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Friday, September 30, 2011

A Constant Source of Adventure

It’s not a sticker – it’s a spark.

Every morning when I put on a nametag, I light a match and see what catches fire.

Will I make a new friend? Will I have a cool conversation? Will I be mistaken for an employee at Office Depot? Will I get insulted by a group of drunken football fans? Will I get harassed by the flight attendant who thinks I have a memory problem?

There’s no way to tell. After tens of thousands of interactions, I’m still never quite sure what’s going to happen each day.
And that’s the beauty of the nametag: It’s my constant source of adventure.

It creates a never-ending stream of human moments that I live for.

That’s all I ask for.

I just want to have an interesting life. I just want to live a good story.

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Don’t you?

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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, September 29, 2011

Why Curiosity Matters

I just wanted to see what would happen.

That’s it.

The nametag was an exercise in curiosity, nothing more.

But that’s just me. I’ve always been incurably curious. I’m a giant question mark. I’m the annoying kid who raises his hand right before the lunch bell rings – because he just has to know the answer – then makes everybody late for Tater Tot Tuesday.

The point is, history proves time and time again that the most successful, most celebrated and most influential people in the world were the ones who asked dangerous questions. Despite overwhelming efforts to silence their enthusiasm and deflect their interest, they kept curiosity burning.
We can’t forget this. We can’t slide into complacency.

Otherwise we descend into fundamentalism.

Curiosity is not a threat.

It’s a healthy, active response to life.

It might have killed the cat, but it also created my career. I'm a dog person anyway.

What we can’t see, what we are afraid to see and what we are unwilling to see, that is what threatens us more.

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What are you questioning?

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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!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

NametagTV: Currency That Matters



Money can’t buy everything.

Currency, on the other hand, can.

And if the struggling economy is making life difficult, you might consider seeking out alternative forms of exchange.

Today we’re going to explore a collection of currencies to help you buy what you need:
1. Respect buys loyalty. If you want make employees stay, make customers buy, make suppliers sell and make competitors drool, respect them enough to be radically honest. Respect them enough to build expectational clarity in everything you do. Respect them enough to create a climate of joy. And respect them enough not to waste their precious time.

That’s the easiest, cheapest and smartest way to earn people’s attention – respect. The irony is: While it costs nothing to give, it could cost everything to neglect. So just make sure you bother to bother. Make sure you dare to care. Because if you can help people feel more honored and more respected every time they deal with you, they’ll stick around forever. Who are you accidentally disrespecting?

2. Class buys referrals. Customers are nice – but repeat customers are necessary. If you want to earn those second, third and fourth time buyers, here’s a concept to consider: Build a bridge to your competitors. I know it sounds counterintuitive. But if it were just you, it would be hard to survive. If it were just you, there would be nobody to lean against.

Competitors – when treated like partners – can become your power source. What if you posted a handy list of your top ten major competitors and their offers on your website? Can you imagine the message that sends to your customers? Be willing to share in almost every direction. You’ll learn quickly that class is the new quality. How many referrals did you give this week?

3. Compassion buys forgiveness. Next time your customers or employees screw up; respond with a foundation of affirmation. Thank them for being vulnerable enough to be imperfect. Thank them for giving you the chance to love them unfairly. That’s what you call an act of spirit in a moment of struggle. And it doesn’t just make your people happy – it makes them more likely to forgive you when you screw up too.

Because you will screw up. Probably a few days after they do. As long as you’re not managing forgiveness like some corporate scoreboard, the reciprocation of compassion will be worth it. How are you creating an environment where people feel comfortable making mistakes?

4. Consistency buys credibility. Do something once, and that’s a treat. Do something twice, and that’s a trend. But do something every single day for a decade, and that’s a triumph. That’s what your customers are trying to teach you: That they don’t buy what you sell. They buy what you stand for; why you stand for it and the process you endured to make it.

They buy the belief that you will deliver on your promise to solve their problem. And they buy the faith that if their problem isn’t solved; you’ll work tirelessly until it is. That’s why consistency is far better than rare moments of greatness: Because anybody can be great for a month. How many days off did you take last year?

5. Flexibility buys longevity. Lack of flexibility isn’t a fitness problem – it’s a business problem. And unless you’re wiling to develop a predisposition to compromise, good luck staying relevant. The good news is, flexibility 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.

There’s nothing worse that getting stuck with a company that suffers from terminal certainty. The point is, being flexible isn’t about touching your toes – it’s about touching people where they’re at. Because if you want them to spend, you’ve got to bend. Are you an expert at meeting people halfway?

6. Generosity buys heartshare. First, it was all about marketshare. Next, it was mindshare. Now, it’s all about heartshare. I define that as, “The level of emotional responsiveness your work commands.” And if you want more of it, you have to become a gift giver. Not bottles of whiskey. Not boxes of brownies. A gift is anything that leaves people altered.

