[Image by csharker from Pixabay]

Since it’s January 2021, those of us located in the northeast are all too familiar with freezing cold temperatures and an abundance of snow.  As I gaze out my window…I thought this was an apt time to review brain freeze.

What is brain freeze, you ask.  Good question and the answer is that some of you think of a brain freeze as an ice-cream headache or that painful sensation you experience when ingesting something really cold. Certainly that’s unpleasant however I’m referring to a different type of brain freeze.

What is a brain freeze for a public speaker? It’s a lack of confidence and having the fear of completely forgetting what you want to express.  Sounds awful and perhaps you’ve experienced this, know someone who has had this occur or witnessed a speaker with a brain freeze.

What are solutions for coping with a brain freeze when speaking?  It comes down to recovery.  While it’s certainly possible that any of us may encounter a brain freeze (forget what we’re saying), it’s vitally important to recover smoothly (the show must go on). This is accomplished in several ways which include these five pointers:

  1. Ensure you believe in what you’re conveying and its relevance to your listeners.
  2. Sufficiently practice your message in advance.  You don’t want to memorize your speaking points but it’s imperative that you’re extremely familiar with them.
  3. Have either a teleprompter or written bullet points to refer to as a reminder, if needed.
  4. Recognize the power of the pause.  This means it’s perfectly acceptable to take a moment to regroup and collect your thoughts.  When you do this, you help to alleviate the stress of constantly speaking and your listeners fully appreciate the silence.
  5. Have a transition at your fingertips.  You may think of this as a contingency plan but having a phrase or statement ready for this type of situation is a good idea.  For example, you may insert a pertinent quotation, or  say “You may be asking yourself what to expect from today.” or  say “Think about how you’ll apply what you learn to your situation.”

This list isn’t meant to be exhaustive but offers you a reasonable place to start relative to brain freeze.  Want to discuss your brain freeze situation further?  You can reach me at 518-664-6004.