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

Thursday, January 31, 2008

It's never too late to...

A few months back I wrote a post that encouraged readers to complete the following sentence:

"It's never too early to..."

The responses were AWESOME. And I wanted to keep that same spirit alive in today's post by asking you to complete the exact opposite sentence:

"It's never too LATE to..."

Here's what I've come up with so far:

It’s never too late to … be happy!
It’s never too late to … change old habits.
It’s never too late to … be who you might have become.
It’s never too late to … become creative.
It’s never too late to … build a customer-focused organization.
It’s never too late to … call inactive accounts.
It’s never too late to … call off the firing squad.
It’s never too late to … call someone you love.
It’s never too late to … get an education.
It’s never too late to … get healthy.
It’s never too late to … get rich.
It’s never too late to … get your brain in shape.
It’s never too late to … go after your dream job.
It’s never too late to … go green.
It’s never too late to … have a happy childhood.
It’s never too late to … heal.
It’s never too late to … learn how to communicate.
It’s never too late to … learn.
It’s never too late to … love a computer.
It’s never too late to … move for health.
It’s never too late to … organize your finances.
It’s never too late to … procrastinate.
It’s never too late to … save.
It’s never too late to … start exercising.
It’s never too late to … start learning something new.
It’s never too late to … start over.
It’s never too late to … start singing a brand new song.
It’s never too late to … stop smoking.
It’s never too late to … succeed.
It’s never too late to … turn your life around.
It’s never too late to … write that book you’ve got inside you.

It’s never too late.

What are YOU waiting for?

Finish this sentence in five different ways: "It's never too late to..."

Post your lists here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

...only 5 more days until goes ON AIR!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

ZOINKS! The customer actually came to ME! Now what?

Do you remember the first time you were asked out on a date?

It probably caught you a little off guard.

Holy crap. You really want to go out with ME? Like, you came up to MY locker and asked for MY number? Oh-boy-oh -boy-oh-boy! Hot dog! This is so exciting! Someone was seeking ME out for a change! What time should I pick you up?

Wow. Can you imagine what the prospective date would think if you said that out loud?


Nice move, Casanova.

LESSON LEARNED: Don’t telegraph neediness.

Businesspeople do the SAME THING all the time. They get an email out of the blue from a prospective customer. And, just like that nervous, awkward adolescent, they respond the same way:

Wow! You really want to work hire ME? Like, you came to my website and now you actually want to pay me money for my services? Oh-boy-oh-boy-oh-boy! Hot dog! This is so exciting! A customer seeking ME out Where do I sign?

And the same principle applies.

If you act surprised when customers come to YOU, they might start to question your professionalism. To wonder about your busyness. And the silent dialogue becomes, “Wow, sounds like this guy REALLY needs my business…”

So, if you want to project confidence and coolness when YOU'RE the one being pursued, follow these three guidelines:

1. Just relax. Play it cool. Respond as if this happens all the time. Forget about the fact that if this client doesn't hire you, only ONE of your daughters will get to go to college.

Give the impression that you’re in high demand. That you’re used to customers pursuing YOU for business. Yep, just another day at the office.

FOR EXAMPLE: If someone wants to book you for their upcoming corporate event, one of the most liberating responses you could offer is, “What year?”

2. Watch your emotions. Sure, it’s exciting when a new prospect calls out of the blue. But it’s also a stroke to your ego. So, be careful that your emotions don’t cloud your response. Strive to maintain emotional objectivity.

A few years back, I was asked to give a speech in Jamaica. And I got SO excited and felt SO honored … that I charged the wrong fee! Woops!

REMEMEBER: Overreacting can lead to under charging.

3. Understand your position. Because the customer came to YOU, you’re in a unique situation. First of all, it’s a position of strength, since you’re not the one threatened by rejection. And the ability to walk away from a sale is a tremendous advantage.

Secondly, it’s a position of choice. Since the buyer is pre-qualified, the next question isn’t IF she should use you; it’s HOW she should use you.

THE GOOD NEWS IS: The more this happens; the more you will normalize your routine. Patterns will emerge, encounters will become more predictable and you will develop an unconscious competency for handling unsolicited requests.

And eventually, YOU will become the selector – not the selected.

How do you respond when customers come to YOU?

For the #1 way to (actually) get prospects to come to YOU, send an email to and I'll share the secret!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

...only 6 more days until goes ON AIR!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

7 Ways to Prime Your Brain for Constant Creative Insight

OK, so, you want to be more creative.

You want to become a Thought Leader.

And you want to make REAL changes in the world.


Cool! You sound like my kinda guy. (Or gal.)

So, here’s the plan. Because before you start changing the world, there’s something you need to do first:

Prime your brain.

See, the word “prime” actually means just that: FIRST.

As in, “The First Step of Creativity.”

SO, THAT’S THE SECRET: Before you start concocting the next great business idea, your first move is to motivate your melon.

Here’s a list of seven practices to help you prime your brain so new ideas will start flowing like water!

1. Maintain an expectant frame of mind. Before sleeping, exercising, brainstorming or any other extended periods of heightened creativity, first take a few minutes to invoke The Muse. Focus your thoughts and expectations on receiving insight. Try affirmations like:

o “I am creative.”
o “I have many ideas.”
o “I am a brilliant artist.”
o “I am willing to create."
o “I love to play with everything.”
o “I am flourishing with creativity.”
o “I am confident in my creative work.”
o “I am a receiver for creative inspiration.”
o “I have a constant flow of interesting and creative ideas.”

2. Make space in your own mind. For something to enter, your mind must first be empty. So, here are four ways to take a Mental Dump:

o Morning Pages: This stream of consciousness method of journaling is life changing AND life clarifying. Learn how to do them here.

o Exercise: Every single day for at least 20 minutes straight. See, with every bead of sweat you release, more space in your mind is also created. Learn more about solvitas perambulatorum here.

o Walking: Now, although you (could) put this under the category of exercise, taking regular walks – even if it’s just around the block – is a form of moving mediation. It clears your mind and fills your body with fresh oxygen. Plus it’s fun.

o Meditation: No, you don’t have to levitate. You just have to relax. In fact, the word “meditate” comes from the Latin meditatus, which means, “to contemplate.” So, whether it’s TM, focused breathing or your Daily Appointment with Yourself, this practice will be the most effective way for making space in your own mind.

3. Operate on multiple planes of consciousness. Prior to engaging in any activity - whether it’s reading, writing or attending a seminar - consider the various lenses through which you could view that activity. Let experiences change you. This will make your mind actively prepared to observe what your eyes see.

For example, let’s say you were reading a book. Consider reading with these three types of eyes:

o Superficial Eyes: You don’t need to read every word. You don’t need to listen to every line. You don’t need to understand every concept. Just get the key ideas. Figure out the ONE thing you’re supposed to be learning. And when you’re done, think (and rethink) about how it applies to your life.

o Academic Eyes: Observe other people’s styles, vocabularies and voices. Then, think about your own writing style. Pick out little things and trends you noticed from other creative people and adapt them to your own work. (Notice I said, “adapt,” not “steal.”)

o Creative Eyes: Highlight or underline a key passage. Put the book down. Make a list of all the reasons, examples, ideas and stories that come to mind when you apply that idea to your own life. Save that document in its own folder. Come back to it later and expand on what you read.

