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A brand, a business and a career. From a nametag.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Halloween is the greatest holiday of the year

Halloween is a very special holiday for me. Not just because of the candy or the crazy costumes; but because it's the only day of the year when I actually change my nametag!

In the past I've been Randy, Jerry and Jo-Jo. And the last two years I went as a nametag wearing gorilla named Harry. But this year I thought I'd bump up the creativity a notch or two. So, here's the costume I wore all weekend. (Click to enlarge)


What's the best Halloween costume you saw in 2005?

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

Friday, October 28, 2005

101.1 The River's Lifestyle Guide Helps Listeners BEYOND The Airways

After many years of being a loyal listener to 101.1 The River (WVRV St. Louis), I've teamed up with their Lifestyle Guide to create a new section called "Your Network."

This is SO cool. Very few radio stations do stuff life this. It's an online resource for the latest tips, trends and news that you can use to be on top of your game. When they approached me to contribute some articles, 101.1 said they wanted to "Add more value for their listeners beyond the airways."

Wow. It certainly makes the listeners feel like the station actually cares about their well being!

The four sections are Your Health, Your Life, Your Space, and of course, Your Network. In the latter, learn valuable techniques to help you in your day-to-day encounters at work and beyond.

Rock on.


Does your radio station care about you this much?

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

Thursday, October 27, 2005

QREATIVITY: Revolutionary Ideas Come from Ridiculous Questions

Every creative business idea begins with a question.

A question that grabs attention. A question that might sound ridiculous at the time. A question that propels a wrecking ball through the walls of ordinary thinking. But still, a question that makes every person in the room stop what he’s doing, sit back in his chair, stare off into space and say, “Huh. Now that’s an interesting idea...”

QREATIVITY is creating something out of nothing by asking BIG questions.

This idea of question-based creativity has evolved through centuries of study from around the world. “One who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; one who does not ask a question remains a fool forever,” says the ancient Chinese proverb. In the same light, E.E. Cummings once said, “Always the beautiful answer who asks a more beautiful question.” And Voltaire is famous for his words, “Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers.”

However, in the last few hundred years, other creative powerhouses like Einstein, Edison and De Bono went on to perfect question-based creativity with various techniques and experiments still used by businesspeople around the world.

But sometimes, businesspeople need to ask bigger questions. Questions that push an ideas to their very limits. Questions reminiscent to Kant’s Universalized Maxim which states “Act as if the maxim of your action were to become by your will a universal law of nature."

In other words: what if everybody did it?

Here are some excellent examples of businesspeople - some of whom became businesspeople unexpectedly - because they asked universalized questions to spark their QREATIVITY.

What if I met everyone who shared my same name?

What if I always said yes to everybody and everything?

What if everybody wore their Lee jeans on the same day?

What if everybody in Seattle read the same book?


What BIG question could you ask today to spark your QREATIVITY?

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

USA Today recommends nametags for small business marketing

Author, speaker and columnist Steve Strauss, aka Mr. All Biz, had a great article in USA Today called Marketing pays, so keep it up.

"A trap many entrepreneurs fall into, myself included on occasion, is turning to the tried and true too often. While the tried and true is comfortable, it also typically yields predictable results.

So if you want your business to grow, you need to mix things up sometimes. New marketing tricks can create new results. Here are a few of my favorite, inexpensive strategies..."


What's your favorite inexpensive marketing technique?

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

Monday, October 24, 2005

After two years, Portland is still weird, wet and in walking distance

So I FINALLY got back to the ol' stomping grounds of Portland to visit my friends, eat real sushi and reminisce about the early days of nametagging. Ah yes, what a great weekend it was! It all started on a high note in the St. Louis airport on Thursday night when I got a phone call that made me want to drive over to Jeff Bezos' house and give him a big fat kiss.

"I'm one of the editors at Cosmopolitan magazine," the woman said, "and we often seek out experts to help create our monthly quizzes. Our upcoming quiz in January's issue will be about approachability, and according to, you're the only person who's written a book on it! I'd love your expert opinion on some question ideas."

Long story short: after several hours of online research (yes, I took a bunch of Cosmo quizzes, shut up!) and an hour conversation with the editor the next day, we put together an awesome approachability quiz due out in a few months! Hopefully as 2006 begins, legions of twentysomething women around the country will get more digits.

Hey, I do what I can to make a difference.

Next I met a woman on the plane who worked for Wrigley, as in, The Gum People. And if there was ever a reason to talk to strangers more often, she was it. Deb and I had the most fascinating conversation about gum styles, flavors and preferences. She even gave me three packs of Orbit samples for my trip. Sweet.

Most of the weekend was spent hanging out with my peeps from OHSU and walking around the city. I even stopped by the Crystal Ballroom to have lunch with my pal Tony Shatter, famous guitar player of Portland's The Punk Group. Another highlight was a conversation I overheard on The Max between a drunk, aging hippie and a young mother who argued the difference between "eccentric" and "crazy."

