Watch Scott's TEDx talk!

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

Friday, May 26, 2006

Scott Speaks at ASAE SpringTime Expo!

First time in DC this week. Very cool town! Spoke for 3000 people at ASAE's SpringTime Expo. The feedback from the audience was tremendous. One woman even said, "I've been coming here for 10 years and ALWAYS wanted to hear a speaker who talked about approachability!"

Sweet. That's me!

I've got lots of other great tidbits to share with ya:

Random Cool Quotation Someone At ASAE Told Me
"What we learn with pleasure we never forget."
-Louis Mercier

The Slug Line
My new friend Bean told me about the famous DC Slug Lines, which I'd never heard of before:

Slugging is a term used to describe a unique form of commuting found in the Washington, DC area sometimes referred to as "Instant Carpooling" or "Casual Carpooling." It's unique because people commuting into the city stop to pickup other passengers even though they are total strangers! However, slugging is a very organized system with its own set of rules, proper etiquette, and specific pickup and drop-off practices.


Classic Flavored Answer to a Fruitless Question
As always, I asked the entire audience to answer the question, "How are you?" with a flavored answer instead of FINE. One man named John said, "Whenever people ask me how I'm doin, I always say, 'Better looking than ever!'"


Are you ready for the holiday or what?! Me, I'm takin' a week off. See you guys at the Rib America Festival.

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

Thursday, May 25, 2006

If I learned anything from Terminator 2, it was to beware of fake officers

In all my years of wearing nametags, I'm still amazed how many people mistake me for an employee. And everytime it happens - i.e., "Scott, what aisle has the work shirts? - I think to myself, "How could these people really think I work here?! It's just a nametag!

Well, apparently a nametag is enough of a disguise to fool someone into being sexually assaulted...

In Duncanville, Texas, NBC recently reported that a fake officer sexually assaulted a woman, police said.

The woman believed she was being pulled over when she saw the flashing red and blue lights on the dash of the car behind her. But she soon learned the officers were fake. She pulled over on a dark side road, and that's when one man dressed in a dark uniform with a badge and nametag ordered her out of the car.

She said the man sexually assaulted her while another man searched her vehicle.

"You trust them, and if you're being pulled over, you're thinking maybe you've done something wrong," Duncanville police spokesman Keith Bilbrey said.

"We know that we have to be real cautious now. It's just really scary that it happened around here," resident Shantay Malcolm said.

Police said anyone pulled over should stop in a well-lit area, keep doors locked and roll down the window just far enough to communicate with officers. If still worried, anyone pulled over can call 911.

Wow. Maybe being asked questions in the middle of Target isn't so bad after all.


Have you ever impersonated an employee?

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

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

HELLO, my name is Podcast - Episode 8: Q & A with Scott

Q & A is quite possibly the best part about giving a speech. It's fun, improvisational and allows audience members to get answers to important questions that weren't addressed during the program.

This clip is from a recent BNI speech, which, as you know, was cancelled the first time due to a fire! Fortunately, "take 2" was a lot cooler. (rim shot)

Oh, and the flash player doesn't seem to want to work today; so just listen here.


How do you feel about post-speech Q & A?

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

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

On Using Cool Words

Don't you love learning new words? Or better yet, using them in conversation and on paper?

OK, maybe it's just me. I'm sort of a vocab freak. (Hey, I'm a writer. What can I say?)

Still, I think each person's communication style is partly defined by the words he or she uses. In fact, I think everyone has a few words that they always use; so much so that others define them by those words. Which I guess could be good or bad.

I got thinking about that this morning when I came across a great post at Life Beyond Code. Here are a few examples:

My friend John always used to say this. It was his description for really good food. "Let's go to The Roxy. They got the chronic pancakes!" I now say it all the time.

My girlfriend loves this one. And not just, "I feel happy," but "Ooh! Look at those bean bag chairs! They're so happy!" Perfect for her glowing personality.

I can't help but think of Mike, Adam and Roger whenever I hear the word outstanding. It's just their word. They even named their company Outstanding Productions. And appropriately so - these are three fun, crazy guys who love to have an outstanding time wherever they go. It suits them.

To Kenny, everybody's babe. Friends, family, coworkers: babe. I love it. Known him my whole life and he's always been an authentic, charming guy who just loves to call people babe. It makes you fee special.

