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Monday, January 31, 2011

8 Ways to Help Customers Close You

Years ago, Johnny Carson was interviewing a guest on The Tonight Show who was billed as one of the greatest salespeople who has ever lived.

“Well, sell me something!” Johnny said.

“Okay, well, what do you want me to sell?” replied the man.

“How about this ashtray on my desk?”

And just as Johnny expected the man to go into a sales pitch, instead the salesman asked, “What do you like about this ashtray?”

Johnny spoke about its unusual shape, its color and how it matched other things on his desk.

Then, the guest asked how much Johnny would be willing to spend on it.

Johnny replied, “Oh, maybe ten dollars?”

“Sold!!” said the salesman.

LESSON LEARNED: When you deliver enough value, your customers close you.

(Special thanks to Sean McPheat for that story.)

That’s not selling – that’s enabling people to buy.

Here’s how to make it work for you:
1. Create a significant emotional event. If you bring nothing but logic, you’ll never motivate customers to buy. Emotion is the only language that produces action. Which means: In your sales presentation, you have to create a multi-sensory experience.

Here’s how: According to the book Resonate, chronic bombardment means audiences are accustomed to quick action, rapid scene changes and soundtracks that make the heart race.

As you deliver your stories, solutions and suggestions – not your sales pitch, information and instructions – leverage color, light and motion. That’s what keeps humans engaged.

After all, there is a high customer expectation for visual and visceral stimulation. The human attention span is six seconds. And if you don’t pique their aesthetic perceptions and tickle their sensibilities, they’ll wait forever for you to close them.

Because the reality is: It’s not what you say, it’s not how you say it – it's how people feel when they hear it. Information isn’t as essential as the emotional impact of the information. Do your customers love your process as much as your product?

2. Disarm the immediate preoccupation. Ideally, by embodying humor early. Notice I said, “embody,” not “use.” You can’t use humor like you use hair gel. But what you can do is discover your innate and inevitable funniness as a human being.

All you have to do is figure out what you’re clearly too much of: Too old? Too young? Too expensive? Too slow? Answer that question, then lead with it. You’ll find that by magnifying the unhideable, you convert pigeonholes into goldmines. By acknowledging what causes the tension; it will exhale in the form of customer laughter.

And as Jeffrey Gitomer explained in The Little Teal Book of Trust, “The funnier you are, the more engaging you are, the closer the customer will listen, and the more authentic you’re perceived to be. Getting people to laugh is tacit approval, and it’s your best change to deliver important facts. At the end of laughter is the height of listening.” Are you ignoring the elephant in the room, talking about the elephant or jumping on its back and teaching it how to dance?

3. Flip the pitch. Whenever a prospective client inquires about one of my seminars or corporate training programs, I always ask them, “Why is the idea of approachability important to your people?” Then they tell me. Then I listen. And then I allow them to sell me on the value of my own product. Bam!

Another example is my friend Matt. Whenever he’s uncertain about whether or not to pursue a prospective client, he boldly makes the following request: “Thanks for your interest in my program! Please write me a letter explaining why I should come and I’d be happy to consider it.”

The point is: Don’t be afraid to let your customers do the selling for you. Because if you say it, they’ll pay attention – but if they say it, they’ll pay money. Either way, just be sure your sales approach is underscored by the question, “How do you think I can help you?” Because it’s not your job to help them afford you – it’s your job to help them justify what they can afford. How could you turn your sales pitch on its head?

4. Consider your pre-sale position. If you walk in the door as a salesperson, you’re already at a deficit position. If you want customers to close you, make yourself a composite of the following power positions.

First, be a peer of the buyer. Which means you have to build commonality. And you do so by leading with your person and following with your profession.

Second, be a trusted resource to the buyer. Which means you have to build a value-forward platform online and offline. And you do so by thinking on paper, every single day.

Third, be a problem solver with the buyer. Which means you have to figure out what you’re the answer to. And you do so by using use social media to gain insight into what drives your customers up the wall, then becoming that answer to those issues.

Ultimately, the stronger your pre-sale position, the easier it is to get to yes. How would your closing ratio change if customers saw you as their trusted advisor – not their tricky salesperson?

5. Make them ask what’s next. All customers are control freaks. And they want to feel as if they’re autonomous and in control of their environment and actions. Your challenge – whether it’s over the phone, in person, via email or on a social networking site – is to preserve that sense.

For example, you know your customers are ready to close you when they ask reverse closing questions like, “What’s next?” or “What’s the next step?” If you get to that point, well done. Because the goal is spend so much time listening and delivering value that price doesn’t come up till the very end. Then, when it does – and they’re ready – they’ll ask you for the close.

After all: Customers want to be pilots – not passengers. Now, this requires you to surrender your time, your information and your own desire for control. But it’s worth it. Because customers who control their service experience with your company also control their spreading experience about your company. How do you preserve customer control?

6. Deliver an ongoing value message. Absence doesn’t make the heart grow fonder – absence makes people forget. That’s why anonymity is bankruptcy. The key is to deliver a continuous flow of education in a variety of media. After all, it’s not your job to tell customers how to consume you.

Whether you publish a newsletter, blog, social media news feed – or even deliver public seminars – the goal is to leave no barriers for people to become involved with you in inexpensive and accessible ways.

Personally, I use a combination of ezines, blogs, syndicated columns, video modules and social media. What’s your recipe? The cool part is, when you start to serve people as if they were already paying clients, you make it easier for them to close you at their own convenience.

Then, instead of taking a whiff of the stink of desperation, they savor the aroma of education. Are you treating customers as people who pay your salary, or attending to them as pupils who enrolled in your class?

7. Allow your customers to have their fingerprint on the solution. Then, when price comes up, as opposed to responding reflexively with a rigid, canned fee, try using language like this:

“With every engagement and every client, there are a number of variables that affect your final investment. Let’s look at what’s important to you and what’s important to me, and we can create a fee agreement that honors both of us.”

In short: Grow bigger ears. Because if salespeople would simply ask smart questions and shut the hell up, customers would sell themselves the entire time. My suggestion: Instead of being exhaustingly argumentative, be strategically inquisitive. Then, oxygenate the conversation by allowing the silence to hold you a little while longer. Give yourself a moment to let your customer’s words wash over you.

In so doing, long silence tells people that what they said is important. It communicates that their words have weight and deserve their own space before being banished by a reply. Do that, and they’ll close the sale before you even get around to it. Are you listening to the sound of your own voice or the music of your customer’s voice?

8. Help customers verbalize their hopes. It’s not about overcoming the objection – it’s uncovering why that objection is important to the customer. Because if you know people’s why – you don’t just have a hot button – you have their entire motherboard.

Not to control them, but to inspire them. Not to sell more stuff, but to make a difference. And not to deliberately fabricate fears that don’t exist, but to raise awareness of potential dangers by illustrating the cost of inaction.

In short: Beat the customer. Deliver their desire before they place it. Invest just as much time in anticipating than responding. That’s how you build a path of trust, humanize the sales experience and diffuse customers’ built in push-back mechanisms. Ultimately, if you want customers to close you, don’t sell the service – just deliver it in every breath. Are you trying to trick people into buying something, or trying to make something worth buying and spreading?

REMEMBER: Customers will always get what they want – it just might not be from you.

But if you can focus less on selling and more on enabling people to buy, the customer will close you quicker than you can say, “Sold!”

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How closeable are you?

