How to Not Freeze Up While Speaking
Written by Pam Chambers
Two words: don’t memorize.
Why? Speaking from memory is not the way we normally communicate. It is canned and stale. It prevents connection with others. Worst of all, it allows you to be derailed by any distraction that may come your way.
We’ve all seen it, and many of us have done it: The speaker begins with confidence. Five minutes later, she starts saying, “Um, and so . . . um . . . I mean . . .um.” She has frozen up. We pray that she will find her place. We wish we knew how to help.
Solution for frozen speakers: If you can’t hide it, paint it red. “My mind just went blank. Where was I?” Someone will prompt you. Or you could say, “My mind just went blank. Quick! Somebody ask me a question.”
But let’s prevent this entirely.
Instead of memorizing, prepare. Prepare captivating power point images that you can simply talk about. Or prepare a written outline of brief phrases that will naturally lead you to your next point.
Recently, one of my clients pooh-poohed my advice when I warned him about memorizing. Sure enough, he memorized his talk, started speaking, and froze within minutes. He recovered when a helpful audience member threw out a question, but in the meantime, we were united in pain instead of pleasure. Don’t memorize. Prepare!