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How to Give a Pretty Good Presentation: A Speaking Survival Guide for the Rest of Us by T. J. Walker

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Chapter 16. Don't Panic

What Should I Do if My Mind Goes Blank Halfway Through My Presentation?

It is inevitable that you will get nervous and your mind will go blank from time to time when you give presentations. However, it's not inevitable that you'll have a bad reaction to your mind going blank, start to panic, tell people your mind has gone blank, faint, or run out of the room crying like a little baby!

None of these things will happen to you because you are going to cheat (in an ethical manner, of course). If you follow the techniques I have advocated, then you will never give a presentation without having an outline telling you where you are going at all times. The outline will be in big bold letters, and with no more than three or four words on each line. It will be simple, clear, and easy to follow.

Why do you need this? Imagine you are driving down Interstate 95 and you zone out and daydream for a few minutes. All of a sudden, you see exit 77; and you don't panic if you have a clear set of written instructions next to you in the front seat. (Let's assume your global positioning system [GPS] is in the shop.) If your directions say you aren't supposed to get off until exit 59, and you notice that the numbers are still going down, then you realize that you are going in the right direction; you understand that you aren't lost; and you aren't worried about where you are exactly at that moment. You know more or less where you are relative to where you were and where you are going. ...

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