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

Never the same speech twice.
Now booking for 2011-2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Friday, January 28, 2011

If I Ever Had to Get a Real Job (Which I Won’t) This Is the Kind of Company I’d Want to Work For

Since I started my publishing company eight years ago, I’ve had the honor and privilege of working with some of the finest organizations around the world:

Like Sendouts.
They say, “Today is the day,” to their corporate recruiters.

Like Brains on Fire.
They say, “I love you” to their clients.

Like Optimists International.
They say, “Yes” to their members.

Like Million Dollar Roundtable.
They say, “Kamsahamnida,” to their buyers.

Like Australian Institute of Management.
They say, “No worries” to their followers.

THE REALITY IS: If I ever had to get a real job – which I won’t – these organizations are the types of companies I’d want to work for.

It’s time to learn from the masters. Today we’re going to explore a collection of ideas to help you make your organization more human, more approachable and more engaged:
1. Create an atmosphere of approachability. Too many organizations are trapped in outdated hierarchical patterns of mistrust. Their leaders ignore people’s words, shrug off their suggestions or, worse yet, hijack the conversation and turn it into a one-way update.

Ultimately, this leaves people hesitant to speak up for fear of being labeled as a squeaky wheel. Not exactly an approachable environment. If you want to inspire deeper commitment, try this:

When people walk in the room, create a loving space where they feel comfortable sharing.

When people are gathered around, ask them to contribute if they see something you don’t see.

When people ask for feedback, you reflect their thoughts back to them in a way that makes them feel understood, not mindlessly repeated.

And when people bring you their ideas, respond with a fundamentally affirmative attitude by looking them in the eye and telling them how great their ideas are – no matter how big or small.

That’s how to make people feel heard. And the cool part is, when trust and belonging become the very oxygen your people breathe, the communication process shifts. For better and for always. How will you create a workplace that encourages the generation and execution of its best ideas?

2. Gratitude is the great gravitator. Gratitude isn’t a thing you do – it’s a virtue you embody. And it’s not something you do once a year. You shouldn’t need a calendar to tell you when to care. The goal is to make gratitude a non-negotiable. Like exercise or meditation, it needs to be something you just do, everyday.

However, because recognition is an emotional release humans crave, you can’t bastardize gratitude into to some empty, contrived corporate initiative. It has to be a constitutional. It has to be a way of life at your organization. Otherwise you’re just kissing ass.

The reality is: People engage when they’re applauded for their strengths and not berated for their weaknesses. And people engage when they’re allowed to publicly display their successes.

My suggestion: Stop trying to make them fall in love with you – start helping them fall in love with themselves. Stop trying to be life of the party – start bringing other people to life at the party. That’s how you make people feel essential. Not valued. Not important. Not special. Essential.

As in: “Janet, your role has a direct impact on something that matters. The value of your contribution is calculable. You’re more than just a helpful addition to our organization – you’re a vital component. Thank you, thank you.” How does your organization make gratitude and recognition a palpable, recurrent practice?

3. Tap into the reservoir of whypower. People who see their job as a grind, a sinking ship, quickly give up on the possibility of meaningful work. On the other hand, when people who see work as a gateway to something bigger, their jobs become stepping-stones to personal fulfillment.

The secret is to give people permission to flex their why muscle. To offer them room to express their commitment in their own unique way. And then, once you’ve found out what fuels them – you embed that passion into the organizational pavement. That’s what gives people the sense of accomplishment and fulfillment they seek, as opposed to feeling like they’re being used.

The best part is: Constancy of purpose can’t be penetrated by distraction. When work is rooted in passion and fire, productivity is a non-issue. And that’s when you realize that hard work isn’t the problem – it’s meaningless work that kills people. Do your employees feel like they’re being used for something pointless, or prepared for something purposeful?

4. Give people permission to pursue their dreams. Your organization needs to be a place where people can lead fulfilling lives. Working for you needs to help people get where they want to go. Otherwise you team is destined for mediocrity.

My suggestion: Your people need to experience a real (and regular) connection between the duty of today and the dream of tomorrow. Otherwise it’s just a job. It’s just a paycheck. And your organization is viewed as an economic mechanism and little more.

On the other hand, when people start to see the connection between their dream and their work, loyalty skyrockets. After all, people are grateful to whoever helps them achieve their dream. And don’t get me started on their spouses. Can you imagine how good it feels to wake up next to someone who has dreams to chase?

Maybe it’s time to stop telling employees what your demands are and start asking employees what their dreams are. As long as you remember: Your job is to be the spark. Because you can give people permission to pursue their dream – but you can’t take responsibility for them achieving it. How long ago did your people stop dreaming?

5. Identify the real currency. Too many organizations are operating from the obsolete paradigm that people come to work to make money. Nice try, Gordon Gecko. But throwing more money at people isn’t the answer – throwing more meaning at them is.

Truth is, people care less about the check and more about signed card the check came in. They hunger for the validation of being known, seen and heard. And they crave a work environment that allows them to express their creativity as loudly as possible.

Now, make no mistake: Money motivates. But dollars aren’t the only defining factor of human engagement. People invest themselves in things they truly admire. People commit when they’re allowed to lead the kind of life they want.

Your challenge is to figure out what each employee’s personal currency is, and then pay them with that every week. Because “equality,” while nice in theory, isn’t always the best polity. Sure, treating everybody the exact same way saves times – but it costs commitment. The reality is: People engage when they’re treated according to their own unique values. Are you discerning and testing how each of your people wants to be treated?

6. Stop asking people to edit themselves. Most organizational structures are designed to restrict individual expression, mitigate dissent and preserve the status quo. Which is great for the leaders, but makes the employees want to shoot themselves with a staple gun.

Instead, leave the policing to the cops. You don’t need more procedures – you need more philosophy. And note the distinction: Policies are restrictive devices that keep people from doing something; philosophies are enabling devices that empower people to do something.

Trust people to establish their own structures to maintain focus. Give people free reign design their own workplace nirvana. By enabling people’s ability to influence their work environment – and by being vulnerable and trusting enough to decentralize some of the power – they will work better, harder and smarter.

Remember: It’s awfully hard to engage in work that conflicts with your internal compass. Can your people express themselves without have to meet code?

REMEMBER: Your employees will always get what they want – it just might not be from you.

To make sure your organization stays human, approachable and engaged, reconsider the above suggestions. Keep them in mind. Take them to heart. Put them to practice.

Your people will stick around.

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
If they can't come up to you, how will they ever get behind you?

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

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2011!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

21 Reasons to Keep Your Company Small

“Yeah, but it wasn’t worth it.”

That’s what the guy next to me at the bar said.

“When I started my company, I was this laid-back, low key guy. Not anymore. Since then I’ve gained eighty pounds, I’m constantly on the run, I wake up in the middle of the night with anxiety attacks and my health is terrible."

"But there’s nothing I can do about it. I can’t quit or stop now. It’s too late. I’m too deep. I’ve got twenty employees who are depending on me for their livelihoods, their paychecks and their healthcare.”

Bummer.

“What about your healthcare?” I asked.

He smiled reluctantly.
“Look man, let tell you something: I don’t want to be busy all the time. I don’t want to wake up in cold sweats in the middle of the night. But that’s just the way it is. When it comes to owning your own business, you simply don’t have a choice.”

“Ever?”

“No. It’s just what happens to entrepreneurs. Even if you’re not a high strung person when you start, you’ll become one eventually.”

Interesting.

