During his popular, one-man comedy Defending the Caveman, actor Rob Becker went mute. He couldn’t remember the lines of a show he’d written and performed hundreds of times. Apologizing to thousands in the audience, Becker exited the stage. Days later, recovered, he successfully returned to do the show.
This is an extreme example of a public-speaking glitch often called brain freeze. Almost anyone who has ever spoken knows the panic of forgetting your words during a talk.
Why does it happen? What can you do about it? Here’s the short answer:
Our bodies produce chemicals to protect us from threats, all connected to nervousness. These chemicals effectively divert body energy from language (brain) to muscles, so we can escape the threat and save our lives. To restore equilibrium and words, the one simple solution is move. Move, and words return.
New York Times’ science writer Jane Brody’s recent article Reversing the Damage of a Stroke describes a parallel approach that stroke victim Ted Baxter, a 41-year old businessman, found to recover from a serious stroke. Paralyzed and incapable of speech for several years, he writes about it in his new book, Relentless: How a Massive Stroke Changed My Life for the Better.
The key to Baxter’s speech recovery? It also was movement. According to the article, he figured “if he could get his body functioning again, his language facility might also return.”
His idea was spot on. Today, he lectures about his successful approach at hospitals around the country. Movement, physical movement, was essential to his improvement. This is how powerful movement is for language recovery: even a stroke victim benefits.
Baxter’s successful strategy gently intersects with the experiences of any speaker with brain freeze. It is at that precise moment, when the words elude you and you feel frozen, that you must do the exact opposite of what you feel. You must move!
During the Center Stage: Speaking with Influence program, participants learn to speak on their feet under any set of circumstances and never again to fear being at a loss for words.
When speakers realize they can solve brain freeze, it’s like a breeze of fresh air in a stuffy room. Feelings of relief morph into empowerment. Not only does movement allow for recovery during brain freeze, it further opens language centers in our brains to create more powerful content.
If you want to speak with greater impact and power, to learn the precise steps to manage brain freeze, that’s exactly why Speaking with Influence, our powerful speaking program exists. The next public class is September 5-6 and filling up.
We say, “Who doesn’t want to speak better?!” You can sign up for the public program or bring this powerful workshop in house for your team. With a team working together, you will triple your impact and receive even stronger results.