For example, give the gift of art, or, solving a problem in a way it’s never been solved before. Give the gift of initiative, or, being willing to go off script and work without a map. Lastly, give the gift of elevation, or, helping people walk away feeling more in love with themselves. Those are the types of gifts that change the recipient. Who knows? You could even document each of those heartshare moments in a blog. People would notice. What gifts are you known for giving?

7. Visibility buys belief. Woody Allen is famous for saying that eighty percent of life is showing up. I disagree – I think it’s higher. More importantly, it’s not just about showing up, it’s about showing up when it’s hard. For example: Showing up when you’re tired, when you’re scared, when you’re not asked, when you’re not prepared, when you’re not expected, when you’re not being paid, when you’re not in the mood and especially when you’re not on the clock.

That’s the kind of visibility that matters. Both online and off. And if you can build it with the people who count, they will believe in you. Because in their eyes, just showing is a synonym for going out on a limb. Do you have a marketing plan or a visibility plan?

REMEMBER: There are some things money can’t buy.

But if you have the right currency, no price is too high.

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

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Take a Moment, Make a Memory

Today the barista asked me for a name on my coffee order.

I didn’t answer.

Instead, I just waited until she looked up from her computer, actually made eye contact with me and noticed my nametag.

“Oh, duh – Scott. Your name’s right there. Sorry.”

This happens to me all the time.

Sometimes people feel embarrassed.
Sometimes people say thanks.
Sometimes people just laugh.

But I always smile. And I never bust chops about it.
I just wish people would pay more attention to their customers.
I just wish employees would notice opportunities to take a moment and make a memory.

What if, upon seeing my nametag, she thanked me for making her job easier?
What if, upon seeing my nametag, she used my name and said she was psychic?
What if, upon seeing my nametag, she offered a friendly joke that made my day?

That would be worth repeating. That would be worth telling a friend about. That would be worth remembering next time I walked in the door.

Instead of reaching for another robotic, ready-made script about how important someone’s call is, say something that invites people to store the memory in the heart.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Will you take a moment to make a memory?

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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!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Where Do You Belong?

When I was a kid, I struggled to find a spot.

A niche. A home. A place where I belonged.

But nothing seemed to work. No matter how hard I tried, I still felt like an outsider.

Eventually, I couldn’t take it anymore. I was tired of feeling like part of the wallpaper. I was tired of being held hostage by my outsiderness.
So I stuck on a nametag and said, “Screw it. Now I belong everywhere.”

And that changed everything. The posture with which I approached the world was never the same again.

My name is Scott. I am a global citizen.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Where do you belong?

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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, September 23, 2011

Where's Your Chisel?

Wearing a nametag didn’t make me into somebody new.

What it did was surface the kind person I already was. What it did was accelerate my growth into the person I was born to become.

And if I do a little research, it makes a lot of sense:



I’ve been creative, quirky and exceptional my whole life.
The nametag just gave me an outlet.

I’ve been a performer, an artist and a writer my whole life.
The nametag just gave me a canvas.

I’ve been a radical, a heretic and a leader my whole life.
The nametag just gave me a platform.

It’s weird. The older you get, the younger you feel. The older you get, the more you remind yourself of the person you’ve always been.

But I do think people change – when they want to. When they decide to. And when the pain of staying the same is greater than the cost to change.
Still, we are all more or less the same as we were. I think if each of us traced our identities back to the beginning, we’d find shocking similarities between the people we started as and the people we became.

Michelangelo used to say that the sculpture was already inside the stone.

Maybe that’s all life is: A chance to chip away.

It’s not a nametag – it’s a chisel.

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What’s yours?

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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, September 22, 2011

What Forever Can Change

“How long do you plan on doing this?”

That’s what people used to ask me.

As if my dream had an expiration date. As if one day I was going to snap out of my delusions, close the door on my cute little experiment and rejoin the rest of the world.

But I just kept saying forever.

Me and my nametag just kept showing up.

All day. Every day.

And after about five years, the questions stopped. People knew I was serious. People knew I was in it for the long haul. And they no longer doubted my dedication.

Dennis Miller used to say a good rule of thumb is, if you’ve made it to thirty-five and your job still requires you to wear a nametag, you’ve made a serious vocational error.

Funny what forever can change.

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How committed are you?

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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!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Trashcan That Changed Everything

When you look into a trashcan, you have a choice.

You can see trash, or you can see treasure.

It all depends on how big your thinking is.

On that fateful day in college when everyone else threw their nametags away, I looked into the trash and saw the latter.

And it changed everything. Forever.

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

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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!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Do We Need a Call to Arms or Call to Connect?

Years ago somebody asked me if I was wearing a nametag to build social capital.

Social what?

So I did some research.

As defined by Robert Putnam’s groundbreaking book, social capital is our reserve of personal bonds and fellowship. Like a bank account, every interaction that builds trust and reciprocity strengthens our sense of community and instills a feeling of belonging.

What’s interesting is how many different areas of daily life social capital affects – everything from productivity to depression to suicide to juvenile delinquency to test scores to government response time to divorce rate.
The problem is, our reserve is eroding. Nobody engages anymore. People are building bigger fences and smaller porches. And we’re becoming more disconnected from each other than ever before.

