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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Are You Sneaking Up On The World?

Clarity is overrated.

The better our work is, the harder it should be to talk about.

Because if we can explain it, if we can write down a step-by-step process of how we did it, and if we can find other people to do it faster and cheaper, then it’s not really art. It’s just a task.

Our goal is to become unclassifiable. To become somebody who reminds everybody of nobody else. And to express ourselves in a way that, when people tell their friends about our work, all they can say is:
“Look, I can’t really explain it. Just go to the website. You gotta see this.”

That’s the mark of a master.

Not the one with a polished positioning statement.
Not the one with a clearly defined target audience.
Not the one with a perfectly crafted elevator pitch.

The one people aren’t sure about. The one who sneaks up on the world.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Are you too clear?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the list called, "12 Ways to Keep Your Relationships Alive," send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Publisher, Artist, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

What Small Business Can Learn From Artists

Not every businessperson is an artist, but every artist is a businessperson.

Whether they’re performers, painters, writers or sculptors, they can teach all of us key insights to help grow our business. Straight from my regular column on American Express Open Forum, consider these ideas:

1. Access. It’s impossible to matter in a void. If we want to win, we need an audience. Otherwise we’re just winking in the dark. Fortunately, our work is no longer limited to living in one place. Thanks to the web, access is the new currency. Thanks to the web, we can reach anyone, anytime, anywhere.

Artists who used to be chained to a single gallery now have multiple entry points to their marketplace. Businesses whose sole distribution used to be limited to a few channels now have the advantage of infinite digital shelf space. Foundations whose financial support used to flow from a few wealthy donors now have access to social microfunding worldwide. Access doesn’t lead to the value – access is the value. Are you offering it?

2. Audience. Shakespeare didn’t open in twenty countries. He had one theater, one audience. The people cherished the art. The artist cherished their attention. And together, they made something magical. Outside of that sacred space, nothing else mattered. Of course, that was four hundred years ago. A lot has changed since the Renaissance.

Or has it? Maybe not as much as we want to believe. Because when you consider what technology has enabled, what culture has created and how information has evolved, Shakespeare’s artistic approach is more relevant than ever. Now, we can figure out which of the mainstream hoops are not worth the time, money and effort to jump through – then forge ahead without stopping. Just ask Derek Sivers of CD Baby. Now, we can stop buying tickets for the starving artist lottery and go out and create the market for what we love – even if it’s a small one.

Just ask Hugh McLeod of Gaping Void. Now, we can run into the corners, nooks and crannies, make something we love for the people who love us – and do pretty well. Just ask Kevin Smith of Smodcast. Now, we can focus our time on creating brilliant work that speaks to people in a way they have never been spoken to before – and change everything. Will you continue waiting around for the masses, waiting for the revolution to begin?

3. Costs. Art is expensive. Not for the customer to buy, but for the creator to make. It costs more time than we’d like to devote, more friends that we’d care to lose, more sweat than we’d expect to wield, more money that we’d wish to spend and more annoyances that we’d care to put up with.

It costs more anxiety that we’d prefer to manage, more uncertainty that we’d care to tolerate, more money that we’d wants to spend, more criticism than we’d choose to draw and more blood that we’d hope to shed. It costs more pain than we’d like to endure, more pressure than we’d prefer to absorb, more expectation than we’d care to handle, more energy than we’d want to invest and more bandwidth than we’d wish to consume.

And we never see it coming. There’s no manual, no class or no college degree that forewarns us about the gory realities of professional artistry. It’s easier to romanticize an idealized lifestyle than confront the hell of taking the road less traveled. But if want to play for keeps, we have to know what’s at stake. We have to understand what our art expects of us. And we have to prepare for the inevitable waves of complexity that come our way. If it were cheap, it wouldn’t be art. What costs is your business unwilling to incur?

REMEMBER: Just because you’re not an artist, doesn’t mean you can’t think like one.

Make your business a masterpiece today.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What makes you an artist?

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* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Publisher, Artist, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Do You Perfect the Performance or Extend It?

It’s not just about perfecting the audience experience.

It’s about extending it.

Right before Bruce Hornsby sits down at the piano and dazzles the crowd with his famous spider fingers, he walks over to the edge of the stage and scoops up a fresh pile of handwritten song requests, art pieces, love notes and other messages from the very audience he’s about to play for.

Because while he was in the green room relaxing, individual fans got up from their seats, put down their drinks, walked up to the front of the stage and personally delivered a gift that they spent time preparing for the man himself.
That’s anticipatory engagement.

Right after Henry Rollins finishes one of his trademark spoken word shows – none of which last less than two hours themselves – he towels off, chugs a few bottles of water and heads outside to the tour bus where he shakes hands, answers questions, signs autographs, snaps pictures and has a real conversation with every single person in line.

Because while he was on stage sharing eclectic stories, dropping disturbing ideas and asking hard questions, listeners dreamed of nothing more than to look him in the eye and tell him that his voice was the music they’d been waiting their whole lives to hear.

That’s the second bite of the apple.

If we want to extend the life of our act for the audience, we need both.

