I think alost everyone of us has experienced it before, duing our conversation or presentation, we lost our train of thoughts.
That's what happened to Sally Field during her acceptance speech. After a good opening, she was distracted by the audience applause, and forgot what was her next line.
And, boy! She did overcome it well. She created a light-hearted moment of her 'forgetful moment, by mentioning that she had forgotten what was her next sentence, and the audience helped her and put her back on track.
So the next time you forgotten your lines, try this method.
Step 1: Smile
Step 2: Acknowledge, in a light hearted way that you that you have forgotten your next line
Step 3: Ask the audience where did have you left - and there will be good souls who will help you to put you back on track.
Founder, The Speaking Factory
Author, The Stage Fright Antidote
It happened again yesterday. In the middle of my presentation, the laptop just had to "hang" ...
Does that mean I had to "hang in there" too?
My events management experience said "No!"
My acting background said "Never! The show must go on!"
Having the audience to wait, watching you fix the laptop/ situation is a "Big, Big Sin", as far as presentation is concerned.
What to do if such thing happened?
Step 1: Take a deep breath! If you can inject humour, you can say something that, "Oh! I have forgotten to give my laptop the vitamins for the day, thats why! <and shakes head looking at the laptop>" This is actually to "buy" time to think what to do next, yet the audience is still engaged with you!
Step 2: Switch on improvisation mode - ie look around in the room and see what can you do/ use to facilitate and continue the presentation. For me, it was back to basics: Grabbed the marker and looked at the empty whiteboard.
Step 3: Recall your notes. If we are presenting, what ever presentation we are giving, we should have our content with us already, and can "vomit the content out" anytime ... That is why, there is a saying, "Content is King". And I would like to add, "Embrace the Content, and you'll look like a King." Audience will appreciate you more.
Step 4: On the whiteboard, draw mind-maps of the topics you are presenting; or write the topics in point forms - whichever way you are comfortable with etc. That will serve as a "visual aid" for the audience; and also to "buy" time (again! but who cares, coz you are STILL engaging the audience!) for your mind to structure the "alternative" way to present.
Step 5: Continue Presenting!
Hope these quick tips help! It had definitely helped me!
The Speaking Factory Pte Ltd
Do you believe in Murphy's Law?
Have you heard this phrase? “Everything that can go wrong will go wrong!”
True enough, in any presentation setting, things can go wrong; eg microphone’s not working, the projector is down, the presenter slips on the staircase while walking up the stage and many other possibilities.
So how do we then overcome this? Improvisational skill is the answer. Improvisation helps us to think on the feet and come up with solution almost instantly. This is especially useful when we face with unexpected situations.
One of the easy improvisation exercises that you can practise is the One-Word game.
Find a few friends that can help you with this. So how the game starts, firstly, is to decide on a theme. Say for this example, the theme is “chocolate.” Each person contribute one word at a time and when join together, it should form sentences.
Person A: One..
Person B: day...
Person C: there ...
Person D: was ...
Person E: a...
B: who ..
D: to ...
The idea is to say out the first word that comes to mind. Most people initially find it a struggle. This is because they are thinking of so many words in the head, and and don’t know which one to choose. The point is, they are not allowed to think, just say out the first word that comes to mind.
Of course, you need to keep practising to hone the skills, just like any new skills that we learnt. Actors learn improvisation as part of their actors training.
The Speaking Factory Pte Ltd
From the Editor
The Speaking Factory is founded by Hazriq Idrus, Asia's Trusted Applied Creativity and Public Speaking Strategist. He is the author of The Stage Fright Antidote and co-authored four other books. His mission is to help professionals & entrepreneurs cultivate a culture of team creativity & communicate with impact to achieve organisational outcomes.
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