Watch Scott's TEDx talk!

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

Thursday, November 30, 2006

HELLO, my name is Manifesto

When I read Seth's manifesto on Gaping Void yesterday, it truly inspired me.

I’ve actually been wanting to finish my own manifesto for a while now. Thanks to Seth, this week I finally got around to it:

HELLO, my name is Manifesto

1. Friendly always wins. Because it's easier. Because, shockingly, not enough people are friendly. And because our world needs it.

2. Consistency is far greater than rare moments of greatness. Don't pick and choose the people with whom you are genuine. Maintain congruency of character.

3. Make the mundane memorable. Do something cool every day. Break the silence. Break people’s patterns. Turn strangers into friends. Turn friends into customers. Turn customers into FANS. Be unforgettable.

4. Fans, not customers. Customers, schmustomers. Fans are the people who “love your stuff,” will go to the ends of the earth to work with you, will tell all their friends about you, and don’t need to be sold. Obtain them, love them, stay in front of them.

5. Be That Guy. Even if you’re not a guy. Branding is about becoming somebody who reminds everybody of nobody else. It’s about owning a word in the mind of the people you serve. It’s about being unique, not different.

6. Networking works. Because you just never know. That’s why, simply put, you should talk to everybody. And not because you want to get referrals, make sales or pass out 147 business cards; but because you want to develop and maintain mutually valuable relationships. After all, you can’t spell networking without W-O-R-K.

7. Interaction, not interruption. Make direct contact with your customers and prospects. Build community. Stop trying to sell stuff to everybody. Don’t interrupt or annoy people, rather, interact with them. Customers are excited about interacting and participating with cool stuff, cool people and cool ideas that make them feel comfortable and respected.

8. Don’t sell; enable people to buy. Concentrate your marketing efforts on creating a sense of attraction, a sense of gravity; that magnetizes customers, prospects and fans toward your company through a process of delivering value via your brand. It’s not who you know; it’s who knows you.

9. People buy people first. Before your company, before your products, before your services, before your ideas, before your suggestions, before your work, they buy YOU first. So, put your values before vocation, beliefs before business, person before profession, individuality before industry. And remember, Since you must sell yourself before selling your product, you must sell yourself on yourself. So believe in yourself.

10. If you don’t make a name for yourself, someone will make one for you. You can participate in the creation of your profession reputation, but you can’t control it. And you no longer have just your name, you have your name – PLUS - what people say after it.

Do you have a manifesto?

Email with your manifesto (500 words or less). Submit no later than December 11, 2006, and I'll post my favorites on this blog!

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

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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

27 ways to grow bigger ears

Last week I briefly talked about growing bigger ears.

Since then I've received tons of awesome feedback on the topic of listening. (If you still have tips and ideas, email

So, here's my ever-growing list of Ways to Grow Bigger Ears:

1) Be less worried about what you're planning to say next.

2) As soon as your follow-up question or rebuttal is formed, jot down just the major ideas (usually just nouns and verbs) to jog your memory when it's your turn to speak.

3) In a pinch (i.e. sans paper), assign the thought to a finger which and tap gently on the desk or the arm of your chair.

4) The key is to free up your thought processes to be able to hear,
interpret, and internalize the content of an incoming message. It will
make you a better listener, and should deter you from jumping in too
early with a response.

(Thanks, Peter Marinari)

5. When in a restaurant, sit with your back to the TV so you aren't distracted.

6. Ask questions on the information being presented.

7. Avoid turning the conversation back to you. If you use the word "I" alot, you are breaking that rule.

8. Listen for the suble difference between "I need you to solve my problem" vs "I am just telling you what frustrates me."

9. Don't anticipate the direction of the conversation in order to push it along faster than normal.

10. Don't cut people off. Let them finish.

(Good stuff, Tony Chimento)

11) I always know that I am listening intently when I can see the size of my conversation partner's pupils change size as the conversation happens. Don't know why, but it works for me.

(Bravo, Debby "CNP Guru" Peters)

12) Aggressive Listening – listens to gather evidence for a position of view that is already fixed and confirmed. Listens with an agenda, and starts from the conclusion. This type of listening is closed, rigid and certain. It seeks to win a victory.

13) Learning Listening – listens in order to discover something new, to learn and understand – to be changed. Listens in order to focus on the other, and give them the gift of being truly heard. This type of listening is open, flexible and uncertain. The aim here is to win a relationship.

14) Restraint – Focus on the other person and avoid introducing your own story. Allow the other person’s story to stand on its own merit, without your commentary.

15) Questioning – To demonstrate your listening and to listen better ask open-ended questions that help to clarify (“What does that mean? Help me to understand this better…”), dig deeper (“Can you tell me more about…” “Please expand on this…”) or create a new angle. This can also the other person to understand their own story better!

16) Self-reflection – Often when we listen to others, our own body and mind begin to “resonate” with what we’re hearing. We listen with more than just our ears, intuitively we connect with the other person at a very deep level, and this can sometimes be “felt” in the “gut” or the “heart”. We may feel a particular emotion, or we may find ourselves getting agitated or tired. As we listen to the other person, we can tune in to what is happening within us, and this can help us to understand far more deeply than if we just use our ears.

(Solid content! Thanks John van de Laar)

17) (L I S T E N) has the same letters as (S I L E N T).

(Sweet. Thanks Michelle!)

18) Don't jump ahead mentally to compose your response.

19) Include the speaker's non verbals into how you "take in" what they are saying. The classic example of this is when someone says "Whatever" with body language that signifies that the outcome of whatever the debate/question had been is actually something they are heavily vested in.

19) Eye contact. I know this is one of those obvious basics, but I have a 7 year old who (like his father) doesn't make eye contact readily. When I was lecturing him on why he received a "needs work" evaluation regarding his listening skills at gymnastics, he said, "just because I'm not looking doesn't mean I'm not listening." People don't know that eye contact is critical.

(Cool, gracis to Paula E. Kiger from Florida Healthy Kids Corp.

