Watch Scott's TEDx talk!

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

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

If using pictures is wrong, I don't wanna be right

I figured since everyone else in the world already threw in their two cents about PowerPoint, I may as well do the same.

Here are my (only) two rules:

1. PowerPoint is for PICTURES
2. Slides = 8 words or less

That's it.

Also, a lot of my audience members have been requesting my slides lately. I thought I'd pull a Tom Peters and just post them here for download.


What are your PPT rules?

If you have some cool slides, link or post them here!

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

Sir, why are you taking a picture of the elevator?

Um, because it's AWESOME, that's why.

I don't care if a guy fell out of the 17th floor window and miraculously survived, my friends at the Hyatt Minneapolis rock.

Look at their sweet elevator button. Classic example of making the mundane memorable. I've never seen an elevator in all my life with such a great button. (Except maybe The Hughes Group from last year's post, elevator action.)

Now, I know what you're thinking: it's a damn elevator button! Who cares?

I dunno, maybe the guest who's claustrophobic. Maybe the child who's crying because the elevator stopped mid-floor. Maybe the person who saw Speed way too many times.

BOTTOM LINE: when was the last time you actually noticed the elevator button, thought it was cool, snapped a picture of it (!), then posted it on your blog for millions of people to see?


What if it wasn't an elevator button. What if it was your business card?

Seen any cool elevator buttons before? Tell us about them!

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

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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Adventures in Nametagging: Minneapolis Style

Little did I know that I would be doing staff training at the Minneapolis Hyatt one week after this happened:

Man Falls From 17th Floor at Minneapolis Hotel, Survives

According to the article, a Wisconsin man in town for a dart tournament apparently was goofing around Saturday morning at the Minneapolis Hyatt Regency when he crashed through a window and fell 16 stories.

The man, identified in a police report as 29-year-old Joshua S. Hanson, of Blair, Wis., landed on a roof overhang near the hotel's main entrance along Nicollet Mall. His most serious injury was a broken leg.

This picture shows the glass from the window, and if you look closely, a wood panel covering the hole in the roof. Wow!

So, other than the obvious looming of such a miracle around the hotel, the training sessions went excellent. Great group of staff at this hotel. Several of the third shift employees told stories about how they dealt with the incident.

They handled it like pros.

Is that the luckiest dart player in the world, or what?

Post a story here about your most memorable hotel incident.

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

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Monday, January 29, 2007

Small Ideas = Big Business, Part 3

(To read part 1 of this series, click here!)
(To read part 2 of this series, click here!)

Soda Jerk
Virginia. 1880’s. The characters were: 1) A mischievous young employee at the neighborhood soda fountain, 2) The local doctor who owned the soda fountain, and 3) His beautiful young daughter who drove that boy crazy.

Seeing little future in the lives of the two lovebirds, Doc fired the boy.

Heartbroken, he moved to Texas. But he took with him a unique skill of discovering new fountain drinks by mixing shots of several existing flavors. One afternoon, he found one he liked. Actually, it was one that EVERYONE liked. Including a famous beverage chemist who just so happened to sit down at his counter that very day.

For lack of a better name, patrons dubbed his drink “Dr. Pepper,” teasing the young fountaineer about his long distance girlfriend and her overbearing father.

I’m sure he was laughing too. All the way to the bank!

1. There’s no better creative inspiration than a broken heart.
2. You never know who’s sitting at your counter.
3. Whatever people make fun of you for, find out how to use that to make money.

A Lot Riding on You
Charlie was a curious and inventive 21 year old. Early in his career, he received a government grant to make rubber mailbags. But he found little success. The material melted in hot temperatures.

He worked long and hard to make ends meet. He was imprisoned for non-payment of debts. People called him a crazy man. Living in squalor, Charlie barely could afford to feed his family. Unhappy with their living conditions, his wife finally forbade him from any further experimentation.

Like a typical man, Charlie didn’t listen to her. And on a February morning in 1839 when his wife had gone to the market, he began kneading a batch of rubber over the kitchen stove. Upon her unexpected return, he hastily heaved the batch into the hot stove.

A few moments later he retrieved the charred rubber from the burning pot.

And the rest was history.

It felt like leather. It looked black like sulphur. And it appeared to have the strength to withstand cold and hot temperatures.

On that day, the rubber tire was born. And for Charlie and his family, you could say it was definitely a “good year.”

1. Listen to everybody or listen to nobody.
2. Haste doesn’t always create waste.
3. If everybody says you’re out of your mind, you just might be onto something.

Creativity is cool, huh?

Post your own "Creativity Trio" here!

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

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Friday, January 26, 2007

Sorry Service vs. Thankful Service

Imagine you’re waiting in line at the airport.

A really LONG line.

BAD NEWS: you’ve missed your connecting flight. There’s no way you’ll make it to your meeting on time.

After about twenty-five frustrating minutes, you finally approach the counter. You throw down your luggage, put your hands on your hips and exclaim, “You know, I’ve been waiting here for nearly half an hour!”

And the first words out of the front desk agent’s mouth are, “I’m sooooo sorry. See, what happened was…”


You don’t want to hear “Sorry.”

Sorry doesn’t cut it.
Sorry doesn’t make you feel better.
Sorry doesn’t put the delicious Triscuit crackers in your stomach, now does it?

NEW RULE: customers don’t want to hear the word “Sorry.”

It’s negative.
It’s usually followed by excuses.
It’s focused on the wrong person. (i.e., NOT the customer)

A great suggestion is to replace “Sorry” with “Thanks.”

Thanking (instead of apologizing) just sounds better. And it demonstrates empathy and concern. What’s more, it immediately puts a positive spin on an otherwise negative encounter.

Let’s go back to the airport example for a minute. Which one of the following phrases would you, as the customer, rather hear?

