Wow – how great would it be to have a perfect memory? You’d never forget anything and once you had learned something you would be able to recall it anytime that you needed it. I can only speak for myself, but I certainly don’t have a perfect memory. In fact, I forget a lot of things all of the time. The one time that I really don’t want to forget something is when I am in the middle of giving a speech. However, even that happens sometimes. So what are we to do as speakers when we are giving a speech and all of sudden our mind goes blank?
How To Recover From Forgetting What You Wanted To Say
The first thing that we need to realize is that when we are in a situation in which the next thing that we wanted to say just flew out of our head, we can pause. What this means is that we can just shut our mouth and wait for a few beats. This will allow us to give ourselves a moment or two to try to remember where we were in our speech so that we can share the importance of public speaking. The good news for us as a speaker is that our audience will probably think that we are just pausing for effect.
Take a moment and rewind your speech. You just delivered part of your speech. Now go ahead and deliver it once again. You can repeat the last sentence or phrase that you said. The reason that you’ll want to do this is because it will give your mind two things. First, it will give it time to think about what you’d like to say next and at the same time it will deliver a bit of a “jolt” to your brain that just might make your remember what you wanted to say.
Try moving fast forward. Just because you can’t remember the next thing that you wanted to say in your speech does not mean that you don’t remember any of your speech. Try skipping forward to the next part of your speech that you do remember. There is a good chance that you audience may not even notice the part of your speech that you skipped over.
Have a drink. If you have forgotten what you want to say next, stop and take a drink of water (you do have a bottle / glass of water with you, right?) By doing this you are going to appear to be in control of what is going on to your audience and you’ll come across as being relaxed even if your mind is now going at a million miles an hour. Use this time to allow your mind to remember what you wanted to say.
Use your notes. You can always bring notes with you when you are giving a speech and I recommend that you do so just in case you forget where you are at some point during a speech. The best way to create notes that you can use when you have forgotten what you want to say is to create notes that have just a few key words and make sure that they are displayed in a big font. This is not the time for you to have a page full of tiny notes.
Smile at your audience. Taking a moment to be quiet and just smiling at your audience will leave them with an impression that you have a secret that they want to learn. You will come across as both looking and feeling confident. You will leave your audience anticipating the next thing that you are going to be saying – once you remember it.
What All Of This Means For You
Even the best of us may forget what we want to say during a speech. When this happen we may be struck with a sense of panic as we desperately try to remember what we wanted to say next. When that happens, we need to have some strategies for how we can determine what the next thing that we want to say is so that we can share the benefits of public speaking.
Since we are the speaker, we are in charge when we are giving a speech. This means are in charge of what happens. If we forget what we want to say next, then the first thing that we can do is pause. This will provide us with a chance to remember what we want to say next. We can also rewind our speech and go back and say the last sentence or phrase that we just said once again.Alternatively, we can fast forward our speech and skip ahead to the next part of our speech that we remember. As speakers we should always bring notes to our speech and we need to make sure that they are constructed in a way that will help us to easily determine what we want to say next. Finally, if we forget what we want to say we can simply smile at our audience and buy ourselves some time to remember what we want to say.
Forgetting what you want to say while you are giving a speech is never a good feeling. We need to understand that this is not the end of the world. We can recover when this happens. The most important thing is that we need to realize that this is a situation that we can recover from. If we take the time to understand what options we have to remember what we want to say then we’ll be in a good situation. We will forget what we want to say, but if we can come up with a way to remember our next words then our audience need never know!
– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™
Question For You: If you skip forward in a speech, do you think that you should ever go back later on and cover what you skipped?
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Note: What we talked about are advanced speaking skills. If you are just starting out I highly recommend joining Toastmasters in order to get the benefits of public speaking. Look for a Toastmasters club to join in your home town by visiting the web site www.Toastmasters.org. Toastmasters is dedicated to helping their members to understand the importance of public speaking by developing listening skills and getting presentation tips. Toastmasters is how I got started speaking and it can help you also!
What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time
Come on, admit it. I know that you’ve watched countless hours of those addictive TED talks. The people who take that stage seem to know so much about so many different topics, who wouldn’t want to watch them? Since you give speeches, I’m willing to bet that more than once the question has crossed your mind – could I give a TED talk? The answer is, of course you could. Now, could you do a good job of giving a TED talk? Well, that’s a different story.