20) Listen with your emotional ears, too.

21) Listen for the little pieces of info that can spur further questions.

22) 1 way NOT to grow bigger ears: DON'T grow a bigger head! It WON'T work ! :)

(From my old friend Allison, from KidSmart)

23) If it is more than a casual encounter take notes.

24) If at the end of twenty or thirty minutes of talking you've only got a few lines filled in, you probably talked more than you listened.

25) Want a real kick in the ass? Give a notepad to your client or guest and see who comes up with more notes at the end. If it’s them, how does that make you look?

26) I always repeat back someone's name to them when we first meet, or else I'm likely to forget.

27) Throughout the event/party/meeting, I will look around the room and say to myself the names of the people I've met, just to reinforce it. It's like I listen to the person the first time, then I listen to my mental repetitions after that!

(Good call, Coach Lisa.)

What are your best tips for growing bigger ears?

If you'd (still) like to contribute your tips for growing bigger ears, please email your best listening tips to

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

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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

5 ways to punch your customers in the face

WARNING: This article does not encourage readers to actually punch their customers in the face.

Here's what I mean...

In the process of breaking the silence, making the mundane memorable, turning strangers into friends, and turning friends into fans, you must IMMEDIATELY inform people of your credibility.

Get their attention quickly and blatantly. Like punching them in the face.

Here's WHY I mean this.

We live in an untrusting culture. Customers and prospects are already skeptical before going to your site, reading your stuff or hearing you talk. You must disarm immediate preoccupation.

Everyone's an expert. Or so it seems. And sometimes it's hard to tell the gurus from the wannabe gurus. Which is why you must differentiate yourself.

More choices, less time. It's the paradox of our generation. (It sucks, but it's reality.) So, consider the fact that people form first impressions of you and your company within a few seconds.

Here are five situations in which you must punch people in the face with your credibility:

EXAMPLE 1: Websites
When someone comes to your homepage, what are you doing to project credibility within the first few seconds? Check out SNAP's homepage. The first thing you see are the awards they've won. Nice.

EXAMPLE 2: Products
I believe in The Sticker Theory. By that I mean, "What little sticker could you put on the front of your product that enhances its value through increased credibility?" As seen on TV? Featured on Oprah's book club?

EXAMPLE 3: Presentations
Within the first few minutes of your speech, sales presentation, etc., you need to prove your credibility to the audience so (a) you lay a foundation to validate future points, and (b) your audience listens to you. Remember, every presentation of some kind involves at least one person wondering, "What does this have to do with me?"

At the end of your articles or on your marketing materials, you probably have some sort of "bio." And it's usually short. What key words and phrases could you include? Have you been recognized as an expert? Worked in your industry for 30 years? Been inducted into the Million Dollar Club? Whatever it is, put it on there. For more ideas on this, check out The Dolly Parton Theory.

EXAMPLE 5: Entrances
Ever see that little Zagat sign in the window of a restaraunt? Or a CitySearch award on the wall of a club? Or the coveted 5-star award behind the concierge of a hotel? If so, you've just been punched in the face. Therefore, if you own a store, club, restaraunt, hotel or any other place of business that has a lobby or entryway, consider hangning "decorations of credibility" for all your customers to see!

NOTE: I'm not suggesting interruption marketing here. (If you read my recent post on that idea, you'll see that's not how I roll.)

This isn't about annoying, abusing or assaulting customers. It's about informing them of your credibility quickly, obviously and honestly so they feel more comfortable working with you in the future.

The thing is, in our fast paced, choice-saturated culture, sometimes you just gotta punch people in the face.

In an approachable way, of course :)

Are you punching customers in the face with your credibility?

Email me ( with a list of all the ways your company punches customers in the face with your credibility. I'll compile them for a future article!

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

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Monday, November 20, 2006

God bless Triple D's

Potential customers, fans, friends, family members, audience members, readers of your material, website visitors, and pretty much anyone else that comes into contact with your business needs to know three things.

This is what I call “The Triple D Factor.” (And no, it has nothing to do with Dolly Parton.)


i. DO – for a living, as a professional, for companies, for customers. So, is your positioning statement clearly defined and posted where everyone can see it? And if a stranger asks your aunt Patty what you do for a living, will she do your business justice?

ii. DOING – right now, current news and projects, upcoming events. Do you have a calendar, rss feed or "upcoming events" section of your website and ezine? Are people anticipating your arrival?

iii. DONE – past clients, past successes, whom you worked with, how you helped them. How many testimonials do you have?

DO, DOING, DONE. Triple D’s. Got it? Good.

Happy Thanksgiving everybody! See ya next week.

How do you use the Triple D Factor?

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

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Grow bigger ears

I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you that the art of listening is essential for making a name for yourself. Still, here are my four cents:

1) Listening is not waiting to talk.

2) You have one mouth and two ears. Listen and talk accordingly.

3) “You can’t learn if you’re speaking.” --Alan Weiss

4) A great way to show someone you’re listening is to say, “Wait, I don’t know what that means.”

Thank you.

That is all.

What are your best tips for growing bigger ears?

I am writing an article called "50 Ways to Grow Bigger Ears." If you'd like to contribute, please email your best listening tips to and I will credit you in my upcoming column. Thanks!

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

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Thursday, November 16, 2006

Lessons learned from a job that sucked (part duex)

If you haven't read my first post in this three part series, probably do that first.

During that wonderful period after college, or as I like to call it, "The Two Years When My Business Wasn't Making Money So I Lived in My Parents' Basement and Worked a Part Time Job," I took a nights/weekends position as a valet parker at a local hotel.

(Read how I got hired for this job at yesterday's post.)

This job wasn’t nearly as bad as bartending or slinging couches, but it still sucked.

And whether I was running full speed for two straight hours during an 80-car wedding in the 105-degree heat, or standing by the lobby door until 2 AM layered in every piece of clothing I had during the biting cold of a St. Louis January, I learned a lot about customer service, business and life:

Whatever the Guest Wants
During training, I was actually instructed to "go to the ends of the earth" to accomidate the guests. A few months later, a guest nobody had ever seen before pulled into the drive in red Chevy Cavalier. I opened the door for him and he said, "Man, this car is a piece of junk!"

I replied with, "Don't worry sir, you've come to the right place - I'll get you a nice Benz from our garage."

He laughed and said, "Scott, make it a Bentley and we got a deal!" as he handed me a hundred dollar bill. (sweet)

Later that day I went to the Bentley store and used his tip to buy a toy Bentley replica. I gave it to him the next day. He was so blown away that he 1) gave me ANOTHER hundred dollar bill, 2) became a weekly guest at the Ritz for a year.

I later found out that his name was Nicholas Innerbichler, Forbes Magazine Award Winner and CEO of Fortune 500 company, ESSI Engineering.

LESSON LEARNED: consider the lifetime value of a guest, go to the ends of the earth to make an unforgettable first impression on him and win a loyal customer for life. Because you never know.

Safety Always Comes First
It was late Saturday night. A really, really drunk man stumbled out the front door, looking for his car. He asked for his keys to the white BMW parked in spot #2. I fumbled for a sec, then asked, "Sir, how far away do you live?"

He told me five blocks. I told him to get in the car. I drove him home, parked his car in his driveway, then ran five blocks back to the hotel before anyone knew I was gone.

LESSON LEARNED: better me running than him driving.

5 Minutes Adds Up
My coworkers used to take an average of three smoke breaks a day. That's 15 minutes a shift, 75 minutes a week, 3,750 minutes a year, 62 hours a year. I, on the other hand, didn't smoke. (I didn't get to take breaks like that.) So, I explained to my boss that it wasn't fair, and asked him if I could request 62 hours of "smoker's pay" added to my check at the end of the year; or request 62 hours of "smoker's fee" be docked from my coworker's checks at the end of the year. He suggested I either took up smoking or stopped whining. I stopped whining.

LESSON LEARNED: smokers suck.

Names Hold the Key
As the SUV came to a stop, I opened the trunk and pulled out the guest's suitcase. I noticed from the luggage tag that the man's name was Mr. Potashnick. When he opened the car door I said, "Good morning Mr. Potashnick!" He smiled and asked, "Now how in the hell did you know my name?"

I smiled back and said, "Sir, that's why we call it Guest Service!"

He handed me a twenty.

LESSON LEARNED: get that name quick, and get it however you can.

Or, Names Hold the Poison
Another time I inspected the luggage tag and noticed his name was Harrison. "Welcome in Mr. Harrison," I said as I opened the door. A few seconds later I went around to the passenger side and opened the lady's door. "Mrs. Harrison, welcome in!"

She looked at me with the dirtiest scowl I've ever seen.

Because she wasn't Mrs. Harrison


LESSON LEARNED: only use their name if you're ABSOLUTELY sure.

The Extra Mile is Rarely Crowded
During a 200 person wedding, the father of the bride gave me party favors for all the guests. They were little glass slippers, as the theme for the wedding was Cinderella. He told me to hand them out at the door at the end of the night. Knowing I would be too busy to attempt it later, I spent two hours during the wedding when I had no cars to park placing the shoes on the dashboards of every car. When I opened the door for the guests as they left I said, "Thanks for joining us, and here's a little gift from Cinderella and Prince Charming."

My boss receive 8 phone calls from wedding guests who said it was the best valet service they ever had.

LESSON LEARNED: make sure every guest leaves with an unforgettable LAST impression.

Numbers Don't Lie
During a busy month, I had a problem with my schedule. See, I was a part time employee, yet working WAY too many shifts and hours, proportionate to the other full time employees.

So, during a staff meeting with the GM, I asked for five minutes to explain my problem. I made handouts of my department's schedule and passed them out to the entire staff. It showed that, for a period of 10 days, I worked 9 days straight, for a total of 54 hours. Then it showed how every other employee in my department worked no more than 7 shifts and 49 hours (including full timers.)

After my 5 minute tyrade, the room fell silent. The GM didn't know what to say. So I walked out, went back to work for the rest of the day, then quit the following week.

LESSON LEARNED: always stand up for unequal employee treatment.

What lessons have you learned from jobs that sucked?

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

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Stand out without selling out

Five down, one to go.

I was so close to getting the job I could taste it!

All I had to do was ace this last interview and I was a shoe-in for my new position at the Ritz Carlton.

“OK Scott, this last question is kind of a tough one. Most applicants usually have trouble with it, so just take your time:

Do you have any weaknesses?”

Damn. That IS a tough question.

Should I lie?
Tell him I don’t have any weaknesses?
Or give him the answer he wants to hear?

Well, here goes nothing...

“Sure, I’ll give you four of them,” I said confidently.

“Number one:
I’m not a great driver. I know I’m applying for a valet position, but sometimes I make stupid decisions behind the wheel. Heck, I can barely even drive stick!

Number two: I have big eyes. What I mean is, I will scope out every girl that walks through the lobby without realizing that I’m staring. That might get me in trouble with the guests.

Number three:
I’m not the most punctual employee. Now, I’m not saying that I’ll be late every day, but you’ll rarely see me come in early.

Number four: I have a big mouth. I often say silly things that might come off as offensive to others.

But the truth is, sir, all four of those weaknesses I just listed – they can be changed. But the one thing about me that will NEVER change is my honesty, and THAT is exactly why you should hire me to work at this hotel.

The next thing I heard was the sound of his jaw hitting the carpet. He looked at me like I just told him I was abducted by aliens from planet Zantar.

After a brief silence, he wrote something down on his legal pad, shifted his weight and leaned back in his chair. He grabbed a quick drink of water and crossed his arms.

I thought I was a goner for sure.

He responded with four words: get outta my office!

I’m just kidding. What he really said was: you got the job!

Initially, I couldn’t believe that answer actually worked. But in retrospect, I realize what happened:

I stood out without selling out.