* * * *

I once had a business professor who told us, "Try to use the word pterodactyl at least once a day." (Hmm...not a bad word either!) As for me, I try to use the word notwithstanding as often as possible. Great word.


What about you? What are your favorite words to use? What do they say about your personality?

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

Monday, May 22, 2006

Everything is a plus

My Grandma Mimi is smart.

I was showing her the new crib this weekend when she made a comment about my decorating. "Scotty, where did you learn how to coordinate colors so well? This place looks great!"

"Yeah, looks like all those days of selling furniture finally paid off," I replied.

"Well, just remember: in life, everything is a plus."

That stuck with me all weekend. Everything is a plus.

Kind of reminded me of something Tony Robbins said in Unlimited Power:

Limited references create a limited life. If you want to expand your life, you must expand your references by pursuing ideas and experiences that wouldn't be a part of your life if you didn't consciously seek them out.

I think that's GOT to be one of the most rewarding things about wearing a nametag 24-7: expanding my references. Cool things and people and experiences I've encountered that otherwise never would have existed, all of which have had an effect on my life. From speaking in Switzerland to having a stalker to writing a quiz for Cosmo to talking to 40,000+ strangers to being inducted into Ripley's, everything is a plus.

The more cool/unique experiences you have...
The more cool/unique people you meet...
The more cool/unique things you see, watch, hear, read, taste...
The more cool/unique places you go...

...the more cool/unique you will become.

Everything is a plus. Like my bud Glen Phillips says, "There is nothing that doesn't matter. Every word is a seed that scatters. Everything matters."


What's your favorite reference?

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

Friday, May 19, 2006

Great Icebreaker: Licking The Feet of Strange Women on the Subway

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS - Falling to his knees on a subway train, a young Brooklyn man allegedly grabbed the feet of scores of female straphangers - kissing and licking them until the women screamed.

But last night Joseph Weir, 23, kept his mouth shut and let his lawyer do the talking as he was arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court last night on charges of unlawful imprisonment and forceable touching.

"He would grab women by their ankles, then kiss and lick their feet. A real sicko," a police source said. Assistant Manhattan District Attorney Rachana Pathak said Weir would corner a woman alone on the subway at night and bow to her while asking, "Can I date you? Can I be your slave?"

Weir was ordered held in lieu of $10,000 bail.

* * *

Well. That's certainly one way to approach women. Not exactly the most effective front porch I've ever seen!


What's the LEAST effective way to approach men/women for dates?

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

Thursday, May 18, 2006

My new favorite business card of all time

Last night was the (rescheduled) BNI St. Louis/Illinois Regional Meeting. Everybody was in great spirits, especially when reminiscing about the fire at Spazios.

I met lots of awesome BNI folk from all around the area; namely my new friends from Instant Imprints. And I have to say, they had pretty much the greatest business cards I've ever seen.

Now, I know what you're thinking: it's just a normal business card, right?

No. Check this out. When Angie handed me her card she said, "Here, it folds out into a t-shirt!"

Too cool! Way to go Instant Imprints! You've imprinted an UNFORGETTABLE impression on my mind!


When was the last time someone's business card blew you away?

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

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

I really think MySpace is going to self-destruct

I love MySpace. I really do. But as much as I've been enjoying it and all the cool audience members and friends it's allowed me to connected with, it saddens me to hear the following story from the AP.

ROCKVILLE, Md. - Two teenagers were charged with setting fires in suburban Washington after they bragged about the blazes on, authorities said.

Stores, vehicles, a bowling alley and two school buses were set on fire between Jan. 20 and April 16. Investigators got a tip to check out the online social networking site, where they found photos and descriptions.

"The significant thing is they posted on the Internet, and bragged about the fires, and that certainly allowed us to break the case," county Fire Chief Thomas W. Carr Jr. said. "They posted photos of these fires."

I feel bad because it's not Tom's fault. It's not MySpace's fault. But every month it seems like two things always happen:

1) MySpace climbs closer and closer to 100 million users.

2) I seem to read another crime-related story about these morons who get arrested via MySpace, which reaffirms my hypothesis:


You heard it here first. That's my prediction. Sorry, Tom! I love MySpace, but I fear for its future.


What lies ahead for MySpace?

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

When I was your age, we didn't have caller ID!

Someday I hope to say that to my kids.

I remember the days when the phone would ring and you'd have no idea who was calling: a telemarketer, your spouse, a client or a complete stranger.

It made answering the phone exciting. Surprising. Even fun!

