Presenting to Donald Trump

Architect Barry Thalden, hotel and casino designer and one of my dearest friends for the past 50 years, tells of presenting a proposal to Donald Trump: “I managed to arrange a meeting with Donald Trump.  We met in what later became the infamous Board Room on his TV show The Apprentice.  My presentation was on slides.  As I started to set up my projector, he immediately objected.  Undaunted, I told him it would only take a few minutes and would fully explain the opportunity I’d come to show him.  Once the presentation began he interrupted me several times, trying to rush me along; each time I told him I was just getting to the part he wanted to know about.  I’d come all the way to New York to see him; I was going to do it my way, come hell or high water.  I wasn’t going to chicken out, be intimidated because he was Donald Trump.  When the presentation was over he said, ‘I can’t believe you got me to sit through your entire presentation—my rule for meetings is 12 minutes and out.’  As you know, I got the job.”  If Thalden can stand his ground with an egomaniac like Trump, you can do the same with anyone—if, like Thalden, you’re fearless.

The question you must face first, though, is Why do people of wealth and status intimidate you, in a way “normal” prospects don’t?  (Remember, we’re being honest with ourselves, folks.)  Why is achieving equality with them more difficult for you?  Is the difference rooted in how they perceive you or how you perceive them?  The answer is within you, of course.  Your perspective filter subconsciously tells you that their wealth and status makes you subservient to them and you act accordingly.  You surrender your power to them almost instinctively, for no good reason.  A master salesperson will not make that foolish “choice”; he will demand—yes, “demand” is the perfect word—equality, and will use that equality to win over and serve that prospect to the best of his ability.  If you want to be a top-tier professional, you must do the same.  Make a point of this: surrender your power to no-one.