Interviews. Performance evaluations. Meetings. All that stuff. These are opportunities for you to stand out a make a name for yourself.

Which means (as usual) you have a choice:

1) Sacrifice who you are and what you believe, shrink from the opportunity to showcase your individuality and give the guy on the other side of the desk the answer he expected to hear. Or,

2) Summon the courage to be yourself, say how you really feel, fly in the face of convention and stand out like the unique person that you are.

Do. Not. Go. Quietly.


When was the last time you stood out without selling out?

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

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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

I can't believe I'm actually blogging about this...

I recently sat down to dinner with my girlfirend at the famous Forest Park Boathouse. As usual, we checked out the design of the sugar packets on the table.

<------And this is what we saw

Ladies and gentlemen, I'm about to say something I never thought would end up in my blog: these are the coolest sugar packets I've ever seen!

Our sweet friends at Equal have created a perfect example of EVERYTHING I've been writing about in the past year:

Mundane into Memorable: it's a damn sugar packet! Doesn't get more mundane than that. But Equal decided to transform an ordinary confection into brand-breathing brilliance!

When was the last time you took home your sugar packet and showed it to your friends? Or blogged about it?

Do Something Cool: After I read the first few packets on my table, I started walking around to every other table in the restaraunt and stealing their sugar packets. (The other customers probably thought I was diabetic.) But these packets were so cool, I wanted to collect them all! Kind of like baseball cards or McDonald's Happy Meal toys.

Have Fun: Try to visualize the marketing department of Equal, sitting around a board room table, brainstorming slogans like: Banish the Bland, In Favor of Flavor, Do Your Drink Justice, Embrace the Taste, In Taste We Trust, Power to the Packet! Come on. That's freaking hilarious. It's almost so ridiculous, it's cool.

Remember when UPS started embracing their brand (echh! the color brown?) by asking customers, "What can brown do for you today?"

Same thing. Equal is becoming unforgettable and unique and cool and fun in an otherwise boring market where there is no discernable difference between competing products.

(Oh, and did I mention: it's a damn sugar packet!?)

Sweet & Low? Regular sugar? Fughettaboudit!

I'm an Equal guy now.

Power to the Packet!

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

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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Yet another free ebook from The Nametag Guy

Last month I released a free ebook about speaking.

It was downloaded a few thousand times, which ain't bad.

Because I got so many positive emails, calls and comments about it, I decided to write a companion ebook for authors and self publishers. Here she is:

203 Things I've Learned about Writing,
Selling and Marketing Books

Three of my favorite tips are:

#37: I would recommend you give away at least one free downloadable ebook a year and post it on your website/blog. It gives value, increases traffic and often results in future sales via click-throughs. (Kind of like I'm doing RIGHT NOW.)

#84: If you don't want to make this a business, don't bother.

#196: People don’t want to rent a car; they want to get out of the airport. Think about it: what does your book REALLY DO for your readers?

What does your book really do for your readers?

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

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Monday, November 13, 2006

Why can't I start a conversation with you?

Picture this: you’re standing in a room full of strangers, not talking to a soul. You’re hoping to make at least one connection, but can’t seem to get the ball rolling. Eventually you think, “This is ridiculous. Why can’t I start a conversation with anyone?”

The answer to that question runs deeper than you might think.

Starting conversations not only depends on your communication skills; it’s also a function of your self-confidence. In this article, we will explore 9 common barriers that stand in your way of conversational approachability. (It's a pretty lengthy piece, so half is here and the other half is on my website.)

BARRIER #1: I don’t want to be rejected.
This is the big one. The number one hindrance to approaching someone else: the fear of rejection.

In Triumph Over Shyness, Philip Zombardo states, “Shy people are often attracted to those who do not return the affection, which is a very painful way of creating safety.”

Yes, it can be scary. But the truth is, rejection is part of life. You can’t evade it forever. Also, assuming that you can’t handle rejection is a mistaken belief. Besides, more often than not, rejection isn’t as bad as you think. After all, what’s so bad about being rejected by someone you hardly even know? Don’t let a few no’s stand in your way of stepping up to bat again in the future.

Win a few small victories first. Go to the mall and practice approaching cashiers, clerks, salespeople, kiosk operators and the like. They can’t reject you! These smaller successes will build your confidence and equip you with positive experiences to dwell upon in the future.

BARRIER #2: I don’t have anything good to say.
First of all, 93% of all conversation is nonverbal. So, don’t get too hung up on your words. Concentrate on having approachable, open body language first. Smile, don’t cross your arms, maintain open posture, keep your hands away from your face and maintain eye contact with everyone within 4-10 feet of you. Many people – even extroverts - miss the boat on this crucial component of communication.

Secondly, consider this: the only thing people can judge about you is how engaging with you makes them feel. It’s like Mother Theresa said, “People won’t remember what you said, or what you did; but they will never forget the way you made them feel.”

And finally, who says there’s a “right” thing to say all of the time? Not everything you say has to be supremely witty, brilliant or quotable. Again, the secret isn’t in what or how much you have to say, but in how you make people feel. Focus less on YOUR self, YOUR insecurities and YOUR discomfort, and more on the conversational needs of others. Be a great listener. Ask open-ended questions that begin with “What’s your experience?” and “What’s your favorite?” An increased focus on others will help you overlook your own insecurities.

If you don’t think you have anything good to say, make a “Conversation Cheat Sheet” before you leave the house. Grab an index card and write out the following: three great questions, three interesting pieces of information, trivia current points of interest and three of your favorite stories you’ve told a million times. That should be enough material to last for weeks!

BARRIER #3: I don’t want to waste that person’s time.
This belief is based on the mistaken assumption that you’re not worth talking to. That you’re not good enough for a few minutes of someone’s precious time.

Wrong. An attitude like this characterizes a negative self-image, which often stems from negative past programming. For example, it’s possible that someone you know – a parent, a teacher, a boss – probably told you “you’re not good enough,” “you don’t matter” or “you’re worthless” in the past.