Are nametags the answer? Probably not.

But each of us needs to be reminded that our species is better together. Each of us needs to remember that navigating life is much easier when you have a solid crew. Each of us needs to be reminded that life is a lot richer when you have people to share it with.

We don’t need a call to arms – we need a call to connect.

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How do you build social capital?

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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!

Monday, September 19, 2011

How to Out Heart the Competition, Part 2

Love isn’t something you feel – it’s something you decide.

THE QUESTION IS: Has your organization made that decision yet?

If you haven’t, people will find out.
If you haven’t, people will find someone else.

From my column on American Express Open Forum, we’re going to explore a few more ideas about how to out heart the competition:
1. Contact trumps content. Loveless companies are notorious for only delivering select information. And that makes people feel out of control. For example, I recently called a local property management company to discuss leasing options. When I got their voicemail, here’s what the recording said:

“Thanks for calling, but everything you need can be found on our website.”

And I thought to myself, “Well, I need to talk to a human being right now. Got any of those on your website?” Click. Frustrated, I sought out one of their competitors. And to my delight, when I called their number, not only did a human being answer on the second ring; she even googled my name as we talked to learn more about my business. Which company would you pick?

That’s the amazing thing: Sometimes loving people is as simple as showing up and giving voice to their needs. Are you offering access to information about your company or access to individuals who work there?

2. Ask your customers early. Netflix recently increased their streaming service by sixty percent – without making any changes in the subscription model. According to an interview in The New York Times, the purpose behind the move was to make streaming films the core of its business – not physically mailed movies. Sadly, this price increase spurred tens of thousands of customer complaints, thousands of cancellations and hundreds of negative media stories.

After reading several dozen comments on the company blog, here’s what I learned from their (now former) subscribers: If Netflix loved their customers, they would have increased the quality of the streaming movie selection with the increase of the price. Or, they would have offered bundled discounts for veteran members. Also, wouldn’t have made the pricing change when the economy was the worse since the Great Depression.

And lastly, they would have realized they made a horrible pricing mistake, listened to their customers, apologized, and then returned to their original pricing model. By loving customers, you have automatically asked for their opinion on everything. Have you?

3. Make normal a possibility. Secrecy is a lonely experience. People don’t want to feel terminally unique – they want to feel like they’re not alone. That’s why it’s so important to respond to their experience in a calm, even way. You have to meet them where they are. You have to be willing to go as deep – or as shallow – as they want to go. And you have to help them merge their checkered past into something that smacks of normality.

My physician is an artist when it comes to this. He never fails to remind his patients that they’re not the only ones having an experience. I remember the first time I came in with stomach problems. “Tell me about your typical day,” he asked. So I did. And when I finished, he smiled and said, “Well, you certainly have a unique career path for someone your age. But your symptoms couldn’t be more normal. Happens every day at this clinic. In fact, if you didn’t have stomach problems, then I’d really be concerned.”

That was the love I needed to hear. Interestingly, I’ve only had to see him once in the past three years. Behold, the healing power of normality. When was the last time one of your people trusted you with a secret?

4. Intimacy can’t be forced – but it can be accelerated. I don’t have to warm up to people. I don’t have to get to know someone before we connect. And I don’t have to wait until we’ve hung out six times before I start opening up. I just jump right in. I reveal myself quickly, openly, honestly and respectfully. And most of the time, others reciprocate.

Sure, not everybody is used to that level of openness. But most people appreciate the willingness to cut the formalities and start connecting for real. As my dad likes to remind me, “When you treat people like family, it’s hard to say no.”

That’s the key to exhibiting loving intimacy: It’s not about pretending you’re everyone’s best friend. It’s about finding the common point of interest that makes people feel like you’ve been friends for years. Do you treat customer intimacy as a feeling or a business model?

REMEMBER: It’s not a secret that love is what everybody secretly wants.

Love looks good on everybody.

It’s the style that never goes out of style.

Make the decision.

Out heart the competition.

* * * *
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, September 16, 2011

The Cost of Inconsistency

It’s hard to be inconsistent and win.

Especially now.

Customers know more, see more, remember more and repeat more – than ever before.

Everything matters.
Everybody’s watching.
Everything’s a performance.

Privacy is so last century.

And when you lack consistency, when your onstage performance doesn’t align with your backstage reality, people see through you like bottle of water.

Which doesn’t mean you have to be perfect. You are human, after all.

BUT THE REALITY IS: Consistency is far better than rare moments of greatness.

From my column on American Express Open Forum, here’s what it costs when you don’t have it:
1. Inconsistency implies unreliability. When I became president of my local association, I made a bad decision selecting a second in command. Greg had developed a reputation for undependability. And his inconsistent behavior made the board look stupid on several occasions.

But I refused to believe that’s who he really was. So I gave him the benefit of the doubt. Three times. But he continued to verify my suspicions. Eventually, enough was enough. I fired him from the board. Which was especially painful considering it was a volunteer position.

