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

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Interruption sucks, interaction rocks

Radio ads. Billboards. Wall Posters. Yellow pages. Pamphlets. Leaflets. Brochures. TV commercials. Newspapers ads. Magazine ads. Pop ups. Fax Outs. Hiring a fat guy to stand out on the street corner during traffic with a big sandwich board three blocks down the street from your restaurant. Pitching the media to do stories about you. Standing at a big flashy booth at a trade show giving away free pens. Blinking web ads. Direct Email. Cold calls (pictured). Direct Mail. Driving down the street, slowing down in front of pedestrians, rolling down your window and asking them, “Hey, you wanna buy a home stereo?”

That last example actually happened to me last week while walking down the street in downtown Chicago. It was ridiculous!

And it got me thinking: what do all of those marketing techniques have in common?

Not all the time, but for the most part:

• They suck
• They annoy people
• They cost money
• They waste money
• They waste trees
• They are antiquated, boring and ineffective marketing channels created around interruption

Interruption, I say!

And they don’t work any more.

Because people are tired of being interrupted and being YELLED AT to buy stuff.

Bestselling author Seth Godin first noticed this trend in 1998. His revolutionary interview in FastCompany magazine quoted him as saying, “There's too much going on in our lives for us to enjoy being interrupted anymore. So, our natural response is to ignore the interruptions.”

Gets worse.

In 2004, a UCLA study reported that the average consumer sees 3000 marketing messages in one day. Course, that was a few years ago. By now, I bet it’s well over 5000.


This word has been on my mind a lot lately, and here’s why…

See, tomorrow is November 1st. Which means my company will celebrate its four-year anniversary in a few months. (Woo hoo!)

Now, I will tell you that, for the few years of my company’s existence, I didn’t make much money.

OK, fine. I didn’t make ANY money.

However, 2006 was a stellar year. I almost tripled my projected revenue. I surpassed most of my year-end goals by October. I even managed to take some time off! (Double woo hoo!)

And so to me, I take this as a sign that my marketing efforts are (finally!) paying off.

But, I have a confession to make. In fact, I have three of them.

In the history of my career as an entrepreneur:

1) I’ve never made a cold call.
2) I’ve never run an advertisement.
3) I’ve never “pitched” the media.

I know. Doesn’t seem normal, does it?

Well, that’s just the way I do business.

Because any day of the week, I’d rather: concentrate my marketing efforts on creating a sense of attraction, a sense of gravity; that magnetizes customers, prospects and fans toward my company through a process of delivering value in the vehicle known as my brand...

...than run some crappy ad. Or interrupt someone’s day with an annoying cold call. Or send out a direct mail piece. Or...

You get the point: interruption.

Therefore, if interruption is the enemy of successful marketing, what’s the ally?

My theory: interaction.

Look. I’ve been wearing a nametag 24-7 for just over 6 years now. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned from tens of thousands of encounters - with new people I otherwise never would have met – it’s this: interruption sucks, interaction rocks.

Now, what exactly do I mean by interaction? I’m talking about direct contact with your customers and prospects. Building community. Making friends. Creating and keeping fans. Hanging out. Delivering value. Developing relationships.

Specifically, stuff like...

Posting on your blog. Commenting on somebody else’s blog. Publishing articles in your community’s newspaper. Giving speeches at Chamber meetings. Lunches with friends. Lunches with customers. Lunches with potential customers. Publishing an ezine. Doing an audio podcast. Chat rooms. Bulletin boards. Speaking at trade shows. Attending networking functions. Doing a video podcast. Posting your pictures on Flickr. Instant messaging. Widgets. RSS feeds. MySpace. MyYearbook. Tagworld. Digg. Delicious. Squidoo. LinkdIn. Flickr. Wikipedia. Friendster. Facebook. LiveJournal. Online discussion boards. Facilitating word of mouth. Throwing an open house or party at your office. Doing an interview on the radio. Going on a talk show. Talking to strangers!

And the list goes on an on.

So. Big question of the day: what do all of those marketing channels have in common?

Not all the time, but for the most part:

• They’re fun
• They connect with people
• They cost little or no money
• They save money
• They save time
• They are fresh, cool and effective marketing created around interaction

Interaction, I say!

And they work. They work really, really, really well.

Because customers are excited about interacting and participating with cool stuff, people and ideas that make them feel comfortable and respected.

So, I said it once and I’ll say it again: interruption sucks, interaction rocks.

(This post was inspired by Andy Sernovitz's kick-ass new book.)

Is your marketing interrupting or interacting?

Make a list of 10 possible interaction marketing channels. Post them here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag

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Monday, October 30, 2006

Stand up, speak up, or get shut down

My flight to Newark was late.

My connecting flight to Geneva took off in 10 minutes.

If I missed my connection, I would miss my speech the next day.

And I was stuck in the very last seat on a packed plane.

Not good.

I started to panic. There’s no way in hell I’m going to make it! I thought.

Then I had an idea. During our descent, I illuminated the call button and explained my situation to the flight attendant. She promised to make an announcement over the PA alerting everyone that a passenger from the back needed to leave immediately to catch an international connection.

We touched down. I clenched my carry on in my lap. My fingers dangled above the seatbelt like a gunfighter from the old West.

The plane taxied to the gate and came to a stop.

But there was no announcement. No warning from the flight attendant. Just the “ding” of the seatbelt sign being turned off. And I watched 50 passengers in front of me stand up and gather their bags.

Not good.

