Balrog in the Boardroom: LARP and Real Life


Yesterday I did a guest post for Lair of the Jiggy Beast. It’s a little off topic for this blog but I thought I’d share it anyway:


Today I’ve got a meeting with the CEO of Orange and the Vice President Technical of Vodafone. Both men are lions in their industry, and both of them know it. I, by contrast, am an unimportant market researcher trespassing on their valuable time. I ought to be quaking in my stylish yet affordable boots. But I’ve faced up to a balrog. Compared to that, these guys are nothing.

It sounds like a ridiculous comparison but confidence is one of the most important life lessons that LARP can teach you. Yes, one is pretend and the other isn’t, but the feelings and personal development that you experience in the fantasy world are entirely transferable. Don’t hesitate to make those ridiculous comparisons, especially when they help.

There was an advert for Playstation a while back which talked about double lives:

“I have commanded armies, conquered worlds.” Well, LARPers really have. The people you were commanding, or fighting, or saving may have only been pretending but they were still people. You still faced them, inspired them and worked with them.

Public speaking is one of the most intimidating things you can be asked to do in your professional life. Addressing a faction muster is a safe and forgiving environment in which to practice your public speaking skills. People will heckle and tell you to speak up, but that’s okay. You know they’re really all on your side. Transfer that to the boardroom, or podium, and then tell yourself you’re talking to your faction, bunch of jerks that they are. You can handle them. You know you can, because you already have.

It goes beyond self-confidence, too. I have landed more than one job on the basis that I have experience in organising large logistical events. I’ve talked down angry customers using the same skills that I employed to handle a hostage crisis in the field. I’ve managed an office team in the same way that I’ve managed a LARP group.

So any time your inner critic starts to whisper that you can’t handle a situation, tell it to sit down and shut up. Because you’ve handled far worse than this.

Your boss only wishes he was this scary

Your boss only wishes he was this scary

2 responses »

  1. I know how to tame the “baby John” Barlog, … Not sure I should try the same techniques on my boss!
    But you are so right! The LARP kids are so much more imaginative, confident and willing to step outside their comfort zones than other kids I work with.

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