"My friends used to call me 'Eccentric William,' but I think what they meant was 'Crazy Bill,'" the man said.

"Nah...'eccentric' just means 'crazy' but with money and style."

God I love Portland.


Ever been to Portland? Whaddaya think of it?

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

You are NOT wearing two nametags

Call me crazy, but I love going to the post office. I'm there about three times a week to mail books, check my box, and sometimes just to talk to my girls who work behind the counter. They're so sweet. They all wear nametags. And Val usually has a candy dish.

Hey, it's all about the little things.

Yesterday I stopped in to mail an order of books to Amazon. Mable called #76 and motioned me to her counter. She looked at my nametag and said, "Now Scott, why you wearin' that nametag? You workin' with kids or sumthin'?"

"No, I just wear it to make people friendlier," I replied.

"Oh, I thought you were at work or something."

"Well, technically I am. But I still just wear it for fun!"

What happened next is probably one of my all-time favorite things to do to people. I usually wear a blazer or jacket every day; that way when people don't believe I really wear a nametag all the time, I open up my coat and show them the back-up nametag on my shirt. It's both funny and necessary to show that I mean business.

"Well Mable, maybe this will clear things up..."

"Oh-my-goodness!" Mable laughed. "You are NOT wearing two nametags Scott!"

"That's right."

"Val! Did you see this boy wearin' two nametags?"

"Oh yeah," Val laughed, "That's Scott. He crazy."

Yes. Yes I am.


In what unique way do you show people that "you mean business"?

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

McDonald's Doesn't Sell Hamburgers

I'm sitting in McDonald's right now, which is a rarity for me. I only eat here about twice a year. In fact, I'm not even eating today - I'm just waiting for the mechanic to finish my car across the street.

Anyway, the article I'm working on this week is about creativity. It's about great ideas. It's about those magical moments when you stop in your tracks, notice something cool and exclaim "Now THAT'S a great idea!"

As I pound away on my laptop and rock out to Chris Whitley's fantastic new album, I realize that I can still hear the ear piercing scream of an unhappy child from across the room. I try to ignore it, but this child just doesn't stop! He must be mad at someone. I dunno, maybe his mother made him eat McGriddles.

I take a break to stretch my legs. When I return from the bathroom I notice a large red machine by the main entrance to the store. Oh yeah, I remember, McDonald's now rents new release DVD's for a buck!

And then it hit me like a ton of hash browns: McDonald's doesn't sell hamburgers. They never have. Because while I stared at the McDVD rental machine, still listening to the sounds of that annoying, protesting McChild, I realized what McDonald's does sell.


It's not about the food. It's certainly not the ambiance. It's about shutting the kids up. That's why parents love McDonald's so much. it any surprise that McDonald's now rents MOVIES for your kids to watch in the DVD player of the SUV while chowing down on delicious happy meals?!

Now THAT'S a great idea!


When was the last time you said "Now THAT'S a great idea!"?

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

Monday, October 17, 2005

Talking to 'Invisible' People

In I found a great article from (Today's Top Law Enforcement News.) And no, I don't usually ready this publication, as I am not a police officer. However, check out the full text or read some of these excerpts about police officers and how they approach certain types of individuals:

You know who they are. They are the homeless wandering the alleyways mumbling. They are the preachers on the street corners declaring they are Jesus Christ. They are the “invisible” people the public ignores, but as law enforcement officers you must see them. You are their guardians. You are their protectors.

Communication begins with the non-verbal cues given in the officer’s approach. Murphy suggests standing with an open posture squarely in front of the individual. “If a person is anxious, you want to put him at ease by standing with your hands forward in front of you, and lean in slightly to talk to him,” says Murphy. “This says that you are an accessible person who is willing to listen.”

Andriukaitis also suggests standing with elbows tucked toward the waist with hands outstretched so the arms and hands partially cover equipment on the duty belt. This makes the officer look more approachable.

Because most people respond favorably to their name, Webb instructs officers to use the individual’s name to help him focus on the officer as opposed to the other voices he may be hearing in his head.

“A lot of the skills officers learn in this training are basic communication and active listening skills,” he continues. “Those skills can be applied in almost any situation an officer finds himself. We don’t use our firearm every day. We don’t get in high-speed pursuits every day. We don’t use our defensive tactics every day. But we communicate every day.”

Effective communication — with all types of people — makes the officer’s job safer and more proactive. As Murphy says, “It’s much easier to talk somebody into something than force him into it.” Being able to talk to the invisible man means being able to communicate with every man.


What types of individuals are the most difficult (or easiest) to approach?

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

New Online Assessment Measures Your Approachability

In a recent post I shared a new system called The Approachability Indicator. This graphical model depicted the seven areas, dual channels and five emotional results of maximum approachability.

However, the big question still remained: "Yeah, but how can I tell how approachable I really am?"

Well friends, here's your answer: take this new assessment to find out your Approachability Quotient. Good luck!