Because the best performances are the ones that start long before the audience gets to the theater, but last long after the audience has left.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Are you perfecting or extending?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the list called, "19 Ways to Build Buzz about Your New Website," send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Publisher, Artist, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Are You Knocking Or Going Where the Door is Already Open?

Knocking is an interruption.

The days of darkening doorsteps to bother people into buying from us are over.

Instead, we need to go where the door is already open. To follow the path of permission, greet the people who invited us in once before and gently remind them why we’re worth keeping around.

What if, during a slow season of business, we spent a few days personally emailing every single person who ever gave us money, and asked them to buy again?
I tried that once, and it worked like a dream.

Not because I used a clever subject line or a strategic sales letter template. Rather, because I had already spend years delivering a value forward campaign that brought them joy, left them better and made them hungry for more.

And now, when I walked through the door, all they had to do was say yes.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Are you still knocking?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the list called, "13 Service Phrases That Payses," send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Publisher, Artist, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Nametag Manifesto -- Chapter 2: The End of Exclusion

[ View the infographic! ]

"Everyone should wear nametags, all the time, everywhere, forever.”

That’s my thesis, philosophy, dangerous idea and theory of the universe.

My name is Scott, and I’ve been wearing a nametag for past four thousand days.

And after traveling to hundreds of cities, a dozen countries, four continents, meeting tens of thousands of people, constant experimentation and observation, building a enterprise and writing a dozen books in the process, I believe, with all my heart, that the societal implications of wearing nametags could change everything.

This is my manifesto:

CHAPTER 2: The End of Exclusion
If everybody wears nametags, we'll sustain an overarching sense of social belonging.
Now, everyone belongs everywhere. Now, everyone fits in everywhere. And now, everyone is welcomed and nobody is alienated. People are citizens of the world instead of outsiders to each other’s worlds.

We’re united through a common humanity. We’re positioned to receive the gift of each other. Instead of merely recognizing and accepting each other’s differences, now we can actually celebrate them. We can respect everybody’s right to be.

And as we proudly wear our truth on our chest, we can view each other’s self-assurance as an inspiration – not a liability.

If everybody wears nametags, no more segregation, no more loneliness and no more outsiderness.

# # #

You are now ready for chapter three.

Or, you can download The Nametag Manifesto, in full, for free, right now, here.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What's your manifesto?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the list called, "10 Ways to Help Your Customers Know You," send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Publisher, Artist, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Where Have All the Original Ideas Gone?

Everything that comes out seems to be a sequel, a prequel, a remake, a revisit, a reboot or a reinterpretation of another artist’s work.

Which is fine if we want to ship easy, predictable safe projects that appease our corporate masters and their incessant pressure to create fail proof work.

But there are no cover bands in the rock and roll hall of fame.

And if we want to walk with greatness, we need to walk a new path.

Not an old path in a new way. And not a supposed new path that’s really just a nicely packaged book report of a bunch of old paths.

Something new. Something scary. Something people don’t even have a name for.

Tony LaRussa changed the face of baseball forever by leveraging bullpen statistics. Morphine created an entirely new genre of music by inventing the low rock sound. Kevin Smith shifted film making by redefining the theatrical exhibition window.

This stuff is possible because it’s always been possible.

As long as we’re willing to cede permission, put our face in and step across the lines of artistic safety – at the risk of getting a few black eyes – originality can happen. We wage a war against mediocrity at our own peril.

But first, we need a change of posture.

Instead of copping out by reminding ourselves that there’s nothing new under the sun, we might consider that the sun is really, really huge, and if we can’t find something new under it, perhaps we’re not looking hard enough.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Are you original or just an echo of somebody else's brilliance?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the list called, "17 Ways to become a Thought Leader," send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Publisher, Artist, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Nametag Manifesto -- Chapter 1: The End of Strangers

[ View the infographic! ]

"Everyone should wear nametags, all the time, everywhere, forever.”

That’s my thesis, philosophy, dangerous idea and theory of the universe.

My name is Scott, and I’ve been wearing a nametag for past four thousand days.

And after traveling to hundreds of cities, a dozen countries, four continents, meeting tens of thousands of people, constant experimentation and observation, building a enterprise and writing a dozen books in the process, I believe, with all my heart, that the societal implications of wearing nametags could change everything.

This is my manifesto:

CHAPTER 1: The End of Strangers
If everybody wears nametags, there is a higher overall intimacy level.

People no longer resort to using impersonal name substitutes like buddy, ace, boss, sport, dude, chief or hey you. Instead, through the basic unit of self-disclosure, we reduce the social distance between each other. We don’t have to snap our fingers to get someone’s attention. We just say their name and start engaging.
The nametag is a conversational entry point. It’s an interactional accelerator. Permission is granted, socialization ensues and the lines of communication are sparked open.

Now, we’re not just amicable strangers – we’re sharing our humanity with each other. We don’t have to wait to warm up to each other. We can just cut the crap and connect.

Nametags humanize us. They enable a tightly knit social fabric. They make it easier to treat each other with dignity, respect and compassion. And they give us permission to reveal ourselves to each other quickly, openly and honestly.

