What happens when you step out from behind your console to make an announcement or do an interactive activity with the guests and your mind goes blank?
As experienced Masters of Ceremony, we have all had that moment! We are all set to go, we walk out to that position to command the room and then BOOM, that frozen stare occurs, you look out at the people (now all looking at you) and your mind instantly says to you: “Who are these people?”, “Why am I here?”, “What am I supposed to be saying?”
This happens, and when it does, you just need to recover without the people in the room knowing you blanked. So here are some things to do:
- Pause and glance at your notes to refresh your memory. A bit of silence is a powerful tool to command the room.
- If you don’t have notes, the pause will give you time to reflect and compose yourself. Do NOT panic! The guests don’t know.
- Do not tell the audience you are lost, that would be unprofessional and pointless.
- Take this pause as an opportunity to read your audience/guests.
- How are they dressed? More casual allows you to be more casual in your speaking, dressed formally, you must be formal and professional.
- Are they paying attention, or still chatting among themselves. If chatting you need to get their attention.
- Work with the mood of the room instead of against it.
- Your mind will almost always get back on track and all of the above only takes about 10 seconds (although it will feel MUCH longer).
Professional training as a public speaker and master of ceremonies will always improve your ability to communicate clearly and professionally when you are in front of a group. Explore opportunities to attend seminars and workshops whenever available in your area. Find a Toastmasters group and join as well.