We’ve all been there.
You are halfway through a Zoom presentation or face-to-face meeting and you realize you’ve zoned out and gone on autopilot. And you have no idea what you’ve just said for the last 5 minutes.
Or you blank during a speech and can’t remember what you need to say next. That cold feeling creeps up through your chest, red lights are flashing, and you go into panic mode.
The good news is that you can manage this moment with The Three R’s: Take a breath and Reset, Refocus, and Resume.
Here is how The Three R’s can save your bacon and get you back on track when you zone out and go on autopilot in a presentation.
#1 R: Reset Your Brain And Breathe
The most common physical reaction to panic is to hold your breath or start shallow breathing. This contributes to your feeling of panic and makes things worse. So the first step in reset is to breathe.
Taking a breath also helps you to ground you energy and get out of your head, which is telling you to panic, and get back into your body, which is where the power is.
Good breathing technique, Diaphragmatic Breathing (a posh name for belly breathing), will take your attention away from those racing, panicked thoughts and bring you down into your lower belly. This deep place is a place of power and center and will help you to calm down.
Your reptilian amygdala brain (the fight or flight response) is falsely telling you that you’re about to get eaten by a wild animal so you better run. When you take a moment to pause and breathe, you give yourself a moment to reset and remind your body that it is ok, that the tiger is not about to pounce on you!
This breath happens within a second or two. It’s just a moment, a beat, that stops you from continuing to careen down the alley of panic and resets the moment.
#2 R: Refocus Your Thoughts And Settle
Ok. Now that you’ve taken a moment to calm down and stop your slide down the panic slope, it’s time to refocus.
Often times when you zone out or blank during a presentation or speech, you may not remember where you are in your story. But you can refocus to the present moment and begin at the next place in your content that you can remember.
You may not pick up exactly where you left off, but this is not about perfection. This is about managing the moment as best you can. So, after you breathe and reset, pick up as close to where you think you should be in your story as possible.
#3 R: Resume And Continue Your Story
Now that you’ve reset and refocused, it’s time to get going and finish your story.
Focusing on the task at hand and moving forward helps you to move through the rest of your content and wrap things up. Don’t dwell on what just happened in the past, don’t look into the future of what the repercussions might be. Stay present in the now and move forward.
Keeping your head firmly in the present moment allows you to move forward with as little residue as possible from the little blip in the radar you just had. And that’s all it is. A blip in the radar. Seeing the event as no worse or better than it really is helps to keep it ‘right sized’.
When you move past the drama and get practical, you’re also in a much better head space to refocus and resume your story and presentation.
And remember, you’re there to serve the audience. It’s not about you. Whew. Big relief! Take the pressure off yourself to fix the past or be perfect and instead focus on the audience and what you can give them in the present moment.
Reset, Refocus, And Resume
The Three R’s work whether you’re on a Zoom meeting or face to face in real time with your audience. So next time you blank or find yourself completely zoned out during a meeting, presentation, or speech, just remember The Three R’s: Reset, Refocus, and Resume.
Keep it simple. And don’t forget to breathe.