Then I asked, “Well, then here’s my question: What would happen if, in the beginning, you removed the threat of having to support stakeholders? And as you built your company, you educated yourself about how to avoid these kinds of small business undertows?”

He listened.

“For example, let’s say somebody owned his own company, was the only employee and ran a one-man show. Wouldn’t that delete some of the variables in the equation and ultimately give that person the choice to avoid becoming the type of person you’re talking about?”

He replied almost immediately.

“No. It doesn’t work that way. As a small business owner, you want your company to grow. And you can’t grow when you’re the only employee. It’s inevitable.”

Interesting.

“But if I had to do it all over again,” he warned, “I would have stayed small.”

LESSON LEARNED: Bigger isn’t better – better is better.

And more often than not, better is the fruit of smaller.

Here’s a list of twenty-one reasons why:

1. Small means you can be honest.

2. Small means you can delete meetings.

3. Small means you can respond quicker.

4. Small means you can reinvent in real time.

5. Small means you can enable greater mobility.

6. Small means you can foster deeper commitment.

7. Small means you can have the freedom to innovate.

8. Small means you can make decisions that matter sooner.

9. Small means you can implement new ideas immediately.

10. Small means you can make mistakes quickly and quietly.

11. Small means you can actually execute your brilliant ideas.

12. Small means you can take action with asking for permission.

13. Small means you can interact with customers directly and personally.

14. Small means you can take a piss without meeting compliance.

15. Small means you can delete useless planning of things that don’t matter.

16. Small means you respond to changing customer or employee needs immediately.

17. Small means you can take risks without the pressure to remain excessively predictable.

18. Small means you can focus on shipping the most value because you’re not bogged down.

19. Small means you can quickly make adjustments without having to go thru the chain of command.

20. Small means you can have a higher awareness of everything and everyone within the
company.

21. Small means you can preserve the charm and intimacy of connecting personally with the people who matters most.

The choice is yours: Go for greatness or go for bigness.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How will you stay small?

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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, Entrepreneur, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2011!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

NametagTV: Entrepreneur Questions That Matter

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

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

How to Inspire Employee Commitment, Even When You’re Convinced They’re Playing Solitaire All Day

Not compliance – commitment.

Huge difference.

As I learned from The Power of Strategic Commitment:

“Commitment is the innate willingness of people to follow and contribute; compliance is the forced adherence to plans created through manipulation, punishment and coercion.”

That’s the difference between doing the job a delivering the brand.

THE PROBLEM IS: Zero commitment means zero engagement, and zero engagement means zero profits.

Today we’re going to explore seven strategies to help you inspire commitment in the hearts of the people who matter most:
1. Start at the top. The reason commitment is improperly installed in most organizations is because it’s treated as policy, not a lifestyle. Unfortunately, that’s not the way commitment works. It’s not something you do – it’s something you embody. And unless it’s a robust strand of the leader’s genetic makeup, people won’t be inspired to follow suit.

That’s what I’ve learned after ten years of wearing a nametag: Commitment is the offspring of values. You really think I’d still be wearing this stupid sticker every day if it weren’t directly glued to my personal constitution? Hell no. But that’s the whole point: When it’s your heart, you don’t need to prove to anyone that you can’t live without it. They simply take the cue from your life.

Therefore, if you want to inspire commitment from the people who matter most, begin by expressing your own. Find your commitment device. And wear it proudly for all to see. Otherwise you may as well be winking in the dark.

Remember: The problem isn’t a fear of commitment – but a failure to communicate that you’re fully committed. How are you cascading your commitment through every level of the organization?

2. Worthwhile trumps importance. Any work can be important. Think about the most meaningless job you ever had in your life – it was probably important to someone. Worthwhile work, on the other hand, covers more emotional territory. It doesn’t just hold importance – it’s has impact. And the fruit of your worthwhile labor becomes a gift to your people.

To achieve that kind of result in your organization, try this: Give people work that demands the best, highest version of themselves. Tap into the wellspring of their unique capability. I promise: They’ll have no choice but to thrust themselves into uncharted waters – remaining fully engaged the whole time. Otherwise, the work you ask them to do becomes nothing more than another line item on their task list.

And I’m not suggesting your company tries to spin people’s work experience into something it’s not. Instead, I challenge you to excavate the worthwhileness of what your people do. Because if you dig deep enough and come up with nothing but “important,” then it’s probably not work that matters in the first place. Do your people see their work as a daily grind to or daring gateway?

3. People are craving for transcendence. If you want your people to show up when they’re exhausted – not just expected – you have to appeal to their fundamental desire for work that has meaning. After all, people engage when they’ve been given permission to flex the muscle of why. And by actively cultivating the purpose driven nature of their work, you provide deeper context for all their effort.

The question you have to ask yourself every day: To what extent are your people anchored in purpose? Because if they’re not, you can expect about as much commitment a kamikaze pilot on his thirty-ninth mission. And I’m not saying purpose is a panacea. But life’s heaviest burden is having nothing to carry.

Look: People want to be in love. Nobody wants to spend a third of her life in an activity that has no meaning. Work should be a place of fulfillment – not sacrifice. Is working for you something to be endured or enjoyed?

4. Flush out the fear. Chronically fearful people don’t commit. And people withdraw allegiance when they feel afraid. According to Dr. Judith Bardwick, author of One Foot Out The Door, fearful people can’t perform at their best because fear destroys the wherewithal to do their best work.

That’s the danger in being known as an emotional time bomb: The people around you disengage, walk on eggshells and burn all their time looking over their shoulder – instead of executing what matters.

If you want your people to stop complying and start committing, begin by taking radical responsibility for your attitude. I’m not suggesting you suppress or ignore your emotions – but stepping away from some of the stress might make communicating with you a more relaxing experience.

Remember: Comfort precedes intimacy and intimacy strengthens commitment. Stop wearing your anger as an accessory. You’re scaring people. What can you control that your people are afraid of?

5. Payment isn’t the panacea. It’s easy to scapegoat lack of commitment on lack of compensation. But as I learned from aforementioned Power of Strategic Commitment, “Giving people more money does nothing but make them wealthier unhappy people.”

Think of it like a bottle of Febreeze: You spray it on smoky clothing when you get home from the bar. The only problem is, the next day all you have is a shirt that smells like Febreeze – and smoke. You didn’t change the fundamental nature of anything; you just put a layer of chemicals over it.

The same goes for inspiring commitment: It’s not for sale. If you really want people to engage wholeheartedly, enable authorship – not just readership. After all, people always commit to what they help create. And they’re always willing to invest in what they truly admire.

But they’ll never experience emotional fulfillment until you enable their passions to remain an integral part of their worklife. That’s the other distinction between compliance and commitment: One is taking a job – the other is undertaking a crusade. Are your people receiving a substantial return on their emotional investment?

6. Understand motivation in today’s workplace. As a leader, you can’t motive people to do anything – all you can do is find people who are already motivated and inspire them to motivate themselves. My suggestion is to delete people’s demotivators first. A few examples come to mind:

Delivering constant criticism, raising your voice, magnifying their mistakes, exhibiting lack of trust, prohibiting any shred of playfulness, making people feel powerless, refusing to recognize success and compensating less for working more.

Then, once you’ve cleared away the crap, here’s the next step: Pinpoint people’s passion and embed that passion into the pavement that leads the way. By finding out what fuels people – you know what to fill the tank with when they start puttering along.