4. Perpetually hunt for insight. Inspiration is ENDLESS and EVERYWHERE. Anyone who ever claims, “I can’t find any good ideas!” is either lazy, stupid or not looking very hard. So, the secret is to maintain an attitude of curiosity, exploration and expectation … in everything you do. To be constantly scanning.

So, when you’re hunting for insight, ask yourself Filtering Questions like:

o Isn’t that interesting?
o What else is like this?
o What does this have to do with me?
o What’s the Universal Human Emotion?
o How are these issues related to each other?
o How does this have to do with my expertise?
o How could I use this as an example in my work?
o What did you (just) learn from this experience?
o How is this a symbol or example of my expertise?
o How does this fit into my picture of the universe?
o What’s the key idea here, regardless of the context?

5. Write it down! If you’ve read this blog before, you probably know my philosophy on this topic: Writing is the basis of all wealth. And if you don’t write it down, it never happened. So, when it comes to priming your brain, writing is your BEST friend.

See, The Page clarifies, organizes, and best of all, it doesn’t judge you. It just listens. So, if you have a big meeting, conference call or discussion coming up, consider taking fifteen minutes the MORNING OF to write out your thoughts. Voice complaints, ideas and annoyances, even “things NOT to say.”

Oh, and remember to make lots of lists, kind of like this.

6. Soften your eyes. This is more than just a practice; it’s a philosophy. And it’s not just physical, it’s mental and spiritual as well.

See, if you want to prime your brain, you need to slow down and notice the novelties of life. To studying ordinary things intently. To make the mundane memorable and be mindful of your surroundings. Here’s how to soften your eyes:

o You OPEN your mind. This means your optical guard lets down. Which means you’re less likely to neglect key opportunities. Which means you’re more willing to accept multiple perspectives. Which enables you to have more creative thoughts.

o You OBSERVE patterns quickly and frequently. This enables you to make connections between seemingly unrelated things. Which enables you to notice things and give them names. Which enables you to have more creative thoughts.

o You ORGANIZE your thoughts with ease and comfort. This helps you filter them through your personal theory of the universe. Which makes them YOUR unique ideas and theories. Which makes them easier to spread.

7. Become a Suspender. Suspend your self. Suspend your agenda. Suspend your preconceptions. Suspend your preoccupation. Suspend your views.

See, when you are willing to watch things in a detached way, you actually see MORE by striving LESS. If you’re also willing to learn something new (and NOT be obsessed with what you already know) there’s no limit to the amount of ideas your brain might attract!

So, strive to maintain openness to possible thoughts outside of what you already have. Become a suspender.

- - -

REMEMBER: You make a living off your ideas. They are the ancestors of your success.

So, if you want to become a creative powerhouse, a recognized Thought Leader and an agent of REAL change in the world, start by motivating your melon!

How do you prime your brain?

For a list called "49 Ways to become an Idea Powerhouse," send an email to with "Idea Powerhouse" in the subject line, and I'll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

...only 7 more days until goes ON AIR!

Monday, January 28, 2008

28 Ways to Challenge People's Assumptions

Some people are full of BS.
Some people make assumptions.
Some people are nothing but talk.
Some people speak without thinking.
Some people use invalidated, vague, baseless arguments to prove their points.

Your job is to challenge them.

To (not) blindly accept everything people say.

To spot hidden assumptions and avoid mindless acceptance.

You do this for two reasons:

1. YOU gain clarity on their motives, intentions and beliefs.
2. THEY gain an opportunity to restate, reform and rethink their ideas.

Your best tool is to use an ICY Question, which stands for, “I Challenge You.”

Here are seven examples of common situations and dialogues where you can use them:

THEM: “I never thought I’d say this, but…”
YOU: “Why did you never think you’d say that?”

THEM: “I can’t do that!”
YOU: “Why not?” or “Says who?”

THEM: “Well, they say that…”
YOU: “Who’s ‘they’?”

THEM: “So, is this your full time job?”
YOU: “Yes. Why do you ask?”

THEM: “I’ve been calling you all week and I’d really like to get together to talk about a business opportunity!”
YOU: “What is your positive motivation for wanting to meet with me?”

THEM: “I heard/read it was terrible…”
YOU: “Who’d you hear that from?” or “Where’d you read that?”

THEM: “I dunno, this seems pretty expensive?”
YOU: “Compared to what?”

- - -

BONUS! 21 (other) ICY Questions examples include, but are not limited to:

1. How did you arrive at that?
2. How do you measure that?
3. Is that always the case?
4. So?
5. What do you plan to do with this feedback?
6. What stops you?
7. What would happen if you didn’t?
8. What’s (really) bothering you?
9. What’s your point?
10. When did you decide this?
11. Why?
12. What’s your proof?
13. How do you know that’s true?
14. Where’s the evidence?
15. Are you sure that’s true?
16. Why do you believe that?
17. Can you prove it?
18. Why did I receive this email?
19. Why do you think that happened?
20. Why is that so important to you?
21. Why was I put on this list?

Ultimately, the whole reason ICY Questions work is because they break people’s patterns.

Which catches their attention.
Which causes them to stop and think.
Which causes them to clarify their remarks.
Which causes the REAL motives and beliefs to surface.
Which causes you to better understand where they’re coming from.

So, as EA Sports says, challenge everything.

Challenge irrational thoughts.
Challenge programmed knowledge.
Challenge people's positions.

If you want to be more approachable, start by being more challenging!

How do you challenge people's assumptions?

Share your three best ICY Questions here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

...only 8 more days until goes ON AIR!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Everything you do should lead to something else you do

The most important TWO WORDS in your entrepreneurial lexicon are:

What’s next?

Because everything you do should lead to something else you do.

Everything you do should:

Set yourself UP.
Set yourself APART.
Set yourself AHEAD.

So, in order to do so, I suggest asking these Leverage Questions. Let’s take a look:

1. What else can be made from this? The key to leverage is to look at something you’ve created and then play with its potential. It’s called “Movement Value.”

For example, if you’ve been posting on your blog every day for a year, could you combine those writings into a book? Or, if you have a stack of pictures sent in from various customers over the years, what if you created a “Meet Our Clients” slide show and posted it online?

REMEMBER: Accumulation is equity.

2. Now that I have this, what else does this make possible? Best leverage question of all time. At the end of a project, or if you gain a new skill or obtain a new piece of technology, think to yourself, “OK, now that I have THIS, what ELSE am I enabled to?” and “What does this make possible that wasn’t possible before?”

REMEMBER: Springboards, not straightjackets.

3. How else could I deliver this information? If you’re a writer or information marketer, remember that your customers and readers learn via four methods: reading, watching, listening and doing.

So, ask yourself if you’re REALLY appealing to widest audience possible. Consider mixing the medium on a regular basis. This will keep your delivery fresh and maximize your visibility. Even if you hate video, for example, do it because your customers love it.

REMEMBER: You aren’t your customer.

4. Are you saving your bad ideas for later? Bad doesn’t mean always “terrible.” It COULD simply mean “bad timing.” So, keep your unused ideas around, just in case. Revisit them regularly. You never know, something that sucked five years ago might be GOLD today!

REMEMBER: Bad (can) later become good.

5. How can I trickle? Once you get your foot in the door and work with ONE particular client, there are three directions in which future client work can trickle:

a. UP: if you worked with the state office last year, perhaps the regional and district office would want you this year!

b. DOWN: if you consulted with the national office this year, there’s no reason you couldn’t secure work with all seven of the regional offices next year!

c. OVER: if you just completed a municipal contract with the West County Branch, what if you sent a testimonial video to the East, North and South County Branches?

REMEMBER: Work three dimensionally.

So, if you want to set yourself UP, set yourself APART and set yourself AHEAD, you MUST ask these types of leverage questions.

Learn to adopt a “What’s next?” philosophy in every endeavor.

AND NEVER FORGET: Everything you do should lead to something else you do.

What's your secret to leveraging everything?

Share your best technique here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

...only 11 more days until goes ON AIR!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Being More Parodyable = Being More Profitable

Ask yourself three questions:

1. When was the last time someone parodied you?
2. When was the last time someone parodied your idea?
3. When was the last time someone parodied your company?

If your answer is, “Never,” then that should tell your something.

Kind of reminds us of the old saying, “Imitation is the highest form of flattery."

See, if people aren’t at least TALKING about you – much less joking about you – you’re in trouble.

LESSON LEARNED: Businesses that get made fun of get more business.


Obviously, Enron isn’t exactly a thriving corporation anymore.

Obviously, Crystal Pepsi didn’t exactly win the Soft Drink of Year.

But in many cases, people and ideas and organizations that are joked about, parodied – even made fun of – are usually the ones who are making a name for themselves.

And in my experience (as someone who gets made fun of a lot) there are five reasons why parody leads to profit:

1. It means you’re getting NOTICED. Amidst the clutter, infinite choices – and within the narrow window of time you have to get your message out – it’s an accomplishment just to get someone’s attention!

So, because nobody notices normal anymore, breaking through that initial clutter is the most important step. Just being recognized is a victory!

2. It means you're being REMEMBERED. That’s the next step. Because usually, those who get noticed … get remembered. And those who get remembered, get business. That is, as long as there’s SOME substance to back up the shtick.

Of course, the brain (still) HAS to be appealed to emotionally! So, that’s why when it comes to memory, humor works best. That which is ridiculous and exaggerated is remembered.

3. It means you’re getting TALKED ABOUT. Oscar Wilde once remarked, “The only thing worse than being talked about is NOT being talked about.” So, even if you or your ideas are being parodied, joked about or spoofed on, think of it as a compliment AND a victory.

REMEMBER:If your clients are not actively telling their friends about you, that probably means THIS.

4. You’re being IMITATED. Seth Godin recently came out with an action figure. It's HILARIOUS! And it's a perfect example of being parodyable.

So, if people are imitating your idea, that should tell you a few things. Things like:

o It’s remarkable
o It’s worth copying
o It’s simple to understand
o It’s the origin, not the echo
o It’s unique, not different.

Sounds like a good idea to me!

5. It means you''re being MARKETED. Sure, it might sting a bit to see a group of 16 year-old kids parody your company in a YouTube video. But at the lowest common denominator – that’s still free publicity! If I were you, I’d send them a thank you note. Er, maybe some brownies.

- - -

Now, understandably, nobody likes being made fun of.

So, I’m not encouraging you to go out there and humiliate yourself. Nor am I suggesting that any company who gets made fun of will automatically become successful.

However, let us not forget the power of the poke.

Because in my experience, parody often leads to profit.

After all, if people aren’t at least TALKING about you, your idea and your company, you’re doing something wrong.

Who's making fun of YOU?

Share your best example of a successful company or idea that's been parodied!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

...only 12 more days until goes ON AIR!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

15 random thoughts and the people who inspired me think them

This week I'm back in good ol' Cincinnati, working with my friends over at The Hyatt Regency.

It's always good to be back. Reminds me of college. Things like Skyline and WEBN bring back fond memories. Sigh...

Anyway, today I wanted to try something a little different: a bunch of random thoughts PLUS the "thought inspiration" behind each one.

Just in case you were wondering where I come up with all this stuff.


- - -

1. Always think on paper. (Inspired by reading a lot of Mihaly.)

2. Art comes through you, not from you. (Inspired by eating lunch with Bill Jenkins.)

3. Customers become comfortable when YOU are comfortable. (No idea where this one came from.)

4. Do everything creatively. (More Mihaly.)

5. Do experiments everywhere. (Sparks of Genius - really neat book.)

6. Everything communicates something. (It's fun to look around at the world and ask yourself, "Now, what is THAT communicating?")

7. Foster customer activity. (From reading Chip's stuff.)

8. Help people get beyond their misconceptions. (Yep, more Chip.)

9. Let experiences change you. (No idea where I heard this one.)

10. Other people who do what you do have already miseducated your customers. (Doesn't that suck?)

11. Premature organization stifles creative generation. (Ah, the wonderful world of Distributive Cognition!)

12. Recognize threats to your ownership. (Really fantastic book called Ordering Your Private World - all leaders MUST read this.)

13. The goal is to get them to learn it on their own. (Teaching really DOES sell.)

14. The listener controls. (Man, that's really a neat thought. Thanks Mark!)

15. There's never a perfect time. (Because, obviously, SFKA.)

OK, that's it! See ya tomorrow.

What (or whom) inspires your thinking?

Share five random thoughts, and how you were inspired to think them.

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

...only 13 more days until goes ON AIR!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

8 Ways to Avoid Conversational Narcissism

Forget yourself and submit to the other person.

That’s the BIG challenge of listening.

To check your ego.
To relinquish you agendas.
To suspend your preoccupation.

Unfortunately, it’s dangerously easy for people to fall into the trap of Conversational Narcissism.

Especially when they’re too busy.

Too busy trying to contribute.
Too busy trying to prove themselves.
Too busy trying impose their own agenda.
Too busy trying to take ownership of someone else’s ideas.

Today we’re going to explore 8 practices to help you avoid Conversation Narcissism so you can continue to grow bigger ears!

1. Watch your intent. First, beware of listening for selfish reasons. In fact, ask yourself this: Why are you listening? Could it be…

Listening to give advice?
Listening to change people?
Listening to hear yourself talk?
Listening to control the conversation?
Listening to appear like a good listener?
Listening to find your opportunity to steal the stage take over?

Or, are you listening to understand, learn and help? The choice is yours.

2. Switch the spotlight. Give THEM the glory. REMEMBER: Listening isn’t about you. And your words need to reinforce that principle. So, try these Phrases That Payses after you’ve finished making a comment:

o "And you…?"
o "Have you had similar experiences?"
o "Is it the same in your industry?"
o "What about yourself?"
o "What’s YOUR philosophy on that?"

3. Silently check yourself. In the back of your mind (while still listening, of course), find a way to keep yourself accountable. Consider using QREATIVITY by asking silent self-assessment questions like:

o Am I granting others space to talk?
o Am I listening or controlling the conversation?
o Am I listening or trying to fix?
o Am I listening or waiting to talk?
o What questions wants to be asked next?
o Will this comment disrupt or contribute?