1. “I’m sorry you’ve been waiting such a long time, Ma'am.”
2. “Thanks for waiting such a long time, Ma'am.”

My money’s on number two. And here’s why.

“Sorry” is problem-oriented. It sucks the positivity out of a conversation. In fact, it’s such a negative word that it actually elicits more of the same.

Here, I’ll prove it to you. Stop reading this article for a sec and say aloud (in your best customer service voice), “I’m so sorry you had to wait…”

Kind of hard to follow that phrase with a positive comment, isn’t it?
Kind or hard to articulate that phrase with a smile, isn’t it?

In most cases, “Sorry” is followed by more apologies, more excuses and more complaints. No good.

On the other hand, “Thanks” is solution-oriented. It plasters positivity into a conversation. In fact, it’s such an optimistic word that it actually elicits more of the same.

Once again, let me prove it to you. Stop reading this article for a sec and say aloud (in your best customer service voice), “Thank you for waiting…”

Aha! Sounds a lot better, doesn’t it?

Kind of hard to follow that phrase with a negative comment, isn’t it?
Kind of hard to articulate that phrase without a smile, isn’t it?

See, in most cases, “Thanks” is followed by more solutions, more positives and more focus on the customer.

So, instead of apologizing, here’s a quick list of ways to thank your customers:

“Thanks for waiting.”
“Thanks for your patience.”
“Thanks for telling me that.”
“Thanks for pointing that out.”
“Thanks for coming in tonight.”
“Thanks for putting up with us.”
“Thanks for bringing that to our attention.”

In closing, let’s explore Sorry Service vs. Thankful Service in a completely different context: dating.

Let’s say you’re on a hot date.

It’s almost midnight. Fearing that you will morph into a pumpkin, your date drops you off at home. And as the two of you approach the front door, he or she says one of the following things:

“I’m so sorry you had to go out with me tonight. I know I was late, and the dinner kind of sucked. And I swear to God that’s the first time I’ve ever run over someone’s cat before!”


“Thanks for going out with me tonight. I had a blast. We really connected! And I would love to do it again sometime.”

What would you rather hear?

Do you give Sorry Service or Thankful Service?

What's the best example of Thankful Service you've received in 2007?

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

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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Small Ideas = Big Business, Part 2

(To read part 1 of this series, click here!)

In 1882, John Patterson’s retail store was losing money. Unfortunately he couldn’t handle all the transactions himself. There was no way to stop money from leaking. He was headed for bankruptcy.

Then he heard about a strange device being used in Dayton Ohio. It actually enforced the correct recording of daily sales! After incorporating one of these crude machines into his order process, his store began to show a profit. Patterson then wondered, “If this machine is good for a little store in Ohio, wouldn’t it be equally good for stores everywhere?”

Damn right it would. Ever heard of the “cash register” before?

1. Ask yourself, “What if everybody had my product?”
2. You can’t control every part of your business
3. Ohio is the birthplace of, like, everything.

Nice Mustache
Gail was 54 years old when he received his patent for condensed milk. However, the way he came to invent the product was more out of frustration than creativity.

In 1851 he was heading back home from a trip to London. Several of the train’s compartments stored cows in the back to provide fresh milk for the many infants on board. However, the rough terrain made many cows sick. The result: they gave no milk.

Naturally, the babies on board started crying. A lot. Borden because so upset that he walked straight up to the captain and declared, “I promise you this. Someday I will develop a milk that can be carried anywhere in the world!”

Over 150 years later, Borden’s produces billions of food packages a year to over 200 countries worldwide.

1. Pissed off people are good at changing things.
2. Ask what other medium your product could be delivered in.
3. Cows are people too.

Creativity is cool, huh?

Post your own "Creativity Trio" here!

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

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Sticky Note Your Way to Success, Part 2

This is a continuation of last week's popular post, Sticky Note Your Way to Success, Part 1.

To quickly summarize, the following motivational, thought provoking questions are to be written with a big fat Sharpie on a sticky note and posted in your office, car or bathroom.

WARNING: this exercise may lead to incredible success.

5. What did you write today? Every time a new friend or client comes to my office, this is the first thing they usually notice. You can’t miss it. I wrote it at the top of my dry erase board last year when I began writing my latest book, Make a Name for Yourself. And since then, it’s worked brilliantly. I have no choice but to stare at it all day! As a result; I haven’t missed a day of writing in a long time.

I suggest this question to everyone. NOTE: you might be saying to yourself, “But Scott, I’m not a writer!” My response to that is, “Everyone is a writer.” Just because you don’t write books or publish a column doesn’t mean you’re not a writer. There’s blogging, publishing newsletters and writing emails. All writing. All valuable. All done daily. Remember, writing is the basis of all wealth.

6. Is everything you know written down somewhere? That which goes unrecorded goes unmemorable. You must write everything down. Everything! Goals, thoughts, lessons learned and especially ideas. For example, how many times have you exclaimed, “Damn! I wish I’d thought of that!” Well, I have some bad news for you: you probably DID think of that. You just didn’t write it down. And that’s why someone else is making money off that idea, not you. Write everything down.

7. On a scale from 1-10, how did I do in my (x) today? Since the day I graduated from college, I’ve been practicing something called “Daily Appointments with Myself.” This 30-60 minute period of morning reflection and relaxation is THE most important part of every day. It resets my attitude, clears my head and prepares me for challenges and opportunities ahead.

One of the key components to this daily appointment is my Success Checklist. I suggest you make one for yourself. Simply write out this question for every major area of your life, both personal and professional. Relationships. Goals. Career. Faith. Health. Whatever you want. But here’s the secret: give yourself an honest assessment of how well you think you did in each area for the day before. Use these numbers to keep record of your improvements over time.