Remember: All motivation is self-motivation. People don’t change just because you want them to – they change because they want to. And because the pain of staying the same outweighs the cost of modifying their behavior. Are your people comfortable exploring their own opportunities for development?

7. Anonymity is bankruptcy. Absence doesn’t make the heart grow fonder – it makes the mind start to wonder. That’s what happens when you leave people in the dark: They engage in worse case thinking.

Take my parents, for example. If they haven’t heard from me in a few days, they freak out. And a barrage of texts, emails and instant messages come pouring in, asking me if I’m okay. Which I am. But you’ve got to think about it from a parent’s perspective: The way they see it, no news is bad news. And as a son, that’s something I’ve had to work on. Fortunately, I’m learning to be more proactive in volunteering information.

My question is: Are you prolific in your communication?

If not, try this: Instead of hoping people will read your mind and then recommend the decision you’ve already decided on, stop restricting the flow of information. Just talk to people. You’ll turn awkward moments of silence into opportunities for honest conversation.

Also, quicken your response time. And remember that the medium is the message. Because it’s not just what you say, it’s not just how you say it – it’s how quickly you get back to people, and how they feel when they hear it.

That’s the holistic way to look at communication: Content, context, delivery and reception. All four must be attended to. Because in the absence of communication, people will make up their own. Is your anonymity alienating the people who matter most?

REMEMBER: When you inspire commitment to the brand inside the organization, you inspire belief in the brand outside the organization.

That’s when you stop making money and start making history.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How much engagement is your organization hemorrhaging due to weak commitment?

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For the list called, "68 Things Employees Never Want to Hear You Say," send an email to me, and I'll send you the list for free!

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

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Monday, January 24, 2011

Six Simple Steps to Help Leaders Earn Encores from Their Internal Audiences

Every leader has an audience.

And, anyone who has an audience wants the same thing: To receive an encore.

It means people want more of you.
It means people offer honor to you.
It means people extend gratitude for you.

Now, along your spectrum of constituents, perhaps the most critical audience you need to blow away is the internal one.

I’m talking about your peeps. Your employees. Your staff. Your team.

These are the people who matter most.

And the organizations that win are the ones who make these people leap out of their seats, spill their popcorn all over the floor and roar until their voices are shot.

Is that how your people receive you?

If not, here’s a list of six secrets for earning an encore from your internal audience:
1. Make passion palpable. People want to bring their passions to work. That’s the principal path to experiencing emotional fulfillment. But if you continually require them to compartmentalize every area of their life into convenient little boxes, they may never get the chance to bring their awesomeness to fruition.

What’s more, dismissing people’s passions disengages their hearts and creates a thick wall of resentment. Instead, encourage and challenge people to live out their best thoughts. Give people what they need to get things done for their own lives. And to remain sensitive to people’s personal worlds and legitimate needs.

With that kind of permission, they’re free to pursue personal wholeness no matter what comes their way. And those are the type of people who not only stick around – but they also stick up for the organization when others put it down. What passions are you asking people to put on hold?

2. Give people what they want. Admit it: Employees don’t get excited about maximizing profits or shareholder value. They’re anchored in purpose. Here’s a rapid-fire list of what your people really want:

People want a chance to be themselves openly. Are you making it easy for them to express their personal style?

People want more meaning – not more things to store in their garage. Are you trying to motivate them with material irrelevancies?

People want to be attached to something that’s more than just a commercial enterprise. Are you helping them connect their actions to a larger story?

People want to be missed when they don’t show. Are you giving them a glimpse of the organization would lose if they ceased to exist?

People want to be proud of what they do. Are you helping them become known for their unique contributions?

And lastly, people want to feel secure in expressing the type of workplace they want to be a part of. Are you reminding them what they’re trying to build and why?

Ultimately, organizations that actively cultivate the purpose driven nature of people’s work get encores every time. Are you asking people to take a job or join a crusade?

3. Become an essentialist. I dated a girl who once complained: “Sometimes I get messages and texts from you, but later see the same thing on your Facebook page. And that kind of makes me feel like I’m just another place to update your status.”

Ouch. No wonder we broke up.

Lesson learned: Go beyond making people feel important, valued and needed. Instead, use every opportunity to make them feel essential. Even the most minor touchpoints. As John Maxwell suggested in Leadership Gold, “Carve the time to create the memory.”

After all, the word “essential” derives from the Latin essentia, which means, “essence.” That’s what being an approachable leader is all about: Honoring, loving and acknowledge the essence of another person. And making sure they don’t walk away feeling devalued. Otherwise they start asking themselves, “Why do I even bother talking to him anyway?” How do people experience themselves in relation to you?

4. Fear is the great distracting force. And it impairs people’s ability to sustain loyalty. According to Dr. Judith Bardwick, author of One Foot Out The Door, “Fearful people can’t perform at their best because fear destroys the wherewithal to do their best work.”

If you want to lower the threat level of your environment, let love lead the way. Let embodied humanity own the day. Take Southwest, Airlines for example. Whereas most companies use employees as objects to leverage – they treat employees as people to love. No wonder they’ve been the most profitable airline since the early seventies.

Interestingly, did you know that their stock symbol was “LUV”?

Sounds like a non-threatening workplace to me. That’s how organizations win: When their leaders take radical responsibility for their attitude. And it all depends on what you see when you see things.

Remember: Fear makes people smaller; love makes people larger. If your employees could give your company a hug, would they run across a field with open arms?

5. Create a spirit of openness. Place need a place where they can really say what’s on their minds. Not just their thoughts – their feelings. That’s the input that matters most. And, when you listen to people, stay influenceable and amenable to potential improvement.

After all, being a leader is less about having the right ideas and more about being the right person. Otherwise you morph into Dilbert’s pointy haired boss, who would thoroughly listen to your input, thank you for your suggestions, and then do exactly what he planned all along. Not exactly approachable behavior.

And that’s the very downfall of countless organizations: Their so-called “culture of openness” is superficially stated, not consistently practiced. If you want to earn a encore from your internal audience, give voice to people’s feelings. Because the last thing your department needs is another staff meeting just so people can (not) say what’s on their minds. What type of communication climate do you create around you?

6. Be a flow enabler. Psychology researcher Mihály Csíkszentmihályi defines flow as “an optimum state of intrinsic motivation where you’re fully immersed, your whole being is involved and you’re using your skills to the utmost.”

If you want your people to engage in that fashion, consider these suggestions. First, help them identify their territory. That’s the place, arena or activity where the sustenance comes from the act itself – not from the impression it makes on others.

Next, help them recall their high performance patterns. By revisiting past victories, enable them see their gifts and unique capabilities more clearly. And finally, keep them focused on fulfilling their natural potential. This constantly inspires them with a vision of what they can contribute – not just to the organization, but also to their own lives.

Ultimately, by enabling your people to enter into flow, you help them fall in love with themselves, their process and the work that comes out of it. And that’s what allows them to feel enthusiastic about their work experience. What state of being do you inspire?

REMEMBER: Your audience is waiting to be overwhelmed by your performance.

Be human. Be approachable. Be engaging.

And the crowd won’t just go wild – they’ll ask for an encore.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Are your people raising they lighters or texting their kids?

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For the list called, "22 Unexpected Ways to Help People," send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Thanks for Buying Gitomer's Social Boom!

Welcome all Gitomer groupies!

If you've landed on this page, you've just bought a copy of Jeffrey's new book, Social Boom.