What's your AQ score?

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

You're such a show off...and I LIKE it!

Meet my new friend Scott Jones, CSO. (That stands for Chief Show Officer.)

"The problem is that every one of your competitors is doing his or her best to make an equally good first impression. So what's the answer? It's simple - Show Off!" says Jones.

His company, Show Off Cards, offers a one of a kind business card that lets the real you - or at least a supercharged version of you - shine through. Check out his website now. It's SOOOOOOOOOOO cool.

Here are some other Show Offs:

And now, I propose a toast to being UNFORGETTABLE. Here's to you, Chief Show Officer.



* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

Monday, October 10, 2005

Networking Smarter: What's Your NQ?

Absoluately BRILLIANT article by Jim Bolt from Fast Company.

"Today's highly networked business world provides rich rewards for networking maestros -- those people among us who are skilled at developing varied and effective networks. But there hasn't existed an effective measure for how good or bad you are at networking, in order to know how to improve. Until now."

Click here to read the entire article, or take Jim's assessment below:

Honestly answer the following questions on a scale of 0-4:

How many total people are in your Life, Social and Work networks?
0=none, 1=less than 50, 2=51-100, 3=101-200, 4=more than 200

What's the overall quality of your network contacts?
0=Terrible, 1=Poor, 2=Good, 3=Very Good, 4=Excellent

To what extent do you actively work on building your network relationships?
0=no extent, 1=little extent, 2=some extent, 3=great extent, 4=very great extent

What is the strength of your relationships with your network members?
0=very weak, 1=weak, 2=in between weak and strong, 3=strong, 4=very strong

How actively do you recruit new members to your network?
0=do nothing, 1=hardly at all, 2=sometimes, 3=often, 4=all the time

To what extent is the relationship with your network members reciprocal (that is, you've helped them as much as they've helped you)?
0=not at all, 1=hardly at all, 2=sometimes, 3=often, 4=all the time

To what extent do you leverage the Internet to build and maintain your networks?
0=not at all, 1=hardly at all, 2=sometimes, 3=often, 4=all the time

Multiply your total score by 10. You'll end up with a score between 0 and 280. If your score is from 0-70 your NQ is terrible, from 71-140 your NQ needs improvement, from 141-210 your NQ is good, and from 211 to 280 your NQ is excellent.


What's your NQ?

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Adventures of The Big Cheese and The Little Customer

Of all people - managers, directors, presidents and CEO's are the ones who need to be approachable; both to their customers AND employees. So, it absolutely made my day when I walked into my hotel room and saw this:

It was a welcome note with the General Manager's business card in it!

You can't get more approachable than this. It was like the GM was saying, "Howdy! Welcome to my hotel. My name's Tom - and I'm in charge here. So, if there's anything you need, drop me a line. Seriously, here's my card! Call me any time."

Do all hotels do this?
Do ANY hotels do this?
Do any businesses do this?

I think they should. Seriously, how great would it be if every company went out of their way to make an approachable connection between The Big Cheese and The Customer?

Just imagine...

*Buying your new Ipod Nano...and getting a business card from Steve Jobs. And guess what? He'd love for you to drop him an email and tell him how amazing it sounds.

*Receiving your brand new Air Jordans in the mail...along with a business card from Phil Knight. What the heck? Ring him and let him know how you schooled all your friends at the park with your new shoes.

*Finishing your sandwich from Subway...and reaching into the bag to find a card from Fred DeLuca. That's right. He wants to hear from YOU, a customer who just ate a delicious lunch for under 7 bucks and under 7 grams of fat.

The days of the Spacely Sprocket-esque CEO are over. Isolated is out, approachable is in. So, whether you're a manager, director, CEO, president or owner, you've got to find a way to PERSONALLY welcome customers onto your front porch. After all, that's what makes them 1) want to come back, and 2) tell their friends.

Kind of like I'm doing right now.


In what way do you personally connect with your customers?

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Japan tests medical students for approachability

We've all had our share of experiences with service providers who weren't approachable. Fortunately, some professions are taking preventative measures against future complaints. I found a great article from the spring 2005 issue called Japan Tests Medical Students for Approachability.

The article comes from StudentBMJ, a monthly international medical journal for students with an interest in medicine. "Japanese medical students must prove that they are approachable before they can qualify," explained the article. "This reflects the Japanese medical profession’s objective to move away from just expecting students to acquire knowledge toward effective interaction with patients."

Here's an overview of the CAT, or Common Achievement Test.

A great deal of malpractice cases derive from inappropriate patient-doctor communication. But it's not just about medicine. ALL professions experience the problems due to a lack of approachability. And if you've ever worked with someone who had absolutely ZERO people skills and wondered how in the HELL they got hired, you might ask yourself the same question as these doctors: Should there be new standards that all applicants must meet in the areas of interpersonal communication?


Pretend you're the HR Director. Finish this sentence: "You can't work for this company unless you've proven to me that you are ______________."

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag