If a question or comment in your viva makes you freeze then just stop.

Breathe again.

Think again.

Try to understand the question.

Think some more.

Breathe again.

And if the question or comment still makes you freeze then reflect, “Why?”

Why is this question or comment giving you trouble?

Once you start thinking about that, even if you still don’t have an answer or an opinion you’ll have the beginning of a response that you can share with your examiners.

If a question or comment gives you pause, makes you freeze or even makes you gasp, just sit with it a moment. Take a little time to think and explore how you can still respond.