My name is Scott Ginsberg. Jeffrey and I are friends. And he asked me to offer a special gift as a thanks to you.

I write books and give talks on approachability.

And, since this book is all about online platforms, I've written a few thoughts on taking approachability online:

E-pproachable!
Strategies for Making Your Online Presence More Human,
More Engaging and More Profitable

Thanks for reading!

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

Never the same speech twice.
Now booking for 2011-2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Friday, January 21, 2011

If You Still Can’t Discipline Yourself After Reading This Article, I Swear to God I’m Going to Scream

Life is not a Nike commercial.

Being told to “just do it” is not enough.

If it was, you would have “just done it” by now.

BURN THIS INTO YOUR MIND: Self-discipline requires hard and consistent mental, physical and emotional labor.

It is not the path of convenience.
It is not a glamorous way of living and working.
It is not something most people are going notice about you.

But.

As I learned from self-discipline strategist Rory Vaden, “Those who learn to deal with discipline gently and persistently (eventually) flip a switch that they can never turn off.”

And that’s when discipline turns into freedom.

Let’s explore a list of strategies to help you sink into self-discipline:
1. Commitment is the offspring of values. If you can’t discipline yourself to do something every day, there’s only one explanation: It’s simply not that important to you.

People always make time – not find time, but make time – for what matters to them. That’s how commitment works: It deletes distraction. It makes you wake up early. It turns habits into non-negotiables. When you’re committed, you drop everything and get to work. Every day.

The hard part is telling the truth about your current level of commitment. And if you’re having trouble with that, here’s an exercise you might try: Write down a list of the five things you’re most committed to. Then open your calendar. See if your life agrees.

If you’re not happy with the result, either find something else that is important to you and commit to that, or take the current thing that isn’t important to you and reframe it as – or reconnect it with – something else that is. How will you use commitment to open the door to discipline?

2. Bait multiple hooks. If you inherited five million dollars tomorrow, would you invest all of it in one stock? Of course not. You’d diversify it across several accounts. That way your portfolio would have a stronger foundation, making it less vulnerable to external conditions.

This same principle applies to creative professionals who have trouble disciplining themselves. Personally, I’m always working on about fifty things at once. Because in my experience, attacking multiple projects simultaneously has several advantages.

First, it prevents burnout. That’s what happens when your creative efforts are more diversely deployed: You don’t give yourself the chance to get sick of something and abandon it.

Second, by varying your creative endeavors, you establish thought bridges, subconscious connections and unexpected integrations between seemingly unrelated ideas. And as a result, you start to notice natural relationships and structures in your work you never would have seen by working on a single project.

Ultimately, this approach relaxes the process and helps contribute to greater consistency in your body of work. Are you willing to allocate your creativity attention to multiple endeavors?

3. Build a portable creative environment. A real artist can be creative any time, any place, with any tools. That’s the mark of a master: She shapes her immediate surroundings to feel in harmony with the small slice of the universe in which she finds herself.

As I learned in Beyond Boredom and Anxiety, “Whether the conditions in which they find themselves are luxurious or miserable, geniuses manage to give their surroundings a personal pattern that echoes the rhythm of their thoughts and habits of action. Within this environment of their own making, they can forget the rest of the world and concentrate on pursuing the muse.”

What are your portable creative environments? What enables you to enter into the creative flow at the drop of a hat? Have these on standby at all times. You’ll discover that by keeping alternative workspaces ready to go with transportable lightning rods tailor made to your tendencies, you’ll feel more in control of your surroundings.

That way, when inspiration comes unannounced, you’ll be ready to pounce. Can you do what you do anywhere?

4. Discipline derives from the wellspring of why. Willpower is overrated. If you want execute what matters most – every single day – you need to tap the reservoir of whypower.

Here’s the reason: When you actively cultivate the purpose driven nature of your work, discipline becomes a non-thought. What was once a desire becomes a habit. And what was once a habit becomes a non-negotiable. A positive addiction. Just something you do.

That’s why I’m able to write for seven hours a day, every day: Because I keep a list of one hundred reasons why I do what I do, in my wallet, and I read it to myself every morning. That’s your challenge: To become a walking translation of stunning clarity of purpose. To pinpoint the deepest motivations behind what you’re trying to discipline yourself to do. Find that, and you’ll have no problem slogging it out every day.

Remember: Daily bread without daily meaning tastes like daily crap. How are you fueling your discipline with a firm why?

5. Cultivate a more acute sense of resistance. Part of self-discipline is learning how to override yourself. That means becoming a master of your disinclination. That means discovering what frustrates your ambitions. And that means not allowing yourself the indulgence of saying you’re too busy.

Here’s the reality: The problem isn’t decreasing productivity – it’s diluted priorities. And you will lose the discipline game if you fall victim to what’s latest and loudest.

My suggestion: Extinguish whatever distractions seduce you. Drown out the world’s chatter and find the energy that urges you forward. And for the love of David Allen, stop performing minor tasks that engulf you in pointless, trivial action.

Instead, create around the constraint. Take the energy you’ve been burning on creative avoidance and redirect it to help you execute what matters. What’s your system for stamping out redundancy?

LOOK: It's not my job to convince you to be more disciplined.

It’s hard work that nobody undertakes but you.
It’s unspectacular work that nobody notices but you.
It’s inconvenient work that nobody appreciates but you.

But discipline does mean freedom.

Freedom to be, freedom to do and freedom to have – pretty much anything.

I think it’s worth it.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How discipline are you prepared to be?

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

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

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2011!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

What are you doing to keep yourself human?

Last time I checked, being human was still good for business.

It’s what makes you listenable.
It’s what makes you engageable.
It’s what makes you approachable.

THE QUESTION IS: As technology accelerates and slowly engulfs the entire marketplace, what will you do to keep yourself, your brand and your organization human?

Here’s a collection to of ideas to help you do so:
1. Befriend simplicity. During a recent workshop, one of my audience members expressed concern that her writing voice sounded like that of a fifth-grader.

To which I replied, “Perfect. According to the Flesch-Kincaid Readability Tests, twelve is the approximate age most adults read at anyway. Don’t back away from perceived negatives. Your voice is perfect.”

And all of the sudden, her original concern turned into her eventual advantage. In fact, several people in the audience commented how they wished their writing was that simple.

If you have the same challenge, here’s my suggestion: Grow younger. Remove as much complexity as you can from the way people experience you and your message. By acting professional and talking personal, you endear people to your humanity. And the people who endear – endure. Are you using words that make you sound smart but stale?

2. Invent things in your own image. Here’s something approachable leaders know: You can’t create anything other than yourself. It’s all an extension of your unique personality. Take Facebook: The color blue dominates the layout because Mark Zuckerberg is red/green colorblind. And take Apple: The people who get hired are the ones who fit Steve Jobs’ vision and working style.

This is not an accident. Kind of like their company profit is not an accident either. And while your brand probably doesn’t compare to those two behemoths, what you can do is emulate the same principle into your own world.

Try this: Embed your why into the very fabric of whatever you create. Allow purpose to fuel personality. Because while you’re known for what you do and remembered for how you do it – you’re defined by why you do it.

This approach to innovation will keep your work real, honest and human. All you have to do is tell the story of who you are with your whole heart. If that’s not your own image, I don’t know what is. Are you following your passions or people’s perceptions?

3. Lead with your constitution. When I first posted my profile to an online dating site, I was given up to four thousand (!) words to describe myself. But unlike every other long-winded, self-absorbed candidate on the directory, I opted not to ramble for pages about my personal preferences, accomplishments and interests.

