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I really hate doing presentations or talking in front of a group of people, to present some kind of idea or plan or outline or anything, especially if it is a very formal setting (other people sitting down, staring at me, me talking to them). A lot of reasons I guess, but I can get kinda nervous and get cold feet even with a lot of preparation. By cold feet, I don’t mean I chicken off and run away, but I literally feel my feet getting cold, and just the adrenalin rushing through my body so I have to work hard to control this to keep myself calm and presentable.

Recently, I noticed that when I DO give presentations, I adapt a very authoritarian tone- It’s hard to explain… but recently some people were asking me after class to explain some things we learned, summarizing some of the main arguments. It sort of ended up becoming a presentation since people were just taking notes while I was explaining it. Maybe it was because I had a better grasp over the material, but when I would say things I noticed it came off as very authoritatively (even though I didn’t intend this!) and it turned into this weird scenario where it felt like I was giving some kind of lecture on the steps of the building.

I recently also gave two other presentations, and I noticed while my partners were presenting, people in class were distracted and not paying attention, but when I started talking, they seemed very attentive and I saw a lot of people nodding their heads and making good eye contact with me and taking a lot of notes (even though my subject was even more boring than the previous topic my partner covered). Afterwards, classmates and even my partners/professors commented that they were very “captivated” by my presentation even though I thought my presentation had a lot of really dry material in my opinion, and they asked me to stay after with questions they had.

Anyways, this is something that has been on my mind for a while- I’m always conscious that I speak very authoritatively when I present things even in an informal way (can’t change it, I’ve tried!). I had been worried about this so I am always holding back and I am very reserved IRL because I don’t want to intimidate people when I do presentations/discussions. I do want to point out though that I have met people who speak very authoritatively but also really arrogantly (I actually wrote about this person before, but one of my office mates drives me crazy because she’s super arrogant and talks down to people and acts like an expert on everything and talks way too much about irrelevant information, but I always limit what I present to the bare minimum of what I am sure about, and am more focused on presenting information and tying it back to some concept, rather than talking and throwing ALL the information I know about one subject)

Anyways, i wanted fellow INFJ thoughts on this... being authoritative in presentations or in general... i am always holding myself back because i am afraid of intimidating others and being rejected for being too "strong/aggressive" as a woman, but now i am just accepting this as who i am and being less fearful about it. but i just watned to hear your thoughts on this and maybe how "authoritative" people are perceived? i always see this as a BAD thing but maybe it's not bad after all...
 

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I was just reading something somewhere on some website yesterday about study of MBTI in group dynamics and the comment that caught my eye was that the INFJ was described as the "un-leader" of a group, basically trying to lead without appearing to lead it. Sort of hidden almost paradoxical leadership of trying to lead but hiding any traces of it. I find myself doing this time to time, but thing is that you can't hide your J-ness forever really - it will still come through.

Giving a presentation you're supposed to adopt an authoritative tone. I think it is your Fe telling your that you can't, but in this case it is wrong. When you're giving a presentation you want to demonstrate competency and mastery of the subject. After you're done you can fall back on Fe. There is a difference between acting like a beotch all the time to anyone who comes into your office or cubicle like that office mate of yours is doing and demonstrating your competence during an official presentation.
 

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don't worry. when i was in grade 10 English we had teach the class day. i was the teen that said nothing but when i had my day..... i was nice but wouldn't take any disruptions in it. Quietest teen in class became the most authoritative. i even don't like how it went,
 

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I first started teaching an adjunct course last semester at the university.. I was pretty quiet and not authoritative. I was able to hold the respect of the students because I was still enrolled in the class and was more than willing to help everyone. This semester though, I knew I would have to project my voice with confidence and be a real leader. At first it was hard because I felt like I would make them feel inferior by speaking louder and more authoritative, but as a couple weeks went by I realized that it is what I needed to do. Now I have no problem telling the students to go to a chalkboard and write whatever they need to.

From what you described, it sounds like the way you spoke about and captivated the audience worked out. Most people are followers and look for leaders so if you give the image of being one, people will naturally listen. Props!
 

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Hey hey curious,

I get this too! (not the cold feet though, that might be psychosomatic freeze part of the fight/flight/freeze theory under stress).

I'll get all nervous and stutter, lose my place, and giggle nervously but only at first.
I reach a threshold, and my presentations do a dramatic flip from being a nervous wreck, to being authoritative and slightly arrogant (as you put it).

I think it's because as an INFJ, we can BS, but don't like to.
This means we do a lot of research into what we're presenting.

As INFJ's we're also very apt at reading non-verbal audience responses.
So when I see a group of people looking at me, not understanding or believing what I'm presenting because of all the nervous cues (which can be mistaken for lying) I get all indignant.

INFJ's need to be understood, especially if we've invested heaps of time and effort into our topic.
We don't do things without a piece of our heart.

This is where I flip behaviour.
The need to have what I'm presenting understood suddenly becomes more important than the fear of being judged.

I'm extremely good at rebuttals and answering questions, maybe a little on the defensive side :cool:

In hindsight, I think that I may have come across as arrogant, but anonymous audience feedback so far hasn't picked up on this.

In fact most say, "you looked nervous at the start, but then things hit off and the topic became really interesting/engaging".

:laughing:
 

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Curious, some thoughts

1) You are more self aware of your presentation style than 95% of people - even people who regulaly present. This is a good thing

2) The adrenelin thing is normal - I would be worried if I didn't get this

3)From what you describe you are being an authority(i.e. know your subject) rather than authoritarian. so I would think your tone is nothing to worry about. Your audience expects you to do this and to an extent wants you to speak in this way. They want a sense of certainty from you.

