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Saturday, April 30, 2016

Anxiety is a source of education

My yoga instructor often reminds us that our main teacher is in the mirror. That the students are to become their own gurus. 

Yes, the instructor will help to keep pace and control the heat and make corrections, but ultimately, it’s through the process of confronting of ourselves, warts and all, that activates real growth. 

What a powerful tool to deepen your practice as a yoga student. In fact, what a helpful lesson off the mat, too. Because that which is scariest to confront often has the most to teach us. 

Kierkegaard referred to anxiety as the nameless and formless uneasiness that has dogged the footsteps of modern man. No wonder much of human behavior is motivated by a desire to escape anxiety. But let’s not forget, anxiety is also a profound source of education for us. Just like the mirror in the yoga room. Anxiety reflects our reality back to us. It implores us to stand up and say aloud what’s missing.

And so, in running from it, we lose our most precious opportunity for education as human beings. 

Anytime I feel anxiety hot on my trail, I try to reserve a small portion of my brain for gratitude. I give thanks for those feelings. And instead of treating the moment as if it were an obstacle to overcome, I use it as a vehicle to answer some questions about myself. To learn what might lacking. To hear the story I’ve been telling myself about my own reality. 

And more often than not, taking that small moment of awareness and curiosity leads me down a healthier path. One where I’m not averting my eyes from something in the mirror that I despise, but walking through the glass and see what lies on the other side. One where I’m not ignore or rejecting or editing out the dark parts of myself, but exposing my nakedness and rushing in to meet it. 

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Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.  
scott@hellomynameisscott.com
www.nametagscott.com


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Friday, April 29, 2016

The loss of the other leaves an inner yawning void

Rollo’s research on identity was way ahead of its time. 

First published in the early fifties, during a postwar age of overwhelming anxiety, he found several interesting commonalities among his psychotherapy patients that still hold true today. 

Namely, that every man needs relationships with other people in order to orient himself. After all, he’s a social animal. The human being gets his original experiences of being a unique self out of his relatedness to other person. 

And so, the loss of the other leaves an inner yawning void. A terrifying combination of loneliness and emptiness. Because without other people, we have nothing to bump up against. Without other people, we have no way to orient ourselves. And that’s when we start to lose the sense of our own existence. 

No wonder we hate being alone. It’s the terror of losing awareness of ourselves. The fear of not being able to fulfill our own potentialities. 

But the good news is, we can reverse engineer these feelings. We can nip anxiety in the bud by asking ourselves the following honest question. 

Right now, in this moment, what essential value, that I identify with my existence, is being threatened? 

That simple act of naming our source of anxiety will help us recognize where meaning has leaked out of our lives, which action we need to take to refill the inner yawning void, and with whom we need to orient ourselves while we do it. 

Remember, it is through the eyes of another that we receive a greater sense of our own personhood. And that sense is the best medication around. 

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Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.  
scott@hellomynameisscott.com
www.nametagscott.com


Never the same speech twice. Customized for your audience. Impossible to walk away uninspired.

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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Open a window to the hybrid horizon

Joni invented everything about her art. 

From performance style to lyrical content to musical genre to guitar tunings to creative process to production style to melody structure to piano voicing to chord progressions to career trajectory, there wasn’t an element of her work that wasn’t original. 

That’s the real art. Not just the force of her message, but the fearlessness in inventing whole new ways of creating it. 

Joni reminds us that our job as creators is to chase down the hybrid. To juggle ourselves into impossible juxtapositions and come out on the other side with something nobody’s ever seen before. 

In fact, the term hybrid has applications across a variety of disciplines, including biology, electronics, film, sports, music, literature, vehicles, language and astronomy. Why not include yourself on that list? 

Consider the definition of a hybrid car. It’s a vehicle that uses two or more distinct power sources to move. What a perfect metaphor for the modern artist. Thinking of ourselves as hybrids challenges us to tap into all of our skills and fuels and energies and dreams to move the story forward. To make use of everything we are in the service of the final destination. 

And of course, every hybrid has its share of issues with aftermarket compatibility. But that’s a minor technical adjustment. The point isn’t to be the finest, it’s to be the first. The point isn’t to be perfect, it’s to be the only. To create the category of which we are the standard bearer. 

Remember, the way we go to market is just as important as the person we are when we get there. 

