Ever felt that wave of panic when you’re asked a question and you need to think about how you want to respond while you start responding at the same time?
You’re not alone.
You might feel the pressure to speak immediately without taking a moment to think – “quick, don’t waste people’s time, spit it out!“
Mid-sentence – “Oh sh*t! What am I trying to say? What was the question again?”
Or toward the end – “I’ve gotta wrap this up, but I’m drawing a blank and I’ve lost my own train of thought…”
However It happens… I can assure you it happens to everyone! And I mean EVERYONE.
I’ve been a communication coach for nearly a decade and I have yet to meet a person – at any career stage – who can’t relate to this experience.
What matters, when you need a moment to think, isn’t: why it’s happening to you. (I’ll tell you why: you’re human). But rather, how you respond to needing a second to find your words when it inevitably happens to you.
Check out this 2-minute video from inside a Presence Under Pressure group coaching session to see how I “acted out” the two options we’ve got for handling this experience in the moment.
The best way to deal with it? Don’t “point fingers” at it!
Chances are, no one noticed or thought twice about it! Unless you make a big deal about it.
Here’s what I do when I lose my train of thought or can’t think of the word I’m looking for:
- Pause (don’t “um!”)
- Steady my eyes
- Release the tension in my body
- Keep my body language engaged in the conversation to let my brain (and my listener!) know I’m still in speaking mode
- Trust that something coherent will come to me… and go with it!
Of course, this is all easier said than done.
The only way to truly master these techniques is through building self-awareness and repetitive practice. So be gentle with yourself! And just pay attention to it. Over time, you’ll replace the impulse to “point fingers” at the fact that you need a moment to think with a more relaxed and fluid approach.
And if you’re ready to learn (and practice!) more skills like these to help you become the kind of communicator that’s undeniably confident and true to themselves, consider joining us for the next round of Presence Under Pressure!
In the meantime, keep showing up as the YOU, you most want to be. One intention, one interaction at a time.
Thanks so much for watching and I’ll see you next time.
All my love,
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