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Monday, August 31, 2009

How You Can Own a Word in People’s Minds AND on Google

If you google the word “nametag,” it points to me first.

If you google the word “approachability,” it (also) points to me first.

This is not an accident.

In fact, I’ve spent every single day of the past seven years assuring that everything I do contributes to my company’s OWNERSHIP of those two words. (Check out my tag cloud gallery on Wordle!)

So, they’re mine. Forever. And YOU can’t have them. Neener-neener-neener!

Sorry to be so infantile. It’s just that Word Ownership is absolutely ESSENTIAL to your success in the marketing world. Because it’s not about marketshare – it’s about mindshare. And today I’d like to share seven strategies for making sure the net worth of your One-Word Equity skyrockets.

1. RESEARCH it. Spend some time perusing the websites of the ten most successful people in your industry. Ask yourself: What word do they own? How are they making that clear? What word could YOU own that’s better and more specific and more memorable? Another suggestion is to email twenty of your best customers and ask them, “What’s the first word that comes to mind when you think of me?” Look for trends in their answers. Are you listening to the right people?

2. RECOGNIZE it. It’s not like you have to open a dictionary and just pick some random word to own. You already ARE a word. You just need to enhance and articulate your ownership of it. Ask yourself these questions:

o After meeting you, what is the one word that people will never think about the same way again?
o What is the one word you have published more thoughts about than anyone else?
o What word do you have to google to get your name to come up as the first ten hits?
o What’s the one word you are perceived as knowing more about than anyone else on the planet?
o When friends or family members introduce you to new people, what’s the one word guaranteed to be included in that conversation?
o When people see or hear your name, what is the first word that comes to mind?

3. EXPLORE it.. Imagine for a second that you’re starting a non-profit organization that builds community events for retired engineers. And maybe the ONE word that symbolizes what you’re all about is PARABOLA. Cool. So, here’s what you do next:

o Look it up in the dictionary.
o Do some serious wordsmithing.
o Google the word.
o Find out if there are books written ABOUT the word.
o Spend some timing writing your immediate reactions when you see that word.

Remember: “Owning” the word, means knowing everything ABOUT that word. And here’s the best part: If a potential customer says, “Parabola? Where’d you come up with THAT company name?” And YOU say, “Well, parabola comes from the Greek word “parabolicus” which means “application,” which is exactly the type of value we deliver to our customers….” Whoa. Unique, unexpected AND unforgettable! How much do you know about YOUR word?

4. RATE It. A lot of my clients tell me that they DO own a word, which is awesome. The only problem is when they say something like, “Well, my word is Passion” or “I own the word Integrity.” Ehhh. OK. Maybe you DO own that word. My question is: Do your customers think your word relevant, marketable, unexpected and cool?

Odds are, if your word some vague platitude, some trite term or some overused cliché, it’s NOT. Your word needs to move people’s eyebrows. This involuntary indicator of interest, intrigue and curiosity is the best instant barometer of your marketing. It means that your word possesses stopping power. Because the effectiveness of a message isn’t necessarily dependent on its longevity, but rather its ability to evoke emotion in the moment. Is your word making people stop in their tracks?

5. REGISTER it. The odds of registering www.yourword.com are highly unlikely, unless you want to fork over ten grand. So, the first thing you should do is mess around with a few different permutations of the domain. For example, if www.parabola.com was taken, what about www.parabolaexpert.com or www.parabolaworld.com or www.theparabolaguy.com?

Remember: When you own the domain, you own the idea. I suggest surrounding your domain by purchasing as many variations, permutations, misspellings, and connected domain names as possible. They’re only like ten bucks each, right? Isn’t your brand worth investing $1000 in domain names if that secures your position in the marketplace AND people’s minds?

6. RECORD It. That mean write articles … that means post blogs and tweets … that means do interviews … that means post tweets ... that means publish your philosophy … that means put that word EVERYWHERE on your website.

Basically, you need to punch people in the face. You can’t count on your customers to connect the dots for you. In order to win the battle against the Attention Economy, it’s almost like you need to grab hold of people by their shirt collars and say, “Listen to me! Right here! OK, yes, you. This is exactly what I want you to do…”

Remember: Complexity generates contemplation. And contemplation kills sales because a confused mind never buys. Have you recorded your word EVERYWHERE, so there’s no question in people’s minds that it’s yours?

7. RE-LEARN It. If you want to new customers, new opportunities and, even the MEDIA to come to YOU – because you’re the Thought Leader, because you OWN that word – you have to be a student of it. You can’t just up and decide that you own the word parabola, register a few domain names, smear it all over your site, write a few articles about and then quit.

Here’s the secret: You HAVE to commit yourself to a life-long learning plan based around that word. Get Google Alerts on that word. Check Amazon for new books written about that word weekly. Continually explore and write about the various dimensions OF that word.

Word ownership is a continuous process. If you don’t dedicate yourself to enhancing your mastery and practicing that word everyday, someone else will steal it from you. What new thing did you learn about your word this week?

REMEMBER: One-Word Equity is the secret to becoming That Guy.

Own yours today.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What word would people have to search on Google to get your name first?

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* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

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Friday, August 28, 2009

10 Ways to Out Write the Competition

On July 24th, 2008, The New York Times published an Op-Ed written by Jerry Seinfeld to celebrate the life – and commemorate the death – of his friend and colleague, George Carlin.

“Every comedian does a little George. I couldn’t even count the number of times I’ve been George downright invented modern American stand-up comedy in many ways. Every standing around with some comedians and someone talks about some idea for a joke and another comedian would say, ‘Carlin does it.’

I’ve heard it my whole career: ‘Carlin does it,’ ‘Carlin already did it,’ ‘Carlin did it eight years ago.’”

And he didn’t just “do” it. He worked over an idea like a diamond cutter with facets and angles and refractions of light. He made you sorry you ever thought you wanted to be a comedian. He was like a train hobo with a chicken bone. When he was done there was nothing left for anybody.

I know George didn’t believe in heaven or hell. Like death, they were just more comedy premises. And it just makes me even sadder to think that when I reach my own end, whatever tumbling cataclysmic vortex of existence I’m spinning through, in that moment I will still have to think, ‘Carlin already did it.’”


NOW, HERE’S THE COOL PART: Did you know that during George Carlin’s 50+ years in show business, he wrote twenty pages of new material, every day?

Yep. Most people don’t know that.

Most people know that he:

o Released 23 comedy albums, one of which won a Grammy.
o Wrote three best-selling books.
o Featured in 14 HBO specials.
o Starred in his own sitcom.
o Acted in numerous movies.
o Appeared on NBC’s The Tonight Show over 130 times.
o Inducted into the Comedy Hall of Fame in 1994.
o Received the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in November of 2008.

But twenty pages a day? Most people don’t know that.

George Carlin was the consummate example of how to “Out Write” the competition. And it earned him a spot in history as one of the greatest Thought Leaders of all time.

What about you? What did YOU write today?

Here are ten questions to ask yourself if you want to out write the competition:

1. What ideas do you have that you discuss and write about with the most passion? If you can talk about it forever, you can write about it forever. This a great place to start for someone who’s not sure which topic to tackle. Remember: Passion makes writing easier.

2. Are you writing for an audience or just talking to yourself? Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Talking to yourself (on paper) is a powerful device for self-realization and idea clarity. But when you’re going to publish something, you need to envision your audience at the onset. Remember: Always write for your ideal reader.

3. Is everything you know written down somewhere? Your memory is a moron. Don’t trust it. Learn to have a paper memory. As George Carlin remarked, “A good idea is no good unless you have a way to find it.” You win when you customize your Content Management System. Remember: If you don’t write it down, it never happened.

