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Don't Panic If You Forget

Ron Sathoff -- One of the worst fears that public speakers have is that they will forget their speech.

I'm sure none of us would want to feel the embarrassment of standing in front of an audience not knowing what to say next.

If you do happen to experience a "memory blank" in your speech, there are some things that you should keep in mind. First, DON'T PANIC! The worst thing you can do is to get upset and immediately start apologizing to the audience or going "UM UM UM" over and over again.

Instead of panicking, just remain quiet, keep eye contact with the audience, and try to remember what it was that you were going to say. What may seem an eternity to you will only be a second or two to the audience, and your loss of memory will only seem like a pause to them -- as long as you don't announce that you've made a mistake.

To prevent embarrassment, you should also to always have a back up to your memory -- a few notecards with a simple outline of your speech is always nice to have, even if it remains in your pocket the whole time.

Finally, remember that audiences are usually more forgiving than we normally give them credit for. Most groups don't care if you have to stop to take a look at your notes, as long as you provide them with good information. offers a full range of services to business and professional speakers, including speech writing and editing, personal coaching, and presentation development. Visit them at: or call 801-328-9006 for more information.

© 2004

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The views and opinions expressed in these articles do not necessarily reflect those of College Central Network, Inc. or its affiliates. Reference to any company, organization, product, or service does not constitute endorsement by College Central Network, Inc., its affiliates or associated companies. The information provided is not intended to replace the advice or guidance of your legal, financial, or medical professional.