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Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.  
scott@hellomynameisscott.com
www.nametagscott.com


Never the same speech twice. Customized for your audience. Impossible to walk away uninspired.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The satisfaction of knowing that all systems are operating

A clearing house is a central institution or agency that collects, maintains and distributes something between parties. London coined the term back in the early nineteenth century. 

Lubbock’s built a single room where clerks for local banks met each day to exchange checks and settle accounts, pioneering an innovative exchange process that helped streamline operations, save time, reduce labor, decrease cost, increase efficiency, mitigate risk and ultimately strengthen the banking industry. 

Two centuries later, clearinghouses are now used for a variety of transactions, from legal to financial to informational to technical. 

And so, even if you’re not hypnotized by the sexy industry of futures exchanges and commodities derivatives, there’s still an important lesson to learn from the concept of a clearinghouse. 

Because everyone has dreams. Everyone has things they want to do. Everyone has projects they want to realize in the world. Meaning, everyone is looking for tools to help streamline effort, reduce time, save cost and most importantly, maximize satisfaction. 

And that’s when the clearinghouse comes in handy. It’s not a physical institution that distributes something, it’s a conceptual destination where you can unite all of your interesting goals, intermingling your dreams into a meaningful, cohesive whole. 

When I started making music films, I treated them as clearinghouse projects. Because each movie was a confluence of many dreams. A platform that allowed me to find a home for all of my talents. A productive obsession that freed me flex each my artistic muscles, from writing to singing to guitar playing to public speaking to book packaging to mass communicating. 

And so, whatever dream you’re chasing, approach it as a clearinghouse. Instead of running around the forest putting a few chops in each tree, try creating a big enough axe to demolish them all. Because you can’t beat the satisfaction of knowing that all systems are operating. 

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Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.  
scott@hellomynameisscott.com
www.nametagscott.com


Never the same speech twice. Customized for your audience. Impossible to walk away uninspired.

Now booking for 2015-2016.

Email to inquire about fees and availability. Watch clips of The Nametag Guy in action here!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Banish the dragons, banish the heroes

Hempton, the great acoustic ecologist, has circled the globe three times in the last thirty years in pursuit of the earth’s rarest nature sounds. His audio work is a stunning reminder that we should always respond to nature as part of ourselves, not as a stranger or alien available for exploitation. 

After all, the imagination of nature is far greater than the imagination of man. It has its own tempo and flow and an infinite process of creation of which we are only a small part. And humans would be wise to pay attention. 

For example, consider mating calls of birds. Hempton once explained that the love songs birds sing attract mates, but they also draw the attention of predators. What a romantic and terrifying reality. Not just for birds, but for humans too. Because we’re all just stumbling through this forest, singing our hearts out, hoping that the authentic song we’ve been gifted to deliver will somehow match the frequency of a kindred spirit who locks into the harmonic connection and flies across the forest to meet us. 

And sometimes we find the bird we’ve been waiting for, and sometimes we find the hungry bobcat who’s been waiting for us. 

There’s no way to predict it, there’s no way to control it. 

So we accept them both as part of the journey. Because that’s the risk in singing our authentic song. We take a chance in what we attract with our calls. 

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Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.  
scott@hellomynameisscott.com
www.nametagscott.com


Never the same speech twice. Customized for your audience. Impossible to walk away uninspired.

Now booking for 2015-2016.

Email to inquire about fees and availability. Watch clips of The Nametag Guy in action here!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Instead of consulting the literature, write it

Nisbett reminds us that when we have the beginnings of an idea about something, the worst thing to do is consult the literature before we get started to work on it. In doing so, he writes, we will be certain to assimilate our potentially original idea to something that is already out there. 

But it’s just an ego vortex. A safety drill. It’s creative resistance in disguise. Because we’re scared. We seek confirmation that this new thing we’re working on isn’t crazy. That the marketplace will welcome it with open arms. Only then, will we launch our idea. 

That’s not how innovation works. Nobody changes the world by finding out what other people already know. They change the world by committing to the frightening work of flying blind. They change the world by stubbornly sticking their fingers in their ears and bravely venturing into the dark forest of the unknown. 

And so, if you’re working on something new and exciting, instead of consulting the literature, write it. Instead of meeting the standard, set it. Doing research is procrastination in disguise. 

Jobs never gave customers what they wanted. He believed people didn’t know what they wanted until somebody showed them. And so, he spent his career showing them. He never consulted the literature for objects of interest, he became one. 

