Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The World is a Mirror, Part 17

A is for ATTITUDE
B is for BREAK PATTERNS
C is for CONSISTENCY
D is for DISCIPLINE
E is for EVOLUTION
F is for FRIENDLINESS
G is for GOOD WITH NAMES
H is for HAPPINESS
I is for IDEAS
J is for JOY
K is for KNOWLEDGE
L is for LAUGHTER
M is for MUNDANE
N is for NAMETAGS
O is for OFF BUTTON
P is for PAINT YOURSELF INTO A (GOOD) CORNER
Q is for QUICK

Think back to the year 2000.

Let’s say someone approached me and asked why I was wearing a nametag. On average, I would only have enough time to say something like this:

“I always wear a nametag to make people more friendlier and more approachable and because humans love to hear their own names more than any other word – and forget names more than any other context of human memory – a nametag increases approachability by making other people feel comfortable, thus creating a friendlier society.”

Seriously. I would actually say all that crap in one breath.

It usually took about 13 seconds. Which I later realized was WAY too long.

As a result, people would respond by:

a) Laughing
b) Thinking I was crazy
c) Walking away laughing, thinking I was crazy

Next.

Think back to 2002. If someone approached me and asked why I was wearing a nametag, I would only have enough time to say something like this:

“I always wear it to make people friendlier, more approachable and to help them remember my name.”

It usually took about 5 seconds. Which I later realized was STILL too long.

As a result, people would respond by asking:

a) “You’re not serious, are you?”
b) “Really? Does it work?”
c) “So, you really want everyone to know your name, huh?”

Hmm. Getting better.

Finally, let’s take it back to about 2003. The year I officially started my company.

Now, if someone approached me and asked why I was wearing a nametag, I would only have enough time to say something like this:

“I always wear it to make people friendlier.”

That’s it. 8 simple words. I always wear it to make people friendlier.

It reminds me of three things:

1) Seth Godin once said, “If you can’t state your position in 8 words or less, you don’t have a position.”

2) Someone else (not sure who) once said, “If you can’t write down your idea on the back of a business card, you don’t have an idea.”

3) One of my favorite movies, The Quick & The Dead.

Cliché, I know. You’re either quick, or you’re dead.

But here’s why I think that phrase isn’t as cliché as it used to be:

In 1974, a book called First Impressions was published. I bought it for a buck on Ebay. And according to the text, humans had 7 minutes to make a first impression.

Seven minutes.

In 2000, a book called How to Get People to Like You in 90 Seconds or Less was published.

90 seconds.

In February of 2006, I was interviewed for the WSJ about an article on first impressions. According to Jeff Zaslow’s research, humans NOW had 2 seconds to make a first impression.

2 seconds.

The Quick and the Dead?

Apparently so.

Dude. That's scary.

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
How has the quickness of first impressions changed over the past 50 years?

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag
www.hellomynameisscott.com

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