People shouldn’t have to use their flake filter on you. Ground your consistency in commitment or be left behind. When people show you who they are, will you believe them?

2. Inconsistency costs trust. Many of my clients are bloggers. They’re big thinkers, great writers and smart businesspeople. The problem is, not all of them post daily. And when I bust their chops, they all use the same excuses: I don’t have the time. I can’t think of anything to write about. Nobody cares what I have to say. My industry has too much regulation. I don’t know what I’m doing.

Doesn’t matter. Credibility isn’t an entitlement – it’s a dividend. And you have to reapply for it every single day. Otherwise there’s no reason for people to believe in you. Because they’re certainly not going to waste their time playing the guessing game with your brand. They’ll simply find someone else and move on. How are you building a consistent timeline of credibility?

3. Inconsistency arouses suspicion. John Kerry may have been a war hero, but he was also a waffler. During his presidential campaign, every statement he made seemed to contradict his original position. Issues he claimed to support, he voted against ten years prior. From welfare reform to gay marriage to social security, nobody knew where he stood. No wonder he got knocked off the platform.

People shouldn’t have to wonder about your brand. If you’re truly living your values, you’ll leave no doubt in their minds who you are, what you believe why you matter. If you’re truly consistent, you’ll sustain the spirit of your brand through every touchpoint. Is the message you’re preaching the dominant reality of your life?

4. Inconsistency creates hesitation. As an author and publisher, the first lesson I learned about selling books was: The longer they take, they less they buy. If people flip through my book for more than five minutes, they are never going take it home. Complexity generates contemplation, and contemplation kills sales.

And it’s not their fault: People are tired, busy, lazy and overloaded. They don’t want to think. They don’t want to make decisions. They just want the shortcut. And that’s exactly what brands are: Shortcuts. Expectations. Predictable moments of youness. Your job is to confirm people’s hopes about the value you deliver and the values you stand for.

Otherwise there’s always an asterisk. There’s always something people can’t quite put their finger on when they’re around you. And that’s precisely why they hesitate to work with and talk positively about you. Are you taking up too much space?

5. Inconsistency causes anxiety. There’s this guy named Dalton. We’ve shared the stage a few times over the years. Good speaker. And what’s fascinating is that the first time I watched him, I later heard someone in the bathroom comment, “You know, I’ve always had a hard time taking Dalton seriously – because of his mullet.”

That’s the thing about inconsistency: People won’t listen to you if they’re too busy questioning you. The human brain has a motivational drive to reduce cognitive dissonance whenever possible. That’s why inconsistency is so dangerous: It causes frustration, which is a precursor to psychological stress. And when word and deed don’t line up, people’s heads hurt. What is affecting your ability to be taken seriously?

REMEMBER: Do something once, and that’s a treat. Do something twice, and that’s a trend. But do something every single day for a decade, and that’s a triumph.

In a world where customers know, see, remember and repeat more than ever before, everything matters.

Consistency is cheaper than apology.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What is inconsistency costing you?

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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!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

NametagTV: Love Louder



At a recent White House tribute concert, Smokey Robinson shared the following insight:

“There are no new words. There are no new chords. And there are no new ideas. In my music, I just try to say, 'I love you,’ as differently as I can.”

How does your brand say I love you?
And are you asking your customers to sing that song with you?


THAT’S THE HUMAN REALITY: Service, schmervice – people want to be in love.

You don’t need a focus group to figure that out.

And if that’s too touchy feely for you, too bad.

Companies who see love as a limited resource, as an endangered species, are never going to make it. But if you learn how to bring your heart to their ears, you’ll be around for a long time.

Today we’re going to focus on how your brand can love louder:
1. Create an act of love in a moment of friction. The other day I was at a stoplight. Right before it turned green, an old man in a walker dropped his folder. Papers went flying all over the intersection.

Two people hopped out of their cars, picked everything up and walked the guy to the curb. Not a single car moved – even when the light was green.

That was act of love. And I wonder how many micromoments throughout the day your organization could create more of those. Take Southwest Airlines, for example. Most companies use employees as objects to leverage – they treat employees as people to love. And their customers have reached the point where it’s hard not to say I love you.

Matter of fact, Southwest actually has love as their stock symbol. And isn’t it interesting that they’ve been the only profitable airline since the early seventies. Looks like loving louder works. If your employees could give your company a hug, would they run across a field with open arms?

2. Be an expert in memory creation. Love earns you the right to a continued relationship. Love earns you the right to have customers tell your story. And love earns you the right to whisper to those customers on a regular basis. Your challenge is to give regular and unsolicited tokens of love. And I’m not going to bore you with a bunch of examples – that’s the easy.

What matters is that your love implies three things: First, that you’re willing to forego your own convenience. Second, that you’re willing to invest your own time. And third, that you’re willing risk your own security to promote someone else’s satisfaction and development. Do that, and love will not be far behind. Do that, and profit will not be far behind either. How are you rehearsing loving behavior daily?