4. Don’t add too much value. Trust in your ability to add value AFTER (not during) the listening process. Resist the temptation to hijack the conversation by matching or one-upping people’s points, or by trying to solve the problem too quickly.

A great practice to remind you of this principle is to post listening reminders on sticky notes by your desk and phone. Examples might include:

a. Listening, not solving.
b. Don’t add (too much) value!
c. Listen, don’t fix.
d. Listeners don’t bulldoze!
e. Three seconds before responding.
f. Two ears, one mouth!

Check out the complete list of 38 Listening Reminders!

5. Open the space. Part of your role as the listener is to make room (both physically and emotionally) in the conversation. Your best practice for this principle is the strategic use of silence. This lets the other person fill in the empty spaces AND enables him to set the pace of the conversation.

The challenge, of course, is that most Conversational Narcissists don’t like silence. They talk for the sake of talking. As if silence made them look weak and indecisive.

Nope. Silence is strength. And “silence is golden” because it helps the other person articulate their most precious emotions. So, your goal is to become more comfortable with silence. Here's why:

o The more you practice silence alone, the more comfortable you will be during silence with others.
o The more comfortable you are during silence with others, the less likely you are to feel the need to fill the space.
o The less you feel the need to fill the space, the more open the atmosphere becomes.
o The more open the atmosphere becomes, the more likely the other person is to share her authentic feelings, concerns and questions.

6. Be mindful of ownership. Don’t take over people’s problems. That’s not your job. And that’s (probably) not why they came to you. Instead, provide support so they can safely process their own thoughts and eventually formulate their own solutions. In so doing, you show the other person respect and reinforce their ability to manage their own lives. Use Phrases That Payses like:

o "What do you think is the best option?"
o "What does your gut tell you?"
o "What outcome would be optimal in this situation?"
o "What are you going to do about it?"

7. Listening is NOT a performance. Listening is about temporarily suspending your need for self-expression. So, don’t use what people say as triggers for your own jokes. Listening takes, among many things, self-control. One of my favorite rules is: Acknowledge, then shut up! SO REMEMBER: Take in; don’t take over.

8. Recognize and return. Notwithstanding the first seven suggestions on this list, it’s still nearly impossible to avoid ALL traces of conversational narcissism. So, the secret is to recognize when you feel yourself being pulled into narcissistic territory. That way you can correct it, then pass the conversation back to the other person. Consider using these Phrases That Payses:

a. “I’ve been doing most of the talking, so let me stop now and just listen.”
b. “Enough from me, what about you?”
c. “I’m sorry; I’ve been talking too much!”

Ultimately, Conversational Narcissism boils down to this simple idea:

Listening isn’t about you.

It’s about forgetting yourself and submitting to the other person.

So, check your ego. Relinquish you agendas. And suspend your preoccupation.

Start growing bigger ears today!

How do you avoid Conversational Narcissism?

Share your best practice for Growing Bigger Ears here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

...only 14 more days until goes ON AIR!

Monday, January 21, 2008

38 (More) Ways to Grow Bigger Ears

What’s the secret to Growing Bigger Ears?

THREE WORDS: Constant, visual reinforcement.

So, here’s what you do.

1. Grab a few sticky notes and a Sharpie.

2. Start brainstorming a list of your biggest listening challenges, i.e., “Pause three seconds before answering a question,” or “Don’t ask ‘Why?’ ask, ‘What or How?’”

3. Summarize, symbolize and shorten those ideas into memorable soundbites.

4. Post them around your office, by your phone, in your car, on the door, in the bathroom, on the mirror, or anywhere else you might glance at during the day.

5. Start Growing Bigger Ears!

Now, if you’re stumped for Listening Reminder ideas, here’s a quick list of 38 suggestions to get you started:

- - -

1. L-I-S-T-E-N = S-I-L-E-N-T
Whaddaya know? Same letters! How comfortable are you with silence?

2. 2 ears, 1 mouth
Listen and speak proportionately. This physical feature wasn’t an accident.

A little harsh, but some people need to hear it.

4. Advice or understanding?
Find out which one the other person is asking you for.

Let the pearl sink. Think before responding.

Physically and emotionally, to accept new ideas and thoughts.

7. Attention, acknowledgment, appreciation, affirmation.
The four A’s of effective listening!

8. Responses, not answers.
That’s what to look for. Sometimes their body says something else.

9. (L-I-S-T) E-N
The first four letters suggest a great method of note taking. More about the magic of listing here!

Until this exists, the other person will NOT open up comfortably.

11. WHAT or HOW, not Why.
Prefixing your questions with Why? causes defensiveness. Depersonalize your words.

12. What happened next?
Think of yourself as a trial lawyer. Lead the witness where she wants to go.

Encourages people to open up comfortably, allows them to pace and name the conversation according to their needs.

14. Bite your tongue!
People with big ears have teeth marks on their tongues.

Are you giving it when people didn’t ask for it?

16. Don't add (too much) VALUE.
Contribute AFTER (not during) the listening process. Resist the temptation to hijack the conversation with your own experiences or ideas.

17. Listening, not waiting to talk.
Are you trying to find an opportunity to steal the stage take over?

18. Don’t fix.
That’s not your job. That’s not what they want. That’s not why they came to you.

19. Say what you see.
“I see that you’re really upset.” “I see that you’ve come in an hour late every day this week.” Maintain objectivity so you don’t sound accusatory.

20. NO Agenda.
Listen not to add value, argue, fix, solve;; to make the other person feel better or to look like a good listener. Listen just to listen.

21. Will this comment disrupt or contribute?
Before interjecting, this is a great question to ask yourself? If it can wait, write it down. If not, acknowledge and shut up.

22. Post a picture of a blank tape.
To remind you what you’re there for.

23. Don’t react; respond.
Emotional reactivity is the #1 internal barrier to effective listening.

24. WHAT wants to be said next?
Not, “What do I want to say next?” Suspend your agenda and let the appropriate comment surface on its own.

25. I see, not OK.
It’s positive, empathetic and non-committal; whereas “OK” takes a side.

Because that’s what people need in order to feel safe to open up.

27. Post a picture of a lake.
Be still like a body of water. As a result, the other person will be able to see their reflection in it, which will lead to breakthroughs of their own making.

28. Problem or predicament?
Problems have solutions; predicaments have options.

29. Take two breaths first.
This is a great technique to practice before answering the phone or opening the door for someone to walk in. Oxygen prepares your body and primes your mind and heart to receive the other person.

30. Ask; don’t tell.
Be curious, not judgmental. Use engaging, generative language. Show the other person that you trust them to develop their own answers.

31. Curious, not judgmental.
Be fascinated, not frustrated. Be a giant question mark.

32. Post a picture of the Rich Uncle Pennybags.
As a reminder to monopolize the listening.

33. Post of a picture of an ear and a heart.
Because listening to someone is a form of loving that person.

34. You don’t own the problem.
Resist the temptation to claim ownership of the other person’s issue by trying to solving it too quickly, offering advice or assuming THEE answer.

35. WOW.
An effective response that acknowledges the other person, shows concern and (minimal) emotion; yet still keeps you fairly neutral.

