Fugue State

Last week we were training a CEO who literally forgot where he was. In the middle of delivering a client anecdote, he became so dissociated that he had to sit down and re-orient. He appeared to be in a fugue state.

Fugue states are brought about by extreme stress or other neurological disorders. Dissociative Fugue causes a loss of identity, recognition of one’s current location, and even temporary amnesia. We know that for some, stage fright induces this level of extreme stress.

Take concrete steps to build a suite of skills and speaker anxiety becomes manageable. Fear is reduced when you have a clear intention, defined role, rehearsed open and close, as well as three main buckets or talking points. And then don’t forget to breathe. When you acknowledge that speaking is a technique to be mastered, the only fugue state you will experience is forgetting where the time went and where you were. Because being in the moment can make time and location irrelevant.

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