WHAT TO DO WHEN IT ALL GOES WRONG!
Now this particular topic has got to be very near the top of every single person's biggest fears... You're giving a speech and suddenly you freeze! Forgetting the words, your mouth dries up and you start to panic silently as everyone looks at you waiting to hear your next thought. It happens to everyone but the best public speakers are the ones get over it the quickest. Below I will explain how they do it!
Okay so the biggest thing to remember when you freeze up is just breathe! As we've talked about in past posts, breathing is the most important (yet often most forgotten about) part of public speaking. When you feel things starting to go sideways up on stage just take a nice, big, calming breath! It'll help set you in the right direction towards getting the presentation back on track.
Next you need to get your head straight. Now the best way to do this is to remember that what feels like an ETERNITY when you're frozen up on stage, is really a matter of seconds that the audience won't even notice! Now I know that when you're public speaking and you start to screw up it can feel like your world is crashing down around you but you must remember that is simply not the case.
The other thing to remind yourself of is that you freezing up isn't going to be a problem to the audience until you make it one. The best presenters and public speakers can at times also be the best fakers! I am a big believer in the "fake it till you make it" method when it comes to public speaking and when you find yourself stuck while presenting there is simply no better method to get it back on track. Instead of focusing on how bad it is that you've forgotten what you're saying and commencing with the panic, just take a second, breathe, and tell yourself you've got it all under control while you find your spot.
If it turns out that you don't have it all under control, then just make a joke about how you've forgotten what you were supposed to say! Cracking a joke about it will loosen the tension in the room and in yourself and probably win you a few bonus points in the process. Think about it: what's worse? When someone screws up, you see it hit them, and then in a panic they start blurting things out uncomfortably until everyone in the room just feels uncomfortable and bad for them? Or when someone freezes, takes a second to collect themselves and then laughingly announces that they've lost their spot? Everyone in the room laughs along with the speaker and he or she uses this time to get back on track and carry on rocking the presentation when the room settles down again. I personally would take option number 2 but that's just me.
To sum up this article, always remember that freezing up or forgetting your spot while presenting or public speaking is a thing that happens to many many people. However, it 100% GUARANTEED does not look nearly as bad as it feels in the moment and it will only get there if you panic through it. Take a breath, tell yourself you're fine, find your spot and carry on! If your brain just will not start back up in that moment then admit defeat, share a laugh with the room and reboot, people will be much more forgiving of that than they will be of you awkwardly carrying on while they can tell you're struggling.
Well that's it for this one, (ended up way longer than I planned, whoops!) so always remember, life is too short to give bad speeches!