As a result, they reinforce the understanding that we’re all one, and that hurting another individual is no different that hurting ourselves. So we stop. Instead of a call to arms, it’s a call to connect.

If everybody wears nametags, no more fighting, no more intolerance and no more disrespect.

# # #

You are now ready for chapter two.

Or, you can download The Nametag Manifesto, in full, for free, right now, here.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What's your manifesto?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the list called, "10 Ways to Help Your Customers Know You," send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Publisher, Artist, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Sugar Packets and the Magic of Mundanity

A few years back, I wrote a post about sugar packets.

At the time, Equal launched a campaign that printed clever slogans like “Ban the bland,” “In taste we trust,” and “Power to the packet,” on their packaging.

They transformed an ordinary confection into a mini billboard.

I still have the packets to this day. Better yet, my article was reprinted on dozens of popular blogs within hours of its release.

And what’s neat is, the reason I noticed those condiments was because wearing a nametag has forced me to stay focused on the ordinary. As a result, I’ve become obsessed with the unmarked. Interested in what usually goes unnoticed. Curious about the trivial aspects of everyday experience.”
Considering I’ve made an entire career out of a sticker, I figure I owe it to the world to spend a little time each day celebrating the magic of the mundane.

The point is, we need participate in everything. To fascinate ourselves with the ordinary.

Mundane is the poetry of life, and it has the power to illuminate more than we know.

Watch for it.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Is your brand a friend of it?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the list called, "99 Questions Every Entrepreneur Should Ask," send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Publisher, Artist, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Do You Have a Profit Motive or a People Motive?

My friend Bill is a chiropractor.

In the past five years, he’s sent over one hundred of his patients to the yoga studio down the street from his clinic, where he is also a student himself.

The other day his assistant yelled at him for sending too much business away. He feared Bill's patients would fall in love with yoga and never come back for another adjustment again.

But Bill, a true professional, a true artist, a true champion of human health, told his assistant that a good doctor tells his patients, “I hope you never have to come in here again.”
That's the difference between profit motive and people motive.

One earns money – the other earns trust.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Which does your brand have?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the list called, "35 Ways to Leverage Your Next Media Appearance," send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Publisher, Artist, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Friday, December 09, 2011

The Value of Ridicule

I get hatemail.
For wearing a nametag. To make people friendlier.

I’ve had people start fights with me.
For wearing a nametag. To make people friendlier

I’ve received death threats.
For wearing a nametag. To make people friendlier

And only from men, too.

I don’t understand this.

Is it resentment? Jealousy? Animosity? Does a sticker threaten their sense of self?

Oh well. Better to be hated for who you are then loved for who you aren’t.
Besides, they get the laugh once – I get the laugh forever.

The point is, revolution without ridicule, isn’t. You’re nobody until somebody hates you. And if your idea isn’t being attacked, it’s not big enough.

Being attacked is a sign that you are important enough to be a target.

It’s like Nietzsche said: “Those who were seen dancing were said to be insane by those who could not hear the music.”

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Who hates you?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the list called, "52 Random Insights to Grow Your Business," send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Publisher, Artist, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Thursday, December 08, 2011

The 3 Words Guaranteed To Grow Your Business Next Year

Next year is going to be the best ever for your business.

But only if you enhance your company’s usage of the following three words: Knowledge, reassurance and conversations. Straight from my regular column on American Express Open Forum, consider these ideas:

1. Knowledge. The tendency is to hoard knowledge is a seductive one. It makes us harder to replace, enables greater leverage, increases promotability and gives us a competitive advantage.

But a lot of the time, in those moments when we operate from a scarcity mentality, we act selfish with our knowledge. We avoid telling people what we know for fear of losing power. And then everybody loses. Like pushing a rock up hill with one eye over our shoulder, it’s not especially productive, it doesn’t contribute to the greater good and it rarely proves to be a worthwhile investment of time and effort.
But thanks to the connective beauty of the Web—via blogs, social media, discussion boards, forums and other digital platforms—we’ve found a way to reverse the trajectory. With the click of button, we send the snowball down the hill, hoping it will grow a little bit more with each revolution, growing a little bit stronger with each person’s individual contribution. Knowledge might be power, but sharing that knowledge with others is priceless.

2. Reassurance. When privacy is at stake, reassurance is priceless. I once gave a workshop to a document destruction company. Their specialty was paper shredding and hardware demolition, mainly for large financial institutions. Stockbroking firms paid them big bucks to destroy old client records, annual reports and other sensitive materials.

Naturally, prospective clients were skeptical. Outside of the standard disclosure agreements, and outside of whatever trust was established between the firm and the destruction company, there was really no way to guarantee that their information could be fully protected. So I asked the president how he handled the issue of client privacy. And said that most players in his industry struggled with it. To the point that it became a barrier to growth.

“But at our company, it’s easy,” he said, “Most of my employees can’t read.” Wait. What? That’s right. The majority of his warehouse staff was blind, mentally retarded or cognitively impaired. They didn’t steal the information because they couldn’t read it.