8. What HVA’s did I practice today? That stands for “Highly Valuable Activity.” Your goal is to accomplish three per day. Now, what you consider to be a HVA is up to you. Examples might include meeting with a prospect, writing an article, going to the gym, reading a new book or attending an association meeting. After a while, those numbers start to add up. 3 per day. That’s 21 per week. 84 per month. 1,018 per year. Wow! With that many Highly Valuable Activities, you’ll be certain to achieve your #1 goal for 2007!

9. What’s next? Back in the day when I used to sell furniture, my boss would post little sticky notes all around the store asking this two word question. According to Pam, it kept her employees on task. Especially when business was slow. “What’s next?” reminded us that there was always something to do: sweep, rearrange couches, follow up on special orders or study the new product catalogues. What’s more, this question works for small things and big things alike. Asking, “What’s next?” on a big-picture scale is a valuable brainstorming acitivty to evaluate the growth of your business.

How do you self-motivate?

Post your 3 best sticky-note success statements here!

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

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Happy Nametag Day Everybody!

For the second year in a row, Colchester, CT is celebrating Annual Nametag Day!

Jason Cohen and I (mainly Jay) started this holiday back in 2006.

This year we actually got a decent amount of local press, thanks to all the hype around my new friend Joe Porcelli from Neighbors for Neighbors who (unrelated, believe it or not) wore a nametag every day for the past year. Way to go Joe!

In order to make it as easy as possible for people to get involved, the Wyndham Price Agency and the Norwich Bulletin are both providing free nametags, which will be available for pickup Thursday through Tuesday, January 18th – 23rd, at many locations around town, including Colchester Parks & Recreation and a number of local businesses.

Also, this is pretty cool:

The Norwich Bulletin will attach a fantastic nametag ready to use right on their front page! There will also be a complimentary edition of the Norwich Bulletin delivered to all non-subscribers in Colchester. Everyone in Colchester will receive a nametag and a Norwich Bulletin on either January 20th or January 22nd.

Nametags and special promotions will be available at many supporting businesses. See the growing list below!

The fun does not end there! Colchester Parks & Recreation will be hosting a wrap up Nametag Day event on Tuesday, January 23rd from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Colchester Youth Center located on Norwich Ave. Come and share your unique experiences of wearing the nametag for a day and meet new people and join us for some “getting to know you” type activities!

Way to go, Colchester. Hopefully more cities will follow suit!

Would you and your town want to participate in Annual Nametag Day?

If you'd like to be a participating city for Nametag Day '08, please contact Jason Cohen at Colchester Parks & Recreation.

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

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Monday, January 22, 2007

Sticky Note Your Way to Success, Part 1

There’s no such thing as a motivational speaker.

Not even Tony Robbins, Zig Ziglar, Jim Rohn, Norman Vincent Peale or Napoleon Hill were motivational speakers.

Sure, those were five highly motivated dudes. And sure, those guys definitely spoke about the topic of motivation.

BUT REMEMBER THIS: the only person in the world who can motivate you is YOU.

As an author, speaker an entrepreneur myself, I’ve become skilled at self-motivation.

See, I work alone. No boss. No coworkers. No clock-in box.

Just me.

And in my experience, self-motivation works best under three conditions:

1. When it’s visual
2. When it’s daily
3. When it punches you in the face

I’ve found self-questioning to be an extremely effective technique. First of all, it makes you think critically and creatively. Secondly, it keeps you personally accountable. Lastly, questioning is THE most valuable tool in your communication arsenal to gain knowledge and clarity.

NOTE: before I share my list of questions, I need you to stop reading this blog for a minute.

Would you do something for me? Please go grab a stack of sticky notes and a thick marker. When you read through the list, write each question on a sticky note and post it on your desk, computer, phone or bulletin board. This is key. It’s the best way to make these questions work to your advantage. You need to be able to see these self-motivators all day.

OK. Go get your supplies…NOW! (Don’t worry; I’ll wait. It’s not like I’m gonna go anywhere. Besides, I don’t even have a boss, remember?)

Cool. Welcome back! Let’s get crankin’ with those questions:

1. Is what I’m doing today going to bring this customer back tomorrow? There’s no business like repeat business. And even when you say no, you’re still marketing. So be sure your words and actions are unforgettable. In the process, you will turn your customers into “fans.” Cultivate and cherish these people who loyally love your stuff. Enable them to tell everyone about you, and they WILL come back tomorrow.

2. If everyone did exactly what I said, what would their world look like? This is my all-time favorite. Especially for managers and leaders, this question helps you clarify your philosophy, mission and orders. The key is, once you figure out the answer to this question, then ask yourself the following: “Is what I’m doing or saying giving my people the tools they need to build that world?”

3. Is what I’m doing right now leading to a sale? Poor time management and lack of focus are dangerous adversaries to all business people. Asking yourself this question keeps the idea of sales at the top of your mind. I first posted this sticky note on my laptop about three years ago. Sales have doubled every year since.

4. Is what I’m doing right now consistent with my #1 goal? This question forces you think critically about your primary objective. Sadly, to few businesspeople actually know what theirs is! In fact, I bet if you asked ten random people what their #1 goal for 2007 was, only about half of them would have a definitive answer for you. So, what’s yours? Doubling annual revenue? Achieving membership into the 100% club? Securing five new accounts a week? Whatever your #1 goal is; use this sticky note as an accountability measure. If the answer is yes, keep doing what you’re doing. If the answer is no, stop playing online poker and do something productive.

(5 more questions coming next week...)

How do you self-motivate?

Post your 3 best sticky-note success statements here!

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

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Friday, January 19, 2007

Small Ideas = Big Business, Part 1

So I just came across a book from 1959 called Ideas That Became Big Business, by Clinton Woods.

It was a buck. How could I not buy it?

I finally finished it today. And it might be the most fascinating book on creativity I’ve ever read.