Sadly, harmful comments like these have a profound effect on the future of your approachability.

HERE’S THE SECRET: in Shad Helmstetter’s What to Say When You Talk To Yourself, he explores the power of your thoughts. His work proves that if you first flood your mind with positive thoughts, you will enhance your self-belief. If you enhance your self believe, you will change your attitude. And if you change your attitude, you will change your actions.

Therefore, the key is simple: change your programming.

Every morning for one month, read a series of positive, attitude building affirmations. It might sound like a silly exercise, but this stuff works! Try phrases like “I am a confident communicator,” “shyness is not a problem for me,” “I am willing to step out of my comfort zone,” and “I feel relaxed when I communicate with new people.” These affirming phrases are almost certain to raise your confidence level.

BARRIER #4: I have a toothache.
Not that kind of toothache! Here's what I mean: you’re TOO tall, TOO old, TOO ugly, TOO new, TOO young, TOO inexperienced and the like.

Really? According to whom? Is that what YOU believe; or is that what your friends, parents, the media and others have told you about yourself?

Either way, consider these three facts:

FACT #1: You are what you are because of the way other people see you. We never call ourselves a name until someone else offers us that label first. Interestingly, that happens to be the leading characteristic of most shy people: others tell them that they’re shy.

FACT #2: Change in attitude = change in how you act = change in how people see you = change in how you see yourself. So, cliché as it may sound, it all starts with a positive attitude about yourself. I think Norman Vincent Peale said it best: “Since you must sell yourself before selling your goods, you must sell yourself on yourself. So believe in yourself.”

FACT #3: You are your own worst critic. You are a biased observer and will see what you want to see, not what other people truly see. Remember that.

(Read the remaining 5 barriers here.)

What's your #1 answer to the question, "Why can't I start a conversation with you?"

Make a list of all of your “toothaches.” Then, reverse them and put “I believe” in front of each along with a positive attribute. Instead of “I’m too old,” write “I believe my age gives me wisdom and experience that can help others.” Read this list to yourself every morning. These affirmations will reprogram, reinforce and rebuild your self-image.

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

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Thursday, November 09, 2006

The World is a Mirror, Part 14

I is for IDEAS
J is for JOY
M is for MUNDANE

I need to apologize.

See, sometimes I get so wrapped up in the big picture of approachability, be that guy, make a name for yourself, that I lose sight of why I started this in the first place: because nametags rock.

Plain and simple. Heck, that was the whole point of my first book!

But last month, something happened that really got to me.

After giving a talk at a hospitality conference in Columbus, I noticed a woman I’d met a few months prior. Unfortunately, I couldn’t recall her name. So, when I first approached to say hello, I was hoping to read her nametag to jar my memory.

But her hair was covering it.

“Forgive me for blanking on your name,” I said, “but, well, your nametag is sort of covered!”

“Oh, sorry about that,” Sarah said as she moved aside her brown locks.

“You should make your nametag more visible,” I joked.

“Well, I could,” she whined, “but my hair looks just hideous when I put it up!”

Oh. I see.

And then it hit me: nametags are not about you.

Nametags are about everyone in the world BUT you.

Nametags are about making someone else feel comfortable; maybe because they’re shy, or maybe because they’re bad with names.

And yet, so many people still complain about wearing them:

“I feel silly wearing this thing.”

“My nametag doesn’t match my outfit.”

“Everybody at this meeting knows me already.”

That may be true, but the problem with these (common) objections to wearing a nametag is this: they’re all about you.

If you’re attending a meeting or event – especially if you’re an existing member – one of your duties is to make guests and newbies feel comfortable. So whether you're extroverted or shy; friendly or caustic; aloof or gregarious, at least some part of that goal can be easily accomplished by one simple act: wear your nametag!

Because sometimes you have to put the comfort of your guests in front of the comfort of yourself.

What's your best objection to wearing nametags?

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

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25 gems I've learned about goal setting

I'm no expert on goal setting, but 2006 has been the best goal setting/goal achieving year EVER. Thought I'd share 25 of the gems I've learned...

1. Brian Tracy, one of the world’s foremost experts on setting and achieving goals, explains the following fact: less than 3 percent of Americans have written goals, and less than 1 percent review and rewrite their goals on a daily basis. Which means if you're doing both, you're WAY ahead of the game.

2. Whatever your present goals are, they’re too low.

3. Read your personal and professional goals every morning.

4. Create a Vision Board and look at it every morning. A vision board is a collage of pictures that represent your accomplished goals, as if they’ve already happened. Creative visualization. Forward thinking. This stuff works.

5. Tell your goals to other people. This keeps you accountable.

6. Make a list of 101 goals. It’s tough, but this exercise will change your life.

7. In your bathroom, put post-it notes of your goals on the mirror. Personal on the left, professional on the right. That way, you HAVE to look at them twice a day.

8. Set daily, weekly, monthly and yearly goals.

9. Every week, make yourself a list called “Criticals.” These are your Top 5 Goals for the Week. If you can accomplish these every week, you will also achieve your larger goals over time.

10. Every single day, perform three Highly Valuable Activities. They don’t have to be business, per se. From “working out” to “writing an article” to “meeting my new client in person,” these small things will accumulate. Think about it. 25 a week, 50 weeks a year, that’s 1,250 a year. Wow.

11. Each year, have one major, HUGE goal. Let’s say it’s: “I will make 1 million dollars this year.” Write the term “one million” on a bunch of post it notes. Put them all around your office.

12. Buy a little bell and ring it every time you accomplish a goal, big or small.

13. If a bell’s not enough, create some form of victory dance. Now, you don't have to do an actual dance (although Snoopy had a great celebration dance), but something that rewards you for a job well done. Me, I like to go out for sushi.

(And now for Scott's Favorite Goal Setting Tip...)

14. Put a little card by your desk that says, “Is what you’re doing RIGHT NOW consistent with your #1 goal?” I did this a few years ago and it absolutely kicked my goat setting into high gear.