That’s reassurance. And don’t forget, this document destruction company staffed dozens of permanent and temporary workers each year, most of whom could never get a job anywhere else because of their preexisting conditions. That’s reassurance too. I wonder what your company does to deliver it.

3. Conversations. Our priorities are way out of whack. The assumption is that we need to make something better, sell something cheaper or ship something faster. No, what we need is to have smarter conversations. We might change the interaction model, by being unreasonably accessible where the rest of the world is hard to reach. That’s a smarter conversation.

We might build our listening platform, by turning social media into a hearing aid while the rest of the world uses it as a sales tool. That’s a smarter conversation. We might position ourselves as teachers who solve expensive problems while the rest of the world is selfish with their knowledge. That’s a smarter conversation.

We might create acts that make emotional connections while the rest of the world is bothering and interrupting people with advertisement. That’s a smarter conversation. Point being, customers already have everything they need. Except us. In the flesh. Ready to listen to them. Why don’t we sell that?

Next year truly can be the best year ever, as long as you implement these three words.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Will your business be ready for January 1?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the list called, "17 Behaviors to Avoid for Effective Listening," send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Publisher, Artist, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Do You Give Customers the Cookie or the Fortune?

I published my first book when I was twenty-two.

There was no plan. No marketing strategy. No publicity campaign. No social media push. No finely orchestrated plan in perfect alignment with my personal vision statement and life purpose.

I just handed out copies to every single person I knew. With one catch:

Every copy of the book came with two free nametags.

One for you, one for a friend.

Readers loved it. They showed everybody. Some even wore the nametags in public to start conversations – with complete strangers – about my idea.
What’s amazing is, people didn’t care that much about the book itself.

They just wanted the free prize inside.

So I spent dozens of hours staying up late the night before speeches, gluing those little buggers into the back of each book. Wasted tons of money. Signed every copy. Burned my fingers with hot glue a hundred times. And hated every moment of it.

It was worth it.

Extras matter. People don’t want the cookie – they want the fortune.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What’s your free prize?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the list called, "7 Ways to Out Attract Your Competition," send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Publisher, Artist, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Watch Scott Ginsberg's Marketing Workshop @ goBRANDgo!



LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What's your act?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the list called, "71 Things Customers Don't Want to Hear You Say," send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Publisher, Artist, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2011-2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Friday, December 02, 2011

Face to Face Is Making a Comeback

Screens are fine.

But we can’t solely filter our lives through pixels. Not if we want those lives to matter.

Face-to-face is making a comeback.

Which doesn’t mean information is irrelevant. It’s just that contact offers an unquantifiable humanness that content can’t provide.
Only face-to-face can you truly learn who you are. Only face-to-face can you truly discover how the world works. Only face-to-face can you truly resonate with the soul of another human being.

I don’t care what line of work you’re in.

Every time we touch each other’s skin, look each other in the eye and talk to each other with our mouths, the world feels a little bit more connected.

Create an act of humanity in a moment of distance.

That never goes out of style.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How many people did you go out of your way to ignore last week?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the list called, "23 Ways to Learn a Lot at a Really Young Age," send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Publisher, Artist, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Thursday, December 01, 2011

The Profitability of Mystery

“I just have so many questions!”

I get that a lot.

When people find out I wear a nametag everyday, they’re instantly curious about a number of issues. And I’m happy to oblige. Comes with the territory.

I once met a guy in a jazz club in Hell’s Kitchen. Noticing my nametag, he asked me if I had just come from an episode of The Price is Right.

Good guess, but no. Even though I’ve always secretly wanted to be on that show. Just let me play one game of Plinko and I’ll be out of your way.
People are enthralled by mystery. They never grow tired of things that invite constant interpretation. And our ability to fascinate them is a tremendous asset.

Like Houdini, we have to emanate an aura of delightful unpredictability.

We have leave the public always wanting more, wondering about our next move.

Never underestimate the profitability of mystery.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How mysterious are you?

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For a list called, "10 Reasons (Excuses) You're Not Blogging Yet," send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Publisher, Artist, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

“After investing in your mentoring program, I've become centered on who I am and what I have to offer. Now, I am attracting clients I want to work with. Life is great and I just wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart."

--Melanie Jatsek, Diet Busters


Rent Scott's brain today.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

To Shove People Is To Love People

The greatest gift you can give someone is to shove them over the wall.

I remember the exact moment this happened to me.

I was twenty-two years old.
I was finishing the manuscript for my first book.
I was working full time as a furniture salesman to make ends meet.

I got a call from the president of a local Rotary Club. He asked if I could come give a speech to his group. Being just out of college, I replied, “What the hell is a Rotary Club?”

I reluctantly agreed.

By the time I was finished, I’d never sweat more in my life. My hands trembled as I clenched the ten pages of notes that I never even looked at once.

But when I asked if there were any questions, a ninety-year-old retired surgeon named Harold raised his hand.
“Scott, do you have a job?”

“I sell couches.”

They thought that was hilarious.

Not a laugh line.

