What do people most like to talk about, hear about and focus on? Yes, you guessed it;  Themselves.

If we are all truly honest, it’s the subject that most interests us.

Psychologists, spiritualists and introspective thinkers all agree that because the world we experience comes from our own perceptions of what’s around us. It follows then that we are programmed to focus first on ourselves before we can focus on others.

Just think of the commentary as you listen and watch the safety briefing on an aircraft flight; “Put on your own oxygen mask, before helping others.” Instructions like this are everywhere. It’s how we all roll.

And the key driver in all of this is what we call ego.

“A person’s sense of self-esteem or self-importance. The part of the mind that mediates between the conscious and the unconscious and is responsible for reality testing and a sense of personal identity.”

In popular, modern culture in most societies, ego has negative connotations. This is unfortunate because it’s a key ingredient in the identity of self. Without it then it would be hard if not impossible to understand the context of ourselves and others.

With it, and tamed within socially acceptable parameters, the ego can be used to great effect by marketers and social networkers.

If you really know the persona you are communicating with or targeting then you will know what excites, engages and inspires them. Factor in the ego, their need for self importance, identity and relevance, and you have at your disposal a great arsenal that can provide mutual benefits.

The way this would work best is if you recognise and accept, sometimes on their behalf, that the reason they are engaging with you is likely to be that they want something from you, albeit authentically and with good intentions. Once you accept this then you can begin to figure out exactly what will be most relevant to them.

It’s all about playing to their ego. What can you provide, in information, examples, education, or materials that will make them look current, relevant and informed in the eyes of their peers if they were to share what you give to them? Make your persona look and feel good and they will come back to you time and time again for more.

Professional intimacy, and personal intimacy if you are thinking of this for life rather than commercial reasons, comes from providing value to those around you. Accepting that their ego is potentially your biggest ally and you are already almost there in the journey of building the long term relationship you are both seeking.