4. Are you writing to sound like a writer or to sound like YOU? Hopefully the latter. Because your job as a writer is to DISAPPEAR from the page. To help someone forget he is reader. To be a great date for your reader. Remember: Writers that sound like writers are usually annoying writers.

5. What did this piece of writing cost you? Odds are, not much. Maybe your time. And your vulnerability. And your comfort zone. Other than that, writing costs very little. In fact, it’s probably more expensive NOT to write. Think about that. Remember: Writing time is rarely wasted time.

6. What’s your writing schedule? “Inspiration is for amateurs,” Dave Barry once said. And I agree. You don’t need inspiration; you need discipline. Discipline is the hallmark of inspiration, the foundation of all creativity and the only four-letter word that guarantees success. It is the directed willpower that will eliminate artistic blocks, and it will set your writing FREE. Remember: Discipline is your differentiator.

7. What did you write today? That’s the question you need to ask yourself at the end of every day. And if you don’t have an answer, then you don’t have the right to call yourself a Thought Leader. Period. Come on. This is what you DO. Stop making excuses. Remember: There is no Writer’s Block – only Thinker’s Block.

8. Have you written about that yet? Every time you think something powerful, experience something cool or say something brilliant, this is the question you ask yourself. If the answer is, “Yes,” pat yourself on the back. If the answer is, “No,” make sure you write it down within thirty seconds. If the answer is, “Maybe,” make sure you write it down within ten seconds. Remember: Ideas are free; but execution is priceless.

9. How much of your writing have you publicly deployed? Strive for about 80-90% - then keep the rest exclusive. Don’t worry about piracy. Don’t worry about giving away the farm. Let your competition worry about that. You go write some more. You will win. Think about it: Do you think Tom Peters look back at his body of work and says, “You know, in retrospect, I really should have published LESS”? No way. Remember: The more “by” that comes BEFORE your name; the more your credibility will enable people to “buy” what comes AFTER it.

10. What are you risking by sharing this material? If the answer is, “Not much,” you lose. Here’s why: Thought Leaders are trust agents. Trust is a function of intimacy. And intimacy is a function of self-disclosure. So, I’m not suggesting you reveal your deepest secrets or darkest perversions in your next blog post. Rather, I encourage you to be fearless in your writing. As my mentor often reminds me, “Good writing is like walking across a stage naked. Remember: Slice open a vein and bleed your truth all over the page

FINAL THOUGHT: Writing is the basis of all wealth. I've said that many times on this blog.

Because your biggest differentiator as a Thought Leader is to be able to say, “Oh yeah, I’ve written about that before…”

So, go write something.

That’s what Carlin would do.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How will you out write the competition?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “9 Things Every Writer Must Do Every Day,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Download a free copy of The Nametag Guy's (unofficial) 9th book!

HELLO, my name is Scott's...
"Live your name."



Thursday, August 27, 2009

6 Ways to Breathe Possibility into People

Nobody cares what you’ve done.

They only care what you’ve LEARNED – and – how what you’ve learned can be applied to their world in a practical, actionable way.

That’s the secret to being an inspiration to others:

Transforming “How I did” into “How you can.”

As I mentioned in How to become the Most Inspirational Person You Know, the word “inspire” derives from the Latin inspiraire, which means, “to breathe into.”

So, what approachable leaders breathe into people is POSSIBILITY. And whether you’re writing, presenting or working with someone one-on-one, here’s a compendium of practices to help you do so:

1. Accelerate the actionability of your message. “I believe this! I can do this! I want to try this!” That’s what your readers, listeners, viewers, subscribers and audience members need to think after they’ve been exposed to your ideas. That they can take action. So, in order to move from “How I did” to “How you can,” consider compounding your message with action items like:

o An exercise to do that bridges what you said into their unique situation.
o A checklist could to keep people accountable and consistent in the future.
o An assignment that, when they’ve completed it, people will be ready to move forward.
o An equation (algorithm, formula, system, etc.) people can easily plug themselves, their situation or their company into.

BREATHE IN: You words become persuasive the moment someone is compelled to take action as a result of being exposed to them. How actionable are you?

2. Challenge people. Let’s say you’re telling a story about an obstacle you overcame. Either in a conversation, during a presentation or in a piece of writing. Here’s what you do: First, once the story is over, allow it to land. Embrace the pause. This increases the probability that your words profoundly penetrate people.

Then, call to the hearts and minds of your audience by using phrases like, “I invite you to reflect with me,” “Consider this question,” “Plug yourself into the following equation” and “Ask yourself how good you are at these things.”

BREATHE IN: Language like this immediately 180’s the message and moves the story from Me Land to You Land. How challenging are you?

3. Help people. In a few different ways. First, help people absorb and understand what you said. But allow things to unfold at their speed. Do this by becoming a master at letting the pearl sink. Second, help people see their field of possibilities. Ask them how they would coach themselves through this situation.

Do this by asking people Back to the Future Questions. Lastly, help people build long-term, self-generative capabilities. Feed the development of self-reliance. Do this by becoming a listening midwife, that is, helping others give birth to their own understanding.

BREATHE IN: Let people lead themselves. What are you helping people do?

4. Throw people lifelines. If you’re a leader, odds are, you’re not normal. And don’t worry – this isn’t a bad thing. The only challenge is making sure your message stays relevant and relatable. Otherwise “How you did” is perceived as “How the hell am I supposed to?”

For example, I’m a writer. That’s what I do. That’s my occupation. And, sure: I’m also a speaker, coach, consultant and entrepreneur. But writing is my occupation inasmuch as it occupies most of my workday. As such, I spend four to seven hours writing, every day.

Four to seven hours.

Now, upon hearing such a number, most think, “Good god. Four to seven hours? But I don’t have that kind of time to write!” And naturally, I respect that. Because it would be ridiculous to expect my clients, workshop attendees and readers to invest that kind of time each day.

So, I challenge people to start with fifteen minutes a day. That’s it. If you do the math, that comes out to 1/100th of your daily allotted time. (I don’t think that’s asking too much!) In fact, when I started my career as a writer in 2002, fifteen minutes was the unit of writing time I started out with. And if I can do it, so can you.

That’s a perfect example of a lifeline. You inspire others to function at a higher level by telling them to take action things in the context of their unique situation. You breathe life into people’s hopes and dreams by meeting them where they are.

BREATHE IN:Don't run the risk of people thinking, “Oh, but I could never do that…” What lifeline could you throw them?

5. Democratize your experiences. Open the curtain. Simplify and demystify your message. First, ask yourself questions like, “What is the universal human emotion here?” “How could what I endured relate TO (and offer help FOR) people who aren’t like me?” and “What lessons are inherent within my experience that anybody could apply to their own life?

This line of thinking builds a generic equation your followers can plug themselves into. Second, answer those questions with nuggets, keepers, pebbles, one-liners and other digestible forms of wisdom. Third, you physically write those answers down. And fourth, you articulate those chunks of wisdom to stick the landing of the message you’re delivering.

BREATHE IN: Move people’s hearts and engage their capacity to dream. How democratic is your message?

6. Inspire others with a vision of what they can contribute. Reflect their reality. Show them what they know. Make them aware of their abundant, inherent treasures. One way to do this is to offer your attention and acknowledgment of another person’s contributions to your worldview.

For example, after having a conversation with someone, type out your notes into a bullet-point list. Then email your keepers to that person later that day. Not only does it prove you were listening, not only does it honor the other person, but it helps people see the brilliance they didn’t realize they possessed.

BREATHE IN: Inspire people to continue contributing in their own unique way. How do you reflect genius back to others?

- - -

REMEMBER: The secret to inspiring people isn’t sharing what you’ve done, but rather, what you’ve learned.

