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How to Overcome Brain Freeze in Public Speaking

by | Jun 26, 2018

Sometimes you can’t help it. How can you minimize your own Shoulder Devil? The one that’s screaming, “I am so stressed about this speech, this presentation is pivotal to my career, and I freeze up!”

You might have a Shoulder Devil that reminds you to freeze up even in less dire presentation situations.

Here are some ways to handle brain freeze. Notice I didn’t say “overcome” as our blog title suggests. It’s not that my title is lying to you. You can almost add MORE ice to the Freeze Factor by wishing this behavior pattern to simply vanish. So, give yourself a break and work on compensating devices to handle/overcome a sudden rush of “stuckness”.

  1. Don’t memorize your info.
  2. Structure your content in short bullet points. I suggest a solid outline that you can refer to at any time. Yes, you can use notes; BUT don’t bring too much info to the lectern, board room, or conference meeting. Use the KISS approach: Keep It Simple Strategy.
  3. Start with what you know. Maybe that’s a story or a favorite quote.
  4. The first two minutes are the hardest. Say your beginning out loud to a trusted colleague ahead of time. You might be really articulate in your own head, but what comes out of your mouth is the only message received by your team, colleagues, or fellow CEOs at your annual think tank meeting.
  6. Look at energy givers in your audience. Try NOT to get crazy over people in your group that might be exhibiting their “funeral face.” How do you know what’s going on in their lives? How do you know if this is their normal facial expression?

Breathe, refer to your fantastic outline, believe in your message and keep going.

Photo ©: <a href=’https://www.123rf.com/profile_fergregory’>fergregory / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

© Karen Cortell Reisman, M.S., author of 3 books and President of Speak For Yourself®, works with decision makers on how to speak with gravitas. It’s all in how you speak for yourself. Karen also speaks about her cousin, Albert Einstein, in a message about hope, resilience and brassieres.


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