“Hey Scott, what happened to your announcement?” asked the guy next to me.

“Dude, I don’t know! I guess she forgot!”

“Well you better do something or else you’re never going to make your flight.”

He was right. I had to do something.

Then it hit me. I didn’t want to do it. I knew it would piss off everyone else on the plane. But I had no choice. No way was I going to miss my speech in Geneva!


Everyone stared at me. I gave one of those “I’m-so-sorry-but-I-have-no-choice” smiles. Finagling my way through the crowd, passengers groaned and shook their heads at me. I started to sweat. I heard one guy say, “Hey buddy, we all have flights to catch.”

By the time I got to the front, 50 pairs of eyes burned a hole through my shirt, which was now drenched in my own nervous sweat. The flight attendant waited for me at the door with a big smile on her face.

“Way to speak up Scott! I’ve never seen a passenger do that before.”

I ended up making it to Geneva on time. I gave my speech the next day and rocked the house. Halfway through my presentation, I told the story you just read and concluded with the following piece of advice:

Stand up, speak up, or get shut down.

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag

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Friday, October 27, 2006

The World is a Mirror, Part 12

I is for IDEAS
J is for JOY

There are two kinds of laughter: outward and inward. And I believe both are equally important.

Me, I can’t help but laugh at myself. Like, daily. For God’s sake, I’ve worn a nametag 24-7 for 6 years! It’s hard NOT to.

Like when I look in the mirror every morning at my nametag tattoo.

Like when I do a load of laundry and forget to remove a nametag from one of my t-shirts.

Like when I get a great piece of hate mail that says something like, “Scott, you’re nuttier than a bag of trail mix!” (Someone actually wrote that once.)

Yep, laughing at yourself is the greatest. I like what Carl Reiner had to say about it, “Inviting people to laugh with you while you are laughing at yourself is a good thing to do. You may be the fool, but you're the fool in charge.”

Preach on, brother.

Look. Too many people in this world take too many things in this world WAY too seriously. You probably know someone who refuses to laugh at himself, right?

Good. Then I suggest you send that person the following list: Top 10 Reasons to Laugh at Yourself Daily.

1) Humility. Nobody is perfect. Nobody. So, when you poke fun at your own faults and mistakes, the people around you – your staff, your clients, your friends – will appreciate your humanness.

2) Wealth. Film buff Raymond Hitchcock once noted, “A man isn't poor if he can still laugh.” That’s how powerful this stuff is. And I’d be willing to bet that even Bill Gates and Donald Trump laugh at themselves daily. Especially Trump.

3) The Disarming Effect. Whenever I give a talk, whether it’s to 40 people or 4000 people, I try to laugh at myself about every four minutes. HINT: if you’re speaking to a group, self-laughs make your audience feel comfortable. Not to mention, they can’t beat you to the punch.

4) Attitude.
I admit; I’m not positive and cheery all the time. (Who is?) But I can’t help but think that my attitude has significantly improved over the past six years as a result of self-laughter. It’s like Mitlon Berle said, “Laughter is an instant vacation.” So think about it: how great is your attitude on vacation?

5) Quality. I’ve seen hundreds (maybe thousands) of funny movies in my short 26 years on this planet. And honestly, I think if everyone in the world took the ten funniest things about their own lives and made them into movies, we’d have a one heck of a comedy library. Let’s face it: the best laughs are the ones directed at ourselves.

6) Safety. Sometime you’ve got to be careful who you laugh at. People get offended easily. (Especially those people who can’t laugh at themselves first.) The point is; laughing at yourself is safe. People rarely get pissed off because you cracked a joke at your own expense.

7) Approachability.
Gosh. What a surprise that I picked this word, huh? But come on, it’s true. Just think about working with two people, one who never laughs at himself and one who often pokes fun at her own actions. Who do you want to hang out with? (Notice I just made fun of myself in this last paragraph.)

8) Reciprocation. Self-laughter is important in a conversation, especially with someone you’ve just met. Do it early to open the doors. That way, everyone involved will feel comfortable to laugh at themselves (and each other) as well. It’s a beautiful environment.

9) Maturity.
Another great line comes from Ethel Barrymore. She said, “You grow up the day you have your first real laugh - at yourself.” Couldn’t agree more.

10) Health.
I’ve been through some tough times in the past few years, especially in the beginning of 2006 when I spent a week in the hospital with a collapsed lung. And I remember the highlight of the week was when the nurses came in to my room to administer my first chest tube. They pulled down the top of my gown, took one look at my nametag tattoo and couldn’t stop laughing for five minutes. Freaking priceless. No morphine drip can beat that.

Anyway, at the risk of sounding cliché, there’s no way that laughter – especially self-laughter – isn’t the best medicine.

The best Jerry! The BEST.

How many times did you laugh at yourself this week?

Make your own list called "Top Three Reasons I Laugh at Myself." Post it here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag

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Thursday, October 26, 2006

Adventures in Nametagging: Day 2,185

So I ran into my postman for the first time yesterday. It was pretty exciting.

I said hello as I got to the bottom of the steps. He greeted me back with a friendly, "Hey Scott!"

As I walked towards him he looked at my nametag and started chuckling under his breath. "HELLO, my name is Scott..." he laughed.

"Yep, that's me."

"Gosh, you even get mail address to you that way!"

"Yeah, well, it's the name of my company, so..."

"Well it's nice to finally meet you in person. I was wondering what the heck that meant."

I glanced as his embroidered nametag (compliments of the USPS) and replied, "Good to meet you too, Frank. Go Cards!"

What's your postman like?

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Do what nobody else is willing to do

As research for my fourth book, Make a Name for Yourself, I've been asking a lot of people to answer one key question: "How did you make a name for yourself?"

A common thread among all the professionals I interviewed was that they "did what nobody else was willing to do.”

In other words, whatever it takes.

Kind of like Dave Chapelle, who wanted to be a comedian. He used to sneak into 21+ comedy clubs when he was in highschool. He'd watch and study the crowds. He'd watch and study the comics. Eventually he became good enough to start performing at open mics every Thursday.

Also like Jimmy Fallon, who wanted to be on SNL. He used to record the episodes every Saturday night. He'd memorize and practice the monologues for his mother. Eventually he became so skilled at doing impressions that he became a regular cast member on the show.

Or like Tony Robbins, who wanted to be a professional speaker. He started giving speeches three times a day to every Rotary Club, every Kiwanis Club and every Chamber of Commerce in town. In two year's time he had 10 year's experience.

And the rest, as they say, was history.

Because they did what nobody else is willing to do.

Apropriately, this fall starts my fourth year in business. And in retrospect, over the years I, too, have done a fair amount of stuff that nobody else was willing to do...

• For the first year or two, I just gave my books away. Literally. Every speech, every networking event, every conversation with a stranger on the plane, free books! Hundreds of them! And you know what? It was worth it. Even though a lot of people thought I was crazy not to charge, I knew it was the best way to stimulate word of mouth.

• When I first started speaking, to prepare for upcoming speeches I’d stay up all night rehearsing for hours and hours so that my audience didn’t think I stayed up all night rehearsing for hours and hours. Which reminds me of what Michael Cane once said, "The art is hiding the art."

• To help pay the bills during those wonderful "My Company Isn't Making Any Money Years," I worked nights parking cars at a local hotel. During slow shifts, I furiously wrote ideas, articles and stories in my little black journal. My coworkers thought I was crazy! That is, until those scribblings turned into four books. Including this next one, Make a Name for Yourself!

In summary, I think Mike Hernacki said it best: "The ultimate secret to getting absolutely anything you want is to do whatever it takes."

How did you make a name for yourself?

Post (here) a list of all the things you did that nobody else was willing to do.

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The best swimmers are always in the pool

I used to be a Toastmaster.

It was the greatest. Top ten best things I ever did for my speaking career. And although I only had the chance to attended meetings for about six months, I still recommend the organization to everyone.

Even non-speakers. Especially non-speakers.

Why? It’s the perfect tool for networking, enhancing self-confidence and becoming a better communicator. Plus, it’s really fun.

During one meeting in late 2004, I spoke with a man named Les. He was a veteran of the organization, but told me that he still came every single week.

When I asked why he said: “Because the best swimmers are always in the pool.”

I never forgot that. The best swimmers are always in the pool.

That’s you: the swimmer.

What's your pool and how often are you swimming?

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag

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Saturday, October 21, 2006

Funny, you don't look like a Nick

After a miraculous drive from Dayton to Cincy in 41 minutes (wow), I walked into my meeting at Palomino.

Now, whenever I meet someone at a restaraunt, the hostess usually knows who I am right away.

"Scott, right?"


"Your friends told me you'd be wearing a nametag. Right this way to table 75..."


She walked me over to the table where I was scheduled to meet a few potential clients for a meeting. (Now, keep in mind, I'd never met these people in person. I had no idea what they looked like. All I knew was who they worked for and their names.)

A well dressed man stood up with a big smile and a hand extended.

"Great to see you sir! Have a seat..." he said.

"Thanks so much for inviting me," I replied. "It's exciting to finally meet you in person."

I took a sip of water.

"So," he said, "Where's Tom?"


"I don't know," I replied, "I thought the others were coming with you."

"Oh. I thought they were coming with you..."

I tilted my head like a curious puppy. Dude. What the...?

"Wait. You're Nick, right?" I asked.

"No. My name is Rajeesh. Aren't you Dave?"

"Um, no," I said as I pointed to my nametag. "I'm Scott."

He looked at me like I was on crack.

After a few seconds of confusion, I nodded my head in realization.

"Yeah. I think I'm sitting at the wrong table."

"Oh, ok. Goodbye Scott!"

I packed my stuff up and wished Rajeesh a good lunch. I made my way back to the hostess stand and said, "Excuse me, um, I think someone took me to the wrong table. I was supposed to me someone named Nick."

"Didn't Katie show you to table 90?"

"No. 75."

"Oh, I'm sorry Scott. Your party is at table 90. Right this way."

She led me to the right table. Laughing the whole way there, I finally sat down and greeted my (correct) party. When I told them the story, they got a kick out of it. A few minutes later, Katie came back to apologize.

About an hour later on the way out, I stopped by Rajeesh's table. I handed him a "Scott's Friend" card and said, "Nice meeting you!"

He laughed as I walked away. I heard one of the other guys at his table ask curiously, "Hey Raj, who was that guy?"

"I have no idea," he said, "But I guess his name is Scott."

Have you ever sat at the wrong table and not realized it?

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag

What's your version of this phrase?

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag

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Friday, October 20, 2006




Thursday, October 19, 2006

It's not WHAT you know...

It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.
It’s not what you know, it’s who you are.
It’s not what you know, it’s who knows you.
It’s not what you know, it’s who you become.
It’s not what you know, it’s where you look.
It’s not what you know, it’s how you use it.
It’s not what you know, it’s how you present.
It’s not what you know, it’s how you know it.
It’s not what you know, it’s how well you know it.
It’s not what you know, it’s how connected you are.
It’s not what you know, it’s what you do.

It’s not what you know, it’s what you want to be.
It’s not what you know, it’s what you can prove.
It’s not what you know, it’s what you don’t know.

It’s not what you know, it's what you know when who you know really, really needs it!

What's your version of this phrase?

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag

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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

23 Phrases that Payses

1. I need your help. When approaching a service agent or receptionist, this opening line appeal to someone’s instinctive helpful nature. You’re likely to get a better response (and better service!) if you use this line.

2. You don’t know me, but. Be honest. Don’t pretend to be someone’s best friend. Especially on the phone, help someone know right away that you are calling as a stranger who hopes to become a friend.

3. I don’t know anybody here. Especially at an event where you don’t know anyone, use this line to disarm others’ preoccupation. It’s honest, fun, and if you pick the right person, they might reciprocate and become your frist friend!

4. I don’t know what that means. It shows that you’re listening. You’re not too proud to admit you don’t know everything. You’d like to learn more. This approachable, humble phrase also demonstrates interest in the other person.

5. I’m new here/this is my first time. Again, this appeals to someone’s helpful nature. Give them a chance to introduce you to others. Surrender yourself and they’ll usually help you out.

6. Hang on for ten seconds. Especially on the phone, this tells someone that you really will “be right back.” With the limited time each person has to talk to you on the phone, sentences like this speed it up. They will usually count, too, just to see if you really come back in 10 seconds. Remember, specificity = credibility.

7. Let me give you an example. Keeps someone engaged, helps he or she follow you and the conversation. Be sure to offer an example as support for your point.

8. Welcome in. In all situations – at a table, in a room – use these two words to show approachability and hospitality. It’s amazing how much friendlier “Welcome in!” is than “Hello!”

9. Drop me a line. This covers all mediums of communication and therefore leaves it open for someone to reach you however they prefer. It’s also appropriate phrasing for our times: casual, cool and informal.

10. You’re my hero. When someone goes out of there way to help you, this beats “Thanks!” any day.

11. Here’s what I learned. People don’t care what you know, only care what you learned. Tell them.

12. It’s my pleasure. This beats “Your Welcome” any day. Don’t believe me? Go to the Ritz. They love this phrase.

13. I’m not saying no TO YOU, I’m saying no FOR ME. Help them understand why you say no without making them feel rejected. Thanks, Jack Canfield.

14. I’m not comfortable with that. This is a good enough reason to object to anything because comfort is everything. And people won’t inquire WHY it’s not comfortable, they’ll respect your choice. You don’t have to defend it.

15. I disagree. These two words say it honestly and directly. Pause for two seconds, get their attention and then explain your point.

16. I don’t know, but I can find out. It’s OK not to know everything. But it’s also OK to tell someone that they’re question is important enough that you will go out of your way to find the answer for them.

17. So, to answer your question. After a long-winded answer, use this to keep your conversation partner on point.

18. Good answer. My friend Jeff does this and I love it. It reassures and affirms me. Almost like “my answer” was good simply because it came from me.

19. You got it. I once had a waitress in a hotel lobby that said this for everything. I don’t know why, but it made me feel great. I use it all the time. There’s just something about it.

20. Right away. People don’t have to wait. They get it now. Few service professionals use this, but it’s amazing.

21. You better believe it. A favorite of Cosmo Kramer, this shows confidence in your points and beliefs.

22. That’s just the way I do business. This phrase helps you keep it real and assures that others respect your choices.

23. I never thought of it that way. Most people are too proud and too close-minded to show openness to new ideas. This phrase compliments someone and shows lack of judgment. What’s more, it offers your willingness to hear someone out. (It’s amazing how few people say this.)

What's your best phrase that pays?

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag

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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

31 little things that make a BIG difference

1. Google Alerts. These keep me in the know of my key areas of study. Additionally, they enable me to monitor of where my name, articles, blog posts and books show up around the world, especially on the Internet.

2. May I Ask Who’s Calling? For years I’ve been telling receptionists, “Yes, tell Mr. Jackson it’s The Nametag Guy.” I’m still amazed at what a great first impression this makes.

3. Answering the Phone. Again, for years I’ve answered my phone from unknown numbers: “HELLO, my name is Scott!” People love it.

4. Dates. Not just remembering them, but going out of my way to remind people of the exact dates of when specific stuff happened. Sure, I might sound like RainMan, but: specificity = credibility.

5. Pictures on each blog post. It looks prettier and increases readability. Plus I’ve got some great pictures (as you can see.) Plus few bloggers actually do this.

6. Thanks You Notes
. I send them to my clients, handwritten, of course, right after we complete our project. Postcards, too. No letters. People don’t have time for letters.

7. Trash the PC
. PC’s suck. And everyone knows it. Buy a Mac.

8.Music while writing. Every morning when I sit down at 6 AM to start writing, I always listen to music. I used to do it to drown out the dogs, now I just do it because of habit. But it truly fosters concentration and enhances creativity. I suggest any of Morphine’s albums. Best band ever.

9. Creativity Books. There must be hundreds of them out there, and whenever I read a new one, my mind starts coming up with great stuff.

10. Pictures. I take pictures of everything: speeches, friends, new cities I travel to, everything. Then I post them on Flickr. Then I share them with the world. Then people see me “doing what I do.” Are people seeing you do what you do?

11. Smiling for three seconds. Not just every time I walk into a room, but especially when I get on stage. Three seconds. Before I say a word. It’s amazing how that captivates an audience. Smile = silence = WOW.

12. State your fee and shut up. It’s hard to do, but it works. Even if you have to wait 10 seconds for a response.

13. Don’t sell; enable people to buy
. My entire marketing philosophy is built around this idea. Thanks, Alan Weiss.

14. Ask, Why Me? To customers, to the media, to everyone. You must find out what you did right so you can repeat it in the future.

15. Even when you say no, you’re still marketing. Thanks, Seth Godin.

16. Typos. Each of my books has a few. And I really don’t care. Once I got over that, I realized: success isn’t perfection. Thank God.

17. Signing each book personally.
It takes like two seconds, and people remember it forever. Plus they can get a higher bid on Ebay.

18. Be funny early. In conversation, in books, in articles, in speeches, whatever. Humor disarms people and lubricates their digestion of your message.

19. My Pleasure. What can I say? I worked at the Ritz. I can’t even bring myself to say, “You’re welcome.” My Pleasure just sounds better.

20. Double sided business cards. Depending on the nature of my conversation with someone new, I’ll either give that person my business card backside up (the side with the nametag) or front side up (the side with the books). Two very different purposes for each one.

21. I don’t know what that means. This sentence shows that you’re truly listening, that you care to learn more and that you don’t know everything. People love to hear it. Try it. It works!

22. I need your help. Another great sentence that appeals to the helpful nature of service professionals. By starting a conversation in this way, you are 10 times more likely to get better service.

23. Emailing complete strangers back in 2 minutes
. It’s no big deal to me, but for some reason, it is to them. Cool.

24. Breathing exercises. I do them 10 times a day. In through the nose for 4 seconds, hold for 7, out for 8. Repeat 4 times. See ya, stress. And thanks, Dr. Andrew Weil.

25. Lists. Easier for me to write, easier for you to read, easier for everyone to remember. Viola!

26. Bold face, short sentences, short paragraphs, line breaks, italics. It’s amazing how many writers don’t utilize key structural stuff like this. It sure makes the writing more readable.

27. Starting sentences with words like “and” & “because.”
Conversational. Breaks the rules of grammar. Hey, screw spell check!

28. Eye contact with specific people in an audience for 1-3 seconds. Makes them feel like you’re talking to them personally. Which you are. Thanks, Toastmasters.

29. One extra second. Of eye contact when you shake someone’s hand, say hello or say goodbye. Thanks, Bill Clinton.

29. Delicious, digg and “email this to a friend.”
Major web traffic increasers. (See bottom of post)

30. Free books. I have no idea how many books I’ve sold, and frankly, I don’t care. All I know is, I’ve given a LOT of them away for free, and never regretted doing it a single time. It makes people’s days. Especially if you sign it. And it’s gotten me a lot of business and even more publicity.

31. Autographs. Speaking of signing books, check this out: whenever I don’t know what to write, I sign my books, “You’re a great kisser!” or “Thanks for saving my life!” You should see the reactions I get. Especially from men. More importantly, you should see how many other people my readers then show their books to. Nice.

What little things do you do that make a big difference?

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag

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Monday, October 16, 2006

Is that gorilla wearing a nametag?

At the recent Big Read festival in St. Louis, Harry the Nametagged Gorilla made a special appearance. He hung out at the SLPA booth, encouraging passerbys to join in the fun.

Meanwhile, he also helped promote a few of his favorite books, namely Bob Baker's Guerilla Music Marketing Handbooks.

At one point, a group of kids saw Harry, but were apprehensive to approach. Fortunately, throwing out dozens of packs of free Starburst made it easier. Check out the video...

Harry also received word that Jack Canfield was making an appearance to promote his new book.

As a long time reader of Chicken Soup for the Ape's Soul, Harry waited in line to meet the best selling author in person. Jack was happy to snap a picture with his furriest fan, who traveled all the way from The Congo just to see him.

All in all, The Big Read was a BIG success!

Would you approach a gorilla wearing a nametag?

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag

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Friday, October 13, 2006

This one's for you, Kane Hodder

It's just after 5 AM.

I'm sitting here in the hallway by the ice machine on the 14th floor of the San Fransisco Hyatt. The housekeeping lady just walked by and gave me a strange look.

Maybe I should go put a shirt on.

Just kidding! Although I am really out here in the hallway. My wifi signal was pretty bad, and this was the only place I could get online (hint, hint, Hyatt...)

Anyway, it's been a long week. Took me 12 hours to get from STL to SFO.

12 HOURS. Un-believable.

Not that I'm complaining. I got to catch up on my reading and do some edits on my new book as well. So that was good.

But, to be perfectly honest with ya: I really don't much to say today. No inspirational, educational or mind-blowing content. Sorry. My brain's all worn out!

(Today's post dedicated to one of the greatest actors of all time, Kane Hodder.)

What's your favorite Friday the 13th? (Mine is #4. Thanks, Corey Feldman.)

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag

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Thursday, October 12, 2006

The World is a Mirror, Part 11

I is for IDEAS
J is for JOY

Emerson once said, “Every man I meet is my superior in some way. In that, I shall learn of him.”

80,000. That’s roughly the number of people I’ve met over the years of wearing a nametag 24-7.

And I’ve learned a lot from them...

We gain knowledge from any number of sources – books, newspapers, TV, classes, experiences – but the most valuable spring of knowledge comes from our greatest resource, each other.

I know. Cheesy, right?

But it still holds true. For example, the other night I attended a pre-conference cocktail hour hosted by my client. I sat down with several women and somehow got on the topic of marriage, kids, divorces and the like.

During this conversation two terms caught my ear. I asked what they meant and wrote them down.

Here’s what I learned:

1) Toe Tag Marriage: till death do us part. No divorce. We’re in this together. Forever.

2) Casserole Wife: when a man’s wife dies, the first single female neighbor to bring him a casserole within the next 24 hours is most likely to become his next wife.

I never new that. But thanks to that conversation, I’ve now expanded my lexicon of interesting terms. Excellent.

Come to think of it, some of the best books I’ve read, movies I’ve watched and experiences I’ve had were the recommendations of total strangers I met, thanks to the ol’ nametag.

What's the most interesting thing you learned from someone you recently met?

Make a list called "5 People, 5 Lessons." Post it here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag

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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Free Ebook: 234 things I've learned about...

I'm pretty bummed out.

NSA St. Louis was set to host its annual Speakers U this weekend, in which veteran speakers share their experiences and wisdom about the speaking industry to prospective members.

Now, although I wouldn't call myself a veteran, I was still excited about the opportunity to share what I've learned in my four short years in this business.

Unfortunately, we had to cancel. Not enough people signed up.

Which SUCKS, because I worked really hard on this new ebook.

Anyway, since I can't give it out on Saturday, I thought I'd post it here. So, for those of you who've always wanted to become a professional speaker - or at least become a more effective speaker - here's pretty much everything I know about the subject:

234 Things I've Learned about Creating, Delivering & Marketing Speeches

Enjoy. I'm off to San Fran to speak at the NAPS Conference.

What are your best pieces of advice on creating, delivering and marketing speeches?

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag

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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Adventures in Nametagging: First Financial Style

I just finished another great program with First Financial Resources in Irving, TX!

We discussed several techniques on how to become that guy, namely, accessibility. I shared my (new) favorite example from last week's post, So this is what happens when you're not tainted by the corporate world.

Then they took part in the traditional Nametag Job Title Exercise, from which we had some excellent participation.

Favorites of the day were "Wealth Creation Dude," "FFR Organizing Wench," and "Single and Wealthy."

Additionally, I learned the difference between a Bull Market and a Bear Market, thanks to my new friends @ New York Life. (P.S. It's a reversible puppet!)

The highlight of the event, however, was the appearance made by former pres George H.W. Bush. He was scheduled to speak to an oil company during lunch. We tried to get in to watch, but there were secret service dudes EVERYWHERE. And you don't wanna mess with those guys. Not exactly approachable!

Fortunately, I got a picture with his sign, which was almost as cool.

How do you make yourself accessible to the people you serve?

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag

Monday, October 09, 2006

Wait for nothing

(Special thanks to Wicks for the beautiful painting.)

I'm such a sucker for John Maxwell books. His stuff is the greatest. It seems like every time I have an extra half-hour at an airport, I buy a new one.

Probably my favorite of his books is Success, One Day at a Time, in which he says, "Success is waiting for you to make the first move."

I first read this after a giving a speech at Wayne State University. I'll never forget Tom, the student in the audience who asked me, "What kind of formal training did you have in the areas of giving speeches and writing books?"

And I thought, "Training...?"

Nothing. Zip. Nada. I just started doing it. I waited for nothing.

This brings to mind another pertinent quotation from Og Mandino, one of the world’s most beloved (and my favorite) self-help author. He said in his University of Success, “Being here is all the permission we need to succeed.”

Amen to that!

That means you don’t need to wait for anything or anybody to make a name for yourself.

You don’t need to wait for permission.
You don’t need to wait for the right time.
You don’t need to wait until you get the money.
You don’t need to wait for someone else to lead the way.
You don’t need to wait until you’ve had 20 years of experience.
You don’t need to wait for the mainstream to validate your voice.

I wrote my first book when I was 22.
I gave my first paid speech when I was 23.

Apparently, that’s not the way you're "supposed" to do it.

See, most authors and speakers spend half their lives working for some big company or organization, then decide to write books or give speeches.

Not the other way around.

But the age of 22, my thought was, “Dude, I’m not waiting 15 years. Screw that! I’m ready now. Let’s go...”

So I did. And looking back, I realize it was the smartest move I ever made.

What are you waiting for?

Make a list of everything you're waiting for, everything that's holding you back. Burn it.

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag

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Sunday, October 08, 2006

The New Paradox: More Choices, Less Time

The other day a client of mine had an odd request: “Scott, could you close your speech by discussing the future of marketing and product innovation?”

Well, I’m no futurist. But I guess I’ll give it a shot…

I answered her request with the following four words: more choices, less time.

Let me throw a few numbers at ya:

• In the August 2005 issue of FastCompany, their research indicated that 26,000 new products hit the US market every year.

• In a study conducted by Para Publishing in 2004, research indicated that 177,000 new books hit the shelves every year.

More choices.

EXAMPLE: You’re shopping at Whole Foods to buy some energy bars. You make your way to aisle 11. And in front of you are 47 different varieties to choose from!

High protein!
Low sugar!
Low carb!
Low net carbs!

They all looked the same to you. Same price. Same orange, red and yellow packaging. Same promises of nutrition.

You’re completely overwhelmed. Unlike like 10 years ago when Powerbar was the only energy bar on the market.

More choices.

OK. Now onto the second half of the paradox. A few more numbers for ya:

•In 1974 a book called First Impressions revealed that humans had seven minutes to make a first impression.

• In a Wall Street Journal article from February 15th, 2006, their research indicated that humans now have a whopping two seconds to make a first impression.

Less time.

EXAMPLE: last week my girlfriend and I decided bake cookies.

Now, I use the word “bake” lightly, because truthfully, we barely baked anything. The cookie bag contained a dozen perfectly circular chunks of pre-made, pre-cut, 100% oven-ready cookie dough. All you had to do was place them on an un-greased cookie sheet.

TOTAL PREP TIME: 30 seconds.

12-15 minutes later, the cookies were done.


Less time.

And therein lies the paradox: every day we have more and more choices; and every day we have less and less time in which to make those choices.

Scary, huh?

It makes me wonder if, five years from now, people are going to be so overwhelmed by the saturation of choices and so pressured by the ever-decreasing time crunch, that they’re going to end up starving to death because they can’t decide which energy bar to buy!

OK, that example was a bit extreme.

All I’m saying is, if I were Luna or Powerbar or any other company that puts out products that compete with dozens of other similar items between which there are no discernable differences, I’d sure be scared.

In any event, I’m going to have to cut this post short. I don’t have enough time to finish it.

Off to the store to buy more cookies!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag

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Saturday, October 07, 2006

Boxes are for suckers

The world will try to put you in a box.

This includes people such as:

•Your parents
•Your friends
•Your coworkers
•Your bosses
•Your competitors
•The media
•Organizations of which you are a member

And the moment you realize that you don’t need their box is the moment you are set free.

In National Speakers Association, there is a form I fill out which indicates the “topic” on which I speak. There are only about two dozen options. None of them I speak on. There is no box for “approachability” or “being that guy” or “making a name for yourself.”

So, I always pick the box that says, “other.”

Because I don’t need no stinkin’ box.

And neither do you.

Pick the box that says "other."

What boxes do people try to put you in?

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag

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Thursday, October 05, 2006

Love the haters

Over the years, I've accumulated a nice collection of hate mail.

I know. Who sends hate mail to a guy trying to make the world friendlier?

Anyway, all of the hate mail I've received over the years has taught me a valuable lesson: in the process of making a name for yourself, you will encounter people who will not want you to succeed.

I say, screw those people.

They are jealous.
They are not making a name for themselves.
They have no parade of their own so they’re raining on yours.
They are too weak to follow their own dreams so they have to discourage yours.

They are haters. And they serve no purpose other than to:

1) Bring you down, or
2) Fuel your own self-belief

So, the choice is yours: get pissed or start laughing.

My advice? Just remember what Steven Pressfield wrote in The War of Art: “When we begin to see people livinge their authentic lives, it drives us crazy because we know we're not living own.”

How do you deal with the haters?

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag

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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

On getting unstuck

I remember being stuck.

I was stressed. I was frustrated. And my company wasn’t making any money for the third year in a row.

Then I listened to Earl Nightingale’s The Strangest Secret before going to bed one night.

In his program, he advises you to take the one thing you want more than anything in the world and focus all of you efforts on attaining it.

For me, it was to move into a new house and reach my target income goal within a year.

So, I took Earl’s advice. I wrote down my goal on a little nametag and kept it in my wallet. I looked at it several times a day. I told everyone in my mastermind group about it. My friends even bet me $20 that I would be able to accomplish it.

And on January 1st, I set out to achieve my goal by December 31st.

Miraculously, I hit that goal mid-July.

I became unstuck.

It was truly amazing.

So, thanks to the prompt from Curt's Collective Genius Blog, here are my three cents on getting unstuck:

What gets people stuck: running in place and not doing anything about it. Not setting goals. Not focusing on “that one thing.”

Why people stay stuck: because they’re part of the 90% of the world who doesn’t a) set goals, b) write them down, and c) look at them daily.

How people can get unstuck:

1) Tell people who are important to you that you’re stuck.

2) Walk with the wise. Surround yourself with those who aren’t stuck.

3) Watch the movie The Secret.

4) Focus 100% of your efforts on your one big thing.

5) Put a sticky note on your computer that asks you, “Is what you're doing RIGHT NOW consistent with your #1 goal?"

Good luck. May the Schwartz be with you.

How did you get unstuck?

On a small card, write down the one thing you want more than anything, and the date by which you'd like to have it. Look at it several times a day. Commense getting unstuck.

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag

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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Why you should set fire to your television

During my sophomore year of college, my roommate Ted decided to transfer mid-semester.

Fortunately he was he was a total jerk and a drug addict who didn’t respect my personal space, so that worked out well.

Anyway, when I returned from class one day, he was gone. His clothes, his posters, everything was gone.

Even his TV.

Oh no, not the TV! I thought.

Initially, I was scared.

No TV? How will I watch Dawson’s Creek? This is terrible! (Shut up. It was a great show.)

But after a while, I stopped missing it. I found other constructive ways to spend (er, invest) my time, namely, reading books.

After a few TV-less month had gone by, I realized that I was more energetic, more productive, and in general, happier than I’d been all year! Not to mention all the cool stuff I’d learned from reading.

As it turns out, I was onto something. A few weeks later one of my mass-com professors shared two sets of fascinating statistic with the class. The first set came from AC Neilson.