36. Listening isn’t a performance.

37. Full body listening.
Listen with your eyes, arms, hands, fingers, legs; heart, mind and soul.

38. Post a cartoon or a picture of someone with HUGE ears.
It will make you laugh and remind you of this listening philosophy.

- - -

These listening reminders will accomplish three goals:

1. They will REMIND you … of the value of listening.

2. They will TEACH you … to become a better listener.

3. They will KEEP you … accountable to yourself and to the people you serve.

Start growing bigger ears today!

How do you remind yourself to become a better listener?

Share your best Listening Reminders here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

...only 15 more days until goes ON AIR!

Friday, January 18, 2008

37 Things (Not) to Do This Year

1. Don’t accuse, inform.

2. Don’t exist, live.

3. Don’t hear, listen.

4. Don’t hype. Appear.

5. Don’t inform, form.

6. Don’t jump, pause.

7. Don’t listen, understand.

8. Don’t look, observe.

9. Don’t memorize, prepare.

10. Don’t perform, satisfy.

11. Don’t read, observe.

12. Don’t sell, solve.

13. Don’t solve, dissolve.

14. Don’t talk, do.

15. Don’t think, react.

16. Don’t think, reflect.

17. Don’t touch, feel.

18. Don’t write, transmit.

19. Don’t advertise your importance.

20. Don’t be a flat person.

21. Don’t be typecast.

22. Don’t say you don’t know.

23. Don’t cheap out on design.

24. Don’t (over) actively listen.

27. Don’t get right down to business.

28. Don’t overuse techniques.

25. Don’t ask too many questions.

26. Don’t use assumptive, vague language.

29. Don’t force familiarity.

30. Don’t be so goal oriented..

31. Don’t criticize imperfections.

32. Don’t memorize your speech, prepare your speech.

33. Don’t proofread thoughts.

34. Don’t unload everything.

35. Don’t let them catch you acting.

36. Don’t count on your audience to connect the dots.

37. Don’t do things FOR anyone or anything. Just do them.

What do you encourage people (not) to do?

Share your Top Five Best Pieces of Counterintuitive Wisdom here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

...only 18 more days until goes ON AIR!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Is this an intentional action or an incidental consequence?

When faced with any task, endeavor or project, two questions need to be asked:

1. What needs to be done intentionally?
2. What do I hope will happen incidentally?

First, let’s explore the word “intentional.”

It comes from the Latin intendere, which means, “To direct one’s attention.”

So, it’s the action you take first, along with the attitude you maintain while taking it.

And, in many cases, that which you intend to do is simple, process-oriented and free from agendas.

For example, let’s say you’re going to exhibit at a trade show.

Your intentions might be to have fun, be uniquely visible, develop and maintain mutually valuable relationships, deliver value and listen to the needs of your attendees.

IN SHORT: Journey, not destination; conversations, not sales pitches.

Now, on the other hand, the word “incidental,” comes from the Latin incidentem, which means, “To occur casually in connection with something else.”

So, it’s the consequence of the intentional stuff.

And, in many cases, that which incidentally occurs is organic, serendipitous and reciprocal.

So, let’s go back to the tradeshow exhibit again.

Considering your intentions from the first example, your incidentals might be obtaining new clients, earning money and building your business.

See the difference?

OK, good. Now, here comes the tricky part…

Because your biggest challenge is going to be discerning between intentionals and incidentals.

BUT HERE’S THE GOOD NEWS: This can be accomplished by asking one simple question:

Is this an intentional action or an incidental consequence?

MY SUGGESTION: Write this question on a sticky note and post it where you can see it every day. This will train your mind to distinguish between intentions and incidentals.

- - -

Now, to further your understanding on the distinction between these two words, let’s take a look at four examples:

1. Don’t (try) to make sales.
Instead, INTENTIONALLY … deliver value first, position yourself as a resource and a trusted advisor, communicate your uniqueness quickly and ask well-timed, creative and thought-provoking questions.

Then, INCIDENTALLY, you will make sales.

2. Don’t (try) to be a leader.
Instead, INTENTIONALLY … be an empathetic, active listener; be inspiring, be passionate, be approachable, be consistent with your character and add value to yourself and to others every single day.

Then, INCIDENTALLY, people will follow you.

3. Don’t (try) to get lots of hits on your website.
Instead, INTENTIONALLY … focus your efforts on creating a web presence through octopus (not earthworm) marketing; blog every single day, make your website easy to find, share and talk about; and build remarkability and word-of-mouth-worthiness into every element of your business.

Then, INCIDENTALLY, the website hits will come pouring in.

4. Don’t try to get the media to approach you.
Instead, INTENTIONALLY … validate your expertise through the publishing of written, audio and video content; post pictures of you doing what you do; take small interviews first, create a media room on your website; and establish a unique, opinionated position, philosophy or approach to doing business.

Then, INCIDENTALLY, the media will come to you.

Ultimately, the distinction between intentional and incidental is best summarized by something I (admittedly) learned from an episode of Dr. Phil.

His advice to the panel of overweight guests was, "Don’t dwell on the idea of shedding pounds, but rather, focus on living a healthier lifestyle."

He encouraged (er, yelled at) them to modify their eating, drinking, exercising and sleeping habits.

That was the intentional part.

And as a result, he said, they would experience increased energy, higher self-esteem, a more positive self-image and, eventually, a loss of weight.

That was the incidental part.

So, whether you’re trying to increase sales, drive web traffic, lead a group of employees – or even shed those unwanted pounds – here’s the secret:

Fo on the umbrella.

Ask yourself, “Is this an intentional action or an incidental consequence?”

Because, as my mentor, Arthur Scharff says, “Seeking destroys the journey.”

What question do you ask yourself before undertaking any endeavor?

Share your best one here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

...only 18 more days until goes ON AIR!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

If you don't quote yourself, nobody else will

So, you’re pretty smart.

And you’ve said some pretty smart things.

But you didn’t write them down, did you?

Which means you don’t (regularly) quote yourself, do you?

BIG mistake.

LESSON LEARNED: If want other people to quote YOU, you need to quote yourself first.

Because if you don't quote yourself, nobody else will.

Don’t worry. It doesn’t make you an egomaniac.

It just means that, as a creative professional, as a thought leader, you’re taking ownership of (and protecting) your intellectual property.

Here are a few steps you can take to start quoting yourself today!

1. Pay attention. Sometimes you might say something smart and think, “Damn, that was pretty good!” Or a friend of yours might ask, “Hey, can I quote you on that?” When things like this happen, you MUST recognize them as cues to your brilliance. Because you ARE brilliant.

2. Write it down. The next step is to capture your thoughts. Remember, if you don’t write it down, it never happened! So, the moment you say something brilliant, grab your jotter, a piece of paper, a napkin or your laptop and WRITE IT DOWN. This is the most important step.

3. Verify it. Before you go taking credit for your (supposedly) original thought, be sure to validate it. Start by asking yourself three questions:

a. Is this thought (really) mine?
b. Has this thought passed through the test of my personal experience?
c. How can I discover whether or not this is my own thinking?

