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Unblock Your Mind: Overcoming Presentation Mental Block

Getting a mental block in the middle of your presentation isn’t the end of the world. Even the most experienced public speakers have had mental blocks at least once in their lives. However, the best pitches aren’t the ones that are pulled off perfectly. In fact, they’re the ones that speakers were able to rebound from successfully after a misstep.

If you’re having problems with your train of thought, you can still overcome it with a few simple techniques.

Look at Your Notes

Presenters often favor spontaneity over their script. Sometimes they even forego the standard outline. What they don’t realize is that without a solid guide, they become more prone to experiencing mental blocks. Not everybody can keep track of their thoughts and deliver a pitch at the top of their heads. Most of the time, presenters who come in totally unprepared fumble halfway through their speech.

To prevent the embarrassment of not knowing what to say next, it’s alright to refer to your notes occasionally, especially for your major points.Your goal is to communicate effectively with your audience, and you can’t do that if you’re rambling or if you’re too stunned to talk. If keeping notes at hand distracts you and limits your body movement, you can also memorize your script. Just make sure you wrote it with a natural delivery in mind. Otherwise, your stiff speech won’t convince anyone.

Pause for Effect

It may seem counterintuitive, but pauses in your speech can also help you get over your mental block. If you find yourself in a tight spot, don’t feel ashamed to pause and collect your thoughts. Instead of biding time with filler words, pausing creates anticipation for what you’re about to say.

RedRover Sales & Marketing managing partner Lori Turner-Wilson writes in her article on the Memphis Daily about how the human mind takes about eight seconds to make a firm first impression of you. The same eight-second rule may apply to your pitch, so use your moments of silence wisely.

Take time to stop before every major idea. You can also pause to punctuate your speech, making it seem more natural to listen to.

Don’t Forget to Breathe

One of the leading causes of presentation mental block is anxiety. Calming your nerves helps you remember anything you might have forgotten because of panic. Research shows that breathing helps relax the mind and increase productivity. Whenever you get tongue-tied on stage, take a deep breath. This will prevent you from stressing out over your loss of words.

At the same time, don’t be too hard on yourself for not remembering what you were going to say. Remember that the audience doesn’t know your speech the way you do. You have total control over your pitch, so be confident enough to handle yourself gracefully.

To Sum It Up: Relax and Regroup

Experiencing mental block is every public speaker’s greatest obstacle, and they can strike at any time. Be honest with yourself when you’re experiencing it during your speech. Instead of panicking and resorting to filler words, remember that it’s acceptable to look at your notes every now and then to keep track.

If you’re really out of words to say, pause before every important part in your speech. People won’t mind. They’ll just think you’re building up towards your next point. Finally, whenever you feel that your fear is getting ahead of you, take a deep breath. Deep breathing helps clear your mind to recall your next points.

Need help with your presentation? Contact our SlideGenius experts today for a free quote!

 

References:

Turner-Wilson, Lori. “8-Second Rule of First Impressions.” Memphis Daily News. n.d. www.memphisdailynews.com/news/2011/jul/20/8-second-rule-of-first-impressions

 

Featured Image: “King Conquers All” by Uddhav Gupta on flickr.com

Avoid These Filler Words When Writing for Your Presentation

Even the most complex ideas can be sufficiently explained using simple terms.

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As American founding father, Thomas Jefferson wrote, “Never use two words when one will do.” Keeping things short and concise keeps a presentation from rambling and confusing people.

As we’ve discussed previously, the conversational tone works when presenting to an audience. However, our everyday speech doesn’t always translate well into written form.

Avoid using words that may work in everyday situations but not in writing slide content.

Here are ten common filler words to remove from your deck:

Got

You’ve got to stop using “got.” Say it properly: stop using “got.”

See the difference?

The latter sounds more certain, succinct, and direct.

Just

If you just can’t stop, then you’re just not doing it right. Unless you’re not speaking in the context of justice, avoid using “just.” It needlessly lengthens your writing.

This is also sometimes used in combination with “got.”: “You’ve just got to learn proper etiquette.”

