Fear of Going Blank on Stage

Greg Dean Comedy and Business 3 Comments

fear of going blankGoing blank in the middle of a show or presentation is one of the most common fears of being in front of people. The number one reason people go blank on stage is the fear of going blank.

From a teacher’s perspective, I believe the sooner you go blank on stage the better. You’ll handle it and survive. Once you realize that going blank on stage is no big deal, you can not only cope with going blank, but you’ll turn it into something funny.

Here are some tips to help with the fear of going blank on stage:

Be Honest

The audience won’t mind if you forget for a moment, but they’ll want to know what’s going on. Don’t try to hide it. Admit it outright. Just say,

“I’ve just forgotten everything I’ve ever known.”

The audience will probably empathize with your fear of going blank on stage and laugh. If you try to hide it, your energy and attention will be focused on concealing it or wondering whether they’ve noticed. Often, if you just admit that you’ve forgotten your memory will miraculously come back.fear of going blank

Remain Playful

This is my advice for anything that goes wrong. If you’re having fun, especially at troubled moments, the audience will stay with you. They love to watch you dig a hole and then climb back out of it. The worst part for the audience is feeling bad for the person on the spot. They won’t mind if you make a mistake or can’t remember, as long as you’re willing to make fun of it. If you’re okay with it, they’re okay with it.

When you’re playful your sense of humor has a better chance of kicking in so you can turn the situation into something funny.

Take a Breath

The stress of being in front of people can make you physically tense. If you take a moment to breathe deeply, you’ll realize you’re just fine. My wife, Gayla Johnson, not only tried this, but feeling that the whole audience was also uptight, she asked them to take a deep breath with her. They did and exhaled with a laugh.

Going blank when in front of people is not that big of a deal as long as you remain honest, playful and breathe.

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Comments 3

  1. This can happen to anyone and it is very scary, it has happened to me. These days I make sure that I am thoroughly familiar with my material and even if I forget the words I have rehearsed it I know that I’ll be able to say something on the topic. The more times you practice your speech or presentation in private the more it will become “second nature” and you won’t go blank in front an audience. Be happy and comfortable about what you are delivering and you won’t get frightened. Works for me.

  2. It’s a funny thing. Almost as if your mind is willing, but your body is unable…at least for a quick hot second. When my daughter was in the 5th grade, she wanted to sing in her school talent-show. She practiced COMPLICATED over and over and I even burned a CD back then of only the instrumental so she could stand out. The day of the talent-show, as she was the 1st “singer” after about 5 or so other kids doin’ their thang….the song started, as it has about 20_ times before….she gets going into the song for about 10 words and then has kind of a FREEZE mid-chorus….but then after about two-bars, picks it up and then finishes the song. The VERY last beat of the song corresponded perfectly to her ending….making it look like THAT was suppose to happen. The crowd literally loved it cuz it was a HIP & Happening song and it was done rather well. My heart was racing the entire time for her….ha! 😉

  3. I have experienced this Greg and I just did what you suggested, I made a joke of my age and how I was having a senior moment or brain just locked on me. I have more of a fear of the bombing part. I also ask the audience to help me remember where I left off and they do. Thank you.

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