After we adjourned, Harold pulled me aside and said a four-letter word:

“Quit.”

That was a gift. A shove moment. An interaction that made my path brighter.

So I took his advice and never looked back.

Sometimes we need people to shove us.

To help us see something we’re too close to ourselves to notice.
To applaud our risk, elevate our hope and provoke our decision.
To believe in us more than we believe in ourselves.

To shove people is to love people.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Who have you shoved this week?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For a list called, "9 Things Every Writer Needs to Do Every Day," send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Publisher, Artist, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

“After investing in your mentoring program, I've become centered on who I am and what I have to offer. Now, I am attracting clients I want to work with. Life is great and I just wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart."

--Melanie Jatsek, Diet Busters


Rent Scott's brain today.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Carry Nametags, Not Guns

I often wear multiple nametags.

One on each layer of clothing.

Not just for consistency purposes, but also for safety purposes.

It’s a dangerous world out there. Should I run into trouble, should I encounter somebody whose behavior is threatening, or should I confront an individual who needs to calm down, it’s always good to know I can simply open my jacket and say:

“We got a problem here?”
I remember getting into a fender bender once. The guy that I hit leaped out of his car, charged toward my window and starting yelling at me. He made accusations that I was drunk and stupid and didn’t know how to drive.

I didn’t move.
I didn’t say a thing.
I just stayed calm, stared him right in the eye and let him finish.

He huffed back to his car to get his insurance information. About a minute later, he returned a bit calmer. Noticing my nametag, he said, “I’m sorry Scott – I may have overreacted back there.”

That’s my weapon of choice: I don’t pack heat – I pack friendliness.

Carry nametags, not guns.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What do you carry?

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* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Publisher, Artist, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Monday, November 28, 2011

What's Your Rorschach Test?

Everyone I meet responds to the nametag a little differently.

I was at the park. A guy told me that he would never want to wear a nametag, as it would ruin his lifelong dream of becoming a spy.

I was at a potluck. When I was introduced to the host, he asked if I had any extra nametags. I said yes. He wore it all night.

I was at a downtown deli. On the way out, a man pointed at me, said, “Nice name!” then kept on walking.

I was at an outdoor concert. A cop stopped me. He stared at my nametag, looked me straight in the eye, squinted and then kept walking.

I was at a baseball game. When I bought a soda at the concession stand, the volunteer at the counter said, “Scott, we’re glad you're here!”
I was walking across the street. A monk in an orange robe asked, “Scott, have you heard of Krishna?” I said yes. He smiled.

I was at a coffee shop. I met a toddler while waiting in line. She pointed to my nametag, so I told her my name was Scott. Utterly confused, she asked, “Why?”

Everyday, each of these interactions is a mini Rorschach test.

It’s an indicator of perception.
It’s an insight into personality.
It’s an implication of preferences.

And it is frighteningly accurate. Considering I’ve run this test tens of thousands of times, for more than a decade; you’d be amazed what you can learn about somebody simply based on the way they respond to a nametag.

I know that if they crack a joke immediately, they’re cool people. I know that if they say hello out the window of their car, they’re fun people.

But.

I know that if they roll their eyes and look at me like an alien, they’re insecure people. I know that if they try to rip my nametag off in a public venue, they’re jerky people. Instant analysis.

The nametag is my constant. It’s my filter. It’s how I judge people.

And I think each of us needs something like this. Something small, repeatable and portable that helps us make sense of the people we meet.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What’s your Rorschach?

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* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Publisher, Artist, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Proof That Airport Security Isn't Secure

Going through airport security with a nametag is a fascinating experience.

One time a particularly cranky and compliant agent asked if my nametag was embroidered onto my shirt. Just for fun, I told her that I wore it because if I died, the police would have an easier time identifying the body.

Wrong thing to say.

She stared at me, emotionless, for five seconds – then told me I had been randomly selected for addition screening.

Woops.

Meanwhile, two weeks later I was traveling through the same airport. When they called my boarding group, I approached the gate to scan my ticket. And right as the machine beeped, the agent stopped me abruptly, pointed to my chest and asked:
“Hang on, why does your nametag say Scott?”

“Um. Because that’s my name…?”

“Really. Then can you explain why your boarding pass says Kurt?”

“What?”

“Sir, your boarding pass says ‘Kurt Gransberg.’”

“Who the is that?”

“You tell me.”

“I don’t know. I’ve never heard that name in my life.”

Unbeknownst to me – and unbeknownst to the astute staff of the Transportation Security Administration – I had cleared three security checkpoints wearing a nametag that didn’t match the name on my ticket.

They made me exit the terminal, check in again, get in line again, go through security again – and refused to hold the plane for me.

I ended up missing my flight.

And they say that our safety is their priority.

Horseshit.

Their priority is to violate the fourth amendment.
Their priority is to humiliate and grope harmless people
Their priority is to reduce our liberty a little more each day.
Their priority is to protect the assets of the airline industry.
Their priority is to promote the illusion of safety and security.
Their priority is to convince us that they’re actually doing something to protect us.

If you see something, say something?