Keep it simple. Say “Learn proper etiquette.” instead.

Really

Really? Avoid using “really” in your slides.

It’s okay to use it in everyday conversations when insisting on and emphasizing a point. However, using it in writing makes you sound like you’re trying too hard to convince someone to take your side.

Remove it, and you’ll sound more believable and credible. No, really.

Then

If you’re narrating a sequence of events, then you can use this word.

Readers easily understand that sentences in succession are connected, with or without bullet points. Your flow will remain the same without it.

Maybe

Nothing reeks of uncertainty more than “maybe.” It works for lightly declining a party invitation…maybe.

Remove it to sound more certain.

Basically

It basically doesn’t contribute anything to your sentences, except for one useless adverb to add to your word count.

Even if you mean to imply that the statement is a summary, it still sounds condescending to your audience. You’re implying that they wouldn’t understand what you’re talking about in its non-basic form.

Unless you’re writing a college paper and your professor is strict about word counts, remove it entirely.

Literally

The word literally means “without exaggeration or inaccuracy.”

Unfortunately, people use this word when they should be saying “figuratively.” Its use as an intensifier is both totally incorrect and terribly irritating.

If something is what it really is, remove it or use an appropriate adjective instead.

Amazing

Amazingly, its overuse the main cause of its decline.

Simply saying that something is amazing convinces nobody. It’s in no way superior or even equal to substantial explanation and demonstration of a truly amazing thing.

Things

When you’re talking about things, no one really understands what you’re talking about.

Be specific when writing for your deck. Use a noun that describes a specific object or concept. Otherwise, just remove it.

Stuff

The difference between stuff and things is minimal, except that stuff is even more general and overused. It’s commonly used to give conversations a warm and informal feel, as if you were speaking with friends.

In a professional setting, it makes you sound like you don’t know what you’re saying. Free yourself of stuff.

Conclusion

Just because they work in everyday life doesn’t mean you should use them in your presentation slides.

Keep your writing style different between speaking and writing to optimize your message’s effectiveness and your audience’s engagement.

Check out our presentation portfolio for some effective examples, or contact us now for a free quote!

 

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References

Literally.” Dictionary.com. Accessed July 02, 2015.
Why Conversational Tones Work for Corporate Presentations.” SlideGenius, Inc. May 7, 2015. Accessed July 02, 2015.

 

Featured Image: “Writing? Yeah.” by Caleb Roenigk on flickr.com

Don’t Fluff, Buff: Avoiding Filler Words in Your Presentation

Even the most complex ideas can be sufficiently explained using simple terms.

SlideGenius Blog Module One

We redesign PowerPoint presentations.

Get your free quote now.

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As American founding father, Thomas Jefferson wrote, “Never use two words when one will do.” Keeping things short and concise keeps a presentation from rambling and confusing people.

As we’ve discussed previously, the conversational tone works when presenting to an audience. However, our everyday speech doesn’t always translate well into written form.

Avoid using words that may work in everyday situations but not in writing slide content.

Here are ten common filler words to remove from your deck:

Got

You’ve got to stop using “got.” Say it properly: stop using “got.”

See the difference?

The latter sounds more certain, succinct, and direct.

Just

If you just can’t stop, then you’re just not doing it right. Unless you’re not speaking in the context of justice, avoid using “just.” It needlessly lengthens your writing.

This is also sometimes used in combination with “got.”: “You’ve just got to learn proper etiquette.”

Keep it simple. Say “Learn proper etiquette.” instead.

Really

Really? Avoid using “really” in your slides.

It’s okay to use it in everyday conversations when insisting on and emphasizing a point. However, using it in writing makes you sound like you’re trying too hard to convince someone to take your side.

Remove it, and you’ll sound more believable and credible. No, really.

Then

If you’re narrating a sequence of events, then you can use this word.

Readers easily understand that sentences in succession are connected, with or without bullet points. Your flow will remain the same without it.

Maybe

Nothing reeks of uncertainty more than “maybe.” It works for lightly declining a party invitation…maybe.

Remove it to sound more certain.