3. Escort customers. Every day our world becomes less humane in our treatment of each other. In fact, it’s almost scary how many organizations suffer from a severely loveless mentality. Instead of treating people like people, companies treat customer like objects, integers, trophies, categories and commodities.

Retail is the worst. Every time you buy something, you end up standing at the counter thinking: I don’t need a bag. I don’t need a receipt. I don’t need to fill out an online survey for the chance to win a thousand dollars. And I don’t need to sign up for your crappy rewards program so you can spam my inbox with coupons that don’t matter. Just hand me the latte and nobody gets hurt.

If you want to love louder, meet the now need. Instead of treating people’s comments as inconvenient interruptions to the pre-scripted phrases you were forced to memorize in your employee empathy class, trying speaking human. It’s the only language that matters, and the only language guaranteed to be understood by all. Are you famous for the widgets you sell or for the way you love?

4. Be a better mirror. “Mirror, mirror, on the wall – who’s the fairest of them all?” Your customers, that’s who. If you want people to fall in love with you, help them fall in love with themselves first. Give them a front row seat to their own brilliance – and they’ll stick around forever.

The problem is, most people can’t see how smart they really are. They’re just too close themselves. And maybe what they need is a better mirror. If you want to love louder, you need to be that mirror. You need to reflect people’s realities in an affirming, respectful manner. Maybe by taking notes on their ideas right in front of them to make them feel heard, or by linking to their website from your own to make them feel seen.

It’s all about memorializing their impact on your world, then telling everyone about it. That’s the thing about recognition: Isn’t just an interactional gift – it’s an emotional release. If you want to create a world of delight, if you want to establish a memory that sticks in customer’s minds forever, be the mirror they keep coming back to. How are you helping people love themselves more when doing business with you?

REMEMBER: Giving away love changes the kind of person you are as well as the kind of brand you represent.

It’s time turn up the volume of your heart.
It’s time to make your brand worth singing about.

Because it’s not who loves you – it’s whose life is better because you love them.

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
Are you loving people who do not deserve it?

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

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


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

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

When Beggars Become Choosers

Panhandlers usually respond positively to my nametag.

Which makes total sense: It’s an easy opening. It’s a chance to engage. And it’s an instant connection that might increase the chance of a donation.

But for the most part, I choose not to give them money. And I have my reasons.

For example, I once met a homeless guy outside of Voodoo Doughnuts. He asked if I could spare some change for food, so I offered him three boxes of donuts instead. He paused for a moment, looked at my nametag and said:

“Sorry Scott, but I don’t eat sweets.”
Huh. I guess beggars can be choosers.

So I rarely give.

But I never ignore them, either. I can’t. When somebody says your name, it’s hard to look the other way. No matter how poor they are.

Instead, I smile, acknowledge their presence, wave hello and keep moving.

That's enough for me to not feel like an asshole.

The point is, if you see people bleeding – you can’t pretend they aren’t really hurting.

You don’t have to rescue them. You don’t have to give them your life savings. And you don’t have to wash their feet.

But don’t act like they’re not there.

If you don’t give money, at least give acknowledgment.

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

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For the list called, "134 Questions Every Salesperson 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 2011-2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Monday, September 12, 2011

What's Behind Your Brand?

A few years ago I gave a speech to a group of individuals with disabilities.

I was terrified. I thought the message would go completely over the heads. And I assumed that their intelligence level would keep them from understanding me.

I was wrong. They loved it. Best audience I’ve ever had.
Afterward, a young man from the front row ran up to me with a huge smile on his face. And although his mental condition made it very difficult for him to speak, he placed his hand on my chest and said:

“It’s not the nametag; it’s the heart behind it.”

Just because someone is broken doesn’t mean they can’t teach you.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Is your heart behind your brand?

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For a list called, "11 Ways to Out Google Your Competitors," 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

“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

Friday, September 09, 2011

What Audiences Want

People don’t want to learn.
People don’t want to work.
People don’t want to change.

They want to feel. They want to laugh. They want to be entertained. They want to be reminded how alive they are.

They want to watch your expression of a truthful metaphor for life. They want to see you think and feel the things they can’t express for themselves.

And they want to sit back, relax, watch you perform your special brand of magic, forget about life for a while, disappear into the experience and co-create a moment that lives in the hearts forever.
People don’t want more ideas.
People don’t want more tactics.
People don’t want more information.

They want blood. They want tension. They want humanity. They want convergence. They want self-revelation. They want stories that shake them.

They want universal human emotions that disturb them. They want to find the pulse of life in what you say. They want to respond to their own experience – not just yours.

And they want to watch narrative arcs that inspire them because they see a part of themselves reflected your human mirror.

Prepare your material accordingly.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What do your audiences want?

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For the list called, "15 Ways to Out Learn Your Competitors," 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!

Thursday, September 08, 2011

The Truth About Discipline

It doesn’t take a lot of effort to wear a nametag every day.

But it does take discipline.

Not much. But enough to accumulate. Enough to carry over to bigger pursuits like writing, meditation and exercise.

That’s how discipline works: When you commit yourself in small, non-threatening venues where the effort requirements are lower, you make it easier for yourself to win at something bigger.