Then, in 1988 when the first caller ID hit the market, everything changed. Someone would pick up the receiver and hear, "Hey Karen!" and Karen would think, "Wait, how the hell did you know it was me?!"

"Oh, we have caller ID. I knew it was you," says Karen's friend.

And so, caller ID changed the entire scope of communicating on the phone in the following ways:

  • Instead of having to take every call, now with caller ID, you could screen callers and only talk to the people you wanted to (or whose numbers you recognized)

  • Instead of getting excited every time the phone rang, you'd roll your eyes when you saw it was your college roommate, Steve (and not your biggest customer ready to reorder) and say, "Eh, hey Dave..."

    I've been meaning to blog about this issue for a few years now. And I guess it wasn't until I recently moved office locations (where my new phone does NOT have caller ID) that I started thinking about it.

    When I first moved in, I was a bit annoyed. I was so used to caller ID! I even considered returning my phone to Target and exchanging it for an updated model.

    But now, I gotta say: I kinda like it. It's only been a few weeks, but every time that phone rings, I get excited! Is it someone calling to book a speech? A friend from California I haven't talked to in months? Or could it be my old stalker Stephan calling to freak me out again?

    It rules.

    Now, do I think the world would be better without caller ID? Not necessarily. It certainly serves its purpose(s). But I think communication is about consistency. And maybe answering the phone the exact same way for every caller (the way we used to do it) is the way it should be.


    How does caller ID affect your phone communication?

    * * * *
    Scott Ginsberg
    Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag
  • Monday, May 15, 2006

    If you write like you talk, readers will listen

    Wait a minute. Does that headline even make sense? Can readers listen to you?

    Sure they can. If you write right. Me, I never took any writing classes. I didn’t major in English. And I’m sure my writing isn’t as polished as other authors.

    So I write like I talk. Like I’m having a conversation with you, right now. And while this isn’t the only way to engage readers and help them “listen” to your writing, it’s certainly an effective technique.

    Kurt Vonnegut once said, “Great writers need to be great dates for their readers.” That means you and I are on a date, right now. (By the way, that shirt really brings out your eyes.)

    Anyway, back to writing right. I think the key to capturing your reader’s ears (in a non-Van Gough kind of way) is with your voice. And by “voice” I mean the distinctive quality, feel, sound and tone of your writing. Take Dave Barry. He is, in my opinion, is the funniest writer in the world. Here’s an excerpt from one of his 1996 columns from the Miami Herald:

    Recently, when I was having a hamburger at an outdoor restaurant, two guys started up their Harley-Davidson motorcycles, parked maybe 25 feet from me. Naturally, being Harley guys, these were rebels -- lone wolves, guys who do it Their Way, guys who do not follow the crowd. You could tell because they were wearing the same jeans, jackets, boots, bandannas, sunglasses, belt buckles, tattoos and (presumably) underwear worn by roughly 28 million other lone-wolf Harley guys.

    Readers get the feeling that a face-to-face conversation with Dave Barry would be exactly like his writing: hilarious and exaggerated. So, they listen to him. That’s probably why he’s sold millions and millions of books around the world. And I use Dave as an example because he has a unique voice. Unfortunately, coming from someone who reads two books a week, I’m sorry to say that too few writers understand the value of developing and using their voice.

    Because they’re afraid. They’re afraid of breaking the rules of grammar and structure. They’re afraid of throwing themselves into their art. And they’re afraid they’ll have to apologize because their writing might offend somebody. So, they hide their true selves behind the same boring, unrevealing and this-is-what-my-English-professor-or-boss-told-me-to-do kind of writing.

    Look. I can’t tell you how to put more of yourself into your writing – only you can decide that. Besides, how should I know? After all, this is only our first date.

    Take a tip from two masters. Leo Tolstoy once said, “Write only with your pen dipped in your own blood.” William Jenkins once said, “Good writing is like walking across a stage naked.”

    Now ask yourself: “Does my writing reveal who I really am to my readers?” If the answer is no, here are a few ways to start developing your voice:

    1) Everything you write, read aloud. Decide if it really sounds like you. Imagine you’re giving a speech at Harvard’s Commencement: would those 5000 students really listen to you?

    2)Pay attention to specific words and phrases used in your daily conversations. Do you also use those in your writing?

    3)Grab a newspaper and read three editorials. What do you like/not like about the voice of the reporters? While reading, did you find yourself completely engaged or thinking about something else?