Among Woods’ 100+ examples, nine stories stood out in my mind.

Each had several valuable lessons within. This will be the first in a four part post called Small Ideas = Big Business.

The Soil is Too Rich!
In the late 1830’s, a master mechanic and blacksmith relocated from the rocky-soils of New England to the rich farms of Grand Detour, Illinois. Once he set up shop, he noticed his business primarily repaired the plows of discouraged farmers. After interviewing a score of his customers, he discovered the problem: overly fertile farmland. While it was easy to cultivate, it was not so easy to stop the soil from clinging to the plow.

One day that mechanic visited a local sawmill. The reflection from a shiny broken saw blade caught his attention. Mindful of his frustrated farmers, he wondered: “If I can somehow reshape the blade and form it to the plow, I wonder if it would clean itself as it cut the sod?”

Shortly thereafter, he formed his first – and the world’s first – steel plow.

That mechanic’s name was John Deere.

1. Listen to the complaints of your customers.
2. Find their pain, be their Tylenol.
3. Consider reshaping your design for alternate uses.

Iron Mine or Bust
Swedish miner Carl Wickman faced a problem. Between his mining town of Hibbing and the nearby iron range was a four-mile stretch of unpaved highway. Unable to make ends meet, he started using his own car to haul miners on short trips for fifteen cents a pop.

Soon, word spread throughout the mining town about this new transportation system. Business became so overwhelming that Carl invited a friend to help out. They worked day and night. Eventually, competition arose. And soon, other entrepreneurs began to haul groups of people for up to 90 miles, which, in 1915, was a long way. Then, in 1921, intercity busses were created. Painted gray and appearing slim and trim, they were forever dubbed “The Greyhounds.”

1. Choose a name that’s so obvious and memorable, customers could figure it out by simply looking at your product.
2. Ideas that spread win.
3. If people are copying you, you’re doing something right.

Creativity is cool, huh?

Post your own "Creativity Trio" here!

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

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Thursday, January 18, 2007

The World is a Mirror, Part 19

I is for IDEAS
J is for JOY
M is for MUNDANE
Q is for QUICK
(S is coming next week)
T is for Time

In light of the recent post, Confessions of a Lunch Whore...

I was eating at In & Out Burger in LA last week. My friend Dan and I came to the following conclusion: the more successful you become, the more you value every minute of your days.

Not that either of us are big shots or anything. Far from it.

Still, think of it this way.

Let’s say that once a week, you have a meeting, a lunch or coffee with a stranger or potential customer or a lead or who wants to pick your brain or chat or brainstorm ideas or get free advice.

As I mentioned in the other post, unless you think it’s absolutely worth it, be careful not to waste your (and their) time. You are a professional. Your time is valuable and, most importantly, billable. For example:

1 wasted lunch a week
90 minutes a week
6 hours a month
72 hours a year
9 full 8 hour days
2 weeks of work

It adds up, doesn’t it?

Is it possible to have too many meetings?

What's your policy on meeting with potential clients? Share it with us here!

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

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

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Yeah, but is it worth getting spammed for?

The other day I overheard a lady talking about her company website.

"That's why I don't list my 'real' email on the contact page," she said, "I don't want to deal with all that spam."

Here's why that comment irked me...

See, I get about 50-100 SPAM emails a day.

What happens is, spam comes in. Gmail nicely organizes them into my spam folder. And the end of the day, I empty it out.

No problem.

In fact, if you google my email,, it comes up 297 times. Between my websites, articles, blogs, myspace, squidoo and the like, I'd say it's out there pretty good.

And I think it's worth getting spammed for.

See, a lot of people complain, "I don't want to get spam" and "I don't want my email to be 'out there' for the just anyone to see."


Are you saying that being difficult to contact, hard to reach and inaccessible is the price customers have to pay just so YOU don't receive spam?

Seems slightly selfish and very backward to me. (Similar to the comment, "But I don't want to wear a nametag because it clashes with my blouse. Or makes me look dumb. Or puts a hole in my shirt.")

The first four words of The Purpose Driven Life had it right: it's not about you.

Wouldn't businesspeople think, "I want to make doing business WITH me and getting in touch OF me as quick and easy as possible for my customers and prospects. Even if that means I get a few dozen extra pieces of spam."?

So, YES. The answer is yes. It is worth getting spammed for.

Right now, go to your website and remove any of the following things:

1. Catch-alls. Questionable, vague, annoying catch-all email addresses like, They suck. People need to know they're getting YOU.

2. Images of your email instead of text. Don't make potential customers memorize, then re-type your email address because you don't want spam. That's just one extra step they don't have time for. Make it easy for them to cut, copy and paste your address into their email client. Image instead of text = perception of high maintenance.

3. Forms. Please fill out this form with your information and we promise to get back to you. Yeah, right, the customer thinks. Nobody buys that lie anymore. Forms may as well have a disclaimer that says, "We don't care enough about you to give you our personal email (aka, a HUMAN) to contact. So leave us your information, and maybe in a few weeks we'll respond.

In closing, I'd like to say this:

Do your worst, spam. I'd rather get 100 emails about Viagra than piss off my customers.

How does inaccessible web contact make you, as a customer, feel?

Go to your contact page and give it an "accessible face lift." Send me the link when it's done. You have my email :)

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

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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

How to approach different learning styles

People communicate in three different ways.

(Well, actually, people probably communicate in a thousand different ways, but...)

It's usually visually, auditory or kinesthetic.

And although most people have some combination of all three, one in particular is usually dominant. As a result, match your own words and speed to appeal to their communication style:

1. If you meet someone who is a visual person, they will use pictures, images and graphics to communicate. Words like “see,” “view,” will be in their vocabulary, i.e., “I see what you’re saying,” “I picture this meeting as a roundtable discussion.” These people usually speak rapidly.