It’s kind of a side door approach, but it works.
Ask any high school coach. Students who play on a sports team tend to achieve higher academic scores than those who don’t.

Because their discipline multiplies. Their minds are already conditioned for consistency. And once practice is over, all they have to do is change gears.

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
What micro discipline you start today to pave the way?

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For the list called, "134 Questions Every Salesperson 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 2011-2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

A Young Artist's Guide to Playing for Keeps, Pt. 15

You’ve chosen an uncertain path.
You’ve adopted an inconvenient lifestyle.
You’ve embarked upon an unconventional journey.
You’ve felt the voice inside you growing more urgent.
You’ve committed yourself enough so you can’t turn back.


IN SHORT: You’ve decided to play for keeps.

This is the critical crossroads – the emotional turning point – in the life of every young artist.

I’ve been there myself, and here’s a list of suggestions to help you along the way:
1. Feeling is the agent of fame. At a recent panel discussion, filmmaker and podcaster Kevin Smith put it perfectly:

“People will value you in this life if you can think or feel something for them they can’t express for themselves. If you can deliver something people can’t find on their own, they will be willing to support you because they identify with you. Feel everything. That’s your superpower. Never deaden your empathy.”

That’s the cool part about being an artist: You can always rely on your own feelings as a valuable source of raw material. Next time you encounter a feeling you’re afraid to have, sit with it. Make friends with it. And exploit it in the service of your audience. By expressing the feelings that are yours and yours alone, people will recognize them as their own too. What feelings are you famous for having?

2. Heighten your consciousness. I’ve practiced meditation every day of life since I was twenty-two. It keeps me sane, keeps me creative and keeps me connected to the divine. And while I’m no expert on the topic, here’s what I’ve learned: First of all, meditation is cheaper than worry. I’d rather create a mental pause than waste my imagination sweating over something I don’t even care about.

Secondly, meditation isn’t a technique. It’s not something you accomplish – it’s something you practice. And lastly, the goal of meditation isn’t to get more ideas – the goal is to make the container bigger. That way, ideas are more likely to fall. If you’re never explored some kind of meditation practice, start today. You will never be the same. Your art will never be the same. When was the last time you sat quietly and engaged with your higher self?

3. You are what you charge. Harlan Ellison has written over one thousand short stories, novellas, screenplays, teleplays and essays. In a recent television interview, he shared the following insight:

“The only value for me is if you put money in my hand. You better cross my palm with silver, because I’m supposed to be paid every time I do something. Sure, I’ll sell my soul, but only at the highest rate. Because I don’t take a piss without getting paid.”

When it comes to pricing, share it publicly. Set a precedent of value. When it comes to charging, state your fee confidently – then shut up. He, who talks next, loses. And when it comes to collecting, never feel guilty about asking for your money. If you delivered the work, you deserve the cheese. Who are you still afraid to send an invoice to?

4. Don’t find inspiration – beguile it. With the right lens, the right posture and the right filter, inspiration will seek you out. All you have to install new awareness plans. I learned about this process from obscure book on creativity called Playful Perception, by Herbert Leff. He defines an “awareness plan” as a procedure or mental recipe for perceiving and thinking about the world around us.

Here are my favorite examples: Contemplate special contributions each thing makes to life. Envision what’s going on inside everything you notice. Regard whatever you’re doing as a game. See things as events and not objects frozen in a moment of time. And view everyday things as if they were art exhibits. By changing the way you experience the world, you position yourself to receive a never-ending flow inspiration. Are you waiting for the rain or turning yourself into a lightning rod?

5. Juggle multiple threads of work simultaneously. The best thing my mentor taught me was to think modular. To create in chunks. To work on several projects at once. And to shift between them as circumstances dictate. That’s why I’m always writing five books at once. Not because I’m unfocused – but because I’m creating thought bridges, subconscious connections and unexpected integrations between seemingly unrelated ideas.

Yes, it requires self-control. Yes, it requires belief in your own capabilities to organize and execute. But as I learned from Realizing the Impossible, “The best artists have shit on their shoes. They’re running around in the middle of everything, they can’t settle down, they can’t shut up and they can’t quit fidgeting with everything.”

Cartoonist Hugh Macleod calls this way of life crofting. Someone who never does just one thing. Lots of balls in the air. Lots of different directions. Never waking up and doing the exact same thing each day. Not always the highest paying, but fun and rewarding as hell. How many plates are you willing to spin?

6. Art without point of view, isn’t. Your art needs to do something beside decorate a wall. As an artist, your job is to declare a different way to think about living. As an artist, your purpose is to reorganize the world in ways that are more just. As an artist, your obligation is to express what you feel strongest about. And as an artist, your goal is to signify the spirit of the times by telling stories of the voiceless.

Otherwise you’re just a fad with legs. In the words of legendary film composer and music producer, Hans Zimmer: “A good score should have a point of view all of its own. It should transcend all that has gone before; stand on its own two feet and still serve the movie. A great soundtrack is all about communicating with the audience, but we all try to bring something extra to the movie that is not entirely evident on screen.” How will you avoid the inevitable downward spiral to commodity?

REMEMBER: When you’re ready to play for keeps, your work will never be the same.

Make the decision today.

Show the world that your art isn’t just another expensive hobby.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Have you committed with both feet yet?

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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 2011-2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Why I Would Make a Terrible Criminal

“But if you wear a nametag all the time, doesn’t that mean you have to be nice to everyone?”

That’s the point.

Wearing a nametag paints me into an accountable corner.

And that it makes it very difficult to be disrespectful to people. Especially strangers.

I’m reminded of a nightmare I had about seven years ago.

In the dream, I had murdered someone. I was on the run from the cops. But for some idiotic reason, I thought it would be a good idea to stop for a Slurpee.

Rookie mistake.
When I approached the counter to pay, the cashier was watching the news. And sure enough, on the screen was a picture of me, my nametag and a graphic that said, “Convicted Killer.”

It didn’t take long for him to put two and two together. By the time I walked out of the store, cop cars, officers, helicopters and Tommy Lee Jones were waiting to take me in.

So much for my career as a criminal.

Fortunately, wearing a nametag is a construct. It’s something I put in place that limits me to only practicing positive behavior. It takes away all my choices. And it permanently positions me in a situation where acting in accordance with my values is the only plausible course of action.

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
What structure could you install to bankrupt bad behavior?

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For a list called, "11 Ways to Out Google Your Competitors," 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

“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

Friday, September 02, 2011

Eight Things You Never Have to Do

“Love is never having to say you’re sorry.”

This phrase originated in the movie Love Story, but has since been modified, satirized, patronized and reorganized through dozens of movies, songs, television shows and other popular art forms.

I wonder if there are other things we never have to do?

In business, in life and in love, maybe there’s an entire line of thinking based on this idea.

From my column on American Express Open Forum, I’ve developed a list of eight examples:
1. Generosity is never having to keep score. I recently dropped my laptop. Right on the asphalt. Completely dented the corner of the screen. But when I took it into the Apple store, they were unexpectedly generous.

First, the guy at the genius bar told me he once dropped his laptop too, but down an escalator. Second, he agreed to send my computer to the repair center that day. Third, he let me back up my data in the store before I went home.

Fourth, they returned my computer to me two days faster than they promised. And fifth, they didn’t charge me a dime. No questions asked. I was speechless. Just when I thought Apple was all style and no service, they delivered.

Just when I thought Apple was all hype and no help, they delivered. That’s the thing about generosity: It’s not corporate scoreboard. It’s not something you can choreograph. You just dance in the moment and respond to the now need. How are you giving yourself away?

2. Class is never having to apologize for transparency. 37Signals uses their company blog as a direct conversation between developers and customers. Not to shameless promote the website, but to solicit feedback on their user interface. That’s class. Not to bother people into buying from them, but to keep customers abreast on programming changes in real time. That’s class.

And not to hawk the new software programs, but to explain the motivation behind the changes to their existing ones. That’s class. They also give virtual tours of their design process, display screen shots of the revised versions of new layouts, and even host streaming question-and-answer sessions between users and the actually founder of the company. That’s class.

No wonder their users are so fanatical about the company. How much loyalty are you losing by being opaque?

3. Faith is never letting fear have the last word. Fearless is just a word for people who are afraid to be human. Personally, I’m scared all the time. Not just of clowns, spiders and reality television – but scared that my art will be rejected. Scared that my business will fail. Scared that nobody will care what I have to say. Scared that my ideas will stop coming to me. And scared that I’ll wake up once day and realize I don’t matter anymore.

The good news is, I’ve learned to be okay with that. I’ve accepted fear as a normal part of the life experience. And I’ve learned how to change my relationship to it. Now, instead of trying to ignore it – I bow to it. I make friends with it. Then, I overwhelm it with faith. Faith in myself, in my resources, in my abilities, in my support system and in humanity.

Ultimately, scaring yourself for the right reasons is the gateway to personal growth. And even though being scared means being uncomfortable, uncomfortable people are the only ones who ever change the world. Are you still trying to scrub your world clean of fear?

4. Commitment is never having to discipline yourself. At a recent art fair, I had the chance to meet one of my favorite cartoonists: Paul Palnik. I shook his hand. I thanked him for his work. And I told him never to stop making art. His response was perfect, “I have no choice – it’s who I am.”

Think Palnik has to discipline himself to draw every day? Not a chance. Because he committed. With both feet. And that’s exactly what happens when you decide to play for keeps: Commitment deletes distraction. No matter how slammed you are, there’s always time for the non-negotiables. No matter how overextended you become, you still create space to execute what matters.

The hard part is the prework. Taking the time to sit down and actually map out what matters. But it’s worth it. Because you can slog through anything if you know why it’s important to you. What if you made a list of a hundred reasons why you do what you do and kept it in your wallet?