Remember, your greatest currency in this world is your originality. And that demands a willingness to experiment. Don’t worry about what most people normally. Just start. Hire yourself. Let the rest of the world that follows be compared to you. Because the best way to shatter the limit is not to know one exists. 

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Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.  
scott@hellomynameisscott.com
www.nametagscott.com


Never the same speech twice. Customized for your audience. Impossible to walk away uninspired.

Now booking for 2015-2016.

Email to inquire about fees and availability. Watch clips of The Nametag Guy in action here!

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Life is only limited by our own prejudices

There’s nothing more liberating than the thought that we can engage with something without having to subscribe to its content. It all depends on the mindset with which we approach it. 

Holy scriptures are the perfect example. There are thousands of volumes from hundreds of religions from all over the world. And they’re all interesting and insightful and inspiring. 

But only if they’re read literately. Not literally, but literately

Meaning, they are respected for the literature that they are. 

I’ve read The Bible cover to cover multiple times. Not because I’m a religious man of great faith, but because that book is the singe most popular, most printed, most published, most purchased, most read, most recognized, most translated, most demanded, most donated, most circulated, most owned, most influential, and of course, most stolen book in the history of the world. How could I resist? 

That’s the workings of a growth mindset. Feeling strong enough in your own intellectual separateness that you are not fearful of losing yourself. Laying aside your own views and values in order to enter another world without prejudice. Staying deeply curious about a different experience without identifying it with your own story. Launching yourself fully into the stream of life, open to the complete possibility of what could be, while staying in observation mode instead of being sucked into judgment. 

Loy said it best more than one hundred years ago in her futurist manifesto:

Life is only limited by our own prejudices. Destroy them and you cease to be at the mercy of yourself. 

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Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.  
scott@hellomynameisscott.com
www.nametagscott.com


Never the same speech twice. Customized for your audience. Impossible to walk away uninspired.

Now booking for 2016-2017.

Email to inquire about fees and availability. Watch clips of The Nametag Guy in action here!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Cracked open with sudden abundance

The need to constantly evaluate return on investment for every endeavor isn’t the pillar of a shrewd strategy, it’s a symptom of a scarcity mentality. 

Nothing against the accounting department, but there’s a fine line between crunching numbers and robbing ourselves of joy. 

If we are to cultivate true abundance, we can’t spend all of our time trying to financially justify everything move we make. Sometimes we have to, as my grandfather used to say, just buy the son of a bitch. Because nobody saves their way to prosperity. 

The real work is making the internal shift. From scarcity to abundance. From save a dime mode to make a dollar mode. Consider these examples. 

Instead of freaking out that the industry pie is shrinking, trust that more income is always possible. Instead of competing with colleagues, take comfort in your position without the need to surpass others. Instead of racking yourself with guilt over acquiring something new for yourself, welcome the genuine pleasure in obtaining what you desire to have. And instead of measuring and calculating and quantifying everything, learn to trust your spontaneous instinctual abilities. 

After all, human beings have a tremendous range of intuitive powers available to us. We are indeed wiser than our intellects. 

Explaining is draining. Free up the significant abundance that has long been trapped in the exhaustion of trying to convince yourself of return on investment. 

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Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.  
scott@hellomynameisscott.com
www.nametagscott.com


Never the same speech twice. Customized for your audience. Impossible to walk away uninspired.

Now booking for 2016-2017.

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Thursday, April 21, 2016

Take pause before releasing the hounds

It’s easy to become obnoxious about newfound enlightenment.

Especially when you’re still riding the high of your own epiphany. The natural tendency is to project it onto others. To try and convert everyone you encounter. To take up the mantle of evangelism and declare the glory among all nations and preach the gospel to every living creature and fight those who do not believe until they all surrender. 

Well, that sounds exhausting. Trying to save and fix and control everybody, setting other people’s goals, asserting your moral superiority at every possibility, being the lord of answers for everyone you meet, subtly controlling and molding others in your own image, what a horrible job to give yourself. 

Besides, where will you find the time to build a life of your own if you’re so busy trying to push people to dismantle theirs? 

And so, whatever trendy diet or life philosophy or exercise regiment or meditation practice or marketing strategy or online dating hack is working for you, that’s great. Congrats. Keep it up. But perhaps it’s time to resign as general disciple of the universe. Perhaps becoming the light of the world isn’t as important as simply living in that world for a while first. 

