Don’t be too honest with your audience – Part I

Some speakers are very open and honest with their audience, maybe too honest. I saw a presentation recently by a gentleman who, about three quarters of the way through his speech, lost his place. Now we’ve all been there. You just blank and can’t remember what in the world comes next.

What to do? Actually, first let’s discuss what not to do. This gentleman stopped, looked down to the floor, brought his hand to his forehead and said “sorry, I just lost my train of thought.” This was followed by an awkward moment or two of silence before he picked up again. Still not remembering exactly what it was that he actually wanted to say next he was just doing the best he could on the fly (he was helped by the fact that he knew his topic very well) until he regained his footing and sure enough got his presentation back on track (to mix my metaphors).

In talking to the gentleman later he already knew exactly how he should have handled the situation. Never apologize to the audience for losing your place. The truth is they’ll likely never know if you just press on as best you can. If you know your topic (a post for another day) and you can struggle through for about thirty seconds or so impromptu your brain will kick into gear, you’ll remember where it was that you left off and your presentation will sail along with the audience none the wiser

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