If yes, the next step is to google the full, exact phrase in quotations. You need to make sure someone hasn’t already said it, wrote it, claimed it or wrote a book with the title of it. This will help you avoid plagiarism and maintain your originality.

(NOTE: yes, I know, there's nothing new under the sun. Whatever brilliant thought you've had, somebody has probably said it - or something like it - before. But that doesn't mean they wrote it down. And if it doesn't exist on google, it doesn't exist! REMEMBER: Writers keepers, losers weepers.)

4. Store it. Keep a file on your computer or a folder on your desk called, “Smart Things I’ve Said” or "My Quotations" or "Dave's One-Liners." Update it regularly with your new quotations.

5. Share it. Now comes the fun part - physically quoting yourself! Here are a few suggestions:

*Create a special report, ebook, whitepaper blog post or video cliff notes that includes all of your quotations. Give it away for free to EVERYBODY. Especially customers, prospects and colleagues.

*Print a few thousand “philosophy cards” that include your ten best quotes. Hand them out to EVERYBODY. For more information on how to create a philosophy card, check this out.

*In your writings, don’t hesitate to quote yourself. Use ownership phrases like, “Like I always say,” “My philosophy is,” and “I like to tell my readers/audience members.”

*In your blog posts, create customized, trademarked images of your quotations that credit your name and URL. This will make it VERY easy for other to quote you. P.S., Take a look at the top of this blog post to see what I mean ;)

6. Monitor and Protect. Finally, get Google Alerts on your best, most frequently used quotations. Find out who’s talking about you, quoting you, and, possibly, who’s stealing your material. Consider buying URL’s, registering trademarks and taking other legal actions to officially protect and copyright your intellectual property. (IF someone DOES steal your material, relax and read this.)

- - -

Now, I know that initially, it might feel odd quoting yourself.

But let's face it: Ben Franklin, William James, Shakespeare, Emerson and Mark Twain have been quoted enough. The world needs some fresh material.

It's time for YOU to become the next great thinker.

So, just remember:

If you quote yourself, other people will quote you.

If other people quote you, your perception as an expert and a thought leader will grow.

If your perception as an expert and thought leader grows, you will become more attractive, more approachable and more desirable.

And THAT will galvanize more customers, more opportunities and more business.

REMEMBER: ideas are your major source of income.

If you don't quote yourself, nobody else will.

And you can quote me on that.

What do you "always say"?

Share your best personal quotation here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

...only 19 more days until goes ON AIR!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

22 Ways to Make Negative Thinking Work for You

Inasmuch as positive thinking is a healthy, creative and productive approach to life, there IS something to be said about being the (occasional) Negative Nelly.

Wow. That was REALLY cheesy. Negative Nelly. I sound like Ned Flanders.

Whatever. Flanders rules.

Anyway, Negative Thinking – despite its bad rap – CAN have positive attributes.

When used and timed correctly.


Posing occasional questions underscored with doubt and skepticism is a healthy way to maintain objectivity and curiosity.

And that’s what leads to breakthrough thinking.

Negative Thinking - and, more specifically, Negative Questioning - is a protective measure. It’s challenging, counterintuitive and gives you permission to explore the downside without feeling like a Negative Nelly, Debbie Downer or Suzie Suckbag.

LESSON LEARNED: human beings NEED to have occasional negative thoughts.

So, in situations where you’re evaluating, planning, discussing or offering/soliciting feedback, consider asking people (AND yourself, too) negative questions.

Let's explore 22 of them:

1. What are my three most limiting factors?
2. What is the stupidest thing I could say?
3. What is the stupidest thing I could do?
4. What are the three most common mistakes made by people my situation?
5. What’s the worst thing that could happen?
6. What’s the stupidest idea I could possibly have?
7. What type of person do I definitely NOT want to become?
8. What negative addictions do I have?
9. Who can hurt me the most?
10. In what ways am I obsolete?
11. How could this negatively affect me?

12. What mistakes have you learned from?
13. What’s the absolute worst idea you could possibly come up with?
14. What mistakes did you make in your first year of business?
15. What was your last “what-NOT-to-be” lesson?
16. What are the common traits among those who have failed?
17. What was your last “what-NOT-to-do” lesson?
18. How could this negatively affect you?
19. What UN-motivates you?
20. What do you fear losing?
21. What has been your biggest failure?
22. What threatens your peace?

REMEMBER: it takes a positive person to make negative thinking work.

So, when used judiciously, asking Negative Questions can lead to some pretty cool break-diddely-ake-throughs.

Are you positive enough to think negative?

Share your three best Negative Thinking Questions here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

...only 20 more days until goes ON AIR!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Clarify the type of conversation you're having

One of the primary tasks of Growing Bigger Ears is to guide the conversation into focus.

To help the speaker clarify what type of conversation she wants to have with you.

You do this for three reasons:

FIRST, clarify to … open up the space.
People need to feel free and relaxed in your presence. So, by first negotiating the space between you, you make it safe to share. This builds a foundation of comfort and approachability that endures throughout the entire encounter.

SECOND, clarify to … to set expectations.
Without an initial understanding of your conversational objectives, you’ll never know whether or not you and your partner were successful. So, think of this practice as sort of a mini-goal for creating a harmonious climate.

THIRD, clarify to … establish boundaries.
Listening is a process of suspending your own agenda in the service of the speaker. So, when you know what your respective roles are – and what areas are off limits - you prevent yourself AND the speaker from wasting emotional energy.

OK! Now that you understand the value of clarifying, let’s explore five questions you can pose to help the speaker guide the conversation into focus:

1. What needs to happen during this conversation for you to feel that it was successful?
2. What type of conversation do you want this to become?
3. Do you want me to suggest ideas or just listen?
4. Is this a dialogue or a discussion?
5. How would you like me to listen to you?

CAUTION: be sure to pause for at least three seconds after every question AND answer. Let the pearl sink.

REMEMBER: when you clarify the conversation by asking future-focused, positive questions, you not only open up the space, set expectations and establish boundaries; but you also demonstrate your willingness to move forward together.

And that’s what approachability is all about.

When you're The Listener, what questions do you ask yourself?

Share your best two questions here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

...only 21 more days until goes ON AIR!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Build a Permission Asset, Part 3

NOTE: be sure to read part 1 and part 2 of this post series before continuing!

- - -

Welcome back!

Today is our final post in the series about Building a Permission Asset.

Just to recap: we've already learned about what a permission asset is, how to asset your current status and tools for building it.

Now we're going to talk about the two most difficult challenges: PATIENCE and PROTECTION.

Yes. Building a permission asset takes time. LOTS of it.

See, notwithstanding our instant-gratification culture, your permission asset isn’t something you just “get.”

You can’t download off iTunes. Or find it on Craig’s List. Or buy it from some random college kid in your neighborhood.

It takes time. Work. Maintenance.

And most of all, patience. Because some people won't want to give you permission asset right away. And some people won't want to give permission EVER.

With that in mind, let’s wrap things up with several patience and precautionary measures to protect your permission asset during the long haul:

1. Privacy. While giving their email address to you is technically “free,” customers are still concerned about getting spammed. So, make certain people understand your intentions at the onset. Let them know you will NOT be sharing their information. Respect always wins.

REMEMBER: Attention is the most powerful form of currency.

