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

Friday, May 29, 2009

A Guide to Treating People Beautifully

1. Be trusted to represent people’s interests, even when they’re not around. This will encourage people to confide in you, even when YOU’RE not around.

PRACTICE: Don’t act embarrassed. If someone asks you a question about a potentially uncomfortable topic, don’t try to diffuse the discomfort by making a joke out of it. That tactic only works in reverse and makes the conversation more uncomfortable.

Instead, work on your poker face. Honor their question despite the fact that you might be totally confused or giggling like a little schoolgirl on the inside. This form of openness will show them that it’s both acceptable and comfortable to discuss difficult issues.Who trusts you?

2. Preserve people’s self-esteem. The need to feel accepted is the driving force of their actions.

PRACTICE: Let them know you need them. Let them know they’ve helped or inspired you. Offer your attention TO and acknowledgment OF their contributions to your worldview. Each of these practices can be accomplished in two words:

“Take notes.”

Taking notes is proof. Taking notes keeps you mindful in the conversation. Taking notes honors someone’s thoughts. Taking notes is respectful. Taking notes increases someone’s self-esteem. Especially when you email them a copy of your notes five minutes after the conversation. Wow. How are you helping people fall in love with themselves?

3. Tolerate honest mistakes as learning experiences. People don’t need to be reminded how badly they screwed up.

PRACTICE: Instead, people need to be reassured that you’re going to love them when they DO screw up, help them prevent the same mistake from being made again, and partner with them to brainstorm lessons learned from those mistakes.

Try this. At your next meeting, go around the room and require each person to (1) share a mistake they recently made, (2) offer three lessons they learned FROM that mistake, and (3) suggest the practical application of those lessons to the other people in the room.

Then, later that week, create a hard copy of all the mistakes and lessons shared during the meeting. Staple a $20 bill to it and send it to everyone who attended. And what you do is, attach a sticky note that says, “Thanks for being human!” How are encouraging and rewarding mistakes?

4. Treat people with respect and fairness, regardless of their position or influence. Titles are worthless labels whose sole function is to give people a reason to pigeonhole, avoid or judge you.

PRACTICE: Acknowledge everybody. This one shouldn’t even be on my list. But, because not everybody practices this simple act of approachability, I’ve included it. So: Slow down. Stay present. Hold your eye contact with everyone you encounter for one additional second. ONE second. That’s what Bill Clinton does.

Also, see if you can acknowledge every single person you encounter for one whole day. It’s harder than you think. Then again, it all depends on what you see when you see people. Remember: Unspoken hierarchies hamper the freedom of expression and, as a result, create a distance between people. What unnecessary title is preventing people from getting to know the REAL you?

What's your #1 secret for treating people beautifully?

For the list called, "12 Ways to Out Service the Competition," send an email to me, and I'll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

How to Give the Most Engaging & Educational Teleseminar EVER

1. Acknowledge the common fears of your listeners. Help them realize they’re not the only ones who are scared. Then, share that YOU were scared, and how you overcame it.

2. Give it away. As a Thought Leader, projecting a sense of scarcity isn’t attractive. Just dump every relevant fact. Fear not that your value will be reduced.

3. Be as detailed as possible. The more details you provide, the easier it is for your callers to execute.

4. Attitude. Be confident without swagger.

5. Acid test. Before you deliver ANY content, ask this simple question: Does this give the impression of VALUE or VANITY in the eyes of my listeners?

6. Be funny early and often. Funny is relaxing. Funny makes you appear smarter. Funny makes you more listenable. Funny wins approval. Funny builds trust. Funny captivates attention. Funny lubricates the informational digestive system. Funny makes learning easier. Funny is engaging. In short: Just be funny and you’re halfway there.

7. Breath is fuel. Establish an inner foundation to fuel your phone calls with the passion and energy you need to become more listenable. Do a few breathing exercises before the call. Also, post a sticky note that reads, “BREATHE” by your phone. That will remind you to pause and breath throughout the call. This creates the space needed to punctuate your message with appropriate silences.

8. Constantly throw in unrelated facts. It proves you’re well read and makes the call more interesting.

9. Ahhh. Demonstrate that you’re relaxed immediately. Callers will do the same.

10. Structure. Deliver a flow of inspiring content in an engaging and witty way.

11. Disturb and offend people. Those who are comfortable do not act.

12. Don’t share things to show how smart you are. Offer insight with the intent to help the attendee understand something.

13. No vomit.Don’t spew a steady stream self-glorifying wisdom; instead, challenge people by leaving them with any Meaningful Concrete Immediacy, (MCI).

14. Also. Don’t give people the ability to remain mediocre.

15. Energy. Don’t just have fun, SOUND like you are having fun.

17. Contact. Enable the ability to email, tweet or connect with listeners during the program.

18. Goal. Get people thinking about THEMSELVES in a different way.

19. Know. Have a clear understanding of who your audience is and what their pain is.

20. The art is hiding the art. If you sound rehearsed, people will start checking email while they’re listening to you. So, the best way to sound like you’re not rehearsed is to spend hours and hours rehearsing.

21. Openness. Make it clear that you welcome communication: Questions, emails, messages, etc.

22. Make your content actionable. Your listeners need to think, “I believe this! I can do this! I want to try this!” after they’ve been exposed to your ideas. Otherwise, your material, ideas and presentations are nothing but motivational garbage. Inherently impressive and interesting, yet clearly irrelevant and inapplicable.

23. Just tell people how. That’s the posture of the masses. That’s the collective self-interest of our hyperspeed, A.D.D. instant gratification culture. They want to know HOW, and they want to know NOW.

24. Test actionability of your material. Ask: How does this idea directly affect the daily lives of people? How will people be able to execute your strategy in spite of their boss’s insistence on doing it the old way? If someone else were delivering this information, what would move ME to take action on it immediately? REMEMBER: Persuasion = Content + Action.

25. Preparation is persuasion. Develop a pre-call ritual.

26. Research creates confidence. Gather the resources will you need instant access to in order to make this phone call perfect.

27. Shorter wins. Ask yourself: How could you send this message so it gets through the clearest and quickest?”

28. Speak in sound bites. Keep in mind that the human attention span is six seconds.

29. Duh. Talk like a 5th grader.

30. Synergy sucks. The less jargon you use, the more engaging you become.

31. Vary your sentence structure. Short Sentence. Long Sentence. Long Sentence. Short Sentence.

32. On stories. When you tell stories, use specific times, places and names, or else it will sound made up. Specificity is both credibility AND persuasion. The more details you can provide the more likely someone is to execute.

Are people checking their email while listening to your teleseminar?

For the list called, "30 Ways to become the Most Interesting Person You Know," send an email to me, and I'll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur

Who's telling their friends about YOU?

Tune in to The Marketing Channel on!

Watch video lessons on spreading the word!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

How to Avoid Bombing Your Next 360 Evaluation

1. Demonstrate an awareness of how your behavior affects others. Without knowing how others experience you, you’ll never get any better.

Too many leaders are guilty of a complete and utter unwillingness to understand how other people experience them. Partly because of their ego. Partly because they’re scared the feedback might be negative. And partly because they’re scared that the feedback will require them to (GASP!) change.

This, I can certainly relate to. As a speaker, I’ve had video footage that I couldn’t bring myself to watch until YEARS later. Namely, because I was terrified of discovering how stupid I looked, how many people in the audience were sleeping and how few people in the audience were laughing.

Interestingly, once I finally mustered the courage to watch myself on tape, my performance didn’t turn out that to be that bad. In fact, I only spotted ONE person in the whole crowd who was sleeping. And I’m pretty sure that guy was drunk. So, I’m challenging you get over yourself by opening yourself to the reality of how your behavior affects the people around you. How often do you spy on yourself?

2. Make a concerted effort to understand how other people experience you. Sometimes you’re too close to yourself to see the parts of yourself that drives other people crazy.

People can learn what you know just by observing your life. So, maybe it’s time you get bitten by the bug of self-awareness. Maybe it’s time you run an honest self-appraisal. Take some time to ask yourself the following three questions:

*How do people describe their experience with you?
*How (do you want people to) describe their experience with you?
*And what specific steps can you take to make the answers to those two questions more similar?

You will (probably) be startled by your own lack of awareness. After all, the only judgment people can make – the only impression their unconscious mind can form – is a function of how interacting with you made them FEEL. And ultimately, it doesn’t matter what YOU think; it matters what THEY remember. Are you approachable, but not remembered as being approachable?

3. Convey a thorough understanding of yourself. You can’t coach others if haven’t conquered the person in the mirror first.

Create a governing document for daily your decision-making. I guarantee this exercise will change your life. Here’s how you do it...

Start by making a list of every single choice you made yesterday: What you ate, when you interrupted, how you listened to people, which tasks your invested your time in, EVERYTHING. From the moment you woke up to the moment you went to bed.

Then, for each choice, go back and think HOW you made that choice: What questions did you ask yourself? What thought processes did you take yourself through? Write those notes down.

Finally, once you’ve uncovered the WHAT and the HOW, ask yourself WHY: What values were those choices rooted in? What commonalities did all your choices have? And what words governed the questions you asked yourself when you made those choices?

Then, if you really want to blow people away, keep a copy of this document in your wallet or on your wall. Reference it on demand. Title it “How I Make Decisions” or “My Opportunity Filter.” Not only will it keep you accountable and consistent, but it will also inspire all who see it to run a similar self-assessment of their own decision-making. When was the last time you made an appointment with yourself?

How will you avoid bombing your next 360 evaluation?

For the list called, "33 Daily Practices for Boosting Your Managerial Magnetism," send an email to me, and I'll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

NametagTV: Boring = Bankruptcy

Video not working? Click here for Adobe Flash 9.

Watch the original video on NametagTV!

How much money is being boring costing you?

For a list called, "30 Ways to become the Most Interesting Person You Know," send an email to me, and I'll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur

Sick of selling?
Tired of cold calling?
Bored with traditional prospecting approaches?

Buy Scott's new book and learn how to sell enable people to buy!

Pick up your copy (or a case!) right here.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Scott's Ginsberg's Official Guide to Being More Consistent

You know my mantra:

"Consistency is far better than rare moments of greatness."

The challenge is actually executing that virtue.

Here's how:

1. ACT in harmony with the way you see yourself. That’s the big assignment. And it’s not an easy one to take one.

2. ALIGN your responses with your values. That way you won’t have to try to remember what you said.

3. ASK what would be so typical of you to do in this situation. Then do that. Establish enough predictability that you can prove people’s expectations every time.

4. ASSURE the first words out of your mouth are consistent with your brand. So much so that when you answer the phone, people nod and smile at your seamlessness.

5. BE The You you’ve always wanted to become. After all, living falsehoods is exhausting. And with the exception of Danny Ganz, Dana Carvey and Frank Caliendo, impressionists rarely make it big.

6. BEHAVE (right now) consistent with the attitude you strive to maintain. Otherwise people will not listen to your words because they’ll be too busy examining the character deficiency within your actions.

7. CHOOSE what few things you will consistently make part of your life, regardless of the circumstances. These become your non-negotiables. Your must-haves, must-do’s and must-be’s.

8. DECIDE if this choice will bring you closer to the highest version of yourself. If it won’t, consider making a different one. Life’s too short.

9. DETERMINE what values & aspirations you want your behaviors to be aligned with. Then keep them typed out on a little laminated card in your wallet.

10. DO what a cool company would do in this situation. Because cool companies get noticed, get remembered and GET business. And that’s good for business.

11. DO what consistency would do in this situation. Because consistency is far better than rare moments of greatness. Not to mention, it’s a hell of a lot easier.

12. DO what the person you are trying to become would do. This brings you one step closer. One chisel smack away from revealing the sculpture inside the stone.

13. DO what YOU would do in this situation. Wear a bracelet that reads, “WWID?” That should start some interesting conversations.

14. DO whatever you have to do to make this agree with your vision. And after a while, if you still can’t match the two up, bag it.

15. GIVE to this situation that which only you alone can offer. Preferably, that which you were designed to cure. That which you are known for knowing. That which you can’t help but doing and being.

16. GO out of your way to ME-ize this moment. Stamp it with the emblem of YOU.

17. IMAGINE what it would mean and look like to be true to your values here. That will most likely impel you into action.

18. KEEP on the path that aligns your actions to your values. It has the best view, the fewest potholes and the least amount of litter.

19. LET the best YOU come across in this situation. Any other version is robbing other people of experiencing your awesomeness.

20. LISTEN to who you are before responding. That split second pause might actually improve your answer.

21. MAKE choices that add wood to your internal fire. Then watch that baby burn, burn burn.

22. MOVE in a way that honors your soul. Because that will actually honor OTHER people’s souls too.

23. PLACE structure around yourself to make sure you remember what to do consistently. Sticky notes work. Mantras written on the wall work. Silicone bracelets work.

24. PONDER what the earlier version of yourself would have done in this situation. Then decide if the current version of yourself knows a better way.

25. PRACTICE bringing a little more of yourself to every situation. Not too much. Just enough that you walk away thinking, “I really felt like MYSELF back there.”

26. PREACH the message that is the dominant reality of your life. Otherwise people will not listen to you because of the non-stop noise of your character deficiency.

27. REMEMBER that flawless execution doesn’t exist. Make mistakes, make them early and make them quick. Write them down and what you learned. Then keep moving.

28. SPEAK from a place of personal truth. It makes you more listenable.

29. STAMP everything with you do with your brand, or else don’t bother doing it. After all, what happens when everybody loves it, but doesn’t know who made it?

30. STAY in alignment with the best working model of your identity. Which means you should probably create that model first.

31. STRIVE to behave in a manner that is consistent with your self-concept. It’s hard to do but it will serve you well.

32. USE this experience to continuing becoming the highest version of yourself. Because that’s the only version people will benefit from.

How much money is being inconsistent costing you?

For the list called, "33 Daily Practices for Boosting Your Managerial Magnetism," send an email to me, and I'll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur

Who's quoting YOU?

Check out Scott's Online Quotation Database for a bite-sized education on branding success!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

How do I approach someone who’s angry?

In David Lieberman’s bestselling book, Make Peace with Anyone, he explains that when someone responds negatively toward you, four possible motivations are at hand:

(1) He’s a jerk to everyone, (2) He is threatened by you, (3) He thinks you dislike him, or (4) You’ve given him a reason to dislike you.

This means the problem might not be 100% your fault.

So, consider these six practices for approaching angry people:

1. Start with yourself. No matter how hostile, rude or annoying some people are, you need to be strong enough to F-R-E-E-Z-E. Otherwise you enable their hostile behavior by virtue of responding to it. Fortunately, with a little self-exploration through healthy internal dialogue, you can dilute the toxicity of the effects of these people.

Ask yourself questions like...

“What value system is this person operating out of?”
“What is it – IN ME – that might be causing this reaction?”
“Could I possibly remind this individual of someone in their past who gave him a hard time?”
“How is it possible that this person could think or behave in this way, and under what circumstances would it make perfect sense to do so?”

2. Monopolize the listening. Keep quiet. Let him blow off some steam first. He has to run out of gas eventually. This will help him calm down without the need to condescendingly say, “Calm down.”

In fact, that’s the worst thing you could say. If you say “Calm down,” he’s either going to say: (1) I AM CALM!! Or, worse yet, (2) become more upset. No need to compound his frustration.

The secret is to allow your silence and stillness – almost like a body of water – to enable him to hear the sound of his own overreaction. Sometimes this subtle bell of awareness brings him back to center. If that doesn’t work, you can always try jamming a highlighter up his nose.

3. Use the word “Wow.” It’s neutral, versatile, empathetic, non-judgmental and emotionally unreactive. WOW avoids over actively listening to someone. WOW offers an immediate answer, thus laying a foundation of affirmation. WOW buys you some time, until you can define your official response.

WOW also helps you maintain composure when presented with unexpected, difficult or crucial information. WOW creates space in the conversation, which grants the speaker permission to continue. One word. One sentence. It works. Make it your default.

4. Deflect it. Don’t get sucked into the bait game. Don’t become defensive or upset. Instead, use neutral, you-oriented responses like, “You’re really upset about this,” or “You must be having a bad day.”

This type of language reverses the momentum of the conversation and demonstrates that you refuse to take ownership of somebody else’s problem. Either that, or his head will explode. Which wouldn’t actually be that bad anyway.

5. Avoid questions that begin with WHY. Here’s the problem: WHY can be seen as criticism. WHY can make people feel defensive. WHY can force someone to justify his actions. WHY can be internalized as a personal attack. WHY can be easily countered with because.

Instead, use question that begin with What, How, Who, When, or Where. They’re more objective and enable you to depersonalize the question. What’s more, those prefixes uncover information, specification and motivation; whereas WHY produces generalizations, rationalizations and justifications.

It takes some time to train yourself, but after about six months of why-mindfulness, you’ll rarely catch yourself saying it again. And although nobody will really notice the change, YOU will feel an immediate difference in the way you attend to others.

6. Offer specific behavioral feedback. Focus on the action, not the person. This assures the angry individual doesn’t take your comment as a personal attack.

Here’s a helpful formula: “John, when you react that way, other people – myself included – don’t want to be around or even approach you. We’re afraid that being honest might upset you again.” Try saying that, then wait.

What's your secret for approaching your coworker or boss with a concern?

For the list called, "26 Rapid-Fire Strategies for becoming the Most Approachable Person in Your Organization," send an email to me, and I'll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur

If they can't come UP to you; how will they ever get BEHIND you?

Buy Scott's new book and learn daily practices for becoming a more approachable manager!

Pick up your copy (or a case!) right here.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

What if you gave customers NO choice?

Remember when there was only ONE flavor of Doritos’s?

Those were the days.

Now, you can enjoy any of the following new flavors:

Nacho Cheese, Cool Ranch, Blazin' Buffalo & Ranch, Fiery Habanero, Natural White Nacho Cheese, Poppin' Jalapeño, Ranchero, Salsa Verde, Smokin' Cheddar BBQ, Spicy Nacho, Spicy Squirrel, Toasted Corn, Zesty Taco, Triple Bacon Cheeseburger, Sizzlin' Picante, Hot Wings & Blue Cheese, Spicy Sweet Chili...

It never ends.

And the sad part is, they all pretty much taste the same.

And, what’s even MORE sad, is that when presented with this many options, customers LITERALLY get tired.

In the April 2008 issue of The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, the University of Minnesota's marketing department conducted a study on choice saturation. Their research determined that ...

...the simple act of choosing caused mental fatigue.

“There is a significant shift in the mental programming that is made at the time of choosing,” said Professor Kathleen Vohs, PhD. “While mulling over a few options may weigh heavily on your mind, finally choosing one may just plain wear you out.”

Also, at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, a similar 2004 study proved that an overabundance of choices negative affects customers.

“Procter & Gamble would probably be better off if they offered less variety,” suggested Michaela Draganska, assistant professor of Marketing.

A native of Bulgaria, she had her own supermarket epiphany one day while shopping for yogurt.

"It was my first trip to an American grocery store. All I wanted to buy some normal plain yogurt. But after fifteen or twenty minutes looking through all the varieties, I was absolutely exasperated," she recalls.

"In Bulgaria, life was very simple. You'd go to the store and ask for milk, and there'd be ONE type of milk. And that was that."

Wow. One type of milk. Imagine that.

LESSON LEARNED: Complexity generates contemplation, and contemplation kills sales.

Because a confused mind never buys.

With an infinite amount of choices, customers don’t just become frustrated; they also don’t buy anything.

This is bad.

And not just for Doritos and milk, either.

So, what about you?

Are you giving your customers too many choices?

The choice is yours.

Er, theirs.

Whatever. My brain hurts.

What if you gave customers NO choice?

For the list called, "12 Dangerous Doozies to Avoid in 2009," send an email to me, and I'll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur

The world's FIRST two-in-one, flip-flop book!

Buy Scott's comprehensive marketing guidebook on and learn how to GET noticed, GET remembered and GET business!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

What would happen if people didn't have to "be careful what they say" around you?

My favorite scene in Meet The Fockers is when Ben Stiller gets stuck baby-sitting Little Jack.

Searching for anything to keep his infant nephew entertained, Focker resorts to singing a broken version of Mockingbird:

“And if that mockingbird don't sing, Greg is gonna buy you a diamond ring … and if that diamond ring gets sold, Greg is gonna feel like a … big asshole.”

At which point Little Jack replies, “Ass … hooooole!”

“No!” Greg exclaims. “Oh, no, you don't wanna say that word, cause that's a bad word!”

“Ass … hooooole!”

But it was too late. Little Jack instantly added that word to his vocabulary. And if you know anything about the impressionability of children, you can guess what happened next.

Little Jack just kept saying it. Over and over. Like one of those annoying green parrots at the zoo.

“Ass … hooooole!”

And, to make matters worse, the rest of Greg’s family – which included Father-in-Law Robert DeNiro (yikes!) – was coming home soon. And thanks to Focker, that expletive seemed to be the ONLY word Little Jack knew.

“Ass … hooooole!”

So, why did this happen?

Easy. That’s what kids do. That’s how they learn. They imitate and repeat. You don’t have to be a parent to know that.

As so, one of the basic principles of Babysitting 101 is, “Be careful what you say around them.”

Hmm. Now there’s an interesting concept. Be careful what you say around them.

I wonder what would happen if we applied that same principle to the adult world?
I wonder what would happen if we stopped talking babies and start talking business?

See, there IS a direct correlation between this principle and YOUR reputation.

THINK ABOUT IT: Are you the kind of person who, when other people describe you, they have to add the warning, “You have to be careful what you say around him”?

I hope not. Because if this is the reputation you’ve earned – intentionally or incidentally – you might have a problem.

If this is the thought in people minds when they’re talking about, talking to, approaching or being approached by you – you might have a problem.

Because the REAL implication of the warning, “You have to be careful what you say around him”? suggests one (or a combination) of the following perceptions:

o You’re easily offended.
o You’re closed-minded & judgmental.
o You violate interpersonal trust by gossiping.
o You don’t give people permission to be fully truthful.
o You allow your emotions to get in the way of listening.
o You remember things and twist people’s words against them.

And as a result, three dangers occur:

DANGER #1: People will be on guard around you. Tense. Self-conscious. Afraid to offend you. Walking on eggshells. Hesitant to set off your emotions.

And the mental energy they expend on those fear-based thoughts (1) robs them of their ability to be true, (2) prevents them from offering full information and (3) scares them away from sharing what’s most important.

DANGER #2: Then, interactions will seem longer because people will feel uncomfortable. And interactions will end prematurely because people will just want to get the hell out of there.

Ultimately, this reputation that precedes you will contaminate the space. People won’t feel like it’s is a safe container in which they can share.

DANGER #3: This unapproachable behavior will also prevent the possibility of making communication a relaxing experience.

And the worst part is, your reputation as someone whom people have to “be careful what they say around” will stop future communication in its tracks.

“Ass … hooooole!”

To sidestep those dangers, let’s explore of five strategies for laying a foundation of approachability. When executed consistently, they will foster open, honest and complete communication with people you serve. What's more, they'll help dispel the myth that people always have to "be careful what they say around you."

1. Establish safety early. If confidentiality is an issue, make sure you address that right away. Try Phrases That Payses, like, “This is completely off the record,” “This is between you, me and the stapler,” or “I want you to know that nobody else is going to know about this but us.”

This lets people know they can share honestly, openly and fully with you. No holding back. No fear of being ridiculed. Just a safe space. The earlier you establish this, the more comfortable people will become around you. How safe do people feel around you? How quickly do you create a question-friendly environment? And are you someone others can be dumb in front of?

2. Give people permission. To open up. To request help. To ask question. To offer feedback. To feel vulnerable. To share victories and mistakes. To volunteer information and concerns. To discuss workplaces problems before they snowball. To comfortable and confidently be their true self.

The secret is, whatever your people need permission to do; just make sure YOU execute that action first. My suggestion: Practice radical honesty. Reveal your vulnerability. Become a living brochure of your own awesomeness. The more you practice those, the more you grant people permission to reciprocate. What do your people need permission to do? What do your people need permission to BE? And how could you stick yourself out there FIRST to pave the way for future openness?

3. Share your thinking. If people never know what’s on your mind, your unpredictability will heighten their apprehension and lower your approachability. And the silent dialogue will become, “For all I know, could be a ticking time bomb this morning! Better not say anything deep or lengthy.”

As a result of this unapproachable pattern, your communication topics will always remain superficial with the people around you. Nobody will get to the heart of any important issues because they’re holding back, unsure about how you might react. How are you initiating movements toward people? What is causing you to be easily misunderstood? And what are you doing that prevents people from learning from you?

4. Become someone others could tell anything. Here’s a cool exercise: Get together with a close friend, colleague or superior. Have both people write down the name of ONE person in their lives in they feel they could tell anything.

Next, ask the following questions to yourselves: Why? What are the character attributes of those people? And what, specifically, have they done in the past to earn that position in our minds?

Then, write those attributes down on a sheet of paper. Rate yourself on a scale from 1-10 on how well you embody those attributes. Then, exchange papers and have your partner rate you on those same attributes without looking at your original score.

When you’re done, see how close the numbers get. You may be pleasantly surprised or unpleasantly shocked. Are you someone others could tell anything? Who confides in you? Whom do you confide in? And how would your business change if you were perceived as someone whom others could tell anything?

5. Grow thicker skin. If you’re the kind of person who takes offense to everything, here’s what will happen. People will start tiptoeing around you, trying their hardest not to get caught in your vortex of hypersensitivity. Then, they may purposely leave out important points just to avoid pushing your hot buttons. And all that’s going to do is leave you in the dark.

My suggestion: Practice accepting opposition to your viewpoints or decisions without considering it a personal attack. Divorce your ego. Detach. And learn to treat all ideas – even the ones that embarrass or contradict you – with deep democracy.

As Dr. Robert Sutton explains in The No Asshole Rule, “Adopt a frame that turns your attention to ways in which you are no better or worse than other people.”

Or, if that doesn’t help you grow thicker skin, you can always sing karaoke or participate in an open mic night. At what point during a conversation do you usually start tuning people out? How can you apply what you’re hearing, even if you’ve heard it before?

REMEMBER: Be not tolerant OF or satisfied WITH interpersonal distance.

I challenge you to make a concerted effort to understand how other people experience you.

I challenge you to become someone others could tell anything.

And I challenge you to become known as someone around whom other people don’t have to “be careful what they say.”

Otherwise, your new nickname might become: “Ass … hooooole!”

What would happen to your organization if people didn't have to watch their words around you?

For the list called, "37 Personal Leadership Questions Guaranteed to Shake Your Soul," send an email to me, and I'll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur

Who's quoting YOU?

Check out Scott's Online Quotation Database for a bite-sized education on branding success!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Use Baitless Hooks: 9 Practices for Process-Oriented Creativity

Thomas Edison was a fisherman.

Sure, he was the world’s greatest inventor, too.

But fishing was his thing. His territory. His place. His solace.

And in those days, fishing was serious business. A man could never be disturbed while he was fishing.

Fast-forward to a few centuries later.

If you take the official tour at the Edison Winter Estate in Ft. Meyers Florida, you might get a chance to snap a picture of Tommy’s favorite spot.

According to their records, Edison built his own private 1500 ft. pier for fishing in the deep water, which he visited daily.

But that’s not the cool part.

What IS cool is that Edison NEVER used bait.

That’s right. Just a hook.

He was known to go fishing without any bait so he could be alone with his thoughts. For hours. Every single day.

That’s how processed oriented he was. That’s how detached from outcomes he was.

And of course, 1,093 patents later, I guess it worked out pretty well for him!

SO, THAT’S THE SECRET TO SUCCESS: Go fishing every day.

Just kidding.

Like it would be that easy.

No. It isn’t about fishing.

This is about practicing a simple; three-word philosophy in your creative life:


Horizon, not point.
Process, not answer.
Ball, not scoreboard.
Discovery, not answers.
Pursuit, not attainment.
Journey, not destination.

Unfortunately, we live in a society where outcome (not process) is a primary value. And this makes it difficult for people to love the work more than what it produces.

To do things “just cuz,” and not FOR someone or something.

AND I BELIEVE: Until we teach ourselves to abolish our intentionality, until we become intrinsically motivated, and until we discover that the purpose can be found in the process … the true potential of our ideas will never be fully realized.

BUT, HERE’S THE GOOD NEWS: If we can learn to adopt a more process-oriented attitude, we’ll never run into this problem.

So, let’s explore nine practices for using baitless hooks in your creative life:

1. Think Modular. Whatever you’re creating, it’s not what you think. It’s not a blog post, a drawing, a scribble, an essay, a chapter, a verse or a poem. It’s a “module.” I coined this term a few years back as an objective way to define content.

I define a module as, “an unclassified chunk of creative material.” And when you start to view your content in this fashion, the possibilities for what that content might become are endless! What modules are you working on?

2. Autotelic, not exotelic. According to creativity guru Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, there are two ways to approach any activity. First, there’s exotelic, which means we do something not because we enjoy it, but to accomplish a later goal, i.e., to catch fish.

Then there’s autotelic, which means there’s no reason for doing something except to feel the experience it provides, i.e., because you love sitting on the dock. The challenge is to stop trying to label everything. This will lower your inhibitions and enable your natural creativity to flow organically. Why are you creating?

3. Carry no agenda. Don’t create “for” anyone or anything. Not the media, the customers, the fans, the galleries – NOBODY! Just do it for the sake of doing it. Eventually, (hopefully), the “for” will appear on its own. It will be a nice added bonus when someone wants your work. (However, even if they don’t, at least you enjoyed making it!) It’s a win-win. Whom are you creating FOR?

4. Detach from numbers. Forget the clock and forget the score. Retire the counter and scale back scales. Of course, this may come as a challenge to many, especially Westerners who were raised in a hyper-competitive culture.

However, when we start to focus on the activity and not the results, our performance gets better. And of course, the results get better. When you detach, your inner emptiness is more able to catch the flow of the universe. What do you need to stop counting?

5. Beware of intentionality. As important as it is to set goals, sometimes it’s better not to have any. No purpose or agenda whatsoever. Especially in the world of creativity, Intentionality blocks creativity and buries solutions.

Ever sat down at the piano and told yourself, “Alright, so create something! Go!” It just doesn’t work that way. Inspiration comes unannounced. And often when you care (and try) the least, you do the best. So, just relax. Discard your agenda and just start creating. What would happen to your productivity if you were less intentional?