• The average American watches more than 4 hours of TV each day. In a 65-year life, that person will have spent 9 years glued to the tube.
• The number of murders seen on TV by the time an average child finishes elementary school is 8,000
• The number of violent acts seen on TV by age 18: 200,000
• The number of 30-second TV commercials seen in a year by an average child: 20,000
• The number of TV commercials seen by the average person by age 65: 2 million
• Rutgers University psychologist and TV-Free America board member Robert Kubey explained that television that heavy TV viewers exhibited five dependency symptoms - two more than necessary to arrive at a clinical diagnosis of substance abuse. These included: 1) using TV as a sedative; 2) indiscriminate viewing; 3) feeling loss of control while viewing; 4) feeling angry with oneself for watching too much; 5) inability to stop watching; and 6) feeling miserable when kept from watching.


The next set of stats came from Para Publishing:

• One-third of high school graduates never read another book for the rest of their lives.
• 58% of the US adult population never reads another book after high school.
• 42% of college graduates never read another book.
• 80% of US families did not buy or read a book last year.
• 70% of US adults have not been in a bookstore in the last five years.
• 57% of new books are not read to completion.


Now, you might be skeptical when reading such statistics. (As you should be. After all, 73% of all statistics are made up on the spot.)

But whether or not the numbers are accurate, the lesson is obvious:


Me, I'm up to about three books a week. When you travel as much as I do, that's an easy task.

Need somewhere to start? Here's what I've been reading lately:

Small is the New Big
Gitomer's Little Black Book of Connections
For One More Day
Your Attention Please
Social Intelligence

All great ways to invest (not spend) your time.

Open a book and you will open your mind.

Beats TV any day.

Except for South Park. Big ups to Matt and Trey for making it to Season 10!

How many books will you read in 2006?

Set a goal to read at least 12 books a year. Start your list today. If you'd like a list of 194 Great Books to Read in the Next Five Years, email me and I'll send it to ya.

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag

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Monday, October 02, 2006

What's the mark of a job well done?

I guess every profession is different.

For up 'n coming bands, maybe it’s playing a sold out show two nights in a row.

For new authors, maybe it’s topping the New York Time Bestseller List.

For fashion designers, maybe it’s having their dress worn by Jessica Simpson on the red carpet.

As a professional speaker, I’ve often wondered what the mark of a job well done was in my industry:

Receiving standing ovations?
Commanding high fees?
Selling thousands of dollars in books?
Addressing huge audiences?

Maybe. And I admit, all of those things used to sound great to me. But over the years I’ve come to learn that there are many other indicators of success.

Same Time Next Year
At my first NSA convention, someone reminded me, “Your goal is not to get a standing ovation; your goal is to be invited back next year.”

Great example: two days after hosting a breakout session with one of my association clients, the president called me and said, “Scott, I just wanted to tell you how much our members loved your workshop on approachability! In fact, because it was one of the highest rated sessions of the conference, we’d like to invite you back to deliver the keynote at next year’s conference!”

Nice. Not just, “Hey, great speech. Thanks.” But rather, “Wow, that was awesome! Can you come back and do that again next year?”

How much of your business is repeat business?

Positive Feedback
But then there’s the audience (i.e., your fans.) Let’s face it: the mark of a job well done also pertains to the feedback you receive from them. Since they do pay the bills.

I remember getting an email once from a man who was in the audience of one of my personal branding programs. He was a successful entrepreneur, known extremely well throughout the business community. In fact, I was kind of surprised to hear from him.

“Scott,” he wrote, “Your speech changed my life. I am serious. You got me thinking in whole new ways.”

Wow! Coming from him; that meant a lot to me. Another job well done!

Are you just serving, or truly impacting/changing/blowing away your clients?

How’s Your Calendar Looking?
Still, aside from customer testimonials and gushing clients, there’s also the mark of a job well donee as a function of your ability to multiply your successes.

I learned this from my mentor, Shep Hyken, when I first got into the speaking business.

“Every speech should be replaced by three others,” Shep said.

In other words, if you can book three new speeches for every one speech you give, your calendar will always be filled.

This brings me to the best speech I ever gave in my life.

No standing ovation. No life changing audience testimonials. Not much in product sales. Hell, I didn’t even get paid for the speech! It was a freebie!

But I did book 14 speeches from inquiring audience members within the next four months.

Unbelievable. Yet another job well done!

Are you sustaining yourself by multiplying your success?

Make Your Mark
Success looks different for everybody: it depends on your profession, your unique values and your goals. But it won’t come your way unless you know exactly what it looks like first. So, here’s my suggestion:

1) Create your own list called The Mark of a Job Well Done. Ask yourself, “If everything went perfectly, what would that look like?”

2) Consider 3-5 attainable success measures.

3) Make it your goal to achieve at least one in every single project.

Ultimately, remember that your version of mark of a job well done will probably change over time. Me, I’ve only been in this business about four years. But I’ve started to realize that while audience testimonials, repeat clients and referral business have always been measures of my own success, there IS one common denominator all of us can agree on: making a difference.

A few months ago I gave a speech at an employment conference. Many of the audience members had physical or mental disabilities, some of which had lost the ability to speak. After my speech was over, a man from the front row whose badge read, “Hurricane Mike,” came right up to me a with a huge smile on his face. And even though he could barely put the words together to articulate his point, he placed his hand on my nametag and said, “It’s not the nametag; it’s the heart behind it.”

What's your mark of a job well done?

How do you measure success?

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag

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