’t Read Your Talk. Notes are fine. But if the choice is between reading or rambling, then read!
  9. End Your Talk On Time. Doing otherwise is to steal time from the people that follow you. We won’t allow it.
  10. Rehearse your talk in front of a trusted friend … for timing, for clarity, for impact.

 

 

If you enjoyed this post then why not try more of our presentation tips:

 

image: Steve Jurvetson (Flickr)

Learn How to Engage Your Audience with Passion

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One of the key ways to get an audience interested in your idea or topic is to show your passion for it.

When you stand up and speak with real passion, your audience will hear see and feel your passion, your passion will intrigue them, they will want to know why you’re so excited about this topic and they’ll feel that if you’re excited then maybe they should be too. Passion is the best way to connect with your audience

The opposite is also true. Think back to when you were in university or college, think of that one lecturer who always sounded bored when they gave their lectures. Were you interested in the class or were you just as bored as he was? If’s not just passion that we feed off . If the lecturer finds their subject boring then there’s nothing to keep us engaged so we stop listening which results in a whole group of people who don’t care and can’t wait for the class to end.

Have you got an got an idea that you’re passionate about but don’t know how to present it to an audience? Do you want to learn how to present with more passion?

Come along to one of our meetings and see how we can help you show your audience the passion you have for your topic.

We meet at 7.30pm  on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays in the Lantern Centre on Synge St (off Camden St), see you there.

Click here for more information.

image: PopTech (Flickr)