AND, the practical application of what you’ve done to their unique situation.

Otherwise “How I did” morphs into “How the hell am I supposed to?”

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How actionable, relatable and translatable is your message?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the list called, "7 Ways to Radically Raise Receptivity of Those You Serve," 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
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Are you wasting your audience’s time?

Here’s the most dangerous thought your audience members could EVER have:

“Why did I even bother coming to this?”

I learned this lesson after a recent presentation with the American Advertising Federation.

No, I didn’t bomb. Actually, one of my audience members shared a piece of feedback I’d never heard before, but one I’d never forget:

“Scott, what I appreciated most about your presentation was that you never wasted our time.”

Huh. That’s interesting. Never really thought of it that way.

But it makes perfect sense.

HERE’S THE REALITY CHECK: Time is currency. People are busy. And they don’t care about you.

I’m not saying they don’t like you. I’m sure you’re a very interesting, intelligent person.

But self-interest is a powerful force. And whether you’re a salesperson, speaker, writer, entertainer or leader, the last thing you want to do is deliver your message in a way that’s perceived as a waste of people’s time.

Whether you’re faced with one hundred, one thousand– or just one guy sitting across the table – consider these eight strategies for helping YOUR audience get the maximum mileage out of the presentation:

1. What would YOU do? Let’s start with an experiment. First, make a list of three experiences where you watched a movie, attended an event or sat in the audience of a performance and thought to yourself, “Wow. This is a TOTAL waste of my time.”

Next, write down the attributes that contributed to the meaninglessness of each presentation. Then, be honest. Ask yourself if you’re guilty of embodying any of those attributes while YOU present. If not, rock on! If yes, no worries. Consider using that list as an audit to help you prevent wasting people’s time in the future. How boring are you?

2. Put your material to the test. As you prepare your presentation, run each if your ideas, stories, points, statistics, quotations and illustration through the “Nobody Cares about You Test.” It’s pretty simple. Just ask yourself:

“Is this piece of material meaningful (appeals to self-interest) concrete (meat, not fluff) and immediate (actionable and applicable)?”

If not, throw it out. Because if the audience’s answer to what you say is, “Who cares?” you lose. And so do they. Are you speaking with Meaningful Concrete Immediacy?

3. Challenge people to get lost. Here’s a hard truth to swallow: People will forget 99% of the stuff you say during your presentation. But what they WILL remember is what they said to THEMSELVES while listening to what you said.

Your mission is to send people on mental journeys. To help them get productively lost. Now, I’m not suggesting you encourage them to start text messaging during your speech. Instead, remind your audience up front to take notes on what they hear themselves say. Are you helping your audience members listen to themselves?

4. Be scary good. Dave Grohl from Foo Fighters said it best: “When I’m playing a show, my number one goal is to make sure nobody in my audience looks at their watch.” Now, if you’ve ever seen those guys in concert before, you better believe they accomplish that goal during every gig. Because they’re just THAT good. They give their audience permission to be taken over by their performance.

Here are the two best strategies for constant audience captivation:

(a) Get off the stage and walk around the room. People will have no choice but to pay attention to you.
(b) Talk to individual people. As if your speech was a conversation. Look them straight in the eyes.

When you do this, everyone in the room will be engaged. Because when you focus the attention on one; you capture the attention of all. Are your audience members looking at their watches?

5. The slide show isn’t your girlfriend. Having a relationship with the slide and reading it is an insult to the audience’s intelligence. Do this and I guarantee they will both look at their watches AND ask themselves why the hell they bothered to come to your presentation in the first place. Total waste of time.

Your screen is a reference point – not a Magic Eye poster. If you find yourself looking at your slides for more than five seconds, you have too much information on your slides.

Remember: No more than ten words. You should be using mainly pictures anyway. Would your spouse be jealous of the affair you’re having with your PowerPoint?

6. Practice non-rambling spontaneity. Build space in your presentation for the unexpected. Comments. Arguments. Hecklers. They’re all good things. Just let them happen. Welcome useful audience digressions. Some of the best stuff is the stuff you never planned on saying.

At the same time, beware of going off on some eye-rolling tangent that instantly encourages people to start checking their email on their iPhones. Listen closely to what your audience isn’t telling you. Because they might be silently saying, “Dude, we GOT it. Move on to the next point.” Are you enabling the organic without beating dead horses?

7. Save self-gratification for the bathroom. There’s nothing wrong with getting a little personal in your presentation. Nor is it a mistake to share vulnerability from the stage to help build credibility. After all, intimacy via self-disclosure IS what builds trust and receptivity in your audience.

Just remember: There’s huge difference between personalizing and masturbating. One builds an approachable connection with the audience. The other is an ego-driven parade of self-indulgence that your audience can see coming from a mile down the street. No pun in intended.

Your challenge is to honesty gauge whether or not what you’re about to say is (actually) going to improve your audience’s condition, of it’s just going to help YOU maintain an erection. Whom are you (really) giving this speech for?

8. Entertaining, educating and inspiring aren’t enough. If you truly want to maximize every minute of your audience’s time, you need to DISTURB them. I don’t suggest gratuitously showing a bunch of sensationalist pictures to prove your point. Rather, consider embedding emotion into everything. EVERYTHING.

The word “disturb” actually comes from the same Latin derivative as “emotion.” So, your job is to elicit physiological reactions: Audible gasps. Extended laughs. Jaw drops. High fives. Head turns. Forehead slaps. Get the picture?

Your presentation must run the gamut on the emotional spectrum. Topic notwithstanding, your words need to make people mad, sad, glad and rad. Remember: Your audience’s bodies will never lie to you. Emotion is the final arbiter of the effectiveness of your presentation. How are you disturbing people?

In conclusion, I’d like to share an experience of attending a presentation that wasted MY time, along with what I learned from it.

In 2006 I attended a program called “How to Create Promo Videos that Make You More Bookable.” Sounds like a cool session, right?

Well, it would have been. But the speaker, Diane, spent the first TWENTY minutes (of a sixty-minute program) playing nothing but clips of her own clients. And even though her videos were cool to watch, that wasn’t the reason I came to her session. It was billed as “How to Create,” not, “Hey Look What I Created!”

For the record, I thought about saying something. But then I totally chickened out. Wimp.

The guy next to me, on the other hand, didn’t.

Right around minute twenty-one of Diane’s Self-Promotional All You Can Eat Buffet, he jolted up with fire in her eyes. And in the middle of her presentation, he flat out yelled, “Excuse me, Diane? Are actually going to tell us HOW to make a video, or just shamelessly self-promote for the remaining forty minutes?”

Dead silence. Even MY draw dropped to the floor – and I give speeches for a living.

The speaker was dumfounded. And I couldn’t wait to see how she was about to handle the situation.

Eventually, after fumbling over a few words, Diane apologized. She even laughed a little. Because she KNEW that she’d screwed up as the presenter. Naturally, she stopped the videotape, turned up the house lights and delved into the meat of her presentation about HOW to make the video.

HERE’S THE FINAL QUESTION: Do you think the Diane ever won the audience back?

Nope. It was too late. The speaker had already wasted twenty minutes of everyone’s time. And when you’re at an out of town conference that you paid seven hundred dollars to attend, that’s unforgivable.

HERE’S THE FINAL LESSON: As the speaker, you have a responsibility to make an improvement on the energy in the room. To enlarge the people sitting in it. And to assure that when people walk out of that room, they’re better off in some way.

Never waste your audience’s time.

If you do, they won’t invite you back next time.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Are your audience members wondering why they bothered to come?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “234 Things I've Learned about Writing, Delivering and Marketing Speeches,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Download a free copy of The Nametag Guy's (unofficial) 9th book!

HELLO, my name is Scott's...
"Live your name."

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

5 Strategies for Establishing a Sustainable Thought Leadership Position

1. Don’t try, seek or set out to be a Thought Leader. You earn this honorable designation when the world dubs you so. Furthermore, being a Thought Leader isn’t an intentional goal – it’s an incidental consequence.

As leadership professor Warren Bennis say in On Becoming a Leader: “People set out to live their lives, expressing themselves freely and fully. When that expression is of value, they become leaders. So, the point is not to become a leader. The point is to become yourself. To use yourself completely. All your skills. All your gifts, and energies – in order to make you vision manifest.” Are you trying or becoming?

2. Build an enrollment. That’s your mission: To enroll people in your thinking, vision, dream, philosophy and theory of the universe. Then, on an ongoing basis, to deliver unique value in a respectful, permission-based way.

Now, I understand that the idea of building an enrollment may sound too grandiose, too celebrity-ish and too impossible to the average businessperson. “Who am I to build an enrollment?” you think. Wrong question. Instead, ask yourself, “Am I being selfish with my knowledge?” Whom are you enrolling?

3. Notice things and give them names. Everyone has heard everything before. So, if there is nothing new under the sun, what do you say? Here’s your first clue: Create names, designations, acronyms and titles for the things you notice. Make them original, creative and consistent with the branding of your philosophy. These names are your content, your products, your branding, your expertise, your marketing, your technology, your philosophies and your differentiators.

As Thought Leader Seth Godin says, “Part of the challenge in breaking through is finding a niche you can overwhelm.” Remember: When you name something, you can do something about that something. You can begin exploration and working with that something. You can help people talk about that something. You can change people’s thinking about that something. I named "approachability." What are you naming?

4. Take contrarian stances to as many ideas as you can. Try this: Make a list of all the conventional wisdom, traditional principles and standard operating procedures you disagree with or oppose to. Then explain why their way is stupid and yours is better. Here’s an example from one of my blog posts from earlier this year:

“Customers are overrated, clients are useless and prospects are for amateurs. You need FANS, and you need to give them megaphones.”

The best part is, when you 180 existing ideas and express them in a new way, you challenge people to think in a new way. You toggle their melons. That’s what leaders do. They walk with a constant posture of challenging the process. Do you pattern your thinking in ways that are inimical to conventional wisdom?

5. Constantly strrenghten your platform. Platform is EVERYTHING. It’s the single most important attribute of Thought Leadership. It’s a combination of your intellectual assets, visibility, network, notoriety, permission assets, credibility and positioning.

And the best part is, proper positioning through powerful platforming prevents the need for prospecting. Because clients come to YOU. On the hand, if you don’t have a platform, you may as well be winking in the dark. Because no matter how smart you are, you will be the only one that notices. Yikes. How strong is your Thought Leadership Platform?

REMEMBER: There is no finish line.

If you want to be a Thought Leader, you’ve got to work at it every single day.

Your followers are waiting.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How are you establishing a sustainable Thought Leadership Position?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the (full) checklist called, “45 Recession-Friendly Strategies for Entreprenerial Evolution,” 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
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Need to build your Thought Leadership Platform?

Perhaps my monthly (or yearly) coaching program would help.

Rent Scott's Brain today!



Monday, August 24, 2009

9 Ways to Grow an Ongoing, Market-Wide Hunger for YOU

Have you ever been SO hungry that you actually considered cannibalism?

Me neither. I was just curious.

Still, hunger IS a powerful, instinctive force. Maybe it has something to do with our hunter-gatherer nature. I mean, hell, people kill each other for food.

In fact, I could probably cite at least twenty occasions when I was a kid – if the proper weaponry were available – I definitely would have decapitated my big brother just to get dibs on that last slice of pizza.

But enough about Hebrew School.

Instead, here are three questions I want you to think about:

1. Who’s hungry for YOU?
2. How many customers are ravenous and drooling for a bite of YOUR expertise?
3. And what are you doing on a daily basis to grow (and eventually satisfy) their hunger?

Today I’m going to share a nine strategies that you can implement to create an ongoing, market-wide hunger … for YOU.

And I promise not to make any more cannibalism or decapitation jokes.

Well, maybe just one.

So, Jeffrey Dahmer walks into a bar…

Anyway.

1. Attach more promise to your name. Brands are expectations. Which means it’s your job to prove customers right. To confirm their expectations about the value you deliver and the values you stand for. So, let’s do a three-part exercise.

FIRST: Consider five businesses you patronize regularly. What respective promises are attached to each of their names? Write them down.
SECOND: Consider your own business. What is the promise your customers keep coming back for? Write it down.
THIRD: Brainstorm ten specific actions you can take in the next 72 hours to exponentially attach MORE of that promise to your name. Write 'em down.

Remember: To promise to show signs of future excellence. To grow the hunger for YOU, ask: How predictable are you?

2. Competence is assumed. First, good was good enough. Then great was good enough. Now, great isn’t that great anymore. People demand WOW. So: You need to be amazing. Like, scary good. Everything else is your ante. The price of admission.

My suggestion is to stop doing something unless you’re amazing. As Seth Godin once said, “Average is for losers. Be exceptional or quit.” To grow the hunger for YOU, ask: What are you the World Heavyweight Champion of?

3. Be The Answer. People go to Google for one reason: Pornography. But AFTER pornography, people go to Google to solve problems. That’s the secret: Being The Answer. So, here’s an equation that you can plug your unique value (and your perfect customers) into. It’s called The Ultimate Dream Statement, and it goes a little like this:

“I wish there was a/an (X) so I wouldn’t have to (Y).”

So, the (X) in the equation is dream focused, solution oriented and optimistic, i.e., “A portable music player with unlimited digital shelf space.” Then, the (Y) in the equation takes away pain by helping people save time, money, energy, paper or manpower, i.e., “Schlepping ten years of CD’s around my apartment.”

That’s being The Answer: Figuring out what your customers are SICK of doing, then positioning your expertise as the key to NEVER doing that again. To grow the hunger for YOU, ask: What do your customers wish they didn’t HAVE to do anymore?

4. Don’t be selfish with your knowledge. Share your expertise generously so people recognize it, embrace it and eventually depend on you for it. Soon, people in your marketplace will start coming to your for your time. Because they’ll think, “If I’m getting this much help for FREE from this person, how much better off would I be if I actually hired him?”

Remember: More content = More findable = More addictable = More bookable. To grow the hunger for YOU, ask: What did you write today?

5. Create a Visibility Plan. Not a Marketing Plan. Not a Business Plan. A Visibility Plan. Do you have one of those? Doubtful. Most people don’t. And they’re losing money every day for a simple reason: You can no longer afford to be invisible. Winking in the dark is NOT a smart business strategy.

I invite you to sit down with your team and write out all the potential venues – online and off – that increase your visibility. Then spend the next hour doubling that number. The mere exercise of doing so is eye opening and will change your attitude toward marketing forever.

Remember: Being known as “The Best Kept Secret” is a one-way ticket to Sucksville. If you’re a secret, you can’t possibly be the best. Period. Be public or be penniless. To grow the hunger for YOU, ask: What’s your visibility plan?

6. Identify the ONE niche you can overwhelm. Bore deeply into sector needs and position yourself as THEE Guy. The Only. The Universally Presumed Perpetrator. A fixture in the industry. Better than anyone else in your space. So distinct that you’re perceived as a monopoly and people starting asking and hearing what you might say about their situation.

Ultimately, someone who invariably winds up on people’s doorsteps. That way, when customers come, you can confidently declare, “You haven’t just come to the right place – you’ve come to the ONLY place!”

Remember: People will remember your stance if it’s unexpected and non-template driven. To grow the hunger for YOU, ask: To whom will you be known as a rock star?

7. Get them to sample your wares. Everybody knows the best day to go to the supermarket is Saturday. Why? Sample day. And if you do it right – for example, eat a few samples, go out to your car, change your shirt, then walk back in – you can make an entire meal out of those babies!

Now, when you’re a kid you don’t recognize the power of this strategy. Because by giving out those samples, the store feeds your hunger. And that’s why it’s no surprise that Saturdays tend to be the highest grossing days in the grocery world.

So, my question for you is: How many samples do YOU have out there? How often are you giving your samples away? And how much more money would you be making if you designed a system that fed people’s hunger for YOU on a daily basis?

Here’s a hint: Blogging works. Tweeting works. Ezines work. The secret is value. The secret is free. To grow the hunger for YOU, ask: What’s your sample strategy?

8. Be seen in your element regularly. People need to see you doing what you do. Those moments when you’re in your element. At your best, flowing like Phelps. Delivering your unique value in your unique way. The secret is to capture it digitally and share it with the world by starting what I call a Value Forward Video Campaign.

For example, as a professional speaker, I collect video footage from my presentations and workshops. And what I’ll do is break down the program into four or five smaller modules, each of which is edited with a consistent intro and outro. Then I’ll post one clip every Friday for a month, linking back to it from my blog, ezine, Twitter and Facebook accounts.

Ultimately, thousands of people watch them and dozens of people hire me because of them. All because they portray me at my best, doing what I do, delivering unique value to others.To grow the hunger for YOU, ask: How often are customers seeing you in YOUR element?

9. Start positive rumors about yourself. Oscar Wilde once remarked, “The only thing worse than being talked about is NOT being talked about.” So, here’s the question: Who’s talking about YOU? Answer: Not enough people. So, here’s my suggestion: Do it yourself. It’s heaps of fun.

In fact, National Start a Rumor Day is November 9th. Consider posting a blog with five pieces of personal information about yourself, one of which ISN’T true. Next, challenge your readers to guess which one is the lie. Then reveal the answer a week later. Maybe even award the first correct answer with a small gift.

What do you have to lose? That’s probably more creative and engaging than most of the 120,000 blogs that are posted each day. To grow the hunger for YOU, ask: How many positive rumors are floating around regarding YOUR value?

DON'T FORGET: If you want to build the brand OF you, start by growing the hunger FOR you.

Now if you’ll excuse me, my big brother is coming over for pizza.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What deliciousness are you delivering?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “72 Ways to Take Your Blog from Anonymous to Award-Winning,” 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
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Need to build your Thought Leadership Platform?

Perhaps my monthly (or yearly) coaching program would help.

Rent Scott's Brain today!



Friday, August 21, 2009

When you walk out of a room, how does it change?

Five words that will change your business forever:

“Who was that masked man?”

Name that show!

Of course: The Lone Ranger. Even a Gen-Xer like me knows that.

And just imagine. Wouldn’t it be cool if customers said something like that after YOU left?

Curiosity. Intrigue. Fascination. Amazement.

That’s what those five words represent. The Lone Ranger was so cool, so unforgettable, and so distinctive that when he left, people wanted more.

SO, HERE’S THE BIG QUESTION: When you walk out of a room, how does it change?

HERE’S THE SECRET: Whatever change occurs to the room is a tangible representation of how your character, actions, words, reputation and personality have been experienced by the people around you.

The following list explores several possibilities of how a room might change when you walk out of it. As you explore these examples, ask yourself which of them best applies to you, or which ones you’d LIKE to apply to you:

1. When you walk out of a room, are people genuinely sad to see you go? In a 2009 Daily Show interview with Michael J. Fox, Jon Stewart wrapped the conversation up with the following compliment, “Michael, when you walk into a room, everybody feels better.” Wow. Sure is inspiring to see someone have that kind of affect on people. And I imagine that if YOU did, your career would surely skyrocket.

Unfortunately, some individuals are the opposite: Everybody feels better when they walk OUT of a room. And the silent dialogue becomes, “I’m so glad she finally left,” “I thought she’d NEVER leave!” or, worst of all, “Thank God that guy’s gone. Now we can relax.”

This is not good. If your leaving the room results in people’s postures relaxing as they breathe a hefty sigh of relief, you’re doing something wrong. If your leaving the room allows people to (finally) resume their conversations, you’re doing something wrong. Do you bring drama or peace into people’s lives?

2. When you walk out of a room, does the population of that room decrease? That’s the epitome of leadership: People want to walk out of the room and follow you, even if they have no idea where you’re going. That’s also a surefire sign of presence: People just assume go home now that you’ve left the party.

Because you’re inspiring. Because you’re trustworthy. Because you’re fun to talk to. And because you’re followable. I wonder what you would have to think, say, do or BE differently in order to make that happen. How are you leaving an imprint on everyone you meet?

3. When you walk out of a room, does the temperature go up five degrees? This reminds me of SNL’s Debbie Downer, brilliantly played by Rachel Dratch. Her cynical character’s sole purpose was to interrupt social gatherings to voice negative opinions and pronouncements. She immediately sucked the energy level out of the room like a Hoover vacuum. And ever time she did so; the classic “Wa-Wa” trumpet sound effect would play.

Are you like that? Someone who persistently adds bad news or negative feelings to a gathering, thus bringing down the mood of everyone around you? I hope not. Because Debbie Downers are avoided like the plague. And when they walk out of a room, people are GLAD to see them go. Because negatively rarely looks good on anybody. What is the temperature of your presence?

4. When you walk out of a room, do people ask about you? This brings us back to The Lone Ranger. His departure stimulated curiosity, intrigue, fascination and amazement. Now, obviously you can’t expect to achieve such memorable presence every time you leave a room. What you CAN do is increase the probability of people asking about you by practicing tenets of approachability.

First: Be The Observed, not The Observer.
Second: Create Points of Dissonance.
Third: Position yourself as a resource.
And fourth: Build Name Equity.

No silver bullets, horses or sidekicks necessary. Are you buzz-worthy?

5. When you walk out of a room, does it get quieter? Meet my friend Neen James. She’s a productivity consultant, originally from Australia. And while it’s hard to explain in writing, she has the most contagious, smile-inducing laugh you’ll ever hear. She’s also the type of person who can find humor in anything.

So, when you’re hanging out with her, you get to hear that famous laugh A LOT. Which, in turn, makes you laugh more. Which makes her laugh more. Which makes you laugh more. And the endless cycle of fun begins. Combine that with Neen’s optimistic, no-worries attitude and upbeat energy, when SHE walks out of the room, the volume goes from eleven to six. Like clockwork. Which makes sense, since she IS a productivity consultant. How fun are you pereceived as being?

6. When you walk out of a room, how do you leave people? Maybe people start taking action. This means you were inspiring, interesting and actionable. Maybe people swim in mutual confusion of having no idea what the hell you just said. This means you need to speak with more Meaningful Concrete Immediacy.

Or, maybe people spring to life. This means you spoke in a passionate, challenging and empowering manner. The choice is yours. How do you leave people?

7. When you walk out of a room, are new people connected that otherwise wouldn’t have met? Networkers work the room. They deal their deck of business cards to everyone they encounter in a superficial, flaky, campaign-trail way. They’re spotted from a mile away and reek of the stench of self-centered overexertion.

Connectors, on the other hand, help the room work itself. They find people that need to meet, use accomplishment-based introductions, and then get the heck out of the way. But here’s the catch: They can only be spotted from up close. Because that’s the nature of their relationships: Close. That’s how people are draw to them: Close. Are you networking or connecting?