6. Create incidentally. Speaking of intentions. When faced with any task, endeavor or project, two questions also need to be asked: “What needs to be done intentionally?” And “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. Like creating. Or thinking. (Or fishing.)

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. Like money. Or fame. Or recognition. (Or catching fish.) Is this an intentional action or an incidental consequence?

7. Studio, not gallery. This is a cool way to think about it, according to Steven Pressfield. He wrote The War of Art, which I believe is the most important book on creativity written in the past 20 years. (And I read a LOT of books!)

Anyway, Pressfield talks about a dichotomy. First, there’s creating for hierarchy, i.e., the impression it makes on others. You know, the gallery. Then he talks about creating for territory, i.e., the act itself and how it affects the artist. You know, the studio. Do you think Edison was fishing so he could snap a picture of the 3-footer he caught and show it to his buddies?

8. Become a suspender. In addition to suspending your agenda, using baitless hooks is also about suspending your preoccupations and preconceptions. For example, “Will anybody like this song?” “Will this book even sell?” “What will my husband think when he sees this painting?”

You challenge is to - at least temporarily – remove the barriers of potential criticism and trust your artistic voice. Just go. Rely on process. What do you need to surrender to?

9. What finish line? Finally, Van Gough once said, “A great work of art is never finished.” That being said, be sure your focus is on the journey, not the destination. This is especially appropriate when it comes to the issue of money. See, as artists, it’s easy to create stuff we KNOW is going to be bought. Or to create stuff for which there is a guaranteed market or readership or customer base.

But seeking destroys the process. So, create because you love it. Create because you can’t (NOT) create. Create because it’s your purpose. Create because it’s really fun. Create because your work emotionally touches others. When you do it THAT way, your best work will come to the surface AND people will want to pay for it. It’s a twofer! Are your profits byproducts?

Look. You know the drill. You’ve heard it a million times.

“Process, not destination.”

As a creative professional, I'm challenging you to start thinking a little differently. Put these nine practices to use and start approaching your creative process like the great Thomas Edison did.

Use baitless hooks.

Is your art focused on product or process?

For the list called, "49 Ways to become an Idea Powerhouse," send an email to me, and I'll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur

Still haven't finished that book you started in 2006?

Bummer. Perhaps my monthly, all-access coaching program would help.

Rent Scott's Brain today!

Friday, May 15, 2009

A Short Course In Just About Everything

Want to be an effective listener?
Just take notes.

Want to be an effective speaker?
Just be funny.

Want to be an effective writer?
Just bleed your truth.

Want to be an effective coach?
Just dance in the moment.

Want to be an effective leader?
Just be an amazing person.

Want to be an effective salesman?
Just transfer your passion.

Want to be an effective manager?
Just read Dilbert. (then do the opposite)

Want to be an effective consultant?
Just make (or save) people money.

Want to be an effective expert?
Just know everything about ONE thing.

Want to be an effective marketer?
Just be remarkable and respectful.

Want to be an effective entrepreneur?
Just go.

Want to be an effective thought leader?
Just blog every single day.

Want to be an effective tweeter?
Just deliver meaningful concrete immediacy.

Want to be an effective blogger?
Just be a great date for your readers.

Want to be an effective professional?
Just work hard, long and smart.

Want to be an effective employee?
Just be the most interesting person at your company.

Want to be an effective date?
Just ask questions.

Want to be an effective frontline employee?
Just be friendly.

Want to be an effective boss?
Just watch The Office. (then do the opposite)

Want to be an effective student?
Just learn one new thing, every day, then write it down.

Want to be an effective thinker?
Just be an expert at learning from your experiences.

Want to be an effective friend?
Just be someone people could call at 2 AM.

Want to be an effective artist?
Just infect people.

Want to be an effective service provider?
Just tell people the truth.

Want to be an effective worker
Just get up an hour earlier.

Want to be an effective businessperson?
Just outwork everyone.

Want to be an effective coworker?
Just respect people’s boundaries.

Want to be an effective adviser?
Just stop giving advice.

Want to be an effective mentor?
Just let your life speak.

Want to be an effective networker?
Just deliver value first.

Want to be an effective performer?
Just be too good to forget.

Want to be an effective person?
Just do what the person you are trying to become would do.

What’s your best "short course" line?

For the list called, "12 Dangerous Doozies to Avoid in 2009," send an email to me, and I'll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

How do I approach my coworker or boss with a concern?

FIRST: Pinpoint self-interest.

Let me share four words that changed my life forever:

Nobody cares about you.

I know. It’s hard to wrap your head around that. But it’s true.

People don’t care how good you are – they care how good you’re going to help them become. People don’t care what you’ve done – they care what you’ve learned, and how those lessons can help them. And people don’t care if you’re having a bad day – they care how you’re going to help them have a better day.

Try these Phrases That Payses to let people know that you understand what’s important to them:

1. “I know how much this means to you”
2. “I can see this is important to you”
3. “Jim, you obviously wouldn’t have knocked off that jewelry store if you didn’t love your wife.”

Also, here’s another exercise that will keep you focused on whoever your “them” is. Ask yourself the following questions, each of which can be phrased for individuals or groups of people:

o What is this person’s success seed?
o What is the key to this person’s heart?
o Who does this person need to look good for?
o What is #1 on this person’s Self Interest List?
o What does this person’s self-interest hinge upon?
o Who can hurt this person the most, and how can I address that?
o What underlying objective or goal does this person’s role create?

SECOND: Think on paper.

Writing makes everything you do easier. Writing brings clarity and untangles threads. It’s also a form of self-communication.

So, before officially approaching your coworker or boss, I suggest you collect and organize your thoughts first. SEE what you’re thinking. This makes it easier to articulate everything you want to say when the time comes, almost like you’re tapping into a reservoir of insight.

THIRD: Create a listenable environment.

When you walk into someone’s office or sit down, start off by asking, “Is this a good time for you to listen to me?” If yes, proceed to speak. If not, ask them, “When would be a good time for you to listen to me?” These questions reinforce your commitment to creating listenable environments.

Also, ask yourself: Is this setting conducive to listening? What around you might be distracting someone from listening to you? How could you put yourself in the most listenable position?

FOURTH: Give people the meat.

Look. People are really, really busy. They simply don’t have time to listen to or read everything you’ve got for them.

In short: You need to cut to the chase.

You need to approach your conversations, emails and encounters with a greater mindfulness of the A.D.D., hyperspeed and instant-gratification-nobody-cares-about-you culture in which we live.

In his famous book, The Ten Rules of Writing, Elmore Leonard advised, “If you want to write a great book, just leave out the parts people skip.”

Wow. What a concept. I wonder what would happen if you applied that same rule to emails, phone calls and conversations? (People would probably listen to you a LOT more, that’s for sure!)

Ask yourself: Is what I’m about to say or write something other people would usually skip? If so, take it out. Trim the fat. Become known as a filter. A distiller. A walking Cliff’s Note Machine.

Everybody will want to be around you because people are just DYING for someone to cut all the crap out for them and just give them they good stuff.

REMEMBER: Humans are carnivores and they’re hungry. Feed them with your value. What parts of this email do you need to leave out? Is what you’re about to say rooted in value or vanity? And, if you ran a Body Mass Index of your last presentation, email or conversation, what percentage of it would be pure pudge?

FIFTH: Send a summary. At the end of the conversation or meeting, say this: “Mark, I’ve been writing down a few notes today. When I get back to my office, I’ll send you an email with quick, bullet-point summary of our conversation. That way we’ll be the same page.”

Almost NOBODY will reject this suggestion. Especially a manager. It’s a time saver for them. It’s also bookmark on the conversation so they don’t have to remember anything.

Or, if they DO forget something, they’ll always have a handy reference guide for confirmation. What’s more, on your side of the conversation, this practice shows initiative, demonstrates effective listening and proactive communication, plus it establishes joint-accountability.

What's your secret for approaching your coworker or boss with a concern?

For the list called, "26 Rapid-Fire Strategies for becoming the Most Approachable Person in Your Organization," send an email to me, and I'll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur

If they can't come UP to you; how will they ever get BEHIND you?

Buy Scott's new book and learn daily practices for becoming a more approachable manager!

Pick up your copy (or a case!) right here.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

NametagTV: Sales Best Practices, Vol. 1

Video not working? Click here for Adobe Flash 9.

Watch the original video on NametagTV!

Who will meet your next customer before you will?

For a list called, "12 Ways to Out Service the Competition," send an email to me, and I'll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur

Sick of selling?
Tired of cold calling?
Bored with traditional prospecting approaches?

Buy Scott's new book and learn how to sell enable people to buy!

Pick up your copy (or a case!) right here.

Monday, May 11, 2009

How much money are you losing by being TOO competitive?

I play intramural kickball on Sundays.

The name of our team is Balls of Steel.

The gi-normous aluminum balls are compliments of yours truly.

It’s totally cool. About fifteen of us show up each week - guys AND gals from all walks of life – anywhere between 22-40 years old.

We bring lounge chairs; dogs, radios, snacks, coolers, and we hang out in the park all afternoon and just PLAY.

Great way to spend a Sunday.

During most of our games, we usually end up laughing hysterically at each other. Mainly because we’re ADULTS attempting to play a childhood sport that, for some reason, we were a LOT better at twenty years ago.

Either way, it’s a blast, even though we’re not that good. I think our record last year was like, 5-9. We didn’t event make the playoffs. Oh well.

Anyway, I’ll never forget the first time we played the Blue Team, “The Ball Busters.”

These dudes were monsters.

Not only was their team ALL guys – which seems a little unfair, but whatever – but these macho, super athletic, side-of-beef jocks were unnecessarily competitive.

Like, that had actual PLAYS. Written out. And I’m pretty sure during the third inning; their captain held a team meeting to implement a defensive strategy for minimizing base-runner advancement.

Keep in mind, this is KICKBALL.

As you can imagine, playing a team like this wasn’t much fun. Not just because they beat us 21-4, but also because the unnecessary competitiveness tainted the purity of an otherwise enjoyable game.

And that got me thinking.

I started asking myself questions like:

1. I wonder what other activities are tainted by people’s overly competitive nature?
2. In business, I wonder what our desire to win is preventing us from learning?
3. Where in my own life am I unnecessarily competing with people?

A few answers came to mind:

First, with LISTENING: Ever seen two people who are clearly “competing” to see who can be the funniest, cleverest or smartest in the conversation?

Stee-rike one!

Second, with INDUSTRIES: Ever seen a company so focused on “beating the competition” that they forgot to make a great product and serve their customers?

Stee-rike two!

Third, with COLLEAGUES: Ever get frustrated at another person’s success, then try to “outdo” their accomplishment instead of just being happy for them?

Stee-rike three!

What about you? What would you do differently if you weren’t always trying to WIN? How would you treat people if you weren’t working so hard to BEAT them?

THE POINT IS: Competition has its place. And it’s definitely not on the kickball field.

Healthy competition is good for us. It brings out the best in (most) people.

The danger is when we allow our need for competition to blind us to what’s really important:

Drinking beer on Sunday afternoon in the park looking like a complete idiot.

How much money are you losing by being TOO competitive?

For the list called, "25 Questions to Uncover Your BEST," send an email to me, and I'll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur

Sick of selling?
Tired of cold calling?
Bored with traditional prospecting approaches?

Buy Scott's new book and learn how to sell enable people to buy!

Pick up your copy (or a case!) right here.

Friday, May 08, 2009

The Nametag Guy LIVE: On Passion

What's under your fingernails?

For the list called, "86 Passion-Finding Questions to Get Other People to Talk about What They LOVW," send an email to me, and I'll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

How to Start a Revolution

Biography isn’t destiny.

Challenge yourself to abandon popular delusions, banish childhood labels and break the veil.

You need to continue to evolve. You need to deprogram your mind. To detoxify your thinking, disconnect all shackles, drop your training and dismantle old assumptions.

Because if you DON’T do that – if you don’t eliminate old answers, rewrite your scripts and escape narrow definitions – you will never heal the damage the past has done. And you will painfully discover that it is your own rigidity that blocks your growth.

So, screw the neighbors. Screw the competition. Screw the reviews. Grab a ball-peen hammer, smash those destructive idols and instead, start prizing momentum.

It’s time to think new thoughts, turn off traditions, undo rote behaviors and unzip the ego.

It’s time to uproot self-destructive notions and weigh the truth.

Because when you jettison accepted limits, leave familiar territory and override your defaults, you start to pull back the curtain.

An as you recast your assumptions and re-educate your subconscious, you remake your brain. You remake your environment. You resist institutional inertia.

And that’s when the revolution begins.

Are you a living brochure of your own awesomeness?

For the list called, "37 Personal Leadership Questions Guaranteed to Shake Your Soul," send an email to me, and I'll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur

Nobody seeing YOUR name anywhere?

Bummer. Perhaps my monthly coaching program would help.

Rent Scott's Brain today!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

How do I approach complainers?

If you work with one of those delightful people whose sole purpose in life is to flood your mental landscape with complaints, consider these five practices for approaching them with comfort and class:

1. Appreciate their value. Yes, complaining is unattractive. Yes, complaining solves nothing. Yes, complaining makes you want to drown yourself in the water cooler.

Still, there is some validity in listening closely to what people are whining about. Often times, these people point out problems everyone else overlooked. What good does this complainer point out?

2. Allow dead air. Nothing makes complainers happier than when another person validates their position and joins them in their self-indulgent pity party. Don’t let this happen to you. Don’t get sucked into their vortex of negativity because they’re insecure about their own life situation.

Instead, try saying nothing. Literally. Complainers HATE dead air. Eventually they’ll get bored and move on. Are you willing to accept silence as a normal part of your conversations?

3. Remove the audience. What’s the best way to handle a screaming child who demands Mike & Ikes in the checkout line of the grocery store? Ignore him. After all, they only make a fuss to get attention.

So, the same parallel can be made for complainers: They’re the kind of people who grumble aloud, then look around the room to see who agrees with them. Validate me! Validate me! They think.

My suggestion: Remove the audience. Don’t make eye contact. Do something else. Or just walk away. No Audience = No Attention = No Reason to Complain. What if there was nobody to complain to?

4. Mirror the responsibility. If there’s one thing complainers hate, it’s taking responsibility. After all, they wouldn’t be complaining if they had any idea how to execute, right?

So, here’s what you do. Next time someone complains to you about some insolvable issue, refuse to take ownership of her problem. Do the exact opposite - mirror the responsibility. Try saying, “So, what are you going to do about it?” or “What do you suggest?” or “Well then, what’s the solution?” How are you calmly putting the ball back in their court?

5. Send it back. When all else fails, snarkiness might be the answer. (Some people just need to hear it!) So, respond with slightly cynical language that refuses to fuel the fire.

For example, next time your coworker, Lauren, stops by your cubicle to whine about how her caveman boyfriend left the seat up and she accidentally fell into the toilet and that's why she was twenty minutes late getting to work, respond with, "That's great news!" “Thanks for sharing that!” or “Don't worry, I read in US Weekly that Urine is the name of Paris Hilton's new perfume line!"

If neither of those approaches work, you could always try, “Lauren, I can’t believe I just let you waste two minutes of my life. I am now dumber having listening to you. Please go away or else I’m calling security.” Are you willing to fight fire with snark?