Well, I see something.

And I’m saying something.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How do you give people proof?

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* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Publisher, Artist, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

“After investing in your mentoring program, I've become centered on who I am and what I have to offer. Now, I am attracting clients I want to work with. Life is great and I just wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart."

--Melanie Jatsek, Diet Busters


Rent Scott's brain today.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Power of Proof

I almost got kicked out a wedding for wearing a nametag.

Let me explain.

I was eating an appetizer, minding my own business. When out of nowhere, the bride noticed me and started marching in my direction. And she was wearing her crazy face.

“Why are you wearing a nametag to my black tie wedding?”

“Oh, I’m Jason’s friend. I always wear a nametag.”

“Really?”

“Really.”

“That’s so weird. Wait a minute. Have you heard about that guy who wears a nametag all the time?”

It could be someone else, right?
Meanwhile, my friends are trying not to spit out their drinks.

“Well, as far as I know, I’m the only person in the world doing this. Is it possible that I’m the guy you heard about?”

“Oh trust me Scott – it’s not you. This guy is crazy. I even heard a rumor that he has a nametag tattooed on his chest.”

What would you have done in this situation?

And so, in the middle of her own wedding, I unbuttoned my tuxedo shirt and said:

“You mean he’s got a tattoo like this?”

In eleven years, that may have been the funniest reaction I’ve seen.

Poor girl. The color of her face matched her dress.

But I started thinking to myself – as security dragged me away – that running through her mind was one of two thoughts:

1. That guy is committed.
2. That guy should be committed.

I’ll let you decide which one.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How do you give people proof?

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* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Publisher, Artist, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

“After investing in your mentoring program, I've become centered on who I am and what I have to offer. Now, I am attracting clients I want to work with. Life is great and I just wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart."

--Melanie Jatsek, Diet Busters


Rent Scott's brain today.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

What Smart Entrepreneurs Know About Engaging Their Customers

Engagement is the new marketing.

How people experience you, plus how people experience themselves in relation to you, is now what determines your success.

Straight from my column on monthly column on American Express Open Forum, here’s what smart entrepreneurs know about engaging their customers:
1. Master the power of personalization. If your customers wore nametags, would you give them better service? Sure you would. Names reduce the distance between people. Today, my flight attendant noticed my nametag and said, “Scott, I wish all my passengers wore nametags, that way I wouldn’t have to say sir!” Makes sense. With a nametag, it’s an unmasking. It assures you’re no longer just another face in the crowd. It humanizes you. And it makes it easier for people treat you with dignity, respect and compassion.

Sadly, most organizations miss this. They obsess over offering better customer service, but fail to see the big picture about the actual relationship. Truth is, the purpose of a nametag isn’t to enable customers to tattle on someone who gives poor service. The purpose of nametag is to help you become better friends with customers, that way, better service happens naturally. Familiarity doesn’t breed contempt—it brings people back.

2. Lower the threat level. I was meeting my friends for sushi once and they invited a girl named Sandra, a friend of a friend who was passing through town. When we met, she thanked me for wearing a nametag. “It’s just so non-threatening,” she said. Interesting.

How do you lower the threat level when you meet people? With most strangers, you’re starting with negative balance. You’re operating from a deficit position. It’s just the posture of the masses. People have been sold, scammed, conned, manipulated and used too long—and they’re tired of it. But a nametag takes a few bricks out of the wall. A nametag immediately and intentionally disqualifies me from people’s fears.

3. Trust is a function of self-disclosure. The more you reveal about yourself, the more likely people are to trust you. That’s a basic tenant of human communication. But you don’t need books to know how trust works. That’s what the nametag proved: Strangers trusted me more once they knew my name. Not that much more, but there was enough additional trust to be noticeable. People recognized my willingness to stick myself out there—albeit in a small, simple way—and as a result, perceived me as being a more trustworthy person.

But it was weird. I didn’t really do anything. Just wore a nametag that said, “Scott.” And yet, people would tell me things. Personal things. I’ll never forget the time I sat down next to an older guy at the train station. He noticed my nametag and said hello. I did the same. He then proceeded to tell me every single detail about his wife’s schizophrenia. And I was happy to listen, but the whole time I kept thinking to myself, “Sir, why are you telling me all this?” Simple: He felt like he already knew me.

4. Enable reciprocity. I was in a cupcake store in Australia. When the cashier rang me up, I clumsily grabbed all the coins in my pocket, took one look at the confusing shapes and colors, then took one look at the long line behind me, turned to cashier and said: “Here. You do it.” She smiled back; picked out the coins she needed and completed the transaction.

That’s reciprocity. If you want people to trust you, trust them first. Even if you have no logical reason to do so. You always gain a greater interaction. The world is a mirror. What you put out, comes back. It’s not a cliché—it’s human nature. People have mindless, automatic reciprocity reflexes. And they perform certain actions when the world presents them with certain patterns of input. That’s why strangers will spontaneously introduce themselves to me: Not necessarily because they want to meet me, but because of my nametag—I’m willing to meet them.

