During a workshop this week, I was asked
“What do you do when you have a blackout on stage?”
Here are 8 tips:
1. Buy time
If the blackout happens before you even go onstage (this was the case for the man in question) see if you can find an excuse to stall for a few minutes, make a quick run to the rest room (or another distraction-free room) so you can gather your wits once again through deep breathing, expanding your body shape, looking at your notes (or visuals).
When your brain, which is just a muscle, has time to relax, your words will come back to you. Keep that expanded body shape as you enter the stage, you will not only look confident – you will FEEL confident.
2. Embody your core message
Prepare in advance, so well, that you have embodied your core message and main points. You may have to speak impromptu, but at least you know where your destination is.
3. Repeat the last line
Repeat the last line you just said, this gives you time to relax and the repetition may bring your memory in motion again.
4. Admit the obvious
If it is very obvious that you have blacked out, it’s like the Emperor’s New Clothes fairytale: everyone knows that you have blacked out and if you try to “pretend” you didn’t – it makes the audience and you feel very uncomfortable. (mirror neurons at work).
What people appreciate is that you call it what it is –
“Hey Guys, have you ever had a blackout while speaking? Well, I am just having one now and the best advice is a few deep breaths, wanna join me?”
(Of course, your response has to fit to your audience: is the atmosphere formal or informal, for example). People will like you even more when they see that you aren’t perfect, just like them.
Preparation before the event will truly pay off in such a situation. Remember:
Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration – Thomas Edison
6. Shut up and smile!
7. Wiggle your toes
That’s right – wiggle your toes! It clears the over focus on what is not there and makes you whole again instead of just ‘head’. It lowers your breathing and 9 out of 10 your words will flow again.
8. Remember your story, not your script.
And you’ll never black out again.
Wishing you a story-worthy day!
Dyane Neiman is the Moving Speaker. She helps business professionals at all levels, who are challenged to speak in public, in English. She always encourages people to get better at speaking in public, by SPEAKING IN PUBLIC! Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
Tags: public speaking tools and tips, stage fright, fear of public speaking tip, public speaking coaching.