Want to Influence the EGO? Get on Their Planet!

Planet You Planet Me.jpg

Do you ever find yourself complaining…

“They should know the procedure, they should have listened to my advice, they ignore me…..grrrrr” 

and then you have sleepless nights resenting your senior management team & EXCO for being egotistical b******s?

Well the other week I was running several one to one presentation sessions at a FTSE 100 organisation and one of my frustrated clients felt just like that. She was a very senior and experienced HR person, let’s call her Lottie (I change names to protect the innocent) and she was losing the will to live!

Lottie was red with anger and frustrated that her voice wasn’t being heard in meetings. She complained it was maybe because she was a woman and the senior management team didn’t take her seriously. She felt she lacked gravitas because they seemed to ignore her advice most of the time.

They kept breaking the rules when it came to giving out bonuses. 

Lottie came to my masterclass and one to one in “personal impact and influence” because she wanted to gain more confidence in herself so she could “push back” on unreasonable requests from upper management.

“Hmmmmm”, I thought “push back?”

On the face of it, Lottie believed that if she could appear and act more confidently with a louder voice and better body language, this would help her feel more powerful in the boardroom.  She thought with more boardroom presence, she’d make them listen.  With physical ‘techniques’ (yes I can give you 1000s of those) she would be able to ‘push back’ and persuade them that many of their ideas were non-starters.

What do you think?  Do you think by altering her style, management would listen?

Well, in my school of impact and communication, looking confident and saying ‘NO’ with a louder voice and a more powerful stance is only the tip of the iceberg.   In my 27 years of experience in broadcasting and business – dealing with BIG EGOS and having to manage personalities live on air at the BBC I’ve learnt another even more useful technique.

Would you like the secret to managing big personalities?

Here it is.  Before you think about your confident delivery, posture and voice (all very important) you must must must start with what planet your audience is on.  You must think about it from their point of view FIRST.

Even though you may ‘detest’  them because they are giving you sleepless nights and you don’t agree with them, their pay-packet and their entire existence, you must do this exercise.  Is it a game changer…ready?

Get on their planet!

Yes, get off your planet (planet angry in Lottie’s case) for a moment and step into their shoes on their planet.

So in practice - this is how Planet-Lottie looks…

“You are wrong, Ego” 

“You have not gone through the proper procedure”

“you should be punished for going over budget, you had no right to go over budget and now I’m getting criticised from head office”

“The process and procedures are in place and you ignored it”

Ok ok, Lottie we hear you.  You’re right and Ego was wrong…..however….

Now get onto Ego’s planet…this is what’s going on in their head

“I need to motivate my staff quickly”

“I have the authority to reward someone if I see fit”

“I want to look good and for people to respect me”

“I care about school fees, family and maintaining my position”

“I HATE it when HR people talk about ‘process and procedure’ they are a total turn off”

“Can’t you come to me with an idea of how we can do better business?”

 “Don’t give me monkeys (problems) on my shoulder”

“Make my life easy, take my problems away”

Aha, there you have it.

Planet Ego isn’t so scary after all, it’s understandable that Ego wants to make budget decisions that make him/her look in control.

So how did Lottie do in her next boardroom meeting after she travelled from Planet-Lottie to Planet Ego?  She nailed it.

She approached Ego in a totally different way.  She felt empowered to visit them on their planet.

She didn’t “push back” she “pushed forward” to a solution they could agree on. It turned out all they had to do was wait a little longer (ok 6 months) for the bonuses to be signed off, so the answer went from

“No, you can’t do that” to

 “I can help you make this bonus happen as soon as the next budget window opens up…if you work with me on this, it will happen sooner rather than later”

There, the Ego didn’t hear the word ‘NO’ they heard the words ‘help, sooner, budget window opening up’


I help leaders like Lottie and Ego communicate better in FTSE 100 and Fortune 500 firms so they do better business all over the world.  If you’d like me to run a masterclass in your organisation to help you & your team have more impact, influence and GRAVITAS – don’t hesitate to contact me.  Our first chat is always free, no strings attached. esther@estherstanhope.com

Go on, drop me a line, I’d love to visit you on your planet. Then you can say..  “The Ego Has Landed”