    All writers have a unique voice, whether they use it or not. So, it isn’t something that needs to be created. It’s something that’s already there because it comes from the heart. What you need to do is uncover that voice. Then, your readers will listen.

    Well, this has been a lot of fun. I hope we can go out again sometime... about a kiss goodnight?


    What's your writing "voice"?

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

    Friday, May 12, 2006

    The Hyatt Milwaukee Rules!

    As the adventures in The Land of Cheese and Beer come to a close, I wanted to share a few more highlights of the trip.

    It all started at 4:30 AM yesterday morning. I scheduled a wake-up call so I could get an early start before the training sessions. As usual, I picked up the receiver and immediately hung it up. After all, it's just a recording, right?

    I dragged myself outta bed and got to work. By the time 7 AM rolled around, 20 third shift employees filled the room. About halfway through my session, Dennis from PBX raised his hand and said, "Hey Scott - you hung up on me at 4:30 AM today!"

    Little did I know, Hyatt is known for its personal wake-up call service, during which the operator will not only wish you a friendly good morning, but also a weather report. (FYI: 37 degrees, 37 mph wind. Ouch.)

    I responded with, "Sorry about that; but honestly, how approachable can anyone be at 4:30 AM!"

    My bad Dennis.

    Anyway, the rest of the sessions went great. A few highlights:

    *Several of the Romanian employees talked about their culture's view on approachability. "We are taught not to talk to strangers," said one of the waiters. I thought this brought up an interesting point on how cultures differ on this subject.

    *Many employees shared success stories when working with diffucult (or famous) guests.

    *I passed out several "I HEART MY JOB" pins to a group of housekeepers. (I hope the union doesn't mind!)

    *We practiced "Discovering the CPI" by asking each other, "What's your favorite cereal?"

    *Kericka Green played "The Name Game" to re-introduce everybody.

    All in all, it was a great trip. Special thanks to Phil Gerbyshak who gave me the Cream City tour. And super special thanks to the Hyatt Milwaukee - you guys rule!


    When was the last time you wanted to punch someone in the face?

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

    Thursday, May 11, 2006

    The Land of Cheese and Beer

    At least that's what everyone tells me about Milwaukee. (This is my first time here.) I'm doing a few days of staff training with the Hyatt Regency this week.

    A few observations...

    *When I stepped off the plane (at 1:30 PM on a Wednesday) I noticed a group of firemen in the bar about 4 deep. I suspect it was Miller, as opposed to my hometown favorite, Bud.

    *Saw an old man in his late 60's/early 70's wearing a black shirt with white writing that read: THIS IS WHAT COOL LOOKS LIKE. I thought, Wow, this is my kind of guy!

    *The food is GREAT here. Hyatt's in-house restaurant, Knuckles, serves up one helluva Philly Cheese Steak. They also had a selection of about 30 different beers. Kinda made me wish I was a drinker. Oh well.

    On a slightly related note, I came across a great article from Management Issues about Boss Approachability. Good timing, especially since today's training session is with all of the managers of the property. Anyway, this survey from the UK canvassed the thoughts of 1,500 employees, 97% of whom thought "their manager could do a better job of communicating clearer and more direct," and that "we all respond to managers who are approachable."

    Good stuff.

    Alrighty, off to work. Cheers and cheese from Milwaukee!


    What's your favorite beer and/or cheese?

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

    Wednesday, May 10, 2006

    TV might be the devil, but at least my cable guy was cool

    The cable guy came by yesterday. (Between 8 and 12, of course.) I almost didn't order it. I hate TV. Rarely watch it. With the exception of The Simpsons and Bill Maher.

    And I was hoping my representative from Charter would be like Jim Carrey in his most underrated movie, but to no avail. Just a normal dude.

    He was hooking up my TV when he noticed a few of my books. He eventually asked, "Scott, are you famous?"

    "Um, I don't know about that..."

    "Yeah - you do commercials, right?"

    Hmm. Commercials. He must be confusing me with Jared Fogle from Subway.

    "No, I wish! But I have done quite a few interviews about my books, though."

    "Yeah, I've definately seen you on TV before."

    "Really? Cool."

    We chatted for a few minutes after I explained the whole nametag thing. He asked if I just woke up every day and stuck a new one on my shirt. I said yes.

    After he finished I signed the papers and gave him a few books.