8. When you walk out of a room, does your spirit remain? Lastly, this suggests you don’t just want people to remember you, but to be positively influenced BY you. “Noticeable in your absence,” as I like to say. And the ideal situation is, people will start to patiently and excitedly wait until they are given the privilege of being blessed with your presence again.

Not because you’re always perfect. Not because you’re always in performance mode. Rather, because you always make people feel essential by helping them fall in love with themselves. How do YOU leave people?

REMEMBER: If your presence makes a difference, your absence will make a difference too.

Ultimately, it’s not about being the life of the party – it’s about bringing other people TO life AT the party.

It’s about leaving behind a silver bullet trail of uncracked character that makes people wonder, “Who was that masked man?”

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
When you walk out of a room, how does it change?

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
For the list called, "19 Ways to be the ONE Person at Your Next Conference Everybody Remembers," send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Need to build your Thought Leadership Platform?

Perhaps my monthly (or yearly) coaching program would help.

Rent Scott's Brain today!



Thursday, August 20, 2009

6 Ways to be More Followable Than Ashton Kutcher on Twitter

“Why doesn’t anybody follow me on Twitter? This sucks!”

Wait a sec. Holster your finger there, buster.

LET ME ASK YA THIS: Have you considered the possibility that you’re not a followable person?

Ouch. Maybe that’s the real problem.

HERE’S THE REALITY: Whatever leadership role you hold – teacher, boss, blogger, tweeter, pastor or parent – being approachable is about increasing the probability that people will follow you.

And by “follow you” I mean that people will listen TO, learn FROM and be inspired BY you.

Here are six ways to become more followable TODAY:

1. Help people fall in love with themselves. First, by falling in love with YOUR self. This allows people to see firsthand what it’s like when someone honors their Truth. And that experience is inspiring because it grants people permission to do (and BE) the same.

Also, remember that being a followable person is about how people experience themselves when they’re with you. So, make them feel better off having communicated with you. Pinpoint the beauty that they're too close to themselves to taste.

That’s what being an inspirational person is: Breathing into people a reflection of their awesomeness. How are people changed after having a conversation with you? Are people diminished, unaffected, or enlarged after their encounter with you? And what would happen if everyone who walked away from you was inspired to lead with her truth more frequently?

2. Learn by what you have LIVED, then teach people. Followable people know that orthodoxy (the right beliefs) is exponentially more powerful that orthopraxy (the right practices). After all: People aren’t inspired to follow you because of what they HEAR you SAY consistently – only what they SEE you DO consistently.

So, followable people don’t practice what they preach – they preach what they practice. In the words of my inspiring friend/mentor Jim Henderson: “Action changes everything. We need to major in practices and minor in principles. Practices are attitudes that translate directly into actions.”

If you want to increase the probability of people following you, try this: Do something first, THEN tell people about. Do something first, THEN tell people what you learned. Do something first, THEN challenge people to do the same. Is the message you’re preaching the dominant reality of your life? How deep is the gap between your onstage performance and your backstage reality? And how inspiring is someone who just believes a bunch of stuff, yet takes no action?

3. Make certain people regularly experience you in your element. Windsurfing. Baking. Fixing cars. Solving math problems. Riding horses. Being a Mom. Selling hot dogs to drunken Cardinal fans at the Busch Stadium. Whatever. Pinpoint your natural state of magnificence, and then stay there for as long as you can.

It doesn’t matter what you’re amazing at. When people get the chance to see you being you, doing what you do best, it will always be inspirational. And it will be impossible for them to escape your awesomeness. How could you not follow someone like that?

The secret is to seek out situations that vividly reveal your passions, and then made sure LOTS of people are watching. Do that and they WILL come with you. How often are you in your element? How often is there at least one person watching? And how are you constantly expanding your platform on which to display your gifts?

4. Marinate people in your world. Give them insight into how you operate. Show them how you think. Take them on a tour of You Land. Then, while you’re there, show them that you feel sufficiently complete and whole within yourself. Slowly, this will allow that same space to open up in them.

Then, they will experience themselves as being better, stronger and more beautiful by virtue of your inspirational presence. And that will enable them to follow you. When people listen to your life, what do they hear? What do people get when they get you? And how many people regularly see the most inspirational aspect of your life?

5. Pepper in ordinariness. One of the problems with so-called “inspirational” people is that they’re completely unrelatable. No disrespect to Oprah, but come on. Nobody can relate to her. I don’t care how “regular” she claims to be on her show. Oprah is a cyborg from planet Zoltar, and she does not live in a world of reality.

Therefore: Unless you regularly exert your ordinariness, people wall have a hard time following you. There must be a balance between being admirable; yet relatable. Not being utterly boring; yet not being terminally unique. How well do you merge ordinariness with remarkability? Do the people you follow and listen to ever screw up? Doesn’t it make you want to follow them more when they do?

6. Stick yourself out there. Ultimately, leaders ante up first. They take the first step to inspire others to do the same. So, try this exercise: Think of five people that YOU follow. Or listen to. Or allow yourself to be influenced by. On a scale of 1-10, how willing to risk were those people? My guess: Very. Because that’s what inspirational people do – they stick themselves out there.

In the words of my inspiring, followable colleague, David "Rise to the Top" Garland, “Inspiration correlates with risk. Those that take (some sort of) risk are perceived as inspirational because they’re just regular people who did something remarkable.”

That’s the cool part. We’re not just talking about physical risk like bungee jumping or wearing a Cowboys jersey to an Eagles game. Sticking yourself out there is an emotional risk. It’s about walking your truth in a world of mostly fiction. And that’s what inspires people to walk THEIR Truth right behind you. What risks are you comfortable taking? What truth are you ready to live? And what dream in you that could inspire others would cause you deep regret if you never took the risk to go for it?

REMEMBER: You can’t make people follow you.

All you can do is increase the probability by making yourself more followable.

Do that, and people will listen TO, learn FROM and be inspired BY you.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How are you making yourself more followable?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the list called, "7 Ways to Radically Raise Receptivity of Those You Serve," 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
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

NametagTV: Entrepreneurial Best Practices, Vol. 2

Video not working? Click here for Adobe Flash 9!

Watch the original video on NametagTV!

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
How could you position yourself to have ZERO competition?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For a list called, "99 Ways to Think Like an Entrepreneur - Even If You Aren't One," send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

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

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

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

6 Ways to Raise Your Reputation as a Thought Leader

My definition of a Thought Leader is as follows:

A trusted source who moves people with innovative ideas.

And here's the BEST part:



Thought Leaders build wealth.
Thought Leaders trump experts.
Thought Leaders establish equity.
Thought Leaders differentiate themselves.
Thought Leaders create ongoing demand for their value.

Ultimately, Thought Leadership is a vital driver of your business success.

Here are six ways to raise your reputation as such:

1. Pick the lane you’re already cruising in. You can’t just “decide” that you’re a Thought Leader on the subject of (x). Instead, pinpoint what you’re already and inherently an expert on – then magnify it.

Finishing the following sentence is a great place to start: I cannot die until I change people’s think about…

Also, try asking yourself questions like these:

a. What is the mission were you mandated to fill?
b. What were you designed to cure?
c. What are you known for knowing?
d. What are you the answer to?
e. What problem do you solve?

Find the small corner of the universe that is yours to transform, touch it – then set it free. What are you the world heavyweight champion of?

2. Build a solid mental reservoir of ideas. As a Thought Leader, ideas are your #1 source of income. So, if you’re not reading, writing, thinking, discussing, debating, researching, LISTENING and learning – every single day – your mental reservoir won’t just run dry, your bank account will run dry.