Instead, I concisely listed the ten non-negotiable values of my personal constitution as a human being. Then, I requested that anyone who resonated with at least seven of them should email me.

It wasn’t some hackneyed strategy – I was just being human. And sure enough, I connected on a highly personal and real level with a very special person who now ignites my soul on a daily basis.

Lesson learned: Rather than leave your humanity lying dormant inside you, reach within yourself to find out your own truth – then try a little radical openness. Because I swear, when you operate with greater transparency, life’s attitude toward you changes. It’s cool as hell. How will your humanity run the show today?

4. Strengthen your gentleness. Love is a respiratory requirement. It’s the oxygen that keeps people alive. That’s why wearing your humanity on your sleeve is so essential: It helps people develop an affectionate regard toward each other. Like Robbin Phillips of Brains on Fire says, “Love is a circular transaction.”

In my experience as a thirty-year veteran of the human race, it all comes down to the question: What do you see when you see people? And guess what: The answer is reflection of what you see when you see yourself. When you treat people like people, they become infected with respectful awe. But when you treat people like sounding boards for your own ego needs, they grudgingly concede.

Ultimately, people who lack a strong emotive dimension send the message that they’ve resigned to inhabit a robotic world. On the other hand, people who regularly restock their inventory of human emotion demonstrate magnanimity of the soul. Which type of people would you rather share an office with?

REMEMBER: You can’t filter your life through pixels.

Not if you want that life to matter, that is.

But.

When you keep yourself human – you keep your company healthy.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Are you a robot or a real person?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “27 Ways to Overcommunicate Anything," send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2011!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

You Can Laugh at Your Employee Engagement Worries if You Execute These Six Strategies

I recently read an article in The Onion that painted a frighteningly accurate picture of employee disengagement and dissatisfaction.

The headline was, No Machine Can Do My Job As Resentfully As I Can.

It portrayed an embittered office employee who spent most of his days despising and bemoaning his miserable lot.

“I seethe with the unbearable knowledge that this will be my sole livelihood until the day I die. Struggling to suppress the repulsion and loathing within, I drink before his morning shift just to get through the day, as I am the living, breathing sum of life's screw-ups, heartbreaks, and regrets.

I am a deeply self-hating man who loathes every second of his working life. And after working at this unventilated shit-prison twelve hours a day for nearly twenty-five years, I have developed no skills other than that of silently counting down the minutes of each workday while cursing my misfortune.”


Extreme? Yes.

Relatable by the majority of the workforce? Big yes.

THE GOOD NEWS IS: Work doesn’t have to be legalized torture.

Contrary to popular conditioning, it is possible to create an environment where approachability, creativity and engagement can flourish. Here’s how:
1. Appeal to the heard mentality. All human beings want to feel: Valued. Needed. Wanted. Affirmed. Appreciated. Accepted. Respected. Recognized. Remembered. Taken seriously. Given a chance. Part of something that matters.

In short: They want to be heard.

Not just listened to – but also heard. Huge difference: One comes through the ears – the other comes through the heart. And if you want to strike a cord with that mentality, here’s my suggestion: Give your people the freedom to express themselves. Allow them the dignity of self-definition by creating a safe place where individual personality can shine.

You’ll find that by provide opportunities for constant individual expression; the overall culture of your organization becomes more human and more approachable.

Remember: Creativity is the ultimate expression of freedom. People who have permission to practice that engage. How do you assure that your people know their voice matters?

2. Humanize your doctrine. Most internal communication is a joke. It’s unreadable, unapproachable and usually a waste of paper. And every additional message people receive from their organization becomes another boring, overextended piece of uninspiring drivel they delete immediately or, at best, peruse passively.

If you want to deliver messages that cut through the internal clutter and arrest your people’s attention, you have to meet them where they are – but refuse to leave them where they are. It doesn’t have to be mind blowing – it just has to be heart flowing. After all, honesty trumps brilliance any day of the week.

Next time you send out some form of internal communications, ask yourself, “Is this beautifully readable or dreadfully uninspiring?” And it can’t just be what you think is interesting. Nice to know information isn’t always nice to engage information. As Kurt Vonnegut said, you have to be a great date for your reader. Is this message actually important to your people, or does it just makes the leadership team feel better?

3. Retain a strong emotional connection. Marketshare is useless. Mindshare is overrated. Heartshare – that is, the level of emotional responsiveness your work commands – is what matters. And your goal is to give people an emotion, a handle, to latch onto. That’s what enables their work to come to life.

My suggestion: Actually consider your people’s lives when you make decisions. Don’t start with the customer in mind – just start with the customer. As I learned from the aforementioned Jeanne Bliss, “We become emotionally attached to companies who consider our lives when they make decisions.”

Ultimately, companies that uphold the human spirit in all they do are more engageable, more approachable and more profitable. And organizations that create what their people will love – not just want – are the ones that stay alive. Just remember: People can get your knowledge anywhere. What you’re competing on is your sensibility. What you’re differentiating through is your humanity. What emotion are you selling?

4. Choose being real over being right. Your people would much rather have leaders who are real all the time – not right all the time. What’s more, if they know you’re willing to admit your ignorance, perhaps they’d be more willing to volunteer information about what’s really going on in the organization.

I’m reminded of what Southwest Airlines president Herb Keller once said: “If you create an environment where people truly participate, you don’t need control.” My suggestion: Instead of asking people to answer questions, invite them to question answers. Don’t worry. Developing a predisposition to compromise doesn’t make you weak or small – it makes you human and malleable.

It also makes you more likable and less of a pain in the ass to work with. As I learned in The Closing of the American Mind, “True openness means closedness to all the charms that make us comfortable with the present.” Learn to be less right and live to be more engaged. Will terminal certainty eat your organization alive?

5. Approach ideas with deep democracy. In the bestselling book on employee engagement, The Carrot Principle, authors Elton and Gostick explain that most employees don’t feel: (a) they have the right to share ideas, (b) that their ideas are valued, and (c) that sharing their ideas is even allowed.

Wow. There mere thought of this intellectual tragedy makes my stomach hurt. If I were running an organization, I’d make sure that good ideas had the chance to prosper, regardless of their origination. As a result, people wouldn’t have to assume that if they brought their idea to the top, it would die.

Come on. This story is sick of being told. Instead of command and control, try participate and surrender. Challenge your leaders to set up mechanisms for soliciting input from the people who matter most. This will help them see their own fingerprint on the plan and, let them know their words have weight and, as a result, allows them to take ownership of the idea. What are you afraid to listen to?

6. Uncover preexisting engagement tendencies. I once read in A Course In Miracles that inner peace is not something that we create, but something that already exists within us as a part of our true identity.

Human engagement is the same way: It’s not something you create – it’s something you excavate. It’s something you unearth. And if you want to do so with your people, you have to challenge them to matter. You have to help them get in touch with the personal why behind their work. Nothing is more engaging.

And, once you help people embed their flaming sense of purpose into everything they do, their daily work will be more engaged than Larry King on a Las Vegas vacation.

Look: People don’t need another schema to conform to – they need permission to bring their uniqueness to the table. They need you to give them a voice that says, “It’s okay and here’s why…” Is your engagement strategy a rigid methodology that demands homogeneity of beliefs, or a playground that gives people the freedom to develop in their own unique way?

REMEMBER: Nobody wants to dread going into work.