    "Thanks! I think approachability is really important for cable companies, especially because we go into so many peoples' homes and need to make them feel comfortable."

    "Well Chris, you did a great job. A+ on approachability!"

    Now...if I could only figure out how to get my TV to BLOCK American Idol....

    Damn that show is tempting! to do...can't resist...Simon Cowell...


    Who was the friendliest or most memorable cable guy you ever had?

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

    Tuesday, May 09, 2006

    The World Is A Mirror, Part 2

    A is for ATTITTUDE

    Albert Einstein once said, “You can’t solve a problem with the same mind that created it.”

    The lesson: break your patterns. Every day.

    But this isn't just about creativity. It's about doing cool stuff. It's about not becoming a slave to routine. It's about spicing up your day, even in the slightest way. It's about enriching your life.

    Because boredom is the enemy. Boredom is an insult to yourself. It poisons your soul and pisses off your brain.

    When I slap this nametag on my shirt every day, I never know what to expect. Will a stranger ask me where to find the work shirts in Target? Will a man I've only met via email recognize me while walking down the street, roll down his window and yell "Hey Scott!"?

    I use those two examples because both of them happened last Saturday.

    Which made me realize: breaking your patterns (daily) is good for you. Here's why:

    1) It's fun
    2) It forces you to think on your feet
    3) It stimulates your creativity
    4) It gives you new choices
    5) It forces you to be more mindful of your surroundings
    6) It makes life more interesting
    7) It creates cool experiences
    8) It shows your vulnerability, and in turn, authenticity

    I'm glad (no wait, thankful!) that wearing a nametag 24-7 forces me to break my daily patterns. In fact, I can't remember the last time I was bored.

    Driving along on this highway
    All these cars and upon the sidewalk
    People in every direction
    No words exchanged, no time to exchange and when
    All the little ants are marching
    Red and black antennae waving
    They all do it the same
    They all do it the same way

    Thanks Dave.


    How does breaking patterns change you daily life?

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

    Monday, May 08, 2006

    1996 seems like a long time ago

    This weekend I had lunch with my mentor, great friend and former high school English teacher, Bill Jenkins.

    I brought along a recently found copy of my notebook from Intermediate Composition (circa 1996). It was fascinating to read through it. I noticed:

  • I had (and still have) crappy handwriting
  • My grades weren't anything spectacular (lots of 78's)
  • My writing style wasn't terribly different than it is now (lots of parentheses)

    We searched through the pages and found some interesting quotations. The first comes from Bill Jenkins himself:

    "Good writing is like walking across a stage naked."

    Another comes from Leo Tolstoy:

    "Write only with your pen dipped in your own blood."

    The last one is one of my all time favorites. It's another Bill Jenkins original:

    "We learn not from our experiences but from intelligent reflection upon those experiences."

    Wow. Maybe I did learn something in high school.


    What did you learn in high school that's still applicable to your life today?

    * * * *
    Scott Ginsberg
    Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag
  • Friday, May 05, 2006

    Do website hits actually mean anything?

    When my website went live in October of 2002, I asked the same question any businessperson would ask: how can I get lots and lots of hits?

    Because in my mind:

    hits = good website = success = sweet moolah

    Not really. In fact, Internet guru Tom Antion once said that H.I.T.S stands for "How Idiots Track Sales."

    When I first heard that, I laughed and cried at the same time. Here's why...

    My website gets a lot of hits. At least, I think it's a lot. Honestly, I don't know what "a lot" means. But for a few years now, it's been roughly 8,000 a day. (1,500 unique users.) And since I recently got sucked into the delicious vortex of MySpace, I now get about 18,000 hits a day (2,000 unique users.)

    The reason I get so many hits is because:

    1) I publish weekly articles
    2) I've done hundreds of interviews
    3) I have thousands of outgoing and incoming links
    4) I've been featured in hundreds of media outlets
    5) I publish two blogs daily

    ...blah blah blah. Who cares, right? I guess what's more important is: are those hits converting?

    The answer: it took a while, but yes.

    (And "converting" probably means something different to every businessperson.)

    I guess the point I'm trying to make is: "hits" is a deceptive word.

    On the other hand, lots and lots of hits might not lead to success and/or sweet moolah, but they certainly help.


    What do "hits" mean to you?

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

    Thursday, May 04, 2006

    The World is a Mirror, Part 1

    A common question asked by audience members, readers and strangers alike is, "Scott, in all these years of wearing a nametag 24-7, how have YOU changed?"

