Too much ego focus means you are failing to pay attention to others - you are not fully present and you are not responding to what is being communicated.
When you are wrapped up inside your own head you are not giving off the kind of vibe that creates engagement. One way or another you are creating a barrier.
But less ego doesn't mean you have to be all humble!
It is all a matter of balance - and here's how to achieve that balance.
What is the circle stuff?
I am borrowing this idea from Voice coach Patsy Rodenburg - and the techniques she recommends in her book 'Power Presentation'. She refers to 3 circles of energy and how they effect your presentation power. I suggest that you can also apply this to face-to-face meetings, networking and other moments of human connection.
I will briefly explain what these 3 circles are - and then apply them to ego and engagement.
When you are here your energy is connecting to itself - you are preoccupied with self
In this circle your energy is connected to a specific point outside you - you are present - there is an exchange of energy - this is intimate and epic
Here - you might have energy in bucket-loads but it is not focused - you are being superficial
I think you can spot the best circle to be in for communication to work well!
The Second Circle - this is where the magic happens.
So - having established that you need to be present with your energy focused outward in order to connect and engage - let's look at what your Ego is doing in this state - have you lost it all together?
When you get out of your self-conscious, ego driven state you can pay attention to what is happening in the moment all around you - and people can feel that - and they like how you are making them feel.
Flying ego-free avoids these barriers to engagement:
The 'I'm right' attitude - blocking out other people's ideas - lack of curiosity
The 'Please like me' attitude - blindly agreeing rather than asking questions - lack of curiosity
Ego is only a problem when it is out of balance - like most things!
To have a sense of self, healthy self-esteem - well that is not a problem at all. Of course you should celebrate your every day 'wins' and be proud of your achievements.
But - the 'first circle' ego energy - when you are only starting your sentences with'I' (the Greek translation of 'Ego' is 'I') - is when you have let your ego get out of control. When Ego is exaggerated it is more like 'conceit' - and that is not so good. You are not listening to others and that means you are not engaging them - there is a disconnect.
When your ego is in the 'third circle' - you are self-conscious in a really un-engaging way! Your focus is placed on impression management - what will people think of me - I hope I did that right, said that right, look right... I hope they like me.
So - get into the second circle - the place where all your energy buzzes between you and others in a connecting circle - see it is all about circles at the end of the day!
How to practice using this engaging kind of energy? Do Improv!
Improvisation techniques are perfect for flying ego-free - being present in the moment and totally connected to those around you.
if you can get to Bournemouth - come to an Explory Story Improv session - you will find it transformational and fun - and you will be with engaging, 'second circle' people.
The EXPLORY STORY website is now launched - join the story and find out how what we do can help what you do.This is a daft photo of me and Branding story genius Neil Humphrey - the Explory Story team at your service.
I help people become more effective communicators through the kind of coaching that offers a safe space to explore and rehearse and better understand the impact they have. My blog is full of insights and tactics that will help you break down the barriers that prevent you from being a truly effective communicator. These insights are based on my own experience as well as the issues raised during coaching sessions and workshops.