How to give a presentation in front of an egotistical colleague

Erica, the top of a product crew at a mid-sized tech firm, was dreading her upcoming presentation to the chief crew. James, a senior chief with a repute as an egomaniac, could be there.  James was very clever, however he additionally appeared to get pleasure from using his mind to guarantee everybody else knew how sensible he was. Erica had been grilled earlier than and was dreading one other spherical.

Egomaniacs are only one kind of poisonous co-worker. They like to make themselves look higher by making these round them look worse. In order that they’ll spotlight one thing in your presentation that they know extra about than you. Or act like a canine on a bone about a tangential level. Or maintain court docket about a matter they really feel illuminates their brilliance, whether or not related or not.

You’ve probably walked away from previous shows to folks like this sense annoyed and presumably self-critical. And naturally, you dread a repeat of the identical. Whereas it may well typically be efficient to arise to an egomaniacal bully like this, this may additionally backfire badly.

One of the best ways to deal with presenting to an egomaniac is to get in the correct body of thoughts beforehand. Observe these 4 methods that purchasers of ours, like Erica have used, and keep away from getting thrown off your recreation by an egomaniac’s inevitable stunts.

Strategy from a place of curiosity

If you happen to concentrate on making an attempt to get every little thing proper and be bullet-proof, you’ve misplaced earlier than your presentation even begins. We aren’t saying you don’t put together.

When coping with an egomaniac making an attempt to show how sensible, they’re going to discover one thing to choose aside, regardless. What to do as a substitute? Deal with what you may be taught. Once you’re centered on being good, you tighten up to keep away from making a mistake. However when studying is your focus, you open up. And being open to studying exhibits confidence.

One former shopper completely embodied this mindset. Regardless of having to ceaselessly current to the late Jack Welch, reputed for depraved smarts and nostril for BS, he by no means felt nervous. Requested why he defined, “I do know what I take into consideration my enterprise. I’m in studying what Welch thinks about my enterprise.”

This mindset shifts your focus from delivering a “good” presentation to coming into a dialogue about present actuality and discovering one of the best answer. It shifts the dialog away from who is correct and who’s fallacious to a comparability of psychological fashions and an alternative for everybody to get smarter. By specializing in what you may be taught, you alter the sport to one you may win.

Articulate your weaknesses higher

Earlier than you current to somebody who you’re fearful will strive to expose your weaknesses, uncover them your self. Begin by itemizing all of the attainable vulnerabilities with a explicit technique, organizational perform, or enterprise case. What are some areas you may really feel much less assured about and should have doubts about? Now, sketch out some attainable countermeasures to shut these gaps.

No technique or enterprise scenario is ideal. However prepping in this fashion will make it onerous for them to level out one thing you haven’t already confronted. In the event that they shine a mild on some weak spot, reply, “That’s my view of the scenario and our choices for addressing it. What do you assume? Is there one thing else I needs to be contemplating?”

No competent chief expects anybody to be good; they only perceive their enterprise and the scenario and have a plan to speed up progress or shut gaps.

Plan forward for retorts

Egomaniacs will discover one thing to choose at or dig some element out of your charts to pound on. It’s what they do. After they dredge up one thing you haven’t thought of, say: “Nice level. I don’t have the extent of element you’re on the lookout for proper now. I’ll analysis that and get again to you with my evaluation and proposals.”

In the event that they don’t let it go, reiterate: “I acknowledge it’s an vital difficulty. I steered that I analysis the matter and shut the loop with you. Is there one thing extra you’re on the lookout for from me proper now? If not, what could be the most efficient use of the time remaining for you?”

The “best use of time” query tends to break the spell and cease their preseveration. Sometimes, others are additionally weary of “the present” and can soar in to advocate for shifting on.

Sadly, typically even this call-out doesn’t work, and the egomaniac received’t let it go. From there, it’s clear there’s another agenda current, and the best choice might be to allow them to end showboating. Afterward, if it appears like traces of respect and human decency had been crossed, it’s your decision to take into account whether or not your position and the corporate are the correct place for you to contribute and develop.

Cease the unfavorable self-talk

After presenting to egomaniacs in the previous, you will have walked out feeling self-critical and questioning your general adequacy. Odds are they by no means mentioned you had been dumb or that you simply flubbed your presentation. If you happen to heard these phrases, it was most likely your vital interior voice.

You might assume that being powerful on your self will compel you to keep sharp and carry out. Nevertheless, self-criticism can create the opposite effect; as a substitute, it may well cut back motivation, worsens self-control, and inhibits you from taking motion to attain your purpose.

Once you acknowledge your interior critic rearing its ugly head, quiet it by writing down the criticisms, resembling “you at all times mess issues up,” after which three plausible rebuttals. Alternately, ask a trusted colleague for suggestions. These steps sometimes illuminate the truth that you may have overblown and overgeneralized a small mistake.

And whenever you’re presenting to a powerful viewers, getting your self into the correct body of thoughts is vital to your preparation. Deal with studying, anticipate weaknesses and develop countermeasures, and supply to shut the loop on any challenges you may’t immediately reply. With these measures, don’t be shocked when you begin trying ahead to these difficult shows.


Dina Smith is the proprietor of Cognitas, an govt teaching and consulting agency in the San Francisco Bay Space.

Dennis Adsit, PhD, is the president of Adsum Insights, an govt teaching and consulting agency based mostly in Boulder, Colorado.