    This brings up one of my favorite quotations by Ben Sweetland, "You cannot hold a torch to light another's path without brightening your own."

    In other words: the world is a mirror.

    You see, when I started this crazy journey on November 2nd, 2000, my intention was to wear a nametag to make other people friendlier. I guess I never considered the profound effect it would also have on my own life.

    Therefore, today I'm starting a series of posts called "The World Is A Mirror." Each week I will explore one area of my own life that has improved or changed because of wearing a nametag. These posts will continue for approximately the next 26 weeks, one for each letter of the alphabet.

    Let's get started...

    A is for ATTITUDE
    Most self-help books, articles, seminars and tapes dance around the same idea: attitude is everything.

    At the risk of sounding cliche, I completely agree. If there's been one obvious change in my personality in the past 6 years, it's my attitude. Ask anyone who's known me since college. Sure, I've always been an upbeat, positive guy. But when I started wearing a nametag 24-7, it was almost as if I couldn't have a bad attitude. Ever. After all, how could a man spread the message about friendliness if he was in a rotten mood?

    And in the beginning, that scared me. This sucks! I thought. For the rest of my life, I'm going to have to be friendly to everyone!

    But after about 2 years, it dawned on me: wait a minute...that's a good thing!

    Look. I've had bad days, been sick, annoyed, frustrated, even angry at people. (I am human, after all.) But in the midst of such negativity, I've also made the choice to maintain a positive, patient and friendly attitude to each person that came up to me and said, "Dude, you can take your nametag off now."

    It's almost the opposite of the old saying, paint yourself into a corner. Because in my case, instead of doing something which puts me in a very difficult situation and limits the way that I can act; I'm doing something which puts me in a very good situation that limits the way I can act.

    You see, my nametag keeps me visually accountable. It's like wearing a little sign on my shirt that reminds me every day: "Stay up, Scott."

    Unless I'm having a really crappy day. Then I just don't leave the house.


    How has your attitude changed in the past few years?

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

    Wednesday, May 03, 2006

    A short list of cliches I'm tired of

    Know your customer
    Of course. That’s the first rule of marketing. But isn’t just as important to ask, “Do your customers know you?” After all, people will do business with you for three reasons: they’ve heard you, they’ve heard OF you, or someone they trust has heard of you.

    If you build it, they will come
    Boy, that’d be nice, wouldn’t it? But it doesn’t work that way. You need to create significant attraction. Because just building it (your business, your brand, your front porch) is not enough. Kevin Costner wasn’t incorrect, he was incomplete. You need to build it authentically. Creatively. Consistently. Interestingly. Remarkably. Transparently. Participatory. Daily. Then, and only then, they (might) come.

    Be the best
    Definitely. You can’t beat quality. But Jerry Garcia took it further when he said, “Don’t just be the best at what you do, be the only one who does what you do.” So, do that first. Then you will become the first one, the only one AND the best one.

    It’s just one of those days
    Give me a break. People who have “one of those days” only do so because they choose to. They wave their white flag and surrender to the day. And often times, customers and coworkers suffer the consequences. So, if you have a bad day, it’s your fault. Don’t take it out on anyone. Take responsibility. You don’t have to have a bad day if you don’t want to.

    Thinking outside of the box
    Stop! This ridiculous excuse for creativity is no longer valid. It’s an old, tired cliché and it desperately needs rewording. If you really wanted to think outside the box, you would have called it a hexagon. And isn’t it ironic that “outside of the box” is a completely “inside of the box” expression?

    Go from where you are to where you want to be
    Unbelievable. It’s not humanly possibly to be more vague than this. It lacks originality, creativity and uniqueness. And too many companies use this so-called “benefit statement” in their marketing materials. Even ask yourself: Do you want to work with someone who will “take you from where you are to where you want to be” or do you want to work with someone who will “increase your company’s profits by 25%”? Specificity = credibility.

    You've got to have charisma
    Not enough. In an age of corporate scandal, lack of consumer trust and mass media brainwashing, there is only one attribute that picks up where charisma left off and TRULY magnetizes customers and coworkers to you: authenticity. Because you don’t need to possess the interpersonal charm or brilliance of Bill Clinton to be authentic. You just need to be yourself. And anybody can do that to become a more successful communicator and businessperson.