But disengagement is a product of organizational structure.

And if you don’t recognize, remedy and revisit these issues on a regular basis, nothing will ever get upgraded.

Your organization has the potential to become an environment where approachability, creativity and engagement can flourish.

Let it.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How will you avoid bombing your next employee engagement survey?

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For the list called, “35 Things You Simply Can't Do," send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2011!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

How to Treat People Like People

It’s not that hard to make people happy.

All you have to do is treat them like people.

Not as objects.
Not as integers.
Not as trophies.
Not as machines.
Not as categories.
Not as dollar signs.
Not as commodities.
Not as abstract entities.
Not as a means to an end.
Not as bloodless statistical entities.
Not as impersonal facets of production.

As people.

And I know what you’re thinking:

Do we really need an article to tell us how to treat people like people?

Yes. Yes we do.

Here’s a collection of ideas to help you, your brand and your organization do just that:
1. Honor the audience of one. Stop disrespectfully dividing your attention between the person in front of you and the people you’re giving snippets of your digital attention to. You’re sacrificing sincere conversations that count for superficial connections that merely add up.

Instead, here’s a revolutionary suggestion: When you’re with people – really be with people. Make them feel like the only person in the room. Hell, make them feel like the only person in the world. Make sure that what you’re doing – right now – isn’t telling this person that there’s someone else you’d rather be interacting with.

Do you really think they don’t see you checking your smartphone under the table? Come on. People need people in their life who can be bigger than that. Have some respect for your audience of one. Don’t allow the convenience of being connected to tear apart the traditional social fabric.

And remember: Just because you’re instantly connected to the masses doesn’t mean you’re intimately connected to the people who matter. What do people get when they get you?

2. Expose your nakedness as a person. The world is a mirror. However you act is a permission slip for others to do the same. For example, those who choose to be open invite others around them to be open. But those who choose to keep their truth close to their chest signal others around them to shut down.

The question is whether you’re willing to reach out and risk living with both arms. Whether you’re courageous and rare enough to occupy your vulnerability in a space of mutual openness. Unfortunately, it takes time and courage become comfortable with that level of emotional honesty.

John Powell’s groundbreaking work on identity and self-disclosure explains why: “I am afraid to tell you who I am because if I tell you who I am, you may not like who I am – and that’s all I have.”

My suggestion: Risk it anyway. Show people who you are and, more importantly, why you are. What is forcing you to live in a way that is untrue to who you are?

3. Surrender your role. In a recent issue of BusinessWeek, Keith Ayers, President of Sydney’s Integro Leadership Institute, explained that when we get into playing roles, we stop being real.

“If I believe I have to act like a manager, then I focus on myself, my roles, what I’m doing and what I’m saying – instead of focusing on the person I am with. This diminishes trust with employees and decreases their engagement, commitment, and productivity.”

We see evidence of this is trend everywhere: Customer service agents start puking their scripts over the phone before listening to your actual problem. Salespeople dive into obvious closing techniques before you’re ready to buy. And parents treat you like a child long after you’ve become an adult.

The secret is to interact with people as a person – not as a role. To put values before vocation, individuality before industry and person before position. Then, as Ayers says, when you see yourself as a person dealing with another person, no matter what your roles, you can focus on the needs of others and on creating value. What unnecessary title is preventing people from getting to know the real you?

4. Shed your armor. In Creating True Prosperity, Shakti Gawain writes that vulnerability means allowing yourself to be affected by the word around you. This is a terrifying prospect for many leaders because you’re risking your truth. You’re risking being rejected. And you’re risking being stared at or talked about.

But here’s the secret: The more often you stick yourself out there, the more comfortable and confident you become with who you are. And when you’re comfortable and confident with whom you are, your truthful self-expression inspires and gives other people permission to do and be the same.

And that’s when we begin to listen to each other from a truer place, share with each other from a stronger place and communicate with each other from a more genuine place.

Ultimately, you display your love for people by letting those people get to know you. Thus, being vulnerable is a gift that you give to others. And by recognizing and sharing your own truth, you inspire them to do the same. Doesn’t get more personal than that. How much longer do you want to deprive yourself of breaking out in order to protect others from who you really are?

5. Encourage and celebrate their mistakes. When I was a kid, my favorite song from Sesame Street was, “Everybody Makes Mistakes.” It goes like this:

“If you make a mistake, you shouldn’t start to cry. Mistakes are not so bad, and here’s why. Everyone makes mistakes, oh yes they do. Your sister and your brother and your dad and mother too. Big people, small people, matter of fact, all people. And if everyone in the whole wide world makes mistakes, then why can’t you?”

Look: Human beings are naturally infallible creatures. They screw up every day. But they still need reminders that making a mistake isn’t the same as being a mistake.

Next time people you care about bite the big one, help them release their identification with the flub. Remind them that the moment you learn from a mistake is the moment it ceases to be a mistake. And tell them that while failure is an option – not learning form that failure isn’t. What language do you use with people when they fall short?

6. Meet the now need. People want to be heard first and helped second. Always honor this priority. If you treat people’s ideas as inconvenient interruptions to your uninspiring monologues, you lose them forever. If you only listen to people to use their comments as backboards against which you can try out your snappy new stand-up material, you lose them forever.

And, if you over empathize by interrupting people’s stories to share (yet another) selfish, inconsequential diatribe, you lose them forever.

Stop circling back to remind people how vastly experienced you are at their reality. Instead, try listening to people and not just to your improvements for them. Choose to hear the whole person.

Develop a vocabulary for the personal by speaking with humanizing language, not perfect phrases you were forced to memorize from your employee empathy class. Their now need is what matters the most. Meet it. Why are you listening?

7. Indulge in your humanity. I’ve been wearing a nametag twenty-four seven for the past decade. What can I say? Some people wear their heart on their sleeve – I wear my humanity on my chest. And I’ve learned that (contrary to popular conditioning) vulnerability isn’t surrender.

Here’s the reality: The more vulnerable you are, the more open you are. The more open you are, the less you have to hide. The less you have to hide, the more relaxed you become. And the more relaxed you become, the more effectively you can treat people like people. Simple – but not easy.

My suggestion: Instead of making endless plans to reduce unpredictability, mitigate risk and preserve your sense of control, try surrendering. Learn to treat your vulnerability as an advantage. And remember the words Henry James: “To be opened to risk is to risk being shattered. But without shattering, there is no glory.”

Remember: You can’t cram everything into a process. Let improvisation pull the rug out from under the rigidity of the predictable. What do you need to surrender to?

Anyway, that’s my vision for the future.

A church where you’re not a butt in a seat – you’re a person.

A retail store where you’re not a walking wallet – you’re a person.

A dentist’s office where you’re not a mouth with teeth – you’re a person.

A grocery store where you’re not another inventory picker – you’re a person.

A bank where you’re not an account number on a spreadsheet – you’re a person.

A hospital where you’re not a collection of symptoms on a chart – you’re a person.

A networking event where you’re not just a pit stop in people’s lives – you’re a person.

A hair salon where you’re not another name in the appointment book – you’re a person.

IN SHORT: A world where people are treated like people.

I know it’s a lot to ask.

I know it’s hard to be human. Especially when so much inhumanity surrounds us.

But.

When you treat people like people, they don’t just listen to you – they work their hearts out for you.

