Ladies, we have it a bit tougher than men in one respect in public speaking. We are more likely to forget what we were saying or where we are in our presentations because we are women. This is not a slight; this is reality. As multi-taskers, we have so much more on our minds than men that often, especially once we are solidly in the middle years of our lives, we lose our train of thought while delivering a presentation.
In having this ability to multi-task, we women sacrifice in the memory department. Yes, I am generalizing but it is true in most cases. Men have this uncanny ability to focus on one thing at a time (which is probably why they don’t listen as well as we would like). If their minds are on a different topic, then trying to explain to them what is on your mind can prove fruitless. Were we like men in that respect, very little would be accomplished in the home and/or at work.
While this is a strength for the female gender, it does come with a proviso. We may be wonderful at accomplishing many things at the same time, but we may forget where we were or lose our train of thought in public speaking. How many times have you gone into a different room to retrieve something and forget what you were looking for? Depending on how hectic my life is at the moment, this can happen to me on a daily basis!
And, I have found that with middle age this is even more common. Is it possible that menopause is rearing its ugly head in this respect? Possibly. But I have not done the research to be able to answer definitely.
What I can tell you is that should you be delivering a presentation and you are afraid of a brief memory loss, there are a few things that you can do to avoid this problem as well as a few things you can do to fix it.
1. Know your material ‘inside and out.’ The more familiar you are with the structure, the outline of your presentation, the easier it will be to gather your thoughts and continue on.
2. Stick to topic. As soon as you throw in additional material that you may not have originally planned, you stand the chance of forgetting where you were. That extra anecdote may be all that is needed to ‘muddy’ your train of thought.
3. If you do forget, don’t stand there in total silence. Face your audience and admit that you have lost your place. Honesty works. If you have notes or some form of visual aid, briefly glance at your note cards or look at your screen to refresh your mind. It also wouldn’t hurt to add a humorous comment about forgetfulness.
4. Learn to breathe with the support of your diaphragm. In doing so, you will discover the best means of controlling nervousness in any form of public speaking. Thus, if you do forget, take that breath and watch how quickly your mind remembers where you were.
While you may find it demoralizing that we tend to be more forgetful than men, remember that most women are very good at accomplishing many things at the same time. Personally, I am grateful for this difference even if it does affect my memory!
The Voice Lady Nancy Daniels offers private, group and corporate training in voice and presentation skills as well as Voicing It!, the only video training program on voice improvement. Visit her website at Voice Dynamic and watch as Nancy describes the best means of controlling nervousness in any form of public speaking.