Jul 22, 2020

What to do when you lose your train of thought – and how to get back on track!

You’re making a point, zeroing in on exactly what you want to say and then….

A flat line. 

Mental radio silence. You completely lose your train of thought.

You feel your eyes dart around the video call, or worse, video INTERVIEW, and you get that terrible “I look like an idiot” feeling.

 

But guess what? 

 

If you’ve ever felt that wave of panic from losing your train of thought or not being able to think of the word you’re looking for –  you’re definitely not alone.

 

It happens to everyone! And I mean EVERYONE.

 

I’ve been a communication coach for nearly a decade and I have yet to meet a person – at any career stage – who can’t relate to this experience. 

 

What matters, when you lose your train of thought, isn’t: why it’s happening to you. (I’ll tell you why: you’re human). But rather, how you respond to losing your train of thought when it happens to you.

 

You have a clear choice: 

  1. Draw attention to the fact that you’ve lost your train of thought 
  2. OR take a beat, stay engaged, and trust that the next word (or a good-enough substitute!) will come to you. 

 

Check out this 2-minute video from *inside a client session* to watch how I “acted out” these options for Nora during the first of her 10-session virtual coaching package. 

 

The key? Remember that losing your train of thought is part of the human experience. It happens to everyone and it’s pretty much inevitable. 

 

The best way to deal with it? Don’t “point fingers” at it!

 

Chances are, no one noticed or thought twice about it! Unless you make a big deal about it.

 

Here’s what I do when I lose my train of thought or can’t think of the word I’m looking for:

  1. Pause (don’t “um!”)
  2. Steady my eyes
  3. Release the tension in my body
  4. Keep my body language engaged in the conversation to let my brain (and my listener!) know I’m still in speaking mode 
  5. Trust that something coherent will come to me… and go with it!

 

Of course, this is all easier said than done. 

 

The only way to truly master these techniques is through consistent observation and repetitive practice. So be gentle with yourself! And just pay attention to it. Over time, you’ll replace the impulse to “point fingers” at the fact that you’ve lost your train of thought with a more relaxed and fluid approach.

 

And if you know someone who’s on the virtual interviewing circuit and could benefit from these tips (more on the way!), please pass this post along and encourage them to sign up for my E-Tribe. They’ll thank you!

 

It’s a challenging time to be looking for work, and if there’s anything I can do to make the process easier and more empowering, I’d love to help in any way I can!

 

In the meantime, keep showing up as the YOU, you most want to be. One intention, one interaction at a time.

 

Thanks so much for watching and I’ll see you next time.

 

All my love, 

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