Trust Tip 26: Check Your Ego at the Door

What do we all do before the sales presentation, the big pitch, the final report? Usually, we rehearse until the last minute, fine-tuning and tweaking, building energy and adrenaline, all geared to peak at the final event.

Don’t go there.

By the time of the event itself, about 95% of the outcome has been pre-determined—you just don’t know the answer. The slideset will do what it will do; the political alliances are all in place; personal chemistries are what they are; and if there’s a fix, it’s in.

In fact, trying to wrestle that last 5% to the ground is more likely to annoy than impress the client. You’ve got precious little upside, and a lot to lose.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Next time, try something different.

Next time, stop for 15 seconds in the hotel room. Or in the restroom before the meeting. Or even just outside the meeting room itself on your way in.

Stop, and let this thought take over: “Let me check my ego at the door; let me be a channel for the great things I can offer this client.” Then walk in the door—with no concern for the outcome.

Things are what they are at this point. The event itself is either a ceremony or a scripted play (which you didn’t write). You now have very little power to alter the outcome.

So—give it up. Detach from the results. Stop trying to control things. Let your mind think simply, what can I do in this meeting to be of help to these people? I know lots of great stuff; how can I best channel it to them?

If you think that way, your 95% odds will surely get no worse—and you will get fewer ulcers worrying about the result. Whatever flexibility is left will work in your favor if, at this late date, you’re seen to be helpful rather than shading that last little point, tweaking that last little comment.

If you’re religious, call this a prayer. If you’re spiritual, make it your mantra. If neither, then just call it a pre-flight checklist.

Check your ego at the door. Be a channel. And when you’re done, walk out with a feeling of graciousness that you behaved with class.


2 replies
  1. Jeff
    Jeff says:

    I’ve read the book, Trusted Advisor, and found this theme in the book useful and empowering. I think I take it further than this blog post suggests. “And when you’re done, walk out with a feeling of graciousness that you behaved with class.” I don’t do this. I keep the reduced self orientation going even after the meeting.


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