15. My friend once bet me $20 that I would achieve my yearly revenue goal. I took the bet. By August, I had already passed it. So, I took a twenty-dollar bill, framed it, then wrote on it: “Thanks for helping me achieve my goal!” He loved it. (I just hope he never has to break the glass to spend it!)

16. What people don’t realize about goals is that they have to be VISUAL!!!

17. Be specific and put a timeline on all of your goals. It dramatically increases the possibility that they will be accomplished. For example, “I will weigh no more than 195 pounds by December 14, 2006.”

18. When you list your goals, also list the following: barriers that will stand in my way of achieving that goal, people that will help me with that goal and reasons I will accomplish that goal

19. Begin with the end in mind

20. Hang out with other people who set, share and accomplish goals. If the people you see the most aren’t in that small percent of the world that writes their goals down, either MAKE them do it, or get new friends.

21. Have a goal partner. The two of you share updates on progress, goal accomplishments and anything else relating to goals.

22. The best weekly goal tip I ever got was to divide my time into 5 sections: to do, to contact, to see, to read and to write. If I could cross everything and everyone off that list by the end of the week, I was successful.

24. Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen, authors of Chicken Soup for the Soul talk about setting one BHAG, or “Big Harry Audacious Goal.” What’s yours?

25. And lastly, don’t just share your goals with a few people. Share as many of your goals as possible with as many people as possible.

You know, I think the real reason all this goal stuff has been on my mind is because I FINALLY read Paulo Coello's The Alchemist. (By the way, if you are in any way involved with goal setting, read that book TODAY.)

Anyway, the keystone of his message is the following: when you know what you want, the world will conspire to help you achieve it.

What are your three best goal setting tips? Post them here.

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

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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

7 Ways to Turn Hate Mail into Great Mail

The old saying in customer service is, “A complaint is a compliment.”

If that’s true, then hate mail must be a dozen roses.

I only say that because, in my four years of business, I’ve received my fair share of hate mail.

Now, without going into a whole dissertation about the irony of hate mail being sent to a man who wears a nametag 24-7 to make the world friendlier, I do want to share 7 ways to turn hate mail into great mail.

1. Humor. First of all, at least half of the world’s hate mail is sent from invalid sources. This list of jerks includes – but isn’t limited to - ignorant adolescents, intoxicated persons, general idiots, uneducated anonymous loudmouths, no-life negative-nay-sayers and standard player-haters. So, if you can uncover the superficiality of someone’s ridiculous claims and realize that he has no evidence to support his arguments, you’ll probably start laughing.

Keep your favorite pieces of hate mail in a folder, or even posted on your wall.

2. Loyalty. If someone leaves a cutting, negative comment on your blog, message board or forum, don’t delete it. More often than not, your fans, customers, friends and loyalists will come to your rescue and defend you. Because that’s what fans do. For example, years ago, Kevin Smith started a website called He posted his own hate mail just so others would come to his defense. And they did.

Allow the negative comments to remain, and the people who love you will come to your rescue.

3. Feedback. On occasion, a piece of hate mail might make a good point. My suggestion is to reply to the person (providing they actually leave an email, which they don’t often do), and thank them for their comments. Explain how you plan to use their feedback to make positive change to your organization. Of course, don’t antagonize them. Just be grateful. In my experience, I’ve made major changes to my ideas simply because a hate mail letter was spot on.
Don’t be so close-minded to think that ALL hate mail is incorrect.

4. Leverage. Two of my best pieces of hate mail have become two of my best stories. One has to do with commitment; the other has to do with innovation. The best part is: when I tell those stories during a speech, they always get the audience on my side and support my points better than any other story could.

Brainstorm three people with whom you could share your latest piece of hate mail. Get ‘em on your side.

5. Motivation. Hate mail is a great motivator. Hell, I even thanked all of the people who sent me hate mail in the acknowledgements section of my second book! After all, their letters only made me finish that book sooner.

There’s nothing like someone telling you that you can’t do it to make you do it.

6. Reinforcement. Senders of hate mail also tend to be jealous of your success, probably because they're not successful themselves. It’s like Steven Pressfield explained in The War of Art: “When people see you begin to live you authentic lives, it drives them crazy because they’re not living their own.” So, haters do this because they have no parade of their own. That’s why they’ve chosen to rain on yours. Which means you’re probably doing something right.

Every time you get a piece of hate mail, jump up and down and yell, “YES! I DID IT!”

7. Personal Growth. Valid or not, all hate mail is a perfect way to test patience and positive attitude. Think about it: if you get an anonymous letter from an ignorant person who thinks you’re stupid, you don’t have to let it get you down. How you react is your choice. Of course, if you do react negatively, take it personally and get all defensive, then maybe you are stupid.

Each piece of hate mail is a test of your ability to respond positively to a negative stimulus.

The deal is: you always have a choice.

When someone sends you hate mail, it’s all about your response. Ultimately, criticism keeps you in check when it’s right, and keeps you in chuckles when it’s ridiculous. And the way I see it, using positive turn-around techniques like the ones I’ve mentioned are sure-fire ways to leverage negative comments to your advantage.

Now, allow me to close this article with my all-time-favorite hate mail example. Actually, it wasn’t so much a piece of hate mail as it was a death threat:

It came about three years ago from some guy in New York City. He left a note on my guestbook that read (and I quote), “Scott, if you ever come to New York, I'll f***ing kill you!”

Seriously, I don’t think I’ve laughed that hard in years. It was the funniest letter I’d ever read. I’ll kill you?! You can’t make that stuff up! A death threat?! Are you kidding me?! It was so great, I not only told all my friends about it; not only posted it on my bulletin board and my blog; but I even replied to the guy and thanked him for his letter. (After all, how could I turn down a dozen roses?)

And believe it or not, he wrote me back! In fact, he was SO shocked to receive such a positive response, that he actually apologized for his harsh words.

Now that's what I call turning hate mail into great mail!

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

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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

That Guy meets That Bloke

Hey look, it's That Guy!

And look, he's with That Bloke!