2. If you meet someone who is an auditory person, they will use sounds to communicate. Word like “click,” “hear” will be used, i.e., “I hear ya!” and “Sounds good.” They speak moderately and rhythmically, like music.

3. If you meet someone who is a kinesthetic person, they will use touch and doing and action to communicate. Words like “contact” and “hold” are used, and they speak slowly.

NOTE: don't confuse "communication style" with "type."

ALSO NOTE: the word "type" is much better as a noun than it is a verb.

In other words, don't spend all your time "typing" people, trying to figure them out based on what their style or MBTI is. Sometimes you just need to go with your gut. Adapt to each person based on what you feel. Overtyping can result in poor listening skills and, as a result, missing out on important detals. Just be careful.

Does type have an effect on approaching others?

What type are you? Share with us how you prefer to be approached.

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

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Monday, January 15, 2007

Confessions of a Lunch Whore

Over the years I’ve had so many lunches with so many people, I can’t even keep them straight.

My guess is, it’s probably somewhere around the 300’s.

Many of these invitations come via email or phone; often from people who: (a) sat in one of my audiences, (b) bought one of my books, (c) stumbled across my website or (d) read about me somewhere.

I'm always honored to receive them.

Obviously, people visited my website to obtain my contact information. Which is fine. That’s why I post it there.

Obviously, they understand why I wear a nametag 24-7: to make people friendlier.

And obviously, they feel that I’m approachable. So approachable, in fact, that they say, “What the heck? He’s a friendly guy. He’ll have lunch with anybody!”

Well, yes and no. I wouldn’t go so far as to call me a Lunch Whore. But yes, for the most part, I’ve accepted most of the invitations that have been extended to me in the last 2,268 days. Whether they were breakfasts, lunches, dinners, coffees or after work drinks, I was usually up for it.

Because I believe in serendipity.
Because I believe in expanding my network.
Because I believe in learning from new people.

Over the years I’ve met some amazing people, too.

People like Kristi Govertson. The math teacher who saw me on CNN, went to my website, emailed me the next day and invited me to meet her at Starbucks.

So I did. And we hit it off instantly! We became great friends, and still are to this day. I even remember the time I suffered through a tough breakup and Kristi was the one who dragged me to Ben & Jerry’s to cheer up my broken heart. (Sniff)

Or people like Jim Henderson. The Pastor who read an article about my book, dropped me an email and suggested meeting up.

A few weeks later Jim and I met in person. He happened to be traveling via Portland to Seattle, so the timing was perfect. Once again, we hit it off. As a fellow speaker, Jim and I had a lot in common. And over the years we’ve stayed in touch, shared ideas, even helped promote each other’s work.

And people like Andy Masters. Both of us were members of the St. Louis Publishers Association. Both of us were young authors. And both of us graduated from the same high school, albeit a decade apart.

I’ll never forget our first lunch. We must have laughed for an hour straight! The waitress probably though we were nuts. Our brainstorming session was monstrously productive. Both of us walked away with dozens of new marketing ideas for our respective projects. And today, I consider him to be one of my closest friends.

The list goes on and on. I bet I could write an entire book about people like Kristi, Jim and Andy.


Not all of my coffees and lunches came out that successful.

Like the time I got duped into having lunch with that nice lady, Susan. Who tried to sell me Amway.

Like the time I met up with Jon, who claimed to have “an idea that could help my business.” He turned out to be a tabletop advertising salesman.

Or like the time I thought I was having a lunch meeting with Dick, who said he wanted to book me for a speech. Two painful hours later I realized it was high-pressure sales pitch for a personal banking pyramid scheme.

And then there was the time I agreed to have coffee with Bob, one of my audience members. He not only tried to sell me insurance, but also had the audacity to ask me for ten referrals of friends and family members who “also might be interested in his services.”

Oh, and don’t forget about Julie. We had a great lunch together, sharing ideas about small business success. I thought we would become colleagues. That is, until she suckered me into one of those transformational-learning Jedi-mind-trick-bullshit cult seminars where they don’t even let you leave the room to pee.

Still, my all-time favorite would have to be Edna. She sent me a hand-written letter in the mail, three years after hearing me speak. Edna needed help publishing her book. I agreed to meet her for lunch to offer some advice.

Little did I know that Edna was an 83 year-old paranoid schizophrenic who claimed that the FBI had inserted a tracking device in her frontal lobe in order to control her mind so she wouldn’t blab to the politicians in Washington about the 18 year history of abduction and torture performed on her son by Hilary Clinton’s advisors.

I know. You can’t make this stuff up.

Sadly, the second list goes on and on too. I bet I could write another book about people like Susan, Jon, Dick, Bob, Julie and Edna.

Because apparently, some people aren’t after your friendship.

They’re after your money. Or your connections. Or your secrets. Or your smarts. Or in Edna’s case, your brain itself.

Here’s the thing. I’m grateful for all of the coffee and lunch friends I’ve made since I started wearing a nametag seven years ago. Business. Personal. Whatever. I love these people! Especially the ones who became close friends and colleagues. You can’t put a price on that stuff.

But some people have a lot of nerve.

And I’m tired of being taken advantage of.

Everyone has to draw the line somewhere. It IS possible to be TOO approachable!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to head over to McDonald’s. I just got a call from some strange guy named Gus. I don’t know much about him other than he was just released from prison on a murder charge. Said he was a big fan of my work. And he asked me to bring a copy of my book, a change of clothes and an ice pick.

Sounds like a nice guy.

Have you ever regretted meeting someone for lunch or coffee?

Create your own "Opportunity Filter" by asking the following four questions to strange people who want to get together: 1) What is your full name? (So you can Google them), 2) Who do you work for and what is your job title? 3) What (specifically) would you like to discuss during our meeting? and 4) What positive motivation do you have behind this meeting?