4) From what I have seen in your comments I think it unlikely that you would come across as arrogant! Most INFJs could actually push a little more without causing offence.

5) If you have poeple saying they are captivated by your presentation then you are good at presenting!!!!!!! Most people don't give that much feedback about a pres so to be described as captivating is a big thing! My request to you is that you revel in this for a while :happy:

From what you have said I think you should present more. It sounds like you are capable of doing a really good job. The more you practice the more comfortable you will be with the nerves.

I present on a semi regular basis (customer audiances) and over time I have come to enjoy it rather dread it. I still get nervous but the high afterwards is great! There is no substitute for practice practice practice. With power point, without powerpoint, miked up or natural voice, large venue, small room.

Learn to like the sound of your voice, particulaly if you have something worth saying:happy:
 

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I think as INFJs we have a unique ability to mimic different personalities. We spend so much time watching people and trying to figure them out--and we are quite adept at it. I ofter will adopt the personality of someone I know who would be comfortable in a situation that I would not necessarily be comfortable in. I still have to understand the situation but if I can crawl into someone elses skin and adopt their mannerisms it makes it easier for me to perform\--to use the information that might no make it out if I am caught up in feeling so uncomfortable. It is sort of like acting, but with out any necessity for compromising one's values.

Maybe you, with your authoritarian voice are mimic-ing someone you know. pr someone you have heard, who is good at public speaking?--just a thought
 

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*shrug* INFJ's can be real leaders - we just need to be put in the role, or simply have nobody else willing to do it.

I'm not really sure if that is "going against Fe", but rather an aspect of Fe that says "hey, they really need someone with presence right now". It's a bit unusual and awkward at first, but we can be *very* good at it.

The only problem I have with public speaking is sensory overload - trying to read everyone at the same time. Man that gets confusing.
 

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For an INFJ we have to walk the authoritative line cautiously. From my experience we tend to appear cold and a smidge bitchy. Perhaps a better thought to surround yourself with while giving a presentation is to be friendly and optimistic. Those two qualities allow us to become magnetic!
 

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Hah. This sounds like me.

Generally, I am terrified of standing up in front of people and giving presentations. Even when I have a firm grasp of the subject I am presenting, I have been known to stumble over a few words and even for my mind to go blank (hate this!). But, I have given some pretty strong presentations myself.
I would claim an INFJ's ability to give a solid presentation stems both from our Ni and Fe. Our Fe can give us a feel of passion or in your case 'authority'. Our Ni causes us to believe in ourselves and what we have to say; it causes us to believe we are right (and I say 'believe' because we really aren't as right as we often think we are).
So I believe we can manage to at least suppress our nerves (or when I can), we can give strong presentations because we will at least have the appearance of partial confidence. I have learned in my own life that you can say the most irrational thing but if you say it with confidence people will believe in you.

This also makes me think of this sonnet recitation I had to do in a public speaking class a while back. I felt nervous as hell standing up in front of everyone, afraid my presentation will fall flat after watching so many others sound bored when reciting their sonnets. Because of this, I ended up screwing up a line and then restarting it, which frustrated me. I had that sonnet memorized like the back of my hand. Therefore, I concluded my whole presentation was awful and I must have looked nervous the entire time.
Afterwards though, someone said they were impressed. They overlooked my one slip because they thought I had a wonderful presence. I convinced them that I felt the same way as the sonnet, which was weird because I didn't connect to the sonnet at all. I am talking about Shakespeare's 22nd sonnet. It's about an old man wooing a younger girl. Role reversal much?

So my point is, I think we have an innate ability to give strong, meaningful, and possibly authority filled presentations we just have to believe in ourselves.

And, oh yeah. I don't think any of this is a bad thing. There is a difference from holding an air of authority versus being domineering. We can have passion and confidence in what we say without being arrogant. I personally love my ability to give strong presentations and feel like for at least a second I am on top of the world, but I don't like actually dominating over others. I also tend to attempt to reserve my speech in casual conversations and even certain class presentations because I am afraid I might become too 'passionate' and others will take that as arrogance. Arrogance and domination over others is not a good thing, but that is the high degree of what you are speaking over. We can be more modest, and there is nothing wrong with that. Confidence is a fine thing.
...
Tell me if I strayed off the path some where. I am pretty certain I did.
 

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vinndi - you make a good point about mistakes - we all make them and they feel a lot worse to us than than to the people watching. Passion and enthusiasm cover a lot of bloopers!
 

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There is nothing wrong with your presentation style, from your account you give good presentations and don't need to change anything. If people enjoyed it and told you so, you have nothing to worry about.

I get the nerves thing too.

I am also good at presentations when I know my stuff back to front, but I don't do so well with winging it. If I have to wing it I jump into the skin of an extrovert and pretend for a while. It works for me, people think I am a very confident speaker when I am constantly doubting myself.
 

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I am also good at presentations when I know my stuff back to front, but I don't do so well with winging it. If I have to wing it I jump into the skin of an extrovert and pretend for a while. It works for me, people think I am a very confident speaker when I am constantly doubting myself.
I am actually fully comfortable winging a presentation (as long as I know at least a bit about the subject at hand). I like to believe my tendency to operate intuitively helps me string together a presentation out of thin air. But of course, I am always more at ease when I know exactly what I am going to talk about.
 

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The advantage INFJs have with presentations is that we can intuitively and empathetically "feel" the group. The problem I've noticed with teaching the class though is that when you have 20 people your teaching or presenting to I pick up several totally different vibes after a while and its like.... agh, these kids over here are happy but I got the vibe that the ones over here are frustrated for whatever reason that I may not be able to figure out right away.
 
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