Thought Leaders are learners, Thought Leaders are readers and Thought Leaders are writers. Don’t feel bad about spending an hour at Borders in the middle of the day. That’s what you DO. Practice aggressive pondering. Be a learning machine. Be a Smokin' Hot Piece of Brain Candy.Do you have a well-stocked mind?

3. Become a Question Master. Speaking of ideas. Your success as a Thought Leader is determined by the questions you ask yourself (and your constituency) every day. And because questions are ideas waiting to happen, you need to have them captured, catalogued and accessible.

My suggestion is to make a Master Question List. Even if it’s as simple as a Word document on your laptop. Keep all your questions, organized by categories, in the same place. Update it weekly. Peruse it daily. And pull questions from this list for your writings, presentations, meetings, brainstorming sessions and sales calls.

With every question you add to it, you build the equity of your intellectual assets. Personally, I have about seven thousand on my list. I wonder how many are on yours. What are you doing to become a Question Master?

4. Use YOUR voice. Broadcasting borrowed attitudes, publishing recycled insight and spouting secondhand wisdom is the vestibule of failure. Originality is the only way.

That means no more writing book reports from what a bunch of smart dead guys said.
That means no more cutting and pasting paragraphs from Google searches.
That means no more sharing outdated, overused stories that never actually happened to you in the first place.

You need to think. You need to write. And you need to do so with the one and only true voice of your heart. Otherwise the people you serve will sniff out the banality immediately. Whose voice are you using?

5. Draw monstrous, sweeping generalizations. Let’s say your School of Thought revolves around the concept of “exit interviews.” You’re the Exit Interview Guy. And your position is that they’re not as valuable as most companies think. Perfect.

Here’s what you do: Start writing modules called, “Exit Interviews are (x).” Then, the variable in your equation turns your philosophy into blanket statement. Use words like “useless,” “worthless,” “overrated,” “for amateurs,” or “for losers.”

The cool part is, if you start a sweeping generalization campaign called, “Exit Interviews are Useless,” the world notices it, becomes curious about it, and ultimately wants to buy into it. What ridiculous claim could you make and then back up?

6. Don’t be a vending machine of quotations. Quoting other people doesn’t make you smart – it makes you a parakeet. Now, I’m not saying a nice quotation doesn’t have its place. But the majority of the time – quote YOU. That’s what people want. Enough Emerson, enough Rumi and enough Tom Peters. (No offense those brilliant people.)

The strongest Thought Leaders are the ones who brand their own language. And here’s why: Language is everything. Language wins business. Language changes minds. Language attracts clients. Language makes money. Language communicates presence. Language reveals brilliance.

Ultimately, It has the power to differentiate you among the gazillions of other people out there who claim to do the same thing that you do. Therefore: Quote yourself. If you don’t quote yourself, nobody else will. And you can quote me on that. Who’s quoting YOU?

REMEMBER: The world opens up to the Thought Leaders.

I just hope you’re one of them.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How are you raising your reputation as a Thought Leader?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the (full) checklist called, “7 Ways to Out EXPERIENCE 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
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Need to build your Thought Leadership Platform?

Perhaps my monthly (or yearly) coaching program would help.

Rent Scott's Brain today!



Monday, August 17, 2009

How to Kiss Your Leader of the Year Award Goodbye

We’ve been exploring the impending dangers of unapproachable leaders in part 1 and part 2 of this three-part series.

Today, let's finish up with a collection of practical strategies to circumvent a few more of those dangers. Specifically, how people feel walking away from you:

1. When you're unapproachable, people walk away with self-esteem damage. Because when you don’t respond objectively, openly and curiously to their ideas, people feel less intelligent after talking to you.

Eventually, they find themselves not wanting to talk to you. And sadly, people will almost feel at peace or relieved if they haven’t talked to you in a while. All because you never took the time to consider “how you leave people.”

QUESTION: What invisible walls have your close-minded attitudes built?
STRATEGY: Learn how to leave a positive imprint on everyone you meet.

2. When you're unapproachable, people walk away feeling deflated. And they’ll feel that things are hopeless after being around you. This corrodes motivation and hampers commitment. Which lowers their performance. Which heightens animosity. Which makes loyalty vanish. Yikes.

QUESTION: How often do you inspire people to inspire themselves?
STRATEGY: Help people fall in love with themselves by practicing Namaste.

3. When you're unapproachable, people walk away emotionally numb. Because they were never given permission to relax, be their true selves and exert their distinctiveness. They were forced into compliance. They were haphazardly labeled ENFJ and then stored in a nice little, predictable box. This is what happens if people feel constantly judged by you.

Or if you take issue or ague with everything they say. They perceive your value system to be SO opposed that your ego won’t allow you to listen to them. Eventually, they won’t bother approaching you at all. And that’s when you, as a leader, miss out on their valuable ideas, opportunities and feedback.

QUESTION: How often do you overlook people who might offer meaningful ideas?
STRATEGY: Learn the difference between exploration and accusation.

4. People will walk away feeling devalued. Especially if you didn’t monopolize the listening and make them feel essential. And eventually, they might start asking themselves, “Why do I even bother talking to him anyway?”

QUESTION: How do people experience themselves in relation to you?
STRATEGY: Learn how to make people feel essential.

5. People walk aware worse. Kind of the opposite of the outdoor rule, “Leave the camp sight better than the way you found it.” In this case, people are in a bad mood after being around you.

Which kind of makes them NOT want to be around you very often. And, when they ARE around you, it results in curt communication underscored by a lack of mindfulness because all they’re thinking about his how badly they want the conversation to be over.

QUESTION: Are people diminished, unaffected, or enlarged after their encounter with you?
STRATEGY: Decide how you would like people to experience you.

6. When you're unapproachable, people walk away having missed opportunities for growth. Without mental flexibility and openness, here’s what happens: People stop learning, which means people stop growing, which means people start dying. Yikes. Not good for business.

QUESTION: How do you add value to people?
STRATEGY: Become a Value Adding Machine by learning the two most important words for listening louder: Take notes.

REMEMBER: The only judgment your people can (honestly) make about you is how interacting with you makes them FEEL.

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter if YOU think you’re approachable – it only matters if you’re perceived and remembered as being approachable by the people you serve.

If not, I guarantee your organization WILL suffer.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How is being unapproachable hurting your organization?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the list called, "7 Ways to Radically Raise Receptivity of Those You Serve," 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
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

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Friday, August 14, 2009

How to Exponentially Increase Your ROE: Return on Experience

“We learn not from our experiences, but from intelligent reflection upon those experiences.”

My mentor, William Jenkins, taught me that lesson when I was 17 years old.

Little did I know that his wise words contained the #1 secret to becoming a successful Thought Leader.

Develop a system for exponentially increasing ROE, or Return on Experience.

Today we’re going to explore a collection of practices I’ve personally been using for the past twelve years:

1. Allow no experience to be meaningless in your sight. Everything that happens in your life affords SOME value. But only if you enhance your ability to be influenced in the moment.

This requires open mindedness, mental flexibility and the willingness to be mentored by everyone and everything you experience. Read The Mentor’s Spirit for the (life-changing) philosophy behind this practice. What do you see when you see people?

2. Be not wrapped up in the injustice of the situation. “Save the drama for your mama,” as my yoga instructor likes to say. That means not wasting any energy whining about your current experience. Instead, redirecting any frustration you have into learning from that experience.

That also means coping calmly with your inconveniences. Practicing undeniable objectivity – learning to unglue your heart from the problem. Do you have the capacity to respond flexibly to what the world hurls at you?

