What To Say When Your Mind Goes Blank

Published: 28th March 2006
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When I was a kid I took piano lessons which resulted in the yearly piano recital. Many, many times I wished that I didn't have to rely on my finger-memory to get through a piece of music, but could rely on my vocal-memory to sing the music.



Then you become an adult and realize that your vocal-memory is just as unreliable.



So what do you do when you're in a job interview and your head becomes as empty as a church on a Monday morning.



Relax. It happens to everyone. Even the interviewer. Many interviewers (with the exception of the really difficult ones) will understand if you stammer through a few questions. They know that you are nervous. Keep that in mind. It will help you relax.



Take a deep breath, and you can do one of the following things:



1. Ask the interviewer to repeat the question. Say that you were still thinking about your last answer and your mind wandered for a minute.

2. Rephrase the question. This is a classic way to stall for a little time, but if it helps you think of a better way to answer the question than blurting out the first thing that pops into your head—then it's a successful strategy.

3. Ask if you can take a minute to think about it. When your only other immediate option is to open your mouth and say something stupid, the better option is to ask for some time to compose your answer.



You can't use these techniques too often during the interview, but for most people just knowing that there are ways to handle these situations is like money in the bank.



Remember, the interview is a conversation, not an interrogation. It's normal for your mind to go blank during a conversation, and you recover quickly enough because you don't stress about the situation. The same thing will happen in your job interview. Stay calm, have these techniques in your mind, and you'll stay in control of the interview.


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