• Alexandra Bond Burnett

Can't remember your words? How to own your mind blank during presentations and look in control

Imagine the last presentation that really impressed you. The presenter probably looked 100% in control, and delivered a seamless and informative session and didn't stumble on any words.

There is a secret that I'm going to share with you... it's all an illusion. They messed up. They forgot their words, and at some point they even may have forgotten their train of thought.

The best presenters mess up ALL the time, but the secret is that they own their mistakes, and take control of the situation.

Common problems

Mind blank happens in presentations all of the time. When we stand up to speak, ready to share your insights and knowledge, but then the adrenaline takes over leaving everything you know tumbling out of your head.


Or, perhaps you trip and stumble over your words, miss a chunk of information or even forget your train of thought!

The stuff presentation nightmares are made of.

Own your space

How can you mess up and still deliver an amazing presentation?

It's very simple: an audience will only know you've messed up if you tell them.

Even if they do spot your error, you can use this to your advantage. By using these simple techniques you can deliver the perfect presentation every time.

Take control of the room at the start.

At the very beginning wait for a count of three before you start. This sets a precedent and allows the attention to fall on you, while you gather your thoughts. Start when you are ready, and never before.

Use unit anchors to help you remember your section.

Divide your presentation into sections and name them. This way you anchor your memory to one word which will help you if you get lost. Learn about unit anchors here

Ask the audience

An audience love to feel involved, and love to feel smart. If you get lost on your train of thought, instead of stumbling ask them where you left off. By asking "Hang on a minute- I've lost my thought! Where was I guys?" you'll make them smile, and they'll feel more involved AND you get to check that they were listening!

Throw in a powerful pause.

Pauses weren't just made for shakespeare soliloquies. Pauses work well in so many ways but they do take some practise to use them to your advantage. Just like at the start, if you stumble on the next section, take a pause. Start when your ready BUT this only works if you really own the moment.

Build muscle memory with gestures.

Muscle memory is a marvellous thing, When we create a movement (arms, legs hands... walking!) it helps us to develop a memory in our heads - an image. and Images create memories. If you add specific gestures to a phrase or word, the action will help your brain to remember what you were saying.

Would you like more confidence leading presentations? Check out my 7 day confidence kickstarter course here.