Be prepared

Arizona governor Jan Brewer lost track of her thoughts while making an opening statement during a debate the other day and froze for 13 seconds.  After the video made the rounds of the news and talk shows and had been parodied by drag queens, Brewer tried to solve the problem by announcing that she wouldn’t be taking part in any more debates.

No public speaking event needs to end this way.  Especially when it’s a statement that is only supposed to last a minute or two.  The key is simply to be prepared by knowing the framework of what you’re going to talk about– which really shouldn’t be that difficult.  Create a list of three to five points that you want to make (depending on how much time you have) and make sure that you know what you want to say about each of them.  But don’t try to memorize a script, and don’t rely on notes to help you recite a message verbatim.  The problem is that if you lose your place you may not be able to find it again.  In the video of the debate you can see Brewer fumbling with her notes and never quite recovering.

The folks on the Today Show are right, this can happen to anyone.  But it doesn’t have to.

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