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Answers to common public speaking questions:

“How do I recover after my mind blanked during a presentation? Where do I look and what do I say when that happens?”


00:00 Welcome to “Steal the Show” with Michael Port. From speeches to job interviews, to deal closing pitches, how to guarantee a standing ovation for all the performances in your life. This is Friday Fan Mail. Common and comical public speaking questions and answers. You have questions? I’ve got the answers. And if you like the answers, head on over to and check out all of the bonuses I give you when you buy the book “Steal the Show”. Content creation and story telling templates, tickets to live events around the country, public speaking video documentaries and online training programs and much much more. My goal in life is to delight and entertain you and to help you think bigger about who you are and what you offer the world.

00:49 Today’s question sent in by Paul Frank of New York, New York. Hey, that’s where I’m from. Fantastic, Paul, thanks for sending in the question. Here it is. He says “Yikes, my mind blanked in the middle of my presentation. What should’ve I done? It was a total train wreck.” Yeah I hear you, totally get that. Lots of people have had that experience so you are not alone and you’re not an idiot. Trust me. I know you’re feeling that way or you felt that way when it happened. It’s happened to me, so it’s completely normal. However, the key is recovery. How easily can you recover? Because it will happen, where your mind will blank for a second, and the audience will not fault you if you take it easy and recover. So here’s what you do. You stay connected to the audience, which might seem counterintuitive. What most people do is immediately disconnect from the audience, look down at the ground, and try to remember what they were gonna say. And they look like a little kid, standing in the corner of the play ground, in Grammar School… And they look frightened and small.

01:57 But if you stay connected to the audience, you stay looking at them. That whatever expression was on your face when you just finished that last point, you stay in that moment; you stay in that feeling, and it’ll come back to you. I can only tell you that it will, and it will if you rehearse it. If it’s something that you actually do when you are speaking. So stay connected with them, because often you will see the answer to your question of, “What am I supposed to say next?” in their eyes. Just like you would if you were having a conversation with one person, and if it doesn’t come to you, just say, and you can say it out loud, “I’ll remember what I was gonna say in a moment.” Then just move onto the next thing, and you know what? You will, because every single time I have ever said, “I’ll remember that in a moment,” it does come back to me. It may be a few minutes, it may be 10 minutes, it may be a little bit longer… But it always comes back. So stay connected to the audience. Create an unexpected moment out of it. So, if you are well rehearsed, your material will come back to you.

03:03 I know it seems contradictory, but the more you look at the audience rather than the floor or the ceiling for that matter, the faster you’ll recall what to say next. Plus the more relaxed you remain, the easier it’ll come to you. And the more relaxed that you remain, the more relaxed your audience will be. If it’s a big deal to you, to lose your place, it will be a big deal to them that you lost your place. But if it’s not that big of a deal to you that you lost your place, it won’t be that big of a deal to them that you lost your place. If you have more questions, I have more answers, and they are all in “Steal the Show”. So you can pick up a copy of “Steal the Show” anywhere books are sold, and you can get it with lots of bonuses at I feel blessed and grateful to have the opportunity to be of service to you, and I never take it for granted. So go ahead, write a review, five stars all the way, I do not accept anything less than five stars, and subscribe so I can keep delivering great short form and long form content to you on a regular basis. Keep thinking big about who you are, and what you offer the world. Bye for now.