Blanking out is the process of forgetting something mid-conversation. A person who blanks out tends to lose their train of thought while still mid-conversation. As mentioned, it could happen when you are having a conversation, or trying to recall something, and it gets difficult for you to recollect information. Blanking out can happen to literally anyone and it doesn’t pose a serious threat if it occurs once in a while. When it does happen, you need to be able to learn how to get over it. Thus, going ahead you will look into everything that there is to know about communicating without blanking out.
Why do I blank out while communicating?
Blanking out is quite a common phenomenon that can happen at any time. If it’s something that has happened to you before, you know the first question you tend to ask yourself is “Why did I blank out?” Well, there are quite a few reasons as to why you could have blanked out-
Why does your mind go blank during public speaking?
- Fear of Judgment: Public speaking often involves being in front of an audience who are watching and evaluating your performance. One of the biggest causes for you to blank out could be the fear of being judged or criticized. The anxiety surrounding the situation leads to mental blocks and loss of concentration.
- Lack of Preparation: Insufficient preparation can usually contribute to anxiety and mental blocks. If you haven’t practiced your speech thoroughly or haven’t prepared enough recalling the necessary information when under pressure gets difficult.
- Performance Anxiety: Another reason you could experience blanking out is performance anxiety because you feel intense pressure to perform perfectly. This pressure can interfere with your ability to think clearly and remember what you intended to say.
Why does your mind go blank during a confrontation?
- Emotional Overload: Confrontations tend to elicit strong emotions such as anger, fear, or frustration. Emotions can be overwhelming and distracting, diverting your attention away from rational thinking that is needed to talk without blanking out.
- Cognitive Tunneling: When confronted with a challenging situation, sometimes you could become fixated on the perceived threat, causing what is called ‘cognitive tunneling’. This narrowed focus can limit the ability to access other information stored in memory.
Why do you blank out when someone talks to you?
- Nervousness: If you are anxious or nervous in social situations, it can interfere with your ability to concentrate and respond effectively to the conversation. This anxiety might cause your mind to go blank as you become self-conscious or worry about saying the wrong thing or offending the person.
- Lack of Attention: If there are distractions in the environment or your mind is preoccupied with other thoughts, it gets difficult to focus on what the other person is saying. This can lead to a blank mind as you struggle to process the incoming information.
Why does your mind go blank when someone asks you a question?
- Lack of Knowledge: If you lack knowledge or familiarity with the topic, your mind may go blank because you don’t have the necessary information to answer the question.
- Memory Retrieval Issues: Sometimes, even though you know the answer to something, you might face a problem trying to recollect it. In the moment of tension of not being able to recollect, you tend to blank out completely.
How to avoid blanking out while communicating?
It’s extremely important that you understand it is quite normal to blank out occasionally. Don’t internalize it or blame yourself because of it. There are things you can keep in mind or be cautious of to prevent it from blanking out.
1/10 Be prepared:
Whether it’s a presentation or a discussion make sure you understand the topic thoroughly. Have a mental structure to ensure you put all your points across. Make sure you know what you are talking about before delving into a conversation. If you feel there can be counter-questioning that could happen, try to anticipate the kind of questions that you could be asked and practice answering them.
If you feel, you are prepared and know what to say, yet blank out. Check out this article to understand how to tackle it.
2/10 Gain confidence:
Confidence is the key to almost anything in the world we live in. When you are talking, even if you have a few points to put forth, make sure you speak them out with confidence. As mentioned before, if you do your research about the topic beforehand, speaking with confidence gets easier.
3/10 Speak slowly:
If you feel overwhelmed or unsure, take a moment. Take deep breaths and then collect your thoughts. Slowing the pace of your speech will give you a little more time to articulate your ideas better. In fact, talking slowly will have a much greater impact on a crowd. Here’s what you need to remember to prevent yourself from talking too fast.
If you feel like you are losing your train of thought, divert the attention from yourself. You could try asking a question to the audience. This way you get more time to refer back points and form coherent statements. You also have the chance to pick off the cues you get as answers and continue the conversation.
5/10 Know your audience:
The statement “Know who are you dealing with” is very much applicable even in a public or workplace setting. If it is possible, have an understanding of what the audience is like. You will be able to keep them engaged and enjoy the conversation. Plus, this way you will be able to divert in case you are blanking out. This also helps you ensure not to offend anyone.
6/10 Calm yourself down:
If you tend to blank out when you are overwhelmed, practice ways of calming yourself. If possible try going on a walk for 5 minutes. You can also try stretching your muscles, drinking some water, or even deep breathing. This is something that is very subjective and you will be able to understand what calms you down only after a while. So be patient when understanding what works for you.
Learn more about how you can ease your nerves during a speech, here.
7/10 Be mindful:
Try to pay attention to the current moment and the conversation at hand. Avoid letting your mind wander to unrelated thoughts. Practice active listening and engage with the audience’s words actively. Pay attention to the message, tone, and nonverbal cues. This way you ensure your full attention is on what is being said, thus you can come up with a reply to it.
8/10 Language and Eye Contact:
The language you use plays an extremely important role in how you put yourself across. The language and tone can help you keep the audience engaged and connect to them. This will ensure a positive response from their end, hence adding to your confidence and preventing a blank out.
Along with the language you use, maintaining eye contact is extremely important! To ensure you are doing it right, look into our article to understand the basics of maintaining eye contact during a conversation.
9/10 Practice makes perfect:
Regularly practicing public speaking or communication situations helps to build your confidence and proficiency. After a point, you will get used to it, and such situations will no longer be stressful.
This is something that will take time. Practicing on your own will help you tremendously, but it is always better to practice with a coach. They would help you identify the areas for improvement that you might miss and give you suggestions on how to handle them. To learn more about our coaching services, click here.
After every situation, whether you blanked out or not, reflect on your performance. Think of how you improved and what are the things you need to improve on for the future.
As mentioned, it is normal to experience blanking out once in a while. However, if it is something you experience on an extremely regular basis to such an extent that it is interfering with your daily life and communication, get it checked out by a doctor.
Blanking out is a common frustrating experience, but it doesn’t have to stop you from communicating effectively. In the end, just remember that not everyone is judging you. Even if you blank out, people around you will understand. Be patient with yourself and give yourself time to be able to get better at communicating without blanking out. Positive Self-Talk will help you a long way to get better and more confident in yourself.
Remember, effective communication is a skill that improves over time with practice and self-awareness. Stay patient with yourself and embrace opportunities to develop your abilities.
To know more about how you can improve your communication skills and public speaking capabilities, check out our website!