It’s happened to all of us.
We are in front of a group of people talking and suddenly….our brain goes blank! What most people don’t think of is to ask your audience for help to break the ice.
We can’t think of that word, or phrase or punchline to that great joke we just heard. I’m sure we’ve all seen people stand there and struggle in awkward silence as they fight through their embarrassment to try and remember what they were going to say.
And the audience agonizes right along with the speaker, because people naturally feel uncomfortable watching someone struggle – after all, they know it could be them instead!
Some people feel sympathy and wish they could help, some people write the speaker off and stop listening.
When this happens to you (notice I didn’t say IF?) just roll with it and bring the audience to your rescue. When you are stuck for a word or phrase, don’t be shy about asking them… “what was that word?” Or, “shoot, what was the name of that show…” They will usually be able to help because they know the context from your talk.
Your audience will be happy because they were able to help, for that moment they are super connected to you, and also because their discomfort is gone!
And you will be an even more confident speaker because you’ll realize that forgetting that word didn’t stop you! The more comfortable you become with not being a perfect speaker, the better speaker you’ll become!