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

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Sunday, January 14, 2007

4 Communication Confidence Builders

Confident communication comes from winning small victories first. Here are 4 techniques to help you gain the edge...

1. Avoid starting your responses or conversations with hedging phrases and immediate personal discounters. These fillers give off the impression the you're hiding behind your words and refusing to commit. They also have the power to negate whatever you say next. Examples include:

“I was just going to say…”
“I’m not sure if I’m right, but…”
“I don’t know if…”
“This is probably a stupid question…”

State your point confidently. No need to add extra words.

2. Take yourself on a date ALONE. Go to a fun place. Act like a real date. This will build your confidence and boost feelings of independence. (I do this at least once a month - it's the best!)

3. Use self-disclosure openings as conversation starters. They ease communication apprehension, offer insight into you and appeal to the inherent helpful nature of other people. Examples include:

“Hi, I don’t know anybody here!”
“This is my first time here.”
“I’ve never been to Dallas before.”

4. Avoid the word “interested.” It doesn’t have the confidence and persuasion of “willing.” It also uses more active language because it removes an “-ing” suffix from the sentence. For example, which of the following questions sound more confident?

“Dave, would you be interested in giving me your email?”
“Dave, would you be willing to give me your email?”

What's your best confidence builder?

Make the list grow! Post your confidence builders here.

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

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Saturday, January 13, 2007

The World is a Mirror, Part 18

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

This week I gave a talk to a group of business owners at the annual meeting of the National Potato Council. They were an awesome group!

As usual, towards the end I revealed several of the downsides to wearing a nametag.

This list included, but wasn't limited to:

*Complete strangers making fun of me
*People starting fights with me
*Hate mail, prank phone calls and rude IM’s
*Anonymous online death threats

The list continues to grow. It makes very little sense. And I’ve been trying to figure it out for years.

Who DOES this kind of stuff to someone whose intentions are clearly positive?

I’ll tell you who: someone who has issues of his own.

Anger. Aggression. Resentment. Fear. Ignorance. Insecurity. Jealousy. Weakness. Whatever you want to call it. These people are just plain rude! (90% of these people are men. Interesting.)

LESSON LEARNED: if someone acts rudely to you, it speaks more about him than it does about you.

A few other gems I’ve learned along the way are...

“Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.” (Eric Hoffer)

“Fear is the parent of cruelty.” (James Anthony Froude)

“Envy and resentment may be motives for bullying.” (Wikipedia)

“Aggression is directed to and often originates from outside stimuli, but has a very distinct internal character.” (Wikipedia)

“Some people learned their manners from sitcoms. They believe in the myth of the ‘funny rude’ person. These people are those self-appointed clowns who try to get a laugh at any price, and of course the easiest way to get laughs is to insult others. They haven't yet discovered that the price of rude humor ranges from hurt feelings to divorce proceedings. On television, the victims of insults never get offended, never harbor hurt feelings -- how conveniently lucky for the insulters. But in real life, psychology doesn't work that way.” (J.E. Brown’s paper called Why Are People Rude?)

In the end, some people are just going to be rude to you. Even if it has nothing to do with you. Guess you just have to shake 'em off.

I just think it's funny that a stranger (who clearly hates my guts) will take a half-hour out of his day to write me hate mail.

Who's the crazy one now?

What motivates people to be rude?

Post your hypotheses here!

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

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Friday, January 12, 2007

11 random thoughts on entrepreneurship

1. Does a lower fee make you more affordable, or less attractive?

2. A lot of people I meet ask me questions like, “So, is this all you do?” “Does speaking and writing actually pay the bills?” “Do you actually make a living doing this?” and “So, do you have another job?”

Questions like these are rude, presumptious and demeaning. However, since people ask, I always give them my answer: "Yes,” plus a little bluff-calling back-in-your-face follow up like, “Why do you ask?”

They usually stumble and say, “Well, I…uh…was just curious…” when what they really meant was, “There’s no way someone your age could be making a living doing what you do.” Jerks.


4. Your clients can get knowledge anywhere. They look to you for WISDOM.

5. People want to hear FROM success, not ABOUT it.

6. Refuse to go away. Persistence is attractive. But don’t be annoying. Or desperate. It’s tough to sell with your tongue hanging out.

7. You need to build a following.

8. If you’re the only one who does what you do, there IS no competition.

9. Just because you know how to use a hammer doesn’t mean you can build a house. Hire a professional designer to do your marketing materials, online and off.

10. Deliver small promises first to build a foundation of trust.

11. There is nothing more convincing than a working example.

That's all I got today!

What random thought are you having today?

Writing is theraputic. Especially free writes. And sometimes it's valuable to have no real topic. So, let's hear your top five random thoughts that have been on your mind lately. Anything you want. Post away!

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

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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Typical O'Hare...

Typical O’Hare. Always causing delays in other cities.

Since my flight was delayed 2 hours last night, I stopped by TGI Friday’s in DFW before returning to St. Louis.

My server threw down a coaster, introduced herself as Erin and asked, “So Scott, how much time do you have before takeoff?”

“Oh, uh…plenty. I’m on a 2 hour delay.”

“Cool, then I’ll start you off with a drink. What’ll you have?”

“Diet Coke.”

“Right away!” she said.

NOTICE: Erin didn’t say, “How are you?” “How’s it going?” or “Welcome to TGI Friday’s.”

She said, “How much time do you have?”

I couldn't help but chuckle.

What a line.
What a great approach.
What a way to get a huge tip!

Here is yet another minor incident with MAJOR lessons:

1. Ask smart questions. First words make (or break) first impressions.
2. Know your customer. Identify & satisfy their needs as soon as possible.
3. O’Hare sucks.

How unforgettable are your first words?