REMEMBER: Complaining rarely makes anybody any money.

Except maybe George Carlin.

How do you approach complainers?

For the list called, "26 Rapid-Fire Strategies for becoming the Most Approachable Person in Your Organization," send an email to me, and I'll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur

If they can't come UP to you; how will they ever get BEHIND you?

Buy Scott's new book and learn daily practices for becoming a more approachable manager!

Pick up your copy (or a case!) right here.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

14 Obligations of All Creative Professionals

1. Create a movement. Not a company. Not a product. Not a service. A movement. This requires a significantly higher level of passion, inner fire and tolerance for ambiguity. The cool part is, it’s more rewarding, more fun and more engaging. The challenging part is, you sleep a lot less. Oh well. Are you building a following?

2. Create a referral-rich environment. Several ways to do this. First, people need to be aware what you DO, what you’re DOING and what you’ve DONE. Second, people need to see you in action. They need to see you being you, doing what you do best. Thirdly, you need to be good. REALLY good. So good that people will gladly wait in line and pay higher prices than they should. So good that people, once they’ve worked with you once, will immediately tell all their friends about you. What percentage of your new business is referral based?

3. Create a world. All you have to do is ask yourself the following powerful question: “If everybody did exactly what you said, what would the world look like?” Spend a few hours brainstorming a half-dozen bullet point answers. I mean literally write them down.

Then, once you’re finished, you’ll have a template, a framework, a foundation, for the type of world you desire to create. And the best part is, now all you need to do, is make sure that everything you do, gives people – your fans, your movement members – the tools to BUILD that world. What new world are you creating?

4. Create clear outcomes. That last example used what I call a “Back to the Future Question.” Other examples include: How would you BE if you were already living your dream? For your life to be perfect, what would have to change? How do you want the world to know you 3-5 years from now? These types of questions accomplish four goals:

(1) they ENABLE people to act as if the desired changed already occurred
(2) they HELP people imagine what they need to become in order for their goals to manifest
(3) they EMPOWER people to speak from the future, then look back to identify the steps that led there
(4) they INSPIRE people to paint a compelling, detailed picture of the desired future and make meaningful strides toward it.

Hey, McFly: Are your outcomes crystal clear?

5. Create despite poverty. OK, so, business sucks. Sales are down. The economy is in the crapper. Fine. Stop complaining about it and just accept it. Say yes to what IS and force yourself to create new ideas anyway. Every day. If needed, channel your frustration into your creativity. Remember: Ideas are your #1 source of income. Remember: Writing is the basis of all wealth. Are you falling in love with your own excuses?

6. Create enduring enthusiasm. The word enthusiasm literally means, “Filled with God.” So, when you say you’ve lost your energy, your spark, your burning desire, I don’t buy it. I don’t believe for a second that, for some strange reason, you’re (now) no longer filled with God. That’s something that never really goes away, whatever your definition of "God" is.

The challenge is, you can’t SEE it because it’s buried under a steaming pile of excuses; you can’t HEAR it because you’ve chosen to stop listening; and you can’t FEEL it because you’re hanging out with losers. What saps your enthusiasm?

7. Create first thing. Get out of bed, get into the shower, grab some hot tea and commence mental puking. First thoughts, best thoughts. Slice open a vein and bleed your truth all over the page. Or canvas. Or dance floor. Or whatever medium you use. The goal is to create your own daily ritual of creativity that serves as a personal time-out, a portable solitude, routine of reflection and a practice of meditation.

When you create “first thing,” this process lends you stability and intimacy. It enables you to ventilate and prioritize your thoughts. It also trains your censor to stand aside so you can get current and catch up on yourself. As Julia Cameron suggest in The Artist’s Way, “Get down on the page whatever it is you are.” Are you starting your day with practice?

8. Create for revenge. For all those jerks that said you were crazy. For all those haters who said your work was no good. For all those idiots who said they could do it WAY better than you. Create cool stuff just to get them back. Wave it in front of their face. Make ‘em smell it. How do you like me now, chumps?

9. Create higher visibility. Stop being a secret. Anonymity is bankruptcy. Stick yourself out there – in person, online, on paper – everyday. Be ubiquitous. Be pleasantly persistent. Be The Observed. Then, BECOME a known entity. BECOME the obvious choice. BECOME That Guy. What are you doing to make your brand even more visible?

10. Create mini Sabbaths. You don’t even have to be religious. You don’t even have to make it a full day. You just need to physically and mentally displace yourself. No work. No thinking. No nothing. Almost like a mini vacation. Anywhere from fifteen minutes to two hours.

EXAMPLES: Go for a walk, grab a cup of tea at Starbucks, break out your guitar and play a few tunes, or head out to your car, dial up the comedy channel on satellite radio, lay back and laugh it up. It’s one of the healthiest practices you could incorporate into your daily life. What's your Sabbath?

11. Create new connections. That’s all creativity really is, anyway. And all you have to do is, while observing the world, ask yourself questions like, “What else is like this?” “Where else have I seen this before?” and “Now that I have this, what else does this make possible?” Remember: Thinking is LINKING. And myriad connections (always) exist. How many unrelated things have you connected this week?

12. Create new value You HAVE to. Like, every year or so. Your fans, readers, audience members and customers crave it. Sadly, too many artists are unwilling to renovate, redo and renew because they’re too comfortable and too complacent, suckling the teat of their sacred cows. They don’t think they need to renew to be great, and they’re wrong. You must rapidly reinvent yourself, or people will forget about you. When was the last time you brought NEW value?

13. Create positive inflow. To create kick-ass art, begin by flooding your mind, body, soul and life with only positive things. YES books, YES music, YES people, YES food, YES networking events – YES everything! Remember: Negativity isn’t just unattractive; it’s unproductive. How do you stay positive?

14. Create self-evident ideas. First, engage the customer’s BRAIN. Make ‘em think – but not too much. Make it easily digestible, repeatable and defendable. Make ‘em nod in agreement because of your self-evidence and unarguability. Then, engage people’s FISTS. So they think, “Well, I’m sold!” So they exclaim, “OMG, I have to have one of those!” So they declare, “Dude, we gotta get this guy!” How long does it take people to “get” what you do?

As a Creative Professional, what are your obligations?

For the list called, "10 Best Books on Creativity You've Never Heard Of," send an email to me, and I'll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur

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Bummer. Perhaps my monthly, all-access coaching program would help.

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Monday, May 04, 2009

Namaste Communication: 6 Ways to Honor the Spirit of People You Encounter

“I bow to you.”

That’s the literal translation of the Sanskrit word namaste.

And although it’s primarily used as a greeting or salutation in Indian, Buddhist and Asian cultures/faiths, there’s no reason you can’t embrace the spirit of namaste in your own daily life.

I first experienced this philosophy when I started taking Bikram Yoga. At the end of each class – right before our instructor walked out of the room and left us to our final meditation – she would conclude by saying namaste. Then, as a gesture of respect and gratitude, all of the students would repeat namaste in unison as she exited.

Well, almost all of the students. Personally, I was so exhausted, out of breath and out of fluids that I could barely keep my eyes open, much less articulate a three syllable word.

Eventually – somewhere around my tenth or so class – I finally came around.

That's when I learned that the word namaste also translates to: “The spirit within me honors the spirit within you.”

And I thought, “Cool. What a beautiful concept. I wonder if there are other areas of life in which we could apply namaste...?”

That was about 18 months ago. Since then, I’ve been collecting a list of practices that transports this sacred philosophy into our daily interactions. (Especially the areas of communication where I need the most work!)

So, as you read each of these examples, I challenge you to ask yourself three questions:

(1) How do I feel when others do this for me?
(2) How well am I currently practicing this in my own life?
(3) What are some ways I could improve the way I practice this in my own life?

