What if my mind goes blank on stage?

Remember: Speaking is like real life (only more so). And, in real life – I hate to say this – but my mind sometimes goes blank.

Oh yes! I forget names of people I know and love. I forget dates… I forget a number of times… the world does not end.

Often, if I forget a name and I’m in front of a group, I’ll say, “who was it that did blankety-blank?” I’ll ask for the audience to help me. They like that. They like seeing that you’re human!

And if your mind goes blank and the middle of a speech… do not worry about it! Pause – if you give yourself a second or two – it may well come to you. If you still can’t remember, you might just ask the audience: “Now, I was trying to make an important point… what was the last thing I said?” I have done that many a time – and they’ll tell me, and I go, “Oh yeah!”, and I go on and give the next point.

Audiences are on your side. They’re not judging you. There’s not going to be a guillotine at the end and if you do something wrong – they want you to succeed! And if they can help you, and if you can show your humanity, they think, “Wow, that’s great. I mean, Jim forgot something and he just kept going,” and they love that.

So, don’t worry about forgetting things because for the most part you’re not going to. And when you do, there are plenty of ways to get back on track and you’ll be able to find them. If you just give yourself a short, quick pause – or, give yourself a break!