Thursday, October 22, 2009

Prepare for Your Fallibility: Mind Blank Recovery Tips from Olivia Mitchell

It happens to each of us. No matter how prepared you are, there will come a time in your speaking career when you have a mind blank.

The question to ask yourself is not "Will this happen to me?"

The question you should be asking is "When this happens to me, will I know what to do?"

Olivia Mitchell, author of the Speaking about Presenting blog offers some excellent tips for both preventing and recovering from mind blanks.

I especially appreciate her advice to practice remembering and to develop a recovery routine:

Practice remembering

If you can’t think of what you want to say during a rehearsal, don’t jump straight to your notes. Try and remember what you want to say. This will strengthen your memory for the flow of the presentation and will train your brain to remember – rather than panic.

Develop a recovery routine

Work out how you’ll recover from a mind blank. Here’s my suggested recovery routine:

  1. Stop talking
  2. Look at your notes and find your place
  3. Look ahead in your notes to see what comes next
  4. Decide what you will say next
  5. Look up again
  6. Find someone to talk to
  7. Start talking.
What I like about this advice is that it shows the importance not just of preparing your content and delivery - but also of preparing for your fallibility.

By accepting that you can and will make mistakes - and that this is just fine - you can better prepare for and even embrace the unexpected.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great advice especially #6. By immediately making eye contact prior to resuming the speech, the presenter projects confidence and reassures the audience that he or she is in control.