How to starve the presentation vultures (part 1)
by Pierre Morsa —
Maybe you feel that your last presentation was a complete failure. You didn’t manage to shake off your nerves. You became confused. The client or your boss criticized you. Maybe you’ve been caught in a downward spiral for some time, each criticism making you lose confidence, and making the next presentation worse. I have good news for you: no matter what your situation is, this vicious circle can be broken, and you gain the necessary confidence to enjoy presenting.
Haters are going to hate
Before I explain how, let’s put things into context. Haters are going to hate. Some people have a psychological problem, and are there to put others down. This can be to mask their own insecurities and problems, or it can be because they like to bully others. Unfortunately, those types seem to thrive in certain work environments. Stop feeling guilty right now because of these people. They are the ones who have a problem, not you. If that describes your boss, he’s not behaving like the leader he could be. If that describes your client, he does not behave like the competent client he could be. I’m fine with people giving me blunt, critical but honest feedback, even if it may be hard to hear. But I won’t accept people using criticism and attacks to put others down, and nobody should. I will also give you another secret: these vultures are really not that strong. They build their power on charm, fear and submission. But they are hated by everyone. Their subordinates. Their fellow managers or C-level executives. Even their bosses hate them. At the first opportunity everybody will jump ship and abandon them. Once you start to understand that, they are really not that fearsome anymore.
I started by addressing this point because, in my experience, this is really the factor that makes people doubt themselves and lose their presentation powers. In a secure environment, you feel alright, but as soon as you see the shadows of the vultures circling above your head, you lose confidence. Vultures? Yes, that’s exactly what they are! They are scavengers, they like to prey on perceived weaknesses and vulnerabilities, but they’re really not that courageous. To starve the vultures, you just need to show you are alive and ready to stand firm. How? By strengthening your anchor in your vital space.
The goal of the vultures is to reduce your vital space or push you out of it. The vultures are circling around your vital space, they are always trying to invade it by stealing your energy and confidence. It’s only a facade. If you remain anchored, your vital space will protect you and you will be able to fend off all threats with calm and confidence. It will become a natural part of your presentations. Being able to jump out of your vital space is useful, but don’t do it before you have the confidence to do so and learn to do it without turning into a vulture.
In the second part I will explain several techniques to stay anchored and protect your vital space, and scare off the presentation vultures.