Undermining oneself

Most tasks require a lot of preparation, mental stamina and serious efforts, in order to prepare the results. With the appropriate engagement the outcomes are normally presentable. Occasionally there are chances to share the experiences with others. Eventually there is even a remarkable presentation set. In the crucial moment, when all eyes are directed on you, one stumbles and undermines oneself.


You could avoid most of the traps. The following bullets are some simple elements that you should evade in any cases.

  • Give an uncertain impression
    It all begins in the first seconds of the presentation. Hanging shoulders, lacking eye contact and a suffering facial expression without a trace of smile produce an incapable impression for the audience. The best content cannot compensate.
  • Arrogant appearance
    The opposite of an uncertain manner is the smug appearance that tells the listeners that they are dumb and should be grateful that one takes the time to explain the world to them. This begins with a cheeky greeting and goes to awkward teaching. Everybody knows how it works. Or not?
  • Speaking in an incomprehensible language
    “The intention of reminiscence is the reflection of the exorbitant quintessence that you forced upon by serendipity.” What a pity the good results are distorted by an incomprehensible language like this. It only takes many words, a set of subordinate clauses and links to exclude any meaning from a message. The target audience defines what they get. Who gives a Spaniard, who does not know English, a presentation in English. Or presents to a non-expert crowd information in an unknown jargon.
  • Load statement negatively
    “Unconsciously we do not believe that we cannot do many things and never know that we know nothing.” Although we are convinced that we control a lot instinctively and can always access our experiences, in order to contribute something. Words load a statement with energy that cramp the purpose – not, never, no, none, without, nothing, nobody. Prefixes are a fast way for negating, by putting them in advance: – a-social, in-competent, dis-informed, ir-relevant. In German you can even put words together, in order to give them an evaluation – gift+grün (bilious green), stink+fein (ritzy), or scheiß+freundlich (palsy-walsy).
  • Not getting ready for the event
    The safest way to fail is not to be prepared. To present off the cuff is a good idea in workshops or in other open situations. Presentations or sales talks without a clear operational sequence, ill prepared statements and unskillful exchange of thoughts are wasted opportunities for you and particularly for the audience.
  • Missing relation to the target group
    The reference to the target audience is created by the fact that you imagine previously the group with the mental eye. Although it consists of different individuals, who provide together a certain image – business types (e.g. developer vs. sales person), interests (e.g. vision vs. results) and attitudes (being vs. having). If you do not connect with the audience due to unawareness, you will inevitably fail.

The first step towards a solution is being aware of the previous bullets. Giving a sense of security, appearing modestly, expressing yourself clearly, and loading expressions positively, being prepared and connecting with the audience is the way out that however all have to develop for themselves.

Bottom line: The best result cannot be appreciated, if you undermine your own appearance by awkward behavior, an incomprehensible language and missing preparation. The effect that you get does not come for a large part from the conclusive and correct work result, but from the impression that you leave.