Who doesn’t like to be the best at their craft?
Yep, thought so.
When you’re starting out as a PR pro, you want to prove yourself. You want to show people who hired you they weren’t mistaken to bring you on the team.
And, let’s face it, when you’re in your twenties, you feel like you know everything.
No need to deny it. We’ve all been there. It’s part of what makes us fearless and, sometimes, reckless.
But what does your ego have to do with anything?
Pretty much everything.
Sometimes, because you are so eager to prove you’re smart and you know what you’re talking about, you let your ego take over the conversation.
It’s hard to accept you were wrong. And you keep going on the same path, getting deeper and deeper, even though there is a voice in your head bugging you that’s not quite right.
I get it. Really, I do. I was in your place many times during my career.
Today I want to share with you some of the lessons learned along the way that helped me keep my ego in check.
Five Lessons to Help Any PR Pro Keep Their Ego in Check
Be an Outsider
Yes, I know this may sound counterintuitive, but hear me out.
Take a step back and look at your job with an outsider’s eyes. What could you do better? What would you do differently?
Why did your boss/colleague feedback upset you?
Analyze what they said, not how they said it. Were they right?
What would you do differently the next time?
Write everything down.
When you leave your ego aside, you’ll start seeing your actions and the feedback received with fresh eyes. You’ll be able to objectively judge your work and find ways to become better at your job.
This is not easy. Try this exercise three-four times per week. In time, it will become a habit.
This is a hard one as well. It’s hard to listen no matter at what stage you are in your life or career.
Most of the time we listen to respond and not to understand.
Learning how to actually listen to your boss/colleagues/clients, will open new doors for you as a PR pro.
In our fast-paced world, people don’t take a moment to listen to understand.
We run mostly on our assumptions, previous beliefs, and tend to make decisions based on that.
Pay attention to your thoughts during a meeting or when reading an email from your boss.
Every time you catch yourself jumping to conclusions before you finished reading or before your boss finished talking, stop.
Force yourself to be present and focused on the message he or she is trying to transmit.
Only then your ego will be left aside and you’ll be able to bring your own genius to the party.
Put Yourself in Their Shoes
Most of the time, we tend to judge people and situations through our own experiences and belief system.
We don’t actually stop to think how is it in the other person’s shoes?
As a PR pro, this is a must-have skill you need to develop. It will help you understand your clients, what they are about, and why they act the way they do.
How do you do that?
Leave your ego out of the equation and put yourself in your client/boss shoes.
Look at things from their perspective. Take into account the amount of responsibility they have.
If you were them, would you do/say the same? Why? And if not, why not?
When you objectively answer these questions, you have reached a new level of understanding.
Your ego is no longer an issue. You are able to understand the other party’s point of view and act accordingly.
Learn to Read People
I was about to say this is the hardest one. But the truth is, all of them are hard.
As a PR pro, you’re all about building relationship, anticipating your clients’ reactions, thinking and acting fast.
To become that person you need some human psychology lessons.
Start with the classical “Body Language” by Allan Pease. This is a must-read not matter where you are in your career and life.
You will learn a ton and you’ll never look the same at the people around you.
After that you can continue with “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. Another classic.
Once you get feel of it, one book will lead to another.
But these two are the foundation you need to learn to “read” other people.
This one is very much tied in with the one above.
Once you developed the skill of “reading” other people, you will learn how to anticipate what they want to say or do.
You will be equipped to enter a meeting with the confidence your ego won’t stay in the way of your success.
There you have it. These are some of the lessons I learned the way, that helped me navigate and build my career as a PR pro, leaving my ego aside.