    If you have a job that you love, you’ll never work a day in your life
    Bullshit. Confucius must have been “confused” when he said this 2000 years ago. For example, I love my job. I’m excited every single day to get out of bed and go to work. You couldn’t pay me enough money NOT to do my job! But you better believe it’s work. It’s a lot of work. Even when it’s fun, cool and rewarding; it’s still work. So if you think the day you find a job you love is the day you stop working, you’re probably confused too.

    What’s in it for me?
    Utterly selfish. And the funny thing about this cliché is that everyone thinks they’re the first writer or speaker to say, “All people are tuned into the same radio station: WIIFM.” Look, networking is about developing and maintaining mutually valuable relationships. So shouldn’t we be asking, “What’s in it for US?”

    Try to be different
    Please don’t. Remember what Yoda said: there is no try. Either do, or do not. Don’t try, just be. Be yourself. And don’t be different, be unique. Because anybody can be different. Different is wearing a red hat. But that doesn't make you unique. That’s not doing something that nobody else can do. Unique is when you’re the ONLY one.

    Never toot your own horn
    Fine. But if YOU don’t, nobody else will. I say shout it from the rooftops. Let the world know how awesome you are! But do it with grace. Don’t TELL customers that you’re a great salesman; SHOW them testimonials of past customers who agree with you. Don’t TELL strangers on the airplane that you’re an author; SHOW them by offering a free, autographed copy of your book.

    Life is about finding yourself
    No it isn’t. It’s about creating yourself. It’s about becoming the person you are supposed to become. It’s about revealing the sculpture that’s already inside the stone. You can’t find something that’s been there the whole time.

    The nail that stands up will be hammered down
    Possibly. On the other hand, maybe customers will notice how cool and valuable and unique that nail is and then HIRE that nail. Then refer that nail to their friends. “Stand up, stick your neck out – or be counted out,” says Tom Peters. “People who get ahead get noticed,” says Peter Montoya. Damn right.


    What cliche are you tired of - and how would you rewrite it?

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

    Tuesday, May 02, 2006

    Well, there goes my self-esteem

    I stopped by the annual St. Louis Book Fair yesterday. It was pretty impressive: thousands and thousands of used books for less than two bucks a piece!

    I picked up about a dozen rare titles, including an awesome book called A Brief History of the Smile!

    The entire parking lot reeked of that old book smell. Ahhhhh! I love it. And everything was going great until I found myself in the self-help section and saw this:

    No way. Is that what I think it is?

    Yes. It's my book. Sitting on the bargain table. For two bucks.

    Well, there goes my self-esteem.

    I held the book in my hand and starting laughing hysterically. The woman next to me looked over at my nametag and the book and asked, "Excuse me Scott, but is that you?"

    "Yep, it's my book. Came out in 2002. Guess it's only worth two bucks!"

    "Really? Do you have a pen? Will you sign it for me?"

    "Um, sure...hang on."

    I autographed the copy for her and said, "Here ya go it's worth $2.25!"


    What's the coolest used book you've ever bought?

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

    Monday, May 01, 2006

    Adventures in Nametagging: Ft. Wayne Style

    Last week was my first time in Fort Wayne, Indiana. It's known as "The City of Churches," which became apparent to me when I looked out of my hotel window only to see steeple after steeple after steeple! Cool.

    (Thanks to the Ft. Wayne CVB for the great t-shirt.)

    My speech was for the Indiana Chapter of Meeting Planners International. Before the program I went out to dinner with my old friend Donna Jacobsen, along and my new friends Deborah and Jim. They all wore nametags when they welcomed me in the lobby. (You'd be surprised how often people play that joke on me!)

    When our server at Club Soda (a former textile factory turned jazz/martini bar) came over to greet us, he said, "Good evening Donna ... Jim ... Deborah ... Scott...hey, where's my nametag?!"

    I whipped out one of my spares and let Nathan join the nametag party.

    "So Scott, do you always carry blank nametags around with you?" he asked. Everyone laughed.

    "Of course I do. Hey, you never know when someone else will need one!"

    The folks at the Grand Wayne Convention Center did an awsome job with the meeting. The room was set up in an obvious Granny Smith theme, complete with an apple ice sculpture. And boy did it look tasty. I almost stopped my speech halfway through just to take a bite!

    But I didn't. Instead, we talked about networking intros, being that guy and owning a word. I even ran into a fellow NSA'er, Dan Surface.

    A good time was had by all.


    What's been your experience with Ft. Wayne?

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