Meet my friend Pete Williams. Referred to in the media as “Budding Richard Branson”, 24 year-old Pete Williams has been an entrepreneur from an extremely young age.

During 2003 while reading the book The One Minute Millionaire, Pete Williams got a business idea...

The MCG (The Aussie version of Madison Square Garden) under its own redevelopment and as Australia’s number 1 sporting ground, PeteWilliams took action to recreate the certificates using the timber that was once the seating at the ‘G.

On the back of a few phone calls and self-confidence he was able to track down the wrecking company which was demolishing the Ponsford stand (at this stage the Members Pavilion had not been touched), who informed him they had a significant amount of timber from the seating and flooring as hoped, however to his amazement they also had a considerable amount of the world famous MCC Crested Carpet - which originally lay in the members dining room. After viewing the carpet lying in the corner of the wreckers’ warehouse the following morning he took the entire sum along with a mass of timber at a very ‘pleasing’ price.

From that point on he developed and created a series of limited edition sports memorabilia pieces which sold from $395 - $1495. These included a photo of the G, a piece of the famous carpet and even a limited number series that had their frame created out of the timber which was once the stadium. Amongst a wide range of creative and unique marketing techniques and strategies employed, a press release created with the headline ‘21 Year Old Sells MCG For Under $500’ generated over $50,000 of FREE advertising and publicity in media via Channel 7 news, Herald Sun articles, AM and FM Radio interviews and trade magazine articles – which generated a huge proportion of sales at no cost.

His new book comes out this month, How to Turn Your Million Dollar Idea into a Reality. I've already read some of it, and it's awesome.

Also, Pete and I happened to be in Dallas on the same day, so we shared a cab to the airport. Then we got lost for about an hour at DFW. It was a lot of fun. I guess we were so excited aboue meeting that we blanked out on our sense of direction.

Oh, wait, I forgot: I have no sense of direction.

Anyway, thought you guys would like to meet Pete. He's a cool dude.

Er, I mean, "bloke."

Aren't Aussies the coolest?

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

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Saturday, November 04, 2006

A quick story about the greatest day of my life

Tuesday, April 29th, 2003.

5:47 AM.

Standing at the corner of 6th and Morrison, I was the only person around for three blocks. I anxiously awaited the 5:50 train to take me to the Portland airport.

To my amazement, I was off to New York City to do the biggest interview of my life. In less than 24 hours, I would appear on the CBS Early Show before an audience of five million people to talk about my new book, HELLO, my name is Scott.

Suffice it to say, I was FREAKING out.

In my left hand: an overnight suitcase full of books.
In my right hand: a copy of the USA Today.

And as the habitual Portland mist smeared the fresh ink on my paper, I read through several of the day’s headlines.

Let me share with you – word for word - what they said:

1. Identity theft cases rise this month
2. 75 million Americans living without health insurance
3. Luther Vandross catches pneumonia after stroke
4. SARS outbreak troubles China workers
5. The end of Buffy feels like a dagger to the heart
6. War letters from the Iraqi front lines
7. Cost of AIDS drugs for poor nations
8. Studies find disturbing amounts of contamination in lettuce
9. Hubble telescope catches approaching storm of turbulent gases
10.Man wears nametag 24-7 for a friendlier society

What’s wrong with this picture?

Actually, I should say, “What’s right with this picture?”

Because that exact moment, my 23 year-old mind realized something:

Oh. My. God. This is it. This is what I’m supposed to do with my life.

This is how I will make a name for myself.

Ahh...memories :)

What was the greatest day of your life?

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

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Friday, November 03, 2006

6 Googleicious Ways to Approach Your Next Sales Call

In 20 minutes, you have the biggest sales call of your life.

It could mean your next promotion.
It could mean millions of dollars in revenue.
It could mean a new business relationship that lasts a lifetime.

Are you wearing The Armor of Google?

Huh? The Armor of what?!

You heard me: Google. The greatest thing to happen to the Internet since the Internet. And, your best friend in approaching the sale.

See, approachability stems from confidence. Confidence grows from knowledge. And knowledge is enhanced through preparation. So, what better way to prepare yourself for your upcoming sales call than to spend the next 20 minutes Googling your brains out?

Here are 6 ways turn Google into your secret weapon when approaching the sale.

SECRET WEAPON #1: Google Yourself
If you’re not doing this at least a few times a month anyway, you’re crazy. And this isn’t an ego thing, it’s about visibility. It’s about reputation. You need to know who’s talking about you, where you show up & where you don’t show up.

REMEMBER: every time you encounter a potential client – in person, on the phone, via email – odds are, they’ve already Googled you.

ALSO REMEMBER: if you don’t exist on Google, you don’t exist.

SECRET WEAPON #2: Google Your Company
Find out what customers, clients and the competition are saying about your company. If possible, get involved in chat rooms, bulletin boards and other online networking venues to represent (or defend) your organization.

KEEP IN THE FRONT OF YOUR MIND: you can participate in your online image, but you can’t control it.

KEEP IN THE BACK OF YOUR MIND: you and your company are getting talked about, whether you like it or not.

SECRET WEAPON #3: Google Their Company
Sure, you can go to the website of a potential client you hope to work with, but Googling their company name will give you a much broader scope. Find out what other people are saying about them. Especially if it’s negative feedback. See if they’ve been in the news lately, either for something good OR bad.

THINK ABOUT IT: a company’s own website won’t post anything bad about themselves.

AND THINK ABOUT THIS: you might say something stupid or accidentally hit a hot button if you don’t do your research first.

SECRET WEAPON #4: Google Your Prospects
I recently did a conference call with the VP of Marketing from a Fortune 500 company. He was interested in working together, so prior to our meeting, I spent a few minutes Googling his name. I found a great article all about his leadership style; printed it out, stuck it on my wall, then quoted the VP’s own words back to him at the end of our conversation. I complimented his eloquence and then explained how my services connected with his philosophy. He loved it!

YOUR GOAL: preparation, preparation, preparation.

