Mind going blank? We’ve all been there, but how do you get out?
You’re half way through an important sentence where each and every syllable is a stepping-stone to landing one of your most ambitious life goals of all… and then, bam.
The mind goes blank, the mouth goes dry, the palms start sweating, the voice starts croaking, the heart starts pounding and you can feel every pair of eyes individually burning down on you in the room.
All of a sudden, you can’t even remember where you’ve put your car keys this morning let alone the rest of your sentence.
This dreaded state, mind blanking, is an irritating phenomenon that occurs when anxiety begins to interfere with memory and performance. When no stimuli is being brought to the brain, cortisol is flooding our system and it triggers our fight-or-flight response.
So, whether it’s an interview, public speech or an important conversation, Erbut provides 3 simple, practical and easy to remember tips to help you keep it cool in the head in your moment of dread:
1. Don’t take yourself too seriously
For us, this is one of the most important mind-set shifts in public speaking. Of course, you still want to come across as professional, but a lot of us are guilty of being too uptight in the moment and that creates an atmosphere of uneasiness and tension around us.
Don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself after the odd blunder. It’s common amongst even some of the best speakers in the world.
When Steve Job’s was introducing the new iPhone to thousands of people in person and millions others around the world, and the presentation slides crashed, he turned the potential moment of crisis into a funny and personal connection with the audience – “Well, I guess Flickr isn’t serving up the photos today”.
2. Drop it down a gear
The mind blanking is often initiated from an individual talking too quickly. The flight-or-flight response originates from our ancestors being in fear of nearby predators, helping them to survive when feeling vulnerable. You have to literally remind your body that you’re not under threat in this environment.
Keeping it slow allows you to actually process what it is you are saying. This is easier said than done. But try taking the odd pause after a sentence. It allows time for strategic thinking and will make you feel more comfortable in the moment.
Rather than being just like a pre-recorded robot, your content will improve, as you will be able to gage with the audience which parts are resonating with them.
3. Planning ahead
It’s always good to be prepared for the worst-case scenario. Hey, it might even be the psychology of knowing you’re prepared for it that makes you more confident and not need it at all!
But having certain phrases or questions lined up for the moment of dread always helps. Simple questions like – ‘what are your thoughts on this so far?’ or repeating your last statement gives you the opportunity to take a breath, and focus on what is being said back to you to re-ignite the rational thought processes in your brain.
Meditation, breathing exercises and listening to calming music are all common techniques to battle the anxiety of a big interview or large public audiences. The key to practice is always to find out what works best for you.
And there you have it, our pick of 3 ways to cope with your mind going blank in media interactions!
For more tips, tricks, and techniques you can speak to one of our award-winning media coaches here – Erbut Media Training have over 15 years’ experience, with ex-journalists coaches who have trained some of the biggest names is business, politics and showbiz.
Erbut is an award winning media training company that prides itself on empowering individuals of all backgrounds with the confidence, knowledge and skill to represent your company’s core beliefs to the best of your ability. For more information on how we can help you on your journey, please click on our website here.
(External Research: https://owlcation.com/social-sciences/How-To-Cure-Blank-Brain-Attacks)