And they come back over and over again.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What do you see when you see people?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “10 Unmistakable Motivators of Human Engagement," send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2011!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Monday, January 17, 2011

If You Don't Build an Audience Now, You'll Hate Yourself Later

You can only talk to yourself for so long.

Eventually, you have to build an audience.

Otherwise, you’re just winking in the dark.

THE COOL PART IS: It’s never been easier to do so.

The technology is available. The access is available. And the energy is available. All you need is a gameplan to leverage your assets to reach the people who matter most.

Whether you sing songs, perform dances, give speeches, publish blogs, pass laws, write books, lead teams or preach sermons on the corner of Grand & Cherokee, here are two lists of strategies to help you build an audience. Thanks to American Express Open Forum for inviting me to contribute:
What Smart Companies Know About Customer Engagement

Six Engagement Essentials

REMEMBER: Audiences aren’t accidents.

Whether you’re running for office in your hometown, publishing your thoughts online or performing your art in public, this process requires patience, imagination, creativity, commitment and consistency.

But once you do it, once you find your audience – or, once your audience finds you – I promise: You will never get up out of bed the same way again.

Your tribe is waiting.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Does you brand speak to the brain or the chest?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the list called, "22 Unexpected Ways to Help People," send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Lloyd Dobler Guide to Courting Inspiration

To court is “to woo and pay homage.”

Which means it’s more than just holding boom-box outside of a girl’s window.

No offense, Lloyd Dobler.

Courting means inviting openly.
Courting means pursuing proactively.
Courting means honoring consistently.
Courting means acknowledging publicly.

AND THE COOL PART IS: Courting isn’t limited to your dating life – it’s also an essential element of your thought life.

Because when it comes to the creative process, treating inspiration with respect and love is the only way to make it lay itself at your feet.

Here’s a collection of strategies to help you court inspiration:
1. Greet life with openness. When readers and audience members ask what inspires me, I respond with one word: Everything.

Movies. Interviews. Nature. People. Books. Graffiti. Abandoned parking lots. Everything. All you have to do is pay attention. That’s all creativity is anyway: Active listening.

You don’t have writer’s block – you have hearing damage.

To court inspiration, salute all you encounter with a posture of deep democracy. That means say yes to all of it. That means reject nothing and take in everything. And that means choose to treat everything you experience with unconditional positive regard. What’s more, developing a deep love of do. Refusing to stand for the idle moment.

That way, interesting things don’t happen to you – you happen to them. You have to be approachable to the world. And you have to allow the world to be approachable to you. Because if you harbor a hardened heart, inspiration won’t think twice about returning your calls.

Remember: Feared, creativity atrophies. Saluted, creativity blooms. What will you have to change about your attitude to become inspired by everything in site?

2. Seek out the inherent novelty in all you perceive. Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, founder of the flow movement, has written volumes on courting inspiration. In his book, Creativity, he suggests the following:

“Participate as fully as possibly in the world around you. Fascinate yourself with the ordinary. Evaluate critically every novelty you encounter and study ordinary things intently.”

It’s a beautiful thing. Like when you’re so engrossed in flow that you don’t realize you’ve spilled hot tea down your leg or spattered blood all over the fret board. That’s when you know inspiration is close.

And the good news is: Each of us has our own personal and emotional response to existence. We simply have to make the conscious choice to tap into – and create a personal dialogue with – our immediate environment. What’s more, we have to constantly look for recurring cycles of activities or repetitive patterns in our surroundings.

As philosopher Ferris Bueller once observed, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” How much time are you spending becoming more interesting?

3. Stay in touch with your aesthetic sensibility. Beauty is always relevant to something. And when you surround yourself with things that bring peace to your visual eye, inspiration isn’t far behind.

My girlfriend, for example, reminds me that the environment is the world’s biggest art museum. Do you have a lifetime pass? If not, get out of the house immediately. And as you experience what nature has to offer, look past what you see. Don’t just notice it – not why it exists. Don’t just think it – think about why you think it’s beautiful.

The goal is to enter into an engaging relationship with the world around you. To sit with studious attention and become an audience to the symphony of life. Nature, after all, is an endless source of novelty. A glowing source of inspiration wait to infect you with its beauty. Are you human enough to let it inspire you?

4. Accept divine timing. If you’re good, you can be creative anywhere. For example, nothing bad ever happens to a writer – it’s all just material. Having your heart broken by someone you thought you loved? Missing your flight and getting stuck at a shitty airport hotel? Spending a week in the hospital with a tube in your chest?

Sounds like the perfect experience to activate a creative awakening to me.

The secret is, you have to let it. You have to make yourself vulnerable enough to life a life wholly surrendered. Because it’s that brand of humility grants you an all access pass to where your ideas might take you.

My suggestion: Merge with the energy that urges you forward. Choose to gently move toward what scares you. You’ll discover that the capacity to be delighted and diverted – and the ability to put yourself at the mercy of the moment – is what lets life sing through you. Are you willing to ache with it all?

5. Practice cognitive receptivity. According to Dr. Susan Nash, this is a state of mental preparedness. It is a combination of cognitive readiness – the learner’s levels of development – and of psychological openness – how the learner views the environment.

For example, Keith Richards sleeps with his guitar. Has since the sixties. According to his autobiography, he wants his instrument to be readily available to him. That way, he’s prepared to harvest inspiration when it wakes him up in the middle of the night.

Take the song, Satisfaction. The main riff was something Richards sang to himself in a dream. But instead of rolling over, he woke up, wrote it down, called his friend Mick and made history.

Your challenge is to organize your creative impulse into a systematic approach that fertilizes your mindfield. A unique process turns anywhere into a starting place. That’s the prerequisite of originality: Being a better parent to your brainchildren.

Without that kind of preparing and receptivity, it’s extremely hard to absorb the whispered suggestions life sends to you. Is your brain ready?

6. Welcome the unusual. Aussie novelist and playwright Morris West is famous for the following observation: “One has to abandon altogether the search for security, and reach out to the risk of living with both arms. One has to court doubt and darkness as the cost of knowing.”

To incorporate this practice into your thought life – not just your life, but your thought life – try this: Experience something that completely takes you out of who you are. Be an mental omnivore. Cease never from exploration. View things from as many angles as possible by engaging every sense and fully taking in ideas with their whole being.

By broadening and sharpening your sensitivity to alternative types of aesthetic value, you’ll make yourself available to new types of inspiration you would have otherwise missed. Remember: When you look with all of your eyes, love cannot be far behind. Good ideas are waiting. Are you willing to let them sneak up on you?

7. Embrace the virtue of volume. The amount of ideas I have swirling around in my head – at any given moment – would frighten the average person. As such, inspiration is unavoidable by virtue of my enormous input and constant stream of stimulation.

It’s simply a matter of probability. You don’t write seven hours a day and read five books a week without getting a few ideas. And the best part is: It doesn’t require a heavy workload or significant stressful activity to accomplish this.

Creativity is a highly relaxed, incremental process. And if you want to get there, here’s my suggestion: Start your idea factory. Practice freezing what happens to you, extracting the inspiration from your life and documenting your experience along with your reactions to that experience.

Soon, inspiration will form a line around the block just to get five minutes of your time. If you deleted one hour of television from your life, how would your creative volume change?

REMEMBER: A life without inspiration is existentially dangerous.

Court it. Woo it. Pay homage to it respectfully and lovingly.

Who knows? Maybe you won’t even need that boombox after all.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How many ideas did you execute yesterday?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the list called, "49 Ways to become an Idea Powerhouse," send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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