As a native Texan, I’m sad and embarrassed for Gov Rick Perry and his debate performance on Wednesday. Oy!
Check out his brain freeze in mid thought and you’ll see the importance of preparing yourself with notes, practice, and visualizations before you make a presentation:
Tell me that didn’t just happen. Here are three points that we should take from poor Rick’s temporary amnesia:
1. Notes — Preparing your notes will help you to easily remind yourself of important points. Only include key words, not sentences, that will start your mind going down the right path. Your memory will fail you and most likely at the worst possible moment when you’re on stage or in a conference room.
Don’t rely on your memory because your nerves are working against you. Prepare yourself with good notes so that you can convert nervous energy into a positive, confident message.
2. Practice – Rehearse your speech or sound bites at least three times before giving yourself the approval to deliver the information. Granted we all freeze up from time to time, that’s normal. But many people tend to forget what they want to say because they have not practiced saying it. When you practice you give yourself the opportunity to deliver a finished product instead of a rough draft.
Consistent practice enables you to feel the words roll off your tongue so that you can use your cadence, delivery, tone, gestures, and facial expressions to the greatest advantage.
3. Visualization – Take at least 5 minutes alone sometime before your presentation and see yourself speaking and listening. Yes, visualizing how you will look and feel when you hear what others have to say is just as important as seeing yourself speaking.
People will judge you when you’re talking or listening, so visualize both in order to prepare yourself to make an impact. This visualization serves as your final reminder that works in your subconscious to give you confidence in the face of nerves and stress.
And if you find yourself in the middle of a brain freeze while you’re speaking, then by all means show a sense of humor like Gov Perry did. A brain freeze with humor at least provides a positive spin to a bad situation, but a brain freeze with obvious panic shows a total lack of confidence and the desire to quit. Always move forward in your presentations, never retreat.