Drop your own expectations of what you want other people to be for you. Respect people’s potential to develop beyond where they are, but grant them the right to be who they are. Be the one who looks for truth, not the one who found it. Because the beauty is in the questioning. 

Answers are highly overrated anyway. Next time you stumble upon a new piece of enlightenment, take pause before releasing the hounds. 

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Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.  
scott@hellomynameisscott.com
www.nametagscott.com


Never the same speech twice. Customized for your audience. Impossible to walk away uninspired.

Now booking for 2016-2017.

Email to inquire about fees and availability. Watch clips of The Nametag Guy in action here!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Everybody’s first word was air

Kristofferson famously sang that freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose. 

But everyone defines freedom in their own way. As they should. That’s the whole point of being free in the first place. 

And so, here’s my definition. 

Freedom is the ability to breathe. It’s that blissful state of psychological sovereignty in which the acute pressures and suffocating burdens and ambient anxieties and piercing distractions and looming deadlines and unresolved issues and open loops and claustrophobic feelings aren’t constricting your life force into a distracted haze, and you can finally just be here now and touch real joy. 

You can breathe. You can revel in the gentle restfulness and slow lightness of being. 

I only know this because I’ve experienced the opposite. Quite literally. When I was twenty six, I suffered a collapsed lung. A spontaneous pneumothorax. I got up one morning, couldn’t breathe, went to the emergency room, woke up a few hours later with a tube in my chest, and then spent a week in the hospital connected to a respirator that did my breathing for me. It was the polar opposite of freedom. 

Of course, it wasn’t a remarkable incident. My suffering wasn’t special. People’s lungs collapse every day. Often times sporadically. And in most cases, treatment is fairly simple. Oxygen and rest. 

However, that experience fundamentally changed me forever. In many ways. One of which was a deeper understand and appreciation one of the most basic freedoms we have as human beings. 

Breathing. Inhaling. Exhaling. 

After all, everybody’s first word was air. And so, that became my goal. Gentle restfulness. Slow lightness of being. Freedom through the ability to breathe. The blissful state of physiological and psychological sovereignty. 

Oxygen. It’s a beautiful thing. 

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Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.  
scott@hellomynameisscott.com
www.nametagscott.com


Never the same speech twice. Customized for your audience. Impossible to walk away uninspired.

Now booking for 2016-2017.

Email to inquire about fees and availability. Watch clips of The Nametag Guy in action here!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The evidence is supplied by your own sense

Rogers famously wrote that the most fundamental condition of creativity is that the locus of evaluative judgment is internal. He believed that the value of the product is, for the creative person, established not by the praise or criticism of others, but by himself. 

The artist asks, have I created something satisfying to me? Does it express a part of my own feeling, thought, pain or ecstasy? To psychologically healthy individuals, those are the only questions that matter. Because they’re driven more by inner necessity than social expectation. 

And so, if you’re tired of competing and comparing and measuring your work against everybody else, consider shifting your locus of evaluative judgment from external to internal. Rogers actually developed a series of mantras, unintentionally, it seems, for this very transformation. I’ve used them for years. In his book on becoming a person, he counsels his patients to recite the following affirmations. 

I am the center of my valuing process. I am the source towards which I substantiate my values. I am connected to the ground of my own being. I am trusting of myself as the primary source of evidence. 

If that’s the story you start telling yourself, it won’t be long before the evidence of your worth will be supplied by your own sense. And not to imply complete independence from other people. Everyone still wants to be liked. And loved. And appreciated. And heard. And seen. 

But remember, humans have a tendency to exaggerate the importance of other people’s acceptance. In the end, identity is an inside job. 

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Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.  
scott@hellomynameisscott.com
www.nametagscott.com


Never the same speech twice. Customized for your audience. Impossible to walk away uninspired.

Now booking for 2016-2017.

Email to inquire about fees and availability. Watch clips of The Nametag Guy in action here!

Monday, April 18, 2016

The limits of our language are the limits of our world

For years I struggled with anxiety, stress and other manifestations of the threat of imminent nonbeing, aka, meaninglessness. 

But I never had any names for those feelings. I didn’t have labels that permitted me to communicate with myself and others about my emotions. I didn’t possess a robust vocabulary to help me make sense of the otherwise ambiguous world of inner turmoil. 

And so, the inner turmoil continued to mount. Because I didn’t have language as the handle with which to grasp my experience of anxiety. 