Basically

It basically doesn’t contribute anything to your sentences, except for one useless adverb to add to your word count.

Even if you mean to imply that the statement is a summary, it still sounds condescending to your audience. You’re implying that they wouldn’t understand what you’re talking about in its non-basic form.

Unless you’re writing a college paper and your professor is strict about word counts, remove it entirely.

Literally

The word literally means “without exaggeration or inaccuracy.”

Unfortunately, people use this word when they should be saying “figuratively.” Its use as an intensifier is both totally incorrect and terribly irritating.

If something is what it really is, remove it or use an appropriate adjective instead.

Amazing

Amazingly, its overuse the main cause of its decline.

Simply saying that something is amazing convinces nobody. It’s in no way superior or even equal to substantial explanation and demonstration of a truly amazing thing.

Things

When you’re talking about things, no one really understands what you’re talking about.

Be specific when writing for your deck. Use a noun that describes a specific object or concept. Otherwise, just remove it.

Stuff

The difference between stuff and things is minimal, except that stuff is even more general and overused. It’s commonly used to give conversations a warm and informal feel, as if you were speaking with friends.

In a professional setting, it makes you sound like you don’t know what you’re saying. Free yourself of stuff.

Conclusion

Just because they work in everyday life doesn’t mean you should use them in your presentation slides.

Keep your writing style different between speaking and writing to optimize your message’s effectiveness and your audience’s engagement.

Check out our presentation portfolio for some effective examples, or contact us now for a free quote!

SlideGenius Blog Module One

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Get professionally designed PowerPoint slides weekly.

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Featured Image: “Writing? Yeah.” by Caleb Roenigk on flickr.com

Avoiding Filler Words in Your Corporate Presentations

“Practice makes perfect” never gets old, but anyone can do it to excel. You don’t just practice your corporate presentations’ flow—you have to practice how to deliver them.

You can lose credibility by constantly using filler words while delivering your message. Find out what these words are and what you can do to start presenting more like a pro.

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What are Filler Words?

Filler words pad your presentation’s length but add nothing meaningful to the discussion. Sometimes, you can’t help but use words or phrases such as “uh,” “um,” “you know“ as well as “at the end of the day,” “you need to remember,” and “just keep in mind.”

How Filler Words Affect Your Presentation

Most presenters use filler words when they pause to avoid dead air during their speech. However, they have negative consequences, such as:

  • Distracting your audience from what you’re saying
  • Lessening your credibility
  • Distorting the message you want to convey

Ways to Cut Back on Filler Words

List Down Your Ideas

Don’t rely too much on your presentation deck. Your corporate presentations serve as your visual aid, not your script. List down key points to serve as your guide. When you know what you’re supposed to say at any given point, you’re less likely to panic and utter random words.

Deliver Your Pitch In Front of a Mirror

Practice delivering your pitch to boost your confidence. You’ll be better prepared and sure of what comes after each section of your corporate presentations. You don’t need to memorize your lines, but remember that every word you speak should go back to your main idea.

This also reduces nervousness and lets you choose better ways to deliver your ideas.

Learn to Pause and Breathe

Avoid speaking too fast. Giving yourself enough time to think about what you’ll say next prevents you from filling the dead air with unnecessary utterances.

Avoiding filler words can be difficult if you’ve gotten used to it, but it’s possible to curb the habit. Constantly practice to stop uttering nonsense, and you’ll gradually improve your pitches. It’s not about memorization, but knowing your topic inside and out. Confidence in your topic boosts confidence in yourself.

Eventually, you’ll become more confident in yourself as a presenter, with complete thoughts and ideas. When you’ve got solid pitches, you won’t need to pad them with fillers ever again.

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References

“Um, Is This, You Know, a Filler Word?” About.com Education. Accessed May 11, 2015. http://grammar.about.com/od/fh/g/fillerterm.htm
“Why Public Speakers Should Cut Out Filler Words.” The Accidental Communicator. 2012. Accessed May 11, 2015. http://theaccidentalcommunicator.com/rehearse-2/why-public-speakers-should-cut-out-filler-words