2. Get it early. Whether it’s in marketing (or a one-on-one conversation) you can never get permission too early. The biggest regret you will EVER have in marketing is, “Damn it! I should have been collecting people’s emails sooner!” It’s not too late – you can start TODAY.

REMEMBER: Broadcast your uniqueness, make the mundane memorable, turn strangers into friends, friends into FANS and fans into word of mouth. Now!

3. Think long term. Look upstream. Consider the lifetime value of ONE fan. Think about how many friends they could potentially tell. Most importantly, think about how valuable your relationship with them could potentially grow.

REMEMBER: There are no one-night stands with your permission asset.

4. Consistency. Whether your permission asset is supported by an ezine, podcast or blog, you MUST deliver value. So, remind your fans WHY they follow you. Also, ask for their input, ideas, feedback and comments. Maintain a continuous dialogue with them. Because:

The more involved they are, the more ownership they take.
The more ownership they take, the more people they tell.
And the more people they tell, the bigger your permission asset (and, ultimately, your following) grows.

REMEMBER: Consistency is far better than rare moments of greatness.

5. Gratitude. Because your permission asset is so valuable, and because a following is NOTHING without followers, make sure you regularly thank your fans how much you value their loyalty (aka, permission). Offer them specials and discounts. Go out of your way connect with them via email, phone, or if possible, in person!

REMEMBER: Practice proactive gratitude. That which you appreciate appreciates.

6. Leverage. Once your permission asset hits a critical mass (1,000, 5,000, 10,000, for example) you will earn more opportunities to leverage it. The bigger your permission asset is, the more you can ask people for.

REMEMBER: Some people on your list may buy at a later time, simply because you stayed in front of them. Leverage your increasing momentum.

7. Respect. A few years ago, I emailed the aforementioned permission guru, Seth Godin. I asked him what he thought the most important word in marketing was. His answer was, “Respect.”

So, when it comes to your permission asset, never, ever, ever, ever, E-V-E-R disrespect or violate the trust of your fans. If they want off your list, respect their choice and gracefully remove them. Don’t take it personally.


8. Value. Your content – be it text, audio or video – needs to be relevant, interesting, focused, smart, concise and remarkable. Most importantly, it needs to be delivered in a unique way. You need a voice. A lens. A thing. A philosophy.

I think author and blogger extraordinarine Guy Kawasaki said it best, “It’s impossible to build community about mundane writing.”


9. Patience. Don’t expect to get 500 subscribers in your first week. Have patience. Boost your list one fan at a time. The good news is, once you get past a certain number, you’ll begin to grow exponentially.

But, the (sort of) bad new is, building your permission asset never ends. You’re in it for the long haul. Better be passionate!

REMEMBER: There ain’t no finish line.

- - -

NOTE: Even with all the tips, suggestions and ideas you've read in these past three posts, there's still one additional challenge to recognize: What if, no matter how hard you try, some people just WON'T give you permission?

Unfortunately, that IS going to happen. No matter what business you're in, no matter what type of permission asset you're building, some people just won't give it up.

AND MY THOUGHT IS: Respect that. All you can do is your absolute best to deliver value and be yourself.

If someone is hesitant to give you permission, persistently (but not annoyingly) remind them about the security, privacy and respect of doing so. Educate them about the value of giving you permission. Don’t sell too much or too often and don’t annoy or bother them.

If that doesn't work, back off. Don't take it personally. Perhaps YOU are not the right person to convince them. Perhaps, over time, they will be convinced or evangelized by an existing member of your permission asset.

"You still haven't subscribed to Janet's weekly ezine? Man, you're missing out! Last week's article saved me thousands of dollars!" says one of your raving fans.

If that (still) doesn't work, maybe it's time to let that person go and move on.

There are plenty of other fish in the Permission Sea.

- - -

So, as we come to the end of our three-day discussion, I wanted to share one final example.

This is my favorite illustration (no pun intended) of the power of building a permission asset.

Scott Adams.

You know, the creator of Dilbert!

He runs the most successful, most widely read and highest syndicated comic strip in the world.

o His comic strips are read by millions of people every day.
o He gets 200-300 comments PER POST on his daily blog. (Holy Technorati Batman!)
o He’s published dozens of bestselling books.
o His line of Dilbert merchandise makes millions every year.
o His scores of fans rearrange their schedules just to come out to his book signings and events.
o His speaking fee is $50,000.
o He is the CEO of Scott Adams Food, Inc., maker of the Dilberito & Protein Chef.
o He won the National Cartoonist Society Reuben Award and Newspaper
Comic Strip Award.
o He received the NCTE George Orwell Award for Distinguished Contribution to Honesty and Clarity in Public Language.
o He’s been in the rankings of the “50 Most Influential Management Thinkers” placing 31st in 2001, 27th in 2003 and 12th in 2005.

But here’s the best part.

Scott Adams was the first syndicated cartoonist who published his email address on all his cartoons.

Initially, he did it in the hopes that people would email jokes to him.

Which they did.

Eventually, he started asking these people who emailed him if they wanted to occasionally hear from him via his an ezine.

Which they did.

WHICH MEANT: they gave Scott Adams permission.

WHICH MEANS: he built (and continues to build) his permission asset.

WHICH PROVES: he who has the biggest list (and, the best relationship with that list) wins.

How many people art anticipating YOUR marketing?

Seriously, you need to read Seth's book.

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

...only 21 more days until goes ON AIR!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Build a Permission Asset, Part 2

NOTE: be sure to read part 1 of this post before scrolling down!

- - -

OK guys, let's continue our discussion on building a permission asset.

Today we’re going to explore a list of 18 questions to help you assess the status of your current permission asset.

(Don't worry, you don’t have to answer them all right away!)

But, some are yes/no, some are VERY penetrating, and some of these questions are going to make you grin, shake your head say, “Damn it!”

But that’s good. That means there’s (still) room to make your permission asset even stronger!

Here we go:

1. Are you being selfish with your knowledge?

2. Do you get the email of every customer?

3. Do you have customers or fans?

4. How do you provide a value message to your customers every week?

5. How are you building a following?

6. How are you measuring your permission asset?

7. How are you staying in front of your fans?

8. How do you collect email addresses from the people who come to your website?

9. How do you get permission from people to market to them?

10. How many people are anticipating your marketing?

11. How many ezine subscribers do you have?

12. How many RSS subscribers do you have?

13. How quickly do you get permission from strangers?

14. If you were your customer, what would you LOVE to have from you next?

15. Is your marketing interrupting or interacting?

16. Is your marketing making music or noise?

17. When was the last time you sent out a newsletter or ezine?

18. Whom are you recruiting?

- - -

So, how’d you do?

Any of those questions impossible to answer?

Good. Because the next action is to start building (or continue building) your permission asset.

Here are (what I believe to be) the five most common, easiest and cheapest ways to do so:

1. Ezine. Make it consistent. Make it short. Make it valuable. Make it clean. And don’t sell too much. Don’t send it out too often or to too sparsely. Most importantly, be sure your “unsubscribe” button is easy to find. (Mine goes out to 10,000 people every other Tuesday. It has videos, articles and blog posts about approachability. If you would like to subscribe, go to my website!)