5. Freedom is never having to bury your desire. I once worked for a client who blocked Internet use at their office. Completely. From everybody. And the saddest part was, they were a sales organization. And their two hundred employees – most of whom were under the age of thirty – had no online access.

Which I certainly understand from the perspective of productivity and security. Nobody wants their employees wasting time when they should be making sales. But these people are cold calling all day. Without online access, they can’t google their customers. Without online access, they can’t conduct research on their competitors.

Without online access, they can’t leverage social media as a listening platform. And without online access, they can’t take advantage of all the available tools to nurture their relationships with existing customers.

If you want your people engage at work, don’t let the feeling of formality keep them from communicating freely. Is your office a prison or a playground?

6. Confidence is never having to say you’re cool. If you have to tell people you are, you probably aren’t. And if you have to tell people you aren’t, you probably are. That’s what I don’t understand about social media: People are so insecure about their own value that they need to embed a graphic that points to the button that asks strangers to like them.

Yet another pointless online pissing contest I refuse to participate in. I’m sorry, but popularity is not a substitute for truth. If you have to interrupt me with an email that asks me to like you, we’re done. On the other hand, if you’re awesome, people will know it. Being amazing never goes out of style.

The Beatles never had a fan page. The Beatles never had to tell people to "like" them. They just worked tirelessly to rock people’s faces off, and they changed the world forever. Are you spending money trying to make people like you, or investing emotional labor trying to make the world better?

7. Love is never asking people edit themselves. Several years ago, I conducted a workshop with the identity company, Brains on Fire. Since then, I have yet to come across another company who more epitomizes love. As their founder Robbin Phillips suggests, “Be famous for the people who love you and for the way you love them.”

In my experience, the best way to love people is to let them express themselves. Without restriction. Without resorting to code. And without having to look over their shoulder. After all, nothing disengages people quicker than interfering with the expression of their individuality.

Leave people liberated. Let them live their brand and stay loyal to themselves. Create a safe place where individual creativity can shine. Petition people to inject their personality into everything they do. What kind of love will you become famous for?

8. Creativity is never having to grow up. Instead, it’s about growing younger. It’s about “escaping adulthood,” according to artists Kim and Jason Kotecki. Here’s how: First, dare to be dumb. Master the art of not knowing. And try getting lost once in a while. It’s good for the soul. And if you don’t know where you’re going – nobody can stop you.

Secondly, reengage your playful spirit. It’s attractive, it’s relaxing and it’s more enjoyable to be around. Besides, there’s nothing that can’t be taken lighter. Even the serious issues. Third, build a reservoir of positivity. Say yes to life. Especially when it would be easier, cheaper and more convenient to say no. That’s where creativity lives.

And lastly, build enthusiasm into small moments. Your energy is your greatest asset. Speak with passion or risk being unheard. Just make sure your energy is supported with truthfulness. Otherwise you just passionately incompetent. How creative do people remember you as?

REMEMBER: The characters were right.

There are some things you never have to do.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What's your care quotient?

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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, September 01, 2011

What My Nametag Taught Me About Anonymity

I once met a cowboy on the Dallas airport shuttle.

He asked if I knew I was still wearing a nametag, and said I wore it all the time.

“I’d hate to wear a nametag all the time,” he smirked, “because then I’d have to be good.”

That was the moment I learned a lifelong lesson:

Anonymity is the death of civility.

In person. Online. Over the phone. In the mail. Doesn’t matter.
As a person. As an organization. As a brand. Doesn’t matter.
In your personal life. In the business world. Doesn’t matter.

When you’re anonymous, there’s no verifiable identity.
When you’re anonymous, there’s always something to hide behind.
When you’re anonymous, there’s a constant invitation for selfish behavior.
When you’re anonymous, there’s more incentive get away with bad behavior.
When you’re anonymous, there’s less people watching to modify your behavior.

Two famous studies come to mind.

The first comes from a 1976 issue of The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

Concealed scientists observed thirteen hundred children during trick or treating. The variable group of children was given an opportunity to steal candy.

What did their research prove?

Significantly more stealing was observed under conditions of anonymity.

Interesting. Would you steal if people couldn’t see your face?

The second study was conducted in 1970 by famed social psychologist, Philip Zombardo.

He wanted to see how physical anonymity lessened inhibitions. He dressed New York women in white coats and hoods. They were asked to give electric shocks to unknown patients.

Of course, the shocks weren’t real, but the fake nurses didn’t know that.

What’s interesting is, only half of the nurses were given nametags for their lab coats. But the women who didn’t wear nametags actually held the shock button twice as long as the ones who did.

Interesting. Would you inflict pain on a stranger if she could read your name?

Sign your work.
Take a stand for your identity.
Give people the priceless gift of security by letting know whom they’re dealing with.

Otherwise, you retreat into depersonalization and namelessness. You take less responsibility for what you do and say. And civility goes out the window.

As technology accelerates, as population increases and as face-to-face interaction decreases, the temptation to engage from a place of anonymity is greater than ever before.

Resist it.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Are you anonymous?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For a list called, "11 Ways to Out Google Your Competitors," 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

“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