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3 Thoughts That Are Holding You Back as a Presenter

As a presenter, it is sometimes difficult to detach personal worth from the feedback you get from your audience. You just stood in front of a group of people and shared an idea or proposal that you believe deeply in. When you’re met with anything less than a standing ovation, it can feel defeating and disheartening. That’s why it’s important to learn and believe that your self-worth is not directly correlated to your audience’s feedback. How good or bad your idea is does not hinge on whether or not you’re met with applause or boos.
Of course, this idea is easier said than felt. As presenters, we must learn to separate our lives from our presentation and understand that although we have bared our soul to the audience, it does not define who we are. Don’t let insecurities, harsh feedback, or fear of getting on stage hold you or your presentation back.
Here are 3 clues you might be too attached.
You obsess over feedback.
Feedback is important. It’s a chance to grow as a presenter and hone ideas and delivery. But feedback is not the end-all be-all. As a presenter, there is a fine line between wanting to learn and improve versus obsessing over what the audience thinks about you.
Consider reading feedback through a different lens. Rather than obsessing over every word left by an audience member, look for themes that come up from more than one person. Those themes are what you need to focus on, because they will help you weed out singular opinions and understand the overall consensus of the presentation. You’ll be able to improve much more effectively by considering the entire audience’s perspective over just one or two individuals’ thoughts.
Everything becomes personal.
As professional presenters and presentation developers at Ethos3, we know just how easy it is to take criticism to heart. We’ve all been stung by a review that was harsh or a comment that made us doubt ourselves. But we also know how crucial it is to separate criticism of our presentation from who we are as people, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders. One presentation doesn’t determine our overall success.
If you find your self-esteem and self-confidence dipping because of criticism, you might be too attached to your presentation. It’s certainly important to take your message seriously, but it does not define you. Understand that the critique is not a personal attack, but instead, it’s an opportunity to better yourself. Criticism should encourage you to grow and learn, not discourage you and make you doubt your abilities or ideas. If you are too emotionally attached to your presentation or to your audience’s negative feedback, step back and remind yourself that this presentation is just one of your many accomplishments.
You’re afraid to share your work.
We know it can be scary to present new ideas to strangers. The fear of failure, ridicule, or embarrassment can even be debilitating sometimes. But remember, ideas are meant to be shared, and as thought leaders, we do the world a disservice by holding on to them.
If you feel fear creeping in, consider taking a step away from the idea or presentation for a few moments or even a longer period of time. Use that time to evaluate why you are afraid to share your ideas and work through that fear. Afraid of failing at the delivery? Practice more. Not sure your message is cohesive or compelling? Ask a friend to review it and note any confusion they had. Worried you won’t be able to fill the time effectively? Create some group exercises to engage your audience and fill 10-15 minutes with valuable material. Once you’ve determined what’s holding you back, overcome it and you’ll feel powerful on stage rather than afraid.
As presenters, our ideas are precious. We put in hours of work and then stand in front of an audience that will decide about whether or not they like us in the first few seconds. With this kind of environment, it’s tough not to allow your self-worth to be directly correlated to the applause, but it is vital to remember that you are more than your presentation. By keeping your emotions detached, you will ensure you have the emotional bandwidth to present with confidence time after time.
Unsure of where to start on your next presentation? Contact the team at Ethos3 today to find out how we can help you nail your next presentation.
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