2. Blog. Post every day. Write passionately. Take a side. Discover your authentic writing voice. Have a Call to Action or response mechanism at the end of every post. Don’t quit after two months. Use lots of lists. Use short sentences. Use one-line paragraphs. And of course, have fun!

3. RSS Feed. For your products. For your articles. For your tour schedule. For your upcoming events. For your blog posts. For your podcasts. For your videos. For your new ideas. For ANYTHING the people in your permission asset might value.

4. Videos. Post short, fun, cool, remarkable and slightly silly videos on YouTube. Get people to watch, subscribe to and tell their friends about you them. Think viral. Here's a good example.

5. Social Networking. Use MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, Flickr, Squidoo and the like. Be an octopus, not an earthworm. Post pictures, videos, blogs, comments, stories and experiences. Connect with other like-minded professionals. Consider starting your own group, cause or club within your social networking platform. Or, if you’re ambitious, start your own platform.

OK! We’ve covered a lot of ground on building a permission asset so far.

Hope you’re still with me.

Because in our final segment of this post series, we're going to talk about PATIENCE with and PROTECTION for your permission asset.

See ya then!

How many people are anticipating your marketing?

If you haven't read Seth's book on permission marketing yet, DO IT TODAY.

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

...only 22 more days until goes ON AIR!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Build a Permission Asset, Part 1

How many people are anticipating your marketing?

Odds are, not many.

And why should they?

Most of your customers have been screwed over, sold on, marketed to, argued against, targeted, annoyed, persuaded, dishonored, pitched, pressured, bothered, interrupted, threatened and manipulated by too many companies too many times.

And they’re tired of it.

So, this means four things for your company:

1. Customers are in charge, not you.
They don’t have to listen to you if they don’t want to.

2. Customers are working extra hard to avoid and ignore your marketing.
Just think about the last time you skipped the commercials on Tivo. Then multiply that times 300 million. That’s the posture of the masses.

3. Customers are not afraid to (quickly) pick someone else.
Especially since there are infinite numbers of other options instantly available.

4. Customers are controlling how much attention they (choose) to give to you.
Because they live in a hyperspeed, ADD, instant gratification culture, and they’ve got better stuff to do.

SO, IN SHORT: Customers are calling the shots.

Not you.
Not the media.
Not your company.
Not your marketing machine.

The customers.

For that reason, you need to ask yourself ONE vital question:

How are you building a permission asset?

Bestselling marketing author Seth Godin, in his book Permission Marketing, explains it like this:

“A permission asset is the privilege (not the right) to deliver anticipated, personal and relevant ideas to the people who CHOOSE to get them.”

Wow. So, people are actually proclaiming, “Yes, I hereby allow you to market to me whenever you want.”

Glory hallelujah!!! (And all the angels sang. Amen.)

Permission. It’s the marketing word of the millennium.


o You’re building a following.
o You’re the bulls-eye, not the arrow.
o You’ve become the selected, not the selector.
o You’re working in the name accumulation business.
o You’ve earned the right to market to your customers.
o You’re worth more next week or next month than you are now.
o You’re finding products for your customers, instead of customers for your products.
o You’re accumulating, delivering value TO and maintaining respect FOR a group people who admire and support you and your ideas.

That’s permission.

So, now that you have a better understanding of the culture in which your customers live - AND what permission looks like - the next step is to assess your current permission status.

We'll tackle that tomorrow with a list of 18 questions; then finish up this post series on Friday with one final list and example.

See ya then!

How many people are anticipating your marketing?

Go to and subscribe to Jeffrey's ezine. Watch and learn.

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

...only 23 more days until goes ON AIR!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

15 ways to become (intentionally) dumber

It’s OK to be dumb once in a while.

After all, the word dumb means, “Unable to speak or ignorant.”

So, it doesn’t mean you’re stupid.

It just means you’re willing to admit that you don’t know everything.

LESSON LEARNED: Smart people dare to be dumb.

It’s more human.
It’s more relatable.
It’s more approachable.

Now, that doesn’t mean you need to be dumb ALL the time!

Just enough to keep yourself accountable, and to keep other people comfortable.

Here are 15 Phrases That Payses to help you sound dumber TODAY:

1. Here’s a dumb question…
2. I don’t know what that means.
3. I need to write that down so I can look it up later!
4. I never knew that!
5. I never thought of it that way!
6. I don’t know. (My favorite!)
7. Is that bad?
8. Is that good?
9. Wait, I don’t understand…
11. What does that word mean?
12. Tell me what you mean by…
13. Help me understand…
14. Tell me that again, I didn’t follow.
15. I’ve never heard that before…

THE SECRET IS: being approachable is about NOT being a know-it-all.

It’s about being constantly curious.
It’s about being an asker, not a teller.
It’s about being open to lifelong learning.
It’s about being confident enough to be humble.

Not to mention, when you're willing to become (intentionally) dumber, that gives other people permission to do the same.

And clients LOVE to have someone they can feel dumb in front of.

SO, I DARE YOU: be dumber today.

My, that's a lovely accent you've got ... New Jersey?

Are you willing to be dumb?

Share your best example of how being dumb paid off!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

Coaching, schmoaching.

No systems. No formulas. Just someone who (actually) listens, asks KILLER questions and facilitates creative breakthroughs.

Rent Scott's Brain today!

Monday, January 07, 2008

Why 2008 is going to be the best year EVER

2008 is here!

Hope you had a great holiday season and you're ready to rock.

It's gonna be a GREAT year, too. Lots of cool stuff coming up I wanted to let everyone know about...

FIRST..., my new Online Television Network, is going on the air in the next several weeks! Stay tuned!

My next book (or books, I should say) is a series called The Approachability Trilogy, consisting of:

1. The Approachable Frontline: 17 Daily Practices for Delivering Unforgettable Service
2. The Approachable Salesperson: 22 Daily Practices for Enabling Customers to Buy
3. The Approachable Manager: 27 Daily Practices for Getting Employees to Come to You

I'll be kicking off the St. Louis Business Expo in March. The event is open to the public, and, if you register early, you will receive a copy of The Approachable Salesperson during our exclusive networking breakfast!

* * * *

...and that's just the first half of 2008.

I still have a few surprises up my sleeve for later in the year ;)

So, after two weeks off work, it's great to be back. I hope you (too) are well rested and well prepared for the best year EVER!

Lastly, for those of you who didn't catch all those ridiculously long lists from December, here's a quick recap:

101 Lessons Learned from 2007
101 Ways to Create a Powerful Web Presence
123 Questions Every Marketer Must Ask
69 Mini Philosophies on Just about Everything
95 Things I Learned from Seth Godin's "Meatball Sundae"

154 (more) Pieces of Contrarian Wisdom

49 Ways to Become an Idea Powerhouse
153 Super Smart Quotations that Made My Jaw Drop

157 Pieces of Contrarian Wisdom
111 Self-Assessment Questions to Make 2008 the Best Year Ever

What's your #1 goal for 2008?

Share it here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

Ever heard of a Business Midwife?

No systems. No formulas. Just someone who listens, asks KILLER questions and facilitates creative breakthroughs.

Rent Scott's Brain today!