3. Become conscious of your own development. “You can only know what you’re really doing by making the process conscious,” says leadership professor Warren Bennis. So, here’s the secret: Learn to spy on yourself. During or directly after an experience, practice detaching, disassociating and sort of “getting out of yourself” for a while.

Look inward at your own behavior. Gently poke your inner landscape with an inquiry or two about what’s going on in the moment. Try questions like: “In what ways am I reacting, instead of responding?” “What are the consequences of the choice I’m making?” and “What am I resisting?” How conscious are you experiences?

4. Create a constant source of learning for yourself. This will assure you maintain relevancy, credibility and relatability. Personally, I read five books a week, write for four to seven hours a day, practice listening daily, travel several times a month, and of course, wear a nametag twenty-four-seven.

That’s MY system for constant learning. Your challenge is to build a unique education plan around your passions and preferences. Remember: If you’re not current, you’re not credible. What have you learned TODAY?

5. Design a system for drawing wisdom from every experience. It all depends on how you talk to yourself during your experiences. I suggest asking questions like:

*What lessons could I learn from what JUST happened to me?
*How does this fit into my theory of the universe?
*What generic attributes of what just happened to me can be extracted and practically applied to anybody?

Create your list of questions today. Start asking them tomorrow. Wisdom will have no choice but to show up. What’s your learning cycle?

6. Don’t grip the bat too tight. Don’t swallow anything uncritically. You might miss openings the world is trying to give you. Instead, allow your experiences to profoundly penetrate you. Freeze situations in your mind. Register the moments. Let the pearls sink.

And please, put away that goddamn camera. Just try experiencing and remembering things for change. I guarantee your learning will double. Are you experiencing the world with your head, your heart or your iPhone?

7. Failure IS an option – not learning from that failure isn’t. Failure becomes success the moment you learn from it. Likewise, failure remains failure the moment you choose NOT to extract value from it. Your challenge is to unglue your heart from failed moments and start asking:

“What lesson am I supposed to be learning from this screw up?”

P.S. Make sure to take charge of your own learning and write that lesson down. Because if you don’t write it down, it never happened. Are you willing to endure the failure that growth requires?

REMEMBER: You are the sum of all your experiences.

Ultimately, the more experiences you have – and the more you learn from them – the more ROE you will build.

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
What's your Return on Experience?

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For the list called, "7 Ways to Out EXPERIENCE the Competition," send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

What is affecting your ability to be taken seriously?

I know this guy named Dalton.

I wouldn’t say we’re friends, but we’ve met a few times. We tend to speak at some of the same conferences. And I happen to think he’s pretty good, even though his style is much different than my own.

Still, I’ll never forget the day when I overheard one of his audience members tell her friend, “You know, with that mullet, I’ve always had a hard time taking Dalton seriously.”

Wow.

What about YOU? What is affecting YOUR ability to be taken seriously?

Consider these six questions to make sure people don’t tune you out:

1. What causes YOU to (not) take someone seriously? Here’s a revealing exercise you might noodle with: (1) Make a list of three people you’ve never taken seriously, (2) Write down what, specifically, causes you to feel that way, and (3) Ask yourself if you embody any of those attributes.

Your lack of self-awareness may startle you. As Ken Shelton, founder and editor of Executive Excellence Magazine said, “With a little self-deception, we might believe that we are number one when in fact we’re not even on the charts.”

REMEMBER: Self-awareness creates options.

2. How might you be accidentally diminishing the perception of your expertise? My pal Robert Bradford, founder of The Center for Simplified Strategic Planning, once told me that every time you add a comma to the description of what you do, you suck a little bit more.

What about you? Are you positioning yourself as an expert in seventeen different areas? Are you spreading yourself too thin? Maybe people would take you more seriously if you picked a lane.

REMEMBER: Periods, not commas.

3. What’s your system for keeping yourself constantly relevant? Your customers, audience members, listeners and readers want to know what you’ve done for them lately. They want to know what you learned yesterday.

Your challenge is to create a game plan that keeps new wisdom coming through a revolving door. For example, I read five books a week. That’s one of the (many) ways I stay relevant.

REMEMBER: If you’re not current, you’re not credible.

4. What are you unconsciously doing that’s marring your credibility? The word “credibility” comes from the Latin creditum, which means, “a loan, thing entrusted to another.” That’s interesting. Credibility is on loan. Which means your credibility might take years to assemble, but only seconds to annihilate.

I’d spend some time thinking about situations in which your perception of other people’s credibility diminished. Then ask yourself if you’re mirroring any such behaviors in your own world.

REMEMBER: Credibility diminishes quickly.

5. How unquestionable is your knowledge base? When it comes to your area of expertise, you need to be able to talk forever. Period. In order to make that happen, my first suggestion is to make sure that everything you know is written down somewhere. Everything.

After all, if you don’t write it down – it never happened. Plus, when you write it down, you make it sound. My second suggestion is that you read 500 books about your topic. Simple as that. Thirdly, constantly search for and dissect new dimensions to your area of expertise. This enables you to answer any question, any time, about any area of your subject.

REMEMBER: Experts charge more.

6. What are you doing, saying or being that’s making you unlistenable? I’ve written extensively on the topic of being a listenable leader and becoming the most listenable person you know. And here’s what I’ve learned: Listenable people are taken seriously. Period.

So, here’s a rapid list of practices for doubling your listenability: Listen first. Pamper the short-term memory. Be funny early and often. Articulate strategy and ideas in plain language. Create a zone of respect around you without being overbearing. When it’s a technical matter, (still) speak English. Communicate reasons for changes and decisions. And of course, always speak with MCI, or Meaningful Concrete Immediacy.

REMEMBER: Listenable people are listened to.

In summary, let’s look to Google for a final picture of what it looks like when people don’t take you seriously. I did several searches on the following phrase: “I can’t take her/him/them seriously because…”

The results were astounding. And as you read them, I challenge you to think one last time about what might be causing people to not take YOU seriously:

“I can’t take her/him/them seriously because…”

o “…They can't walk their talk.” Is your integrity in tact?
o “…He tries too hard to be evil.” Are you overexerting?
o “…There's nothing real here at stake.” Are you relevant?
o “…I'm so used to them another way.” Are you a chameleon?
o “…I feel she's too preachy these days.” Are you Billy Graham?
o “…They don't take their work seriously.” Are you serious enough?
o “…They taken themselves TOO seriously.” Are you self-important?
o “…They change their minds about everything.” Are you wishy-washy?
o “…We are too busy laughing at their stupidity.” Are you an idiot?
o “…They are so obviously just seeking attention.” Are you waiting to be noticed?

“I can’t take her/him/them seriously because…”

o “…She, herself, has done worse things than me.” Are you a poor role model?
o “…She looks like a guest on the Jerry Springer show.” Are you dressed professionally?
o “…80% of the pictures out there of her have her in a bikini.” What happens when someone does a Google image search on your name?
o “…All of the effects and style is so old-fashioned looking to me.” Are you a dinosaur?
o “…When I listen to her try to make her points, I feel like I'm watching a PTA meeting.” Are you boring?
o “…If they were half as smart as they claimed, they'd be able to make their points or get rich without having to hurt people.” Are you compensating?
o “…It's just shtick, and when she actually says, “No, I'm dead serious,” we still can't take her seriously because that too is just more shtick.” Do you have substance to support your shtick?
o “…They give me powdered creamers or tiny plastic cream packets soaking in a tub of what used to be ice that's now melted into grey, dirty water that people have been dipping their dirty hands in.” Are you gross?

REMEMBER: People won’t take you seriously if they’re too busy questioning you.

Especially if you have a mullet.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What is affecting your ability to be taken seriously?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the list called, "37 Personal Leadership Questions Guaranteed to Shake Your Soul," send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!