Post your best "first words" story here!

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

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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

People are only taught to count the big things

People are only taught to count the big things.

Customers. Sales. Profits. Losses. Stuff like that.

That’s why it’s so difficult to quantify the ROI on something like “approachability.”

Because it’s a just an idea. It varies from person to person.

But businesspeople must believe in the aggregate power of little things. “Do not despise the day of small beginnings,” as the old scripture explains.

That’s why I suggest measuring conversations, not customers. Touchpoints, not touchdowns. As I mentioned in the Mundane to Memorable post:


Breaking the silence = breaking the pattern

Pattern breaking = mundane into memorable

Memorable moments = increased comfort

Increased comfort = enhanced approachability

More approachability = strangers into friends

More friends = people who become “fans” of you & your business

Fans = people who loyally love your stuff

More fans = more positive word of mouth

More positive word of mouth = more $$$

More $$$ = :) :) :)

Business success is won in inches, not miles.

What little things are you counting?

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

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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Jeffrey Gitomer and The Nametag Guy Team Up Again!

Buy Jeffrey Gitomer’s Little Gold Book of YES! Attitude on today and get hundreds of dollars of free stuff from Jeffrey and 27 other top business leaders
around the world… including me!

The Little Gold Book of YES! Attitude is the newest addition to Jeffrey’s best selling Little Book Series, and gives you the critical tools you need to find, build, and keep a YES! Attitude for a lifetime of success.

I've already read this book. Finished it in three hours.


This is Jeffrey’s best work to date, and it’s written for the professional salesperson, the entrepreneur, the small business owner, the sales leader, the sales executive, and anyone who wants to create a YES! Attitude in every aspect of their business and personal lives.

BUY THE BOOK TODAY – JANUARY 9th on, send your receipt to and you win! You will receive hundreds of dollars worth of downloadable e-books, white papers, articles, audio MP3s, reports, and chapters of best selling books being offered by 27 top sales, marketing, publishing, communications, public relations, and business growth leaders.

It’s that simple, and that valuable.

For more details about the other 26 freebies in this offer, go here.

To buy the book now, go here.

What's your best attitude secret?

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

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Monday, January 08, 2007

Here's my sales philosophy

I've never been much for textbook sales methods: 17 kinds of closes, 24 ways to overcome objections, you know, all that stuff.

I'm not saying they're wrong. Sales is sales. It's just that much of the salesspeak seems manipulative. And businesspeople shouldn't spend all their time practicing other existing methods, they should be developing systems of their own.

So here's mine:

1) Sell yourself to yourself. The sale before the sale: the most important sale of all. It begins when you practice positive self-talk and daily affirmations that flood your subconscious with healthy thoughts. This will reprogram your mind to attract winning results based on your positive thinking. Ultimately, your attitude of approachability will become the foundation from which all future actions are based.

2) Believe in yourself. These thoughts will become beliefs. If you keep telling yourself that you are successful, intelligent, great at providing value, you will become (and do) just that. These beliefs will run through your mind and give you more self-confidence, simply because you kept talking to yourself.

3) Sell yourself to others. Now that you’ve sold you to you, and that you believe in yourself, share it with others. Lead with your person. Put it before your profession, position and title in a unique, unforgettable way. And remember: people buy people first. So, make friends with everybody. Increase your daily level of Zero Motive Interactions, online and offline. Practice interACTION, not interRUPTION. And whatever product or service you’re really selling, it will soon be bought after customers have bought you first. (And customers WILL buy you first because steps one and two make you the kind of person that want to do business with: friendly, attractive, confident and memorable.)

4) Enable people to buy your actual product or service. Notice I didn't say "sell," I said, "enable people to buy." Give value first, project uniqueness by being That Guy and be approachable so you create confidence in the minds of your customers. Make the mundane memorable. Lead, sell and close with VALUE before price, that way when the time comes to write the check, price doesn't matter.

5) Keep it alive. Become a resource, not just a salesperson. Think long term relationship, not one night stand. Think about the sale after the sale. Turn your customers into fans, and stay in front of those fans by regularly delivering value in your own unique way. Remember that these fans are the most important people in the world. Remember that consistency is far better than rare moments of greatness. And remember to have fun.

(Repeat steps 1-5 daily.)

What's your Sales Philosophy?

Post it here!

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

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Friday, January 05, 2007

A few thoughts on handling assholes

As someone who’s received a good amount of hate mail, plenty of criticism and yes, even death threats, today I’d like to talk about how to handle assholes.

When someone acts mean or crudely to you, it’s because:

*He thinks you dislike him
*He is threatened by you
*He is a jerk to everyone
*You’ve given him a reason to dislike you

Here’s how to handle this situation:

1. Pause before you react. Think honestly about what he said. Don’t defend the accusation unless you’re being appropriately attached.

2. If you’ve clearly messed up, own up. No excuses. Simply offer a valid reason why you did what you did, even if it’s as simple as, “I wasn’t thinking.”

3. Ask for more detail. Fully understand what happened. Also ask him to help you avoid similar problems in the future.

4. Don’t over apologize. Thank him for his feedback.

Now, sometimes you’ll discover absolutely NO reason for someone’s cruelty. He’s just an asshole to everyone, you think.

Good! This means you won’t have to bother wasting much time or energy with this asshole. Try one of these options:

IGNORE IT. Smile and move on. I can’t emphasize the importance of smiling. Assholes thrive on your anger. So, when you’re faced with a one of them, smiling really, REALLY pisses them off.

DEFLECT IT. Either say, “Wow, you’re really upset about this,” or “You must be having a bad day.” Don’t get sucked into the “bait game.” Don’t get defensive or upset. Instead, responses like this reverse the direction of the conversation and show the jerk that you refuse to take ownership of the his problem.