Slowly, though, I learned how to name things. I started developing the capacity within myself to manufacture the very commodity I was constantly chasing. And I began announcing to myself that I was the sole arbiter of meaning in my life. That way, anytime waves of meaninglessness came crashing in, I knew exactly how to describe them. 

What’s more, I knew exactly how to ride them. Because I had a tool for forming experiences into communicable meaning for myself. And that’s the strange thing about anxiety. Like most things in life, once you name it, you claim it. Names make the invisible visible. When you give language to something, you access a significant source of power previously unavailable to you. 

Because with a name, you can manage it, measure it, conceptualize it, talk to yourself about it, talk to others about it, interact around it, arrive at an understanding about, and if need be, alter or eliminate it. 

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How might the skill of naming redirect your narrative into a more meaningful direction?

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Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.  
scott@hellomynameisscott.com
www.nametagscott.com


Never the same speech twice. Customized for your audience. Impossible to walk away uninspired.

Now booking for 2016-2017.

Email to inquire about fees and availability. Watch clips of The Nametag Guy in action here!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Taking the poison and waiting for somebody else to die

My grandfather once said that meanest feeling of which any human being is capable is feeling bad at another’s success. 

It’s true. Bitter jealousy gets us nowhere. It’s like taking the poison and waiting for somebody else to die. 

What’s interesting is, there’s also a converse to that equation. Because the only thing more toxic than allowing the success of others to spark our resentment is allowing the failure of others to stimulate our inaction. Then both parties lose. Nobody learns anything. The world doesn’t move forward. 

And so, the goal is to respond to missteps with maturity. To replace resentment with responsibility. To fuel that frustration into our work. And to approach other people’s failures and mistakes and setbacks as a glowing source of inspiration for our own work, constantly asking ourselves what steps we have to take to avoid falling into the same traps. 

I have a colleague whose business is experiencing significant decline. To the point that she may have to get a second job to help pay the bills. When she first told me, I was terrified for her. It broke my heart to even have that conversation. Because I understand that the anxiety and shame and dread around that kind of situation is overwhelming. 

And yet, I was mindful of the undertow. I refused to view my colleague’s failure as the approximate shape of things to come. In fact, I used her story as a wakeup call. A bell of awareness whose reverberations motivated me to work even hard on my own company. 

The point is, it’s a matter of mindset. We can view the world as a multitude of forces conspiring to divide us against ourselves, or we can view the world as a continuous succession of extended hands hoping to help us along the journey.
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Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.  
scott@hellomynameisscott.com
www.nametagscott.com


Never the same speech twice. Customized for your audience. Impossible to walk away uninspired.

Now booking for 2016-2017.

Email to inquire about fees and availability. Watch clips of The Nametag Guy in action here!

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Recruit your surroundings to achieve your purposes


Gandhi famously said we need to become the change we want to see in the world. 

It’s an inspiring and eloquent theory for enabling progress. Unfortunately, most people tremble at the prospect of personal transformation. They only change when the pain of staying the same is greater than the cost to change. 

And so, perhaps it’s easier and more efficient to change our surroundings, not ourselves. To work from the outside in. To build in external accountabilities to absorb the heavy lifting and minimize the expenditure of our scarce mental resources. 

Crawford’s book on mind mastery explains that humans have become beset by outside forces that destroy our focus and disrupt our peace of mind. And if we want to get out of our heads and into the world, we should offload our thinking onto our surroundings. That way, instead of routinely relying on our limited and easily exhausted powers of concentration, we can encode things spatially in the environment. 

For example, the best strategy I’ve employed in twenty years of songwriting is using a classroom style rolling whiteboard for my lyric ideas. It’s more than tripled my musical output. Because instead of racking my brain trying to pull the perfect lyric out of the blue, I simply scan the whiteboard. I look for what wants to be written. I outsource the heavy lifting to my surroundings. 

This process reduces and externalizes my mental work in the arrangement of physical space, scaffolding my abilities with environmental props and technologies. And it makes the experience of writing songs more relaxing, more fun, more prolific and more physically interactive. 

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Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.  
scott@hellomynameisscott.com
www.nametagscott.com


Never the same speech twice. Customized for your audience. Impossible to walk away uninspired.

Now booking for 2016-2017.

Email to inquire about fees and availability. Watch clips of The Nametag Guy in action here!