1. Embrace their pace. Listening is midwifing. It’s about helping the other person give birth to her own understanding. It’s about facilitating a natural process. Enabling and nurturing the speaker’s rhythm guiding him to make the best choices. Ultimately, the goal is to provide assistance, NOT authority. That way he can see, find, say, do, know, learn and discover by his own accord.

TRY THIS: Resist the need to take over. Respect the speaker’s speed of self-discovery. No pushing. No forcing. Gentle nudging. Embrace their pace. Suspend conversational control. Allow people to safely process their own thoughts and solutions. Namaste. The spirit in me honors the spirit in you.

TRY THIS: Frame answers with alternatives. Instead of giving advice, pose questions so the other person can hear more deeply what his heart is saying. Ask, “What are your options?” This objective response doesn’t take over someone’s problems. It allows him to dig for the answer on his own.

Also, the use of the word “options” indicates multiple possibilities for solutions. What’s more, this response avoids telling someone what they, “should” do, while still offering a potential solution. Namaste. The spirit in me honors the spirit in you.

ASK THIS: How are you inviting discovery? How are you creating a space where people can see the solutions in themselves? And how would people’s perception of your leadership ability change if THEY were the ones who felt like they always discovered the solution?

2. Give people the time and space they need to fully express themselves. In Parker Palmer’s fantastic book about listening and leadership, A Hidden Wholeness, he talks about being hospitable to the soul.

“Make each soul feel safe enough to show up and speak its truth,” he explains. “Create a space that invites the soul to make itself known or you will scare it away and drive that which is original and wild into hiding.”

Wow. Imagine what would happen to your perception as a leader and listener if you practiced that.

TRY THIS: Resist your impulse to fix. Just be. Abandon the arrogance of believing you have the answer to the person’s problem. “It’s not a problem to be solved but a mystery to be honored,” Palmer suggests.

So, don’t try to save people – just be present to them. Stand with simple attentiveness. Your faith in them will bolster their own faith in themselves. Namaste. The spirit in me honors the spirit in you.

TRY THIS: Approachability is just as much about what you don’t do. Examples: Don’t fix. Don’t invade. Don’t evade. Don’t advise. Don’t set straight. Don’t influence. Don’t pressure. Don’t answer. Don’t save. Don’t analyze. Don’t insert opinions and agendas. Don’t advance your self-image.

I know it’s a lot to keep track of, but if you fall victim to these egoic tendencies, you risk contaminating the listening space and scaring people’s truth away. Namaste. The spirit in me honors the spirit in you.

ASK THIS: Are you listening or waiting talk? Are you leading or superimposing your beliefs on others? And how do you plan to create the space people need to exert their distinctiveness?

3. Help people unravel deeper significance. The only way to accomplish this is to create a safe container in which the person can share. Remember: A person’s soul is shy. You don’t want to scare it away. Still, people need to feel essential. Not important. Not valued. Not special. ESSENTIAL.

TRY THIS: Let what people say have an impact on you AND them. For example, when someone makes a profound comment, asks a killer question or juxtaposes words in a beautifully unexpected way, PAUSE. This silent space allows deep, creative ideas to surface. Which gives someone the stage her words deserve. Which gives that person the opportunity to let their original idea truly resonate down to THEIR core.

Like my doctor says, “If you wait long enough, your patient will tell you the diagnosis.” Namaste. The spirit in me honors the spirit in you.

TRY THIS: After holding a person in a loving space where she is compelled to listen to herself, send reinforcements for her unraveling process. Here’s how: When you review your notes from the conversation, extract all of the keepers, nuggets and epiphanies that surfaced and email them to the other person.

In the subject line write, “13 Keepers from Our Conversation Yesterday.” Then write, “Karen, thanks for sharing your powerful insights yesterday. Really got me thinking! I wrote a few of them down for your reference…” Guarantee it will both unravel deeper significance and make her feel essential. Namaste. The spirit in me honors the spirit in you.

ASK THIS: How are you helping people help themselves? Have you accepted silence as a normal part of your conversations? And how are you following up with people to make sure they listen to themselves?

4. Open your receptors to the other person’s subtleties. Listening is about listening FOR things. Even if you don’t agree. Even if you don’t approve. That’s all part of namaste – the honoring. The accepting. The loving.

So, begin by listening for language patterns: Listen for what they say, listen for what they don’t say, listen for what they’re not telling you, listen for what the person is trying to communicate, listen for what thoughts they share first, listen for what thoughts they share last, listen for what is emphasized and listen for what is downplayed.

Also, listen for opportunities: Listen for what is pushing the person, listen for their ideas of how they want things to be, listen for how to remove resistance, listen for what the person would need, listen for others’ interests and listen for areas where people are afraid and hurt.

TRY THIS: Say what you see. Use Phrases That Payses like, “I had an observation,” “I noticed,” and “My intuition is telling me that…” The three secrets are: (1) Observe, don’t accuse; (2) insinuate, don’t impose; and (3) describe, don’t prescribe. Otherwise people won’t open up, become defensive and assume you’re trying to “fix” them. Namaste. The spirit in me honors the spirit in you.

TRY THIS: Count behaviors. If you’re taking notes when working with someone, keep a discreet tally of certain tendencies, i.e., “The number of times he says the word ‘but’” or “The number of sentences he starts with the word ‘I can’t…’”

After a certain point, turn your paper 180 degrees and show them your tally. Explain what it stands for and then wait for a response. This objective, non-judgmental style of feedback is not only respectful, but doesn’t challenge someone’s character or attitude. Namaste. The spirit in me honors the spirit in you.

ASK THIS: What are you listening for? What are you listening with? And what do you plan to do with what you hear?

5. Understand, honor and respond to their unique experience of the world. My definition of empathy is, “The ability to look at the world through different value systems.” This means placing special or unique value in everything people share with you. This means not trying to change the situation, but rather, thinking new ways to experience it that would make a positive difference in how you feel.

TRY THIS: Change your relationship to your emotions. Don’t allow your defensiveness to block your receptivity to someone else’s truth. Especially when there’s a conflict of opinions. Instead, view disagreements as if they were celebrations of ideas. You will listen with a more open (and less defensive) posture.

TRY THIS: Be on the lookout for subtle, external cues about what people are really like. Keep your receptors open for indicators of their core, their truth: What they value, what makes issues important in their lives, what their vision and purpose is, what they treasure and what makes them come alive. Namaste. The spirit in me honors the spirit in you.

ASK THIS: Do your comments honor the other person’s unique feelings, thoughts and emotions? Have you lost track of this conversation because of the inner conversation you’re having with your ego? And what is preventing your ears from opening in this conversation?

6. The correct answer is whatever they learned.. So, honor whatever surfaces. Dance in the moment. Believe that perfection is unfolding right before your eyes. Then, help them embrace this perfection so you both can feel rightness and appropriateness in the encounter.

TRY THIS: Pick something ordinary that they said and brainstorm all the reasons you can of for its perfection. Then email that list to them the day after your conversation. They’ll never forget it. Namaste. The spirit in me honors the spirit in you.

TRY THIS: Acknowledge their rising thoughts and feelings. During a conversation with someone, presence is the secret and anticipation is the enemy. Ask yourself one question: “What is the truth at this particular moment?” That will help keep you present. Namaste. The spirit in me honors the spirit in you.

ASK THIS: What are you missing out on because of the need to be right? How are you saying yes to What Is? And how can you build an environment where wrong answers are impossible?

- - -

REMEMBER: You don’t need to be a Yogi to honor the spirit of those you serve.

How are you practicing namaste?

For the list called, "53 Not So Obvious Patterns Listeners Need to Listen For," send an email to me, and I'll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!