Good luck. May the Schwartz be with you.

How do you deal with assholes?

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

Thursday, January 04, 2007

19 things you need to know about shyness

It's pretty obvious that I'm not a shy person.

As such, I have no idea what it's like walk into a room of strangers and be utterly crippled by communication apprehension.

But sometimes I wish I did.

See, I think it's valuable for people - shy or not - to understand both sides approachability. That why I've read a lot of stuff on shyness over the years.

Here's 19 of my favorite points:

1. Shyness affects approximately 40% of all people, according to bestselling author Bernardo Carducci.

2. To increase your attitude of approachability, assume and expect that people are friendly and will welcome you into their conversations and lives.

3. Social anxiety, a more clinical and severe form of shyness, is a combination of three influences: physical (what you feel), cognitive, (what you think), and behavioral, (what you do).

4. Shyness is the result of thinking that losses outweigh the gains in an encounter.

5. Your behavior will only change when you decide to change it.

6. All shy people have this in common: they’ve been called shy by other people.

7. You are what you are because of the way other people see you.

8. Change your attitude = change the way you act = changes the way people see you = change the way you see yourself.

9. Self-confidence grows from the way people responded to you in the past.

10. A cause of shyness is thinking, “Nobody likes what I like.” Really? Go online, type in what you like, and just WATCH how many like-minded people are out there!

11. Passion = approachable and attractive. So, find a way to get on the topic of your passion in every encounter. People need to see you talking about and doing what you’re really good at and passionate about.

12. Shy people believe that trouble in communication is inevitable and that any triumphs they’ve had have either been flukes or not their fault.

13. Avoid telling people that you’re shy or introverted. They will believe you and it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

14. Don’t Suffer a Toothache = I’m too tall, too shy, and too low in company hierarchy, too busy, too important. Don’t let these self-limiting beliefs stand in your way of approaching someone.

15. Being told repeatedly that “you only have one chance to make a first impression,” and other pressure/fear based warnings will cause someone to overly concern themselves with first impressions, and as a result, make mistakes.

16. Catastrophic Thinking – when you exaggerate the importance of some event, i.e., “This is the most important speech of my life! If I mess up, I’m finished!”

17. Black & White Thinking – oversimplifying events, perfectionism, i.e., “I have to ace this interview. I can’t mess anything up at all.”

18. Shy people excessively apologize to seek reassurance.

19. Shy people use “Safety Behaviors,” a form of avoidance that controls anxiety. Examples include: sitting in the back or arriving early so they’re not the center of attention when they walk in the room.

On a scale from 1-10, how shy are you?

To enlighten us extroverts, post your three best nuggest about shyness here.

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

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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Watch The Nametag Guy on NBC!

Did you see the look on those anchors' faces?!

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

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Tuesday, January 02, 2007

68 lessons learned from 2006

1. Health comes first.
2. Press the off button.
3. Drink more water.
4. Take breaks every 50 minutes.
5. Do breathing exercises.
6. Don’t let anyone monopolize your time.
7. Read more fiction.
8. Take off a Monday or Friday here and there.
9. Write on day one, edit on day two.
10. Ignore the 10; stick with the 90.
11. Age only matters if you’re a cheese.
12. Stop hanging around people who are doing nothing with their lives.
13. Take more walks.
14. You can always wear sandals.
15. Don’t accept every invitation.
16. Everybody has to draw a line on their approachability.
17. Travel without plans.
18. The media doesn’t care about you.
19. Broaden the diversity of your music library.
20. Question more things.
21. Inspiration comes unannounced.
22. It’s not the years; it’s the mileage.
23. Media shots come in threes.
24. Forward, visual thinking works.
25. Goals work.
26. Stop using the word “networking.”
27. Match music to environment.
28. Anger is the enemy.
29. You don’t need to be a slave to your cell phone and email.
30. Once you discover you don’t need the world’s box, you’re set free.
31. Writing is the basis of all wealth.
32. Make more lists.
33. Reframing works.
34. Tell your friends that you love them more often.
35. World Series games are the greatest ever.
36. Ask yourself two questions: “What did you write today?” and “Is everything you know written down somewhere?”
37. Nothing makes bank tellers happier than a dozen free root beer floats.
38. Professional photos are worth it.
39. Free ebooks are the greatest.
40. Video is the future.
41. Disarm immediate preoccupation.
42. Smaller, more frequent feedings.
43. It’s ok to walk softly.
44. Careful how many ribs you eat in one sitting.
45. Some people are just idiots.
46. A person will act cruel or mean to you because: (a) he thinks you don’t like him, (b) he feels threatened by you, (c) you did something to upset him, or (d) he’s an asshole to everybody.
47. You can only work a job that sucks for so long.
48. Pay attention to the road.
49. Smokers suck.
50. Smile on camera.
51. Don’t rehearse so much.
52. When meeting a potential client for the first time, make sure you sit down at the right table and not with a strange man named Rajesh who has no idea who the hell you are (hypothetically)
53. Smile for three seconds when you walk in the room.
54. Get more massages.
55. Don’t drive an hour both ways at 6 AM in the middle of Florida just to do an interview on some worthless WB news show that nobody watched and got you no sales or bookings.
56. Kookaburra licorice is the greatest.
57. It’s ok to go short, but not TOO short.
58. Stress is really, really powerful.
59. Audio products don’t sell.
60. Christopher Walken is the greatest.
61. Keep it alive.
62. 8 words or less.
63. Is what you’re doing right now consistent with your #1 goal?
64. There are only a few select people who know exactly what you’re going through. Stick with them.
65. It’s great to have a spot.
66. As you become busier and more successful, you begin to value your time a whole lot more.
67. Interaction, not interruption.
68. Marketing and dating is the exact same thing.

What lessons did you learn in 2006?

Post your list here!

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

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