REMEMBER: Interaction is the agent of human decision. Help people have a better experience with you, and of themselves in relation to you, and you’ll win customers for life.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How could you engage your people in a way they've never seen before?

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* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Publisher, Artist, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

“I usually refuse to pay for mentoring. But after Scott’s first brain rental session, the fact that I had paid something to be working with him left my mind – as far as I was concerned, the value of that (and subsequent) exchange of wisdom and knowledge, far outweighed any payment."

--Gilly Johnson The Australian Mentoring Center

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Nametag Guy Live: How to Inspire People to Motivate Themselves



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How do you inspire people to motivate themselves?

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* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Publisher, Artist, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Do You Taste Like Fish?

I was in Tokyo when it happened.

When I sat down at the sushi bar, the chef noticed my nametag, bowed and greeted me with what I assume is the Japanese version of my name:

“Scotto!”

He laughed, so I showed him the second nametag under my jacket.

“Scotto! Hai!”

He motioned over to his boss, yelled something in Japanese and brought him over to meet me. I pulled down my shirt and showed them layer number three, my tattoo.

“Scotto! Arigato!”

They both laughed and bowed. I bowed back.

And then they started feeding me. For two hours. I have no idea what I was eating, but it was the freshest, most delicious sushi I ever had.
Eventually, the rice expanded in my stomach to the point of immobility. And as I sat back to celebrate the moment, he proud chef looked me in the eye and imparted a priceless life lesson:

“Sushi that taste like fish – no good sushi.”

Never let them catch you acting.

Learn how to disappear, and you can change people forever.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Do you taste like fish?

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* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Publisher, Artist, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Monday, November 14, 2011

How to Break the Box Around Yourself and Let People Like You

College was hard.

Not the school part – the social part.

Making friends. Going to parties. Hanging out at bars. Trying to score dates.

All of it was a struggle.

Not because I was shy – because I was sober.

I don’t drink. I don’t smoke. I don’t do drugs. I don’t do anything.

It’s nothing religious. Nothing philosophical. Just a choice: I don’t like the taste. I don’t like being out of control of my body. I don’t need chemicals to have fun. And I hate being hung over.

But it was still college. And the story we’ve been programmed to believe is that the purpose of college is to get as intoxicated as possible as often as possible.
And anyone who deviates from that herd gets left behind.

So I was the outcast. I was the weird one. I was the guy who wasn’t drunk, wasn’t stoned and, as far as people knew, wasn’t having fun and wasn’t worth talking to. Just a straight edge silently judging the rest of the room. Who wants hang out with that guy?

But after two years of college, I finally said to myself: “This has to stop.”

I was tired of not having friends. I was tired of being excluded. And I was tired of spending my weekends eating roast beef sandwiches watching Dawson’s Creek alone in my dorm room.

Don't judge me. That show was awesome.

So I started wearing the nametag. All the time. And everything changed.

Now, I had an in.
Now, I had an opening.
Now, I had an opportunity to engage.

But it was more than just trying to get attention – I was trying to give myself away.

I chose to live a better story.

And you’d be amazed how well that worked.

With the nametag, everybody saw me.
With the nametag, everybody knew me.
With the nametag, everybody talked to me.

It was a socialization.

A signal. A permission slip. An invitation for friendliness. And the nametag was also disarming gesture. A non-threatening symbol. And a cue that reduced the social distance between me and the world.

From the moment I stuck it on my shirt, I became more approachable. People treated me differently. College started to suck less. And I had some of the best times and made some of the best friends of my life.

But here’s the really interesting part.

With the nametag, nobody seemed to care that was always sober.

They were too busy saying hi.

They were getting to know me as a person – not as a preference.

And all I had to do was give myself away.

I broke the box I put around myself and let people like me.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What's your socialization?

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* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Publisher, Artist, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2011-2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Letting the Nerd Come Out to Play

I once found a Halloween costume called “The Nerd Kit.”

The contents included a pocket protector, fake teeth with braces, acne paint, a black bow tie, a pair of thick-rimmed glasses with adhesive tape over the bridge, and of course, a red and white nametag that read “Harold.”

Perfect.

Then again, I’ve always been a nerd.

The nametag just gave me permission to let him come out and play.

When I was in elementary school, every week a handful of us were pulled out of class to spend part of our time in Gifted and Talented Education.
We did critical thinking drills and creative exercises. We learned how to ask questions and where to listen for answers. And we were given an irrevocable license to create in an atmosphere that was free of judgment, ridicule and snobby girls named Emily.

Basically, it’s where we got to practice being nerds.

And the cool part was, nobody really told us why we were pulled out class. Our parents and teachers just said we were part of this unique group. And when the gifted teacher visited our classroom, it was time to pack up and go get creative.

Which clearly meant that we were better than all the other kids in class.

Suckers.

Looking back, that program was the absolute highlight of my childhood.

It’s where we were totally free.
It’s where we felt safe being ourselves.
It’s where we nurtured our eccentricities.
It’s where we no longer had to hide our truth.

Everything was fair game, everybody was weird and nothing was off limits. By practicing being nerds, we had an emotional and spiritual release that helped us become the best, highest versions of ourselves.