ALSO YOUR GOAL: make that prospect think, “Wow, he did his homework!”

SECRET WEAPON #5: Google Alerts
Every time I speak to a group of people, I always ask them, “How many of you are using Google Alerts?” Usually 3 hands out of 500 go up. And I’m always amazed, mainly because Google Alerts are GOLD. They are email updates of the latest relevant Google results (web, news, etc.) based on your choice of query or topic. My suggest to you is, get alerts for your specific areas of expertise. Help enhance your ongoing education. For example, I have alerts on “nametags” and “approachability.” Other items you might want to consider getting alerts for: your name, your company’s name, your product’s name, your website’s name, clients’ names, your competition’s name, etc.

YOU’LL BE AMAZED: about where your name shows up on the Internet.

YOU’LL ALSO BE AMAZED: at what you can learn that you otherwise never would have discovered.

SECRET WEAPON #6: Googling Personal Info
This one is just fun. Try your own phone number, address, or better yet, your email. Try your boss’s or your spouse’s information. It’s wicked cool. Also, Google your OLD personal information, especially out-of-date phone numbers. You can see which websites list you incorrectly. (If you’re really anal, you can call them up and tell them to change it.) That one will blow your mind.

(NOTE: I just Googled my social security number. Nothing came up, thank God.)

TRUST ME: your personal information is out there somewhere.

AND TRUST THIS: the Internet is forever. (Insert spooky sound effect sound.)

Now, one bit of caution: be careful how you reveal this information to your prospect. If you shake someone's hand, look him in the eye and say, "So I was Googling you yesterday..." that might give the impression that you were stalking him.

I suggest you wait until the moment is right, and casually say "I asked around," "I was surfing the web" or "I stumbed upon..." Those phrases are a lot less threatening.

Ultimately, when you’re faced with an important sales call, Google is a brilliant preparation tool. It equips you with the information, and therefore, the confidence; to approach that sale like a pro.

Google on!

How are you using Google to prepare yourself to approach the sale?

Get your people, team, department (whatever) together for "Google Time." Have each person spend 20 minutes Googling, then have a meeting where you discuss your findings.

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

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Thursday, November 02, 2006

The World is a Mirror, Part 13

I is for IDEAS
J is for JOY
M is for MUNDANE

Today I’m celebrating my six-year anniversary of wearing a nametag 24-7! Woo hoo!

Which means it’s day 2,191 - but who’s counting, right?

(Actually, the counter at the bottom of my website is.)


Wearing a nametag 24-7-365 for six big ones represents a simple, yet powerful business idea: make the mundane memorable.

I’m still surprised more organizations don’t embrace this. It’s not our corporate policy. It violates our company’s handbook. We don’t want to do anything risky.

Come on. That’s garbage!

Businesses NEED to be doing this stuff. Because when companies can find a way to make the mundane memorable, fives things happen:

1) Customers start talking
2) Employees have more fun
3) The brand lives and breathes in a new way
4) Uniqueness shines through
5) Loyalty skyrockets

QuikTrip is the perfect example of this. I fill up at QT whenever possible (ahem, loyalty), just to hear the cashier say, “Hurry back!”

That’s what they say. In every transaction.

Not “Have a nice day.”
Not “Thank you, come again.”

They say, “Hurry back.”

And people do. Not to mention, they've made the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For 3 years running. Wonder why?

Mundane into memorable.

Or Bishop’s Barbershop in Portland, where you can get a great haircut for roughly the same price as anywhere else. Except at Bishop’s, the minute you walk in the door for your appointment, the receptionist gives you a free bottle of Pabst Blue Ribbon.

That’s just cool. I don’t even drink, but I used to go there when I lived in Portland, just to get the free beer!

Mundane into memorable.

Then there’s my favorite ad agency, The Hughes Group. When you walk into their elevator, you’ll notice 21 buttons, just like any other elevator. Except theirs doesn’t say “4,” it says “Hughes.” And you better believe every client, potential client or guest comments about it. Then they tell five other people about it. Awesome! (See a picture of the button on my original post from 2005.)

Mundane into memorable.

Or what about the parking garage down the street from my office? Every time I go there for a meeting, the guy in the little ticket box takes my slip and says, “That’ll be $4000!” I go back there every month, just to hear him say it. A parking garage! It doesn’t get more mundane than that!

The point is: this stuff is easy. Yet very few companies (and people) do it.

Because they're scared of stepping out of their corporate comfort zones.

However, for those bold few who choose to embrace the mundane, here's what happens:

Breaking the silence = breaking the pattern.
Breaking the pattern = mundane into memorable.
Memorable moments = increased comfort.
Increased comfort = increased approachability.
More approachability = strangers into friends.
Friends = people who become loyal, aka, fans.
Fans = people who love your stuff.
More fans = more positive word of mouth.
More people talking about how much they love your stuff = :) :) :)

Mission accomplished.

When was the last time someone make the mundane memorable for you?

Picture your typical day. You interactions with customers, prospects, coworkers. Now think specifically about five mundane moments. List three ways each of those moments could become more memorable. Post your lists here and next week I’ll compile all the answers for a new article (along with a link to your organization’s website.)

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

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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

HELLO, my name is Gary

I just realized something: I haven't carved pumpkins in about 10 years.

I forgot how much fun it is. Especially cooking and eating the seeds afterward, dusted with Emeril's Gaaahlic Essence.

Also, as I mentioned in my ezine, I decided to go with the El Cheapo Halloween costume. I changed my nametag to Gary.

When I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror, I admit it was a bit strange. But, I've done this a few years in a row, so, what the hell?

Nothing spectacular happened. Had a few people say "Hey Gary!" That's about it. I suppose I could pass for a Gary.

Originally, I was going to go as "Jamal," but I wasn't sure if anyone would buy that.

Hope you had a Happy Halloween! Send any extra candy to 7563 Oxford Dr. #2S, St. Louis, MO 63105.

What was the best Halloween costume you saw this year?

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

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