Updated: Jun 25, 2020
[Note: This article was originally published as a File in the Present Like a Pro group on Facebook. Join the group for ongoing presentation tips.] Artists often use a concept called “negative space” to get you to focus your attention in a certain way.
Have another look at the above graphic. Do you see the lower half of two facial silhouettes or a white vase against a black background?
Negative bias in the art world is usually harmless enough, but negative bias when presenting can be devastating.
If you're a speaker or presenter, it's important to understand a cognitive bias called "The Negative Effect," a psychological construct that gets you to dwell on the less than positive aspects of your presentation.
Negativity bias is the notion that, even when of equal intensity, things of a more negative nature have a greater effect on one's psychological state and processes than neutral or positive things. Examples include:
“People won't like me"
Ugly social interactions
"I'll never close this deal"
Harmful or traumatic occurrences
This kind of doomsday thinking can erode your confidence and tank your presentation ability.
One can learn "back-spin" techniques, but a person often needs to work super hard to over- write learned emotions and negative imprinting.