Interestingly, I don’t remember anything I learned in third grade.

But I’ll never forget gifted time. I can’t. It’s too much a part of my creative soul.

And so I always wondered to myself: Why wouldn’t they make all of school like that?

Kind of like the airplane: If the only thing that survives the crash is the black box, wouldn’t they just make the whole plane out of the black box?

I don’t understand.

We shouldn’t need a separate classroom to let the nerd come out and play.

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How nerdy are you willing to be?

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* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Publisher, Artist, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2011-2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

4 Keys To Success That Small Business Owners Often Forget—Even The Pros

Small businesspeople are smart.

They’re masters of marketing, sales, leadership, operations and customer service.

But occasionally they forget basic elements that make them successful. And to ignore them is to ignore the potential of new business.

Straight from my monthly column at American Express Open Forum, make sure you don’t forget these four keys:

1. Simplicity is eloquence. It happens all the time. Nametag companies send me their fancy, cluttered badges to wear instead of my own. No thanks. Not that I don’t appreciate the gesture. In fact, I save all the nametags people send me. But my brand is a friend of simplicity. Is yours?
Or, do you try to be too fancy, make things bigger than they need to be and create riddles that take too long for impatient customers to solve? Simple means instantly repeatable. Simple means easy enough for a kindergartner to understand. Simple means explainable in less than ten seconds with less than ten words. Simple means eliminating the extraneous, letting the necessary speak and disengaging the inessential.

Unfortunately, simple is hard. It requires more energy, more brainpower and more courage that complexity. But simplicity, pursued relentlessly, can change the world. Is your brand a friend of it?

2. Friendly costs nothing. My business card is a nametag. But it doesn’t say Scott – it says Scott’s Friend. I don’t give people a choice. Everybody my friend, whether they like it or not. Amigo del Mundo. That’s how I was raised. I want to be friends with everyone, all the time, everywhere. And I want to love everybody I meet forever and then some.

Over the years, these friend cards have created a lot of special moments. I’ll never forget the incident on the tarmac. I was waiting to board my plane when I felt someone’s eyes upon me. Glancing up at the door, I noticed the groundsman holding up his laminated security badge with one of my business cards facing outward. “Hey look everybody – I’m Scott’s Friend!” he laughed. “Wait a minute. Where did you get that? Have we met before?” “No, but you flew through here last week. And I think the zipper on your bag must have broke, because we found three hundred of your cards scattered across the runway!”

Great. Not only am I a litterbug, but now my contact information is all over the trash. “Oh, don’t worry about it Scott. Matter of fact, I made my entire staff on the runway wear your cards in their security badge holders.” “Really? Why?” “Well, our airport just got a new general manager. His name is Scott, and he doesn’t have any friends.” It’s not who you love – it’s whose life is better because you love them. How many friends did you make last week?

3. The problem with the Internet. When I went to my ten-year high school reunion, I had this romantic, cinematic vision that I’d walk in the door, tell everybody the story about how I made a career out of wearing nametag and watch as they listened in disbelief. One of those how-do-you-like-me-now moments. But it doesn’t work that way. Not anymore.

Instead of asking what I’ve been up to since graduation, former classmates I hadn’t seen in a decade came up to me – didn’t even say hello – poked my chest and asked to see my nametag tattoo. I’m fine, how are you? That’s the downside of the Internet: We never have to wonder about anything anymore. No finding things out on accident. No learning things through trial and error. No imagining things by sitting around and pondering. The Internet just gives you a blank box and puts the entire world behind it. And personally, I think that’s too easy.

The secret is, we can never bury our sense of wonder. It’s what makes us human, helps us feel alive and enables us to connect with each other. Einstein said imagination is more important than knowledge. I say imagination is more important than anything. What does your brand say?

4. Decide what your legend is. Whether I’m attending a conference with colleagues, practicing yoga with friends, interacting online with readers or having dinner with family, people constantly tell me stories about telling my story. A few years ago I was on the bike at the gym. The guy next to me noticed my nametag. And after a few moments of awkward silence, he launched right into the rumor:

“You know, I once heard a story about some guy who wore a nametag everyday in college. I think it was a sociological experiment or something. But they made a documentary about him. And think he set a world record. Pretty crazy, huh?”

I didn’t have the heart to tell him. The rumors were far too interesting to listen to. And I didn’t want to ruin the image he had about the story. So I just kept asking questions. “Did you ever meet him?” “What ever happened to that guy?” “Do you think he went crazy or something? I wonder if he knew I knew.

The point is, your brand tells a story whether you like it or not. And while facts are misleading, rumors are always revealing – even if they’re wrong. If you want to make your legend worth crossing the street for, if you want people to feel proud and eager to spread your myth, you have to manage your story like an asset. Because people don’t just buy what you sell – they buy what you tell. Are you spreading positive rumors about yourself?

REMEMBER: Never underestimate the power of continual application of the fundamentals.

Forget the rudiments and forego the revenue.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What are you overlooking?

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* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Publisher, Artist, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!