Bonjour, je m’appelle Scott!

Viola! I just finished a program with Junior Leadership University of YPO in Leysin, Switzerland. It was amazing! The city was THE most beautiful place I’ve ever seen. And the pizza…ohhhhh the pizza…MAN it was good stuff.

Unfortunately, Leysin wasn’t as friendly as I’d hoped. The only Bonjor Scotts I received were from a nice lady who sold me a Swiss Army Knife and a group of European tourists who stared at me like I was crazy.

Oh well!

Nevertheless, we had an amazing week. There were about 40 highschoolers from around the world who came to Leysin to improve their leadership skills. My workshop was called “Unforgettable Communication…One Conversation At A Time,” a true characteristic of all great leaders. The students learned about building front porches, becoming experts on themselves, resistance/discomfort and everyday rituals. The participation, feedback and attentiveness were incredible from everyone!

Check out some of these pictures! To take a closer look, just click on the thumbnail to enlarge each set.

Volleyball with Chic and Renee, Drew, Brian and Mike stuck on the bus, Amy and Sara @ Ropes Course

Soccer (futbol) in the mountains, KJ’s nametag and The Village

Cool Suisse shirts, fondue and 100 reindeer

Josele’s sexy “look,” Scott and the students and a few shots of the Alps

Scott’s workshop and the students’ posterboard summary of Scott’s workshop

A 3 hour hike into the Alps, two cows having sex and peaceful reflection from the summit

The Great Grass Clock, Caroline and her gi-normous glasses, Matt from South Africa and Drew the Drummer

Political Graffiti, Amy the “Bomb Ass,” and Lausanne

Lake Geneva and a sissy speaker who didn’t have the guts to swim because it was too cold

Sunrise at 5:00 AM on Friday the 22nd

It was a great honor to speak to all the students of Junior Leadership University. You guys were awesome! I can’t wait to stay in touch with everyone, and I’ll see my fellow staff members Chic, Renee, Roger, Suzanne, Doon, Robert, Kerry, KJ, Phil, Bjorn, Chris and Daryl again next year!

Au revoir!


What’s the most beautiful foreign city you’ve ever visited?

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Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

What did you want to be when you grew up?

When I was seven years old I wanted to be an author. Not a writer, but an author. As in, “guy who writes books.” Why I chose that career, I’m not sure. Maybe I liked writing. Maybe I thought books were cool. Or maybe it was just the first answer I could come up with.

The truth is, I never really gave it much thought.

That is, not until one random day about 6 months ago when I was giving a speech to a group of 7th graders. I started telling these kids about the two books I’d written when it hit me like a ton of books. Yes, books – not bricks.

Oh my God! I thought. I really AM an author!

At that moment I realized that there truly is something to be said about the career aspirations of kids. You see, the younger a person is the less likely his hopes and dreams are to be influenced by his parents, peers, money, fame or even college major. After all, when you’re seven years old – you don’t know anything, you just talk from your heart.

Unfortunately, somewhere down the line kids stop using their hearts and begin using their heads. And the result is: they think too much.

Don’t get me wrong. Thinking is good. But sometimes, you just have to listen to your heart.

Now I know that’s a bit cliché. To be honest with you, I don’t even know how the whole “listen to your heart” process works. It’s probably different for everybody.

But I DO believe that success leaves clues.
And I DO believe that certain experiences in our lives are indicators of our true nature.

A few years ago I read an interview in Spin magazine with Bono, one of my heroes and also one of the great rock stars of my time. When asked about the musical development of U2’s songs, Bono quoted Michelangelo and said, “The sculpture is already in the stone.”

The sculpture is already in the stone. I never forgot that.

That means every time Michelangelo sat down to sculpt one of his many masterpieces, the piece was already finished. All he had to do was chip away.

That means every time Bono and his band mates sat around the studio to record a track for their next classic album, the song was already complete. All they had to do was chip away.

I think people are the same way. When each of us is born, we’re nothing but a big block of stone. Blank, untouched and unformed. But every single day of our lives is like a piece of that stone is being chipped away by our experiences. And eventually, there will come a time – probably some random Tuesday at 2:30 PM – when we will look in the mirror at what used to be a plain old block of stone, and see a great masterpiece: the sculpture of the person we were born to be.

And when that moment comes, my GOD…it’s beautiful. It reminds me of a great quotation I recently heard from best selling author and NSA past president Mark Sanborne, “There are two great moments in a person’s life: the moment he was born and the moment he realizes WHY he was born.”


What did you want to be when you grew up? Did you become that person?

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Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

Building front porches on the tarmack

Today was a long day: St. Louis to Newark, Newark to Geneva, and Geneva to Leysin.

Total travel time: 14 hours.


This morning I dragged myself onto the plane, already tired from a restless night. (I always get that way before giving a speech.) All I wanted to do was find my seat, turn on my Ipod and pass out for the next 8 hours.

Unfortunately my master plan was foiled by Mother Nature who decided to bring a dangerous storm system through the Newark area and delay takeoff for 55 minutes.


A woman passed me in the aisle and teased, “Hey Scott, you can take off your nametag now.”

You know, it’s amazing: after five years, I still get this comment about twice a day. And after five years, I still think it’s pretty funny! But that’s what happens when your life is one giant, ongoing sociological experiment.

“Actually I always wear it to make people friendlier,” I replied.

“Oh really?” she said as she plopped down in the row behind me, “Well ok then!”

A few minutes later we all resigned to the fact that we weren’t going anywhere, so I decided to strike up a conversation with everyone in my seating area. I met three incredible people:

1) Jessica – a brilliant painter who shared some of her artwork from her portfolio
2) Cristele – a world famous flute player who gave copies of her CD’s to everyone
3) John – a businessman and world traveler who’d recently moved to St. Louis

We had a blast! Everyone shared stories about their work, families and passions. (I passed out nametags.) And the hour went by like a blink. Now, the cool thing is, when the pilot gave us the bad news about the delay, we could have complained. We could have hidden our faces in our books and music. But instead, we decided to connect with each other. And it was the perfect way to start off a day that we all KNEW was going to be a long one.

You see, encounters like these usually have the tendency to create memorable experiences. And that’s what building front porches is all about: breaking the silence, discovering the common point of interest and having a conversation with someone that otherwise wouldn’t have existed.


What’s your best “flight friend” story?

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Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

What happens when 1300 professional speakers get together?

Whooooooo! What a week! I just got back from this year’s fantastic conference of the National Speakers Association. The sessions were informative; the speeches were inspirational; the activities were fun and the late night parties were…well…unforgettable!

Because there was such an explosion of knowledge, experience and insight, I thought I’d share some of the most memorable one-liners from this year’s speakers. After all, we can only quote Ben Franklin, Napolean Hill and Mark Twain for so long. Let’s hear what the next generation of brilliant thinkers has to say…

“Whether you’re speaking to an audience or to a person, always leave the campsite better than you found it.”
Mark Scharenbroich

“Whiney, moany and groany people don’t have opportunities, encouragement and learning because nobody wants to be around them!”
Andy Andrews

“People don’t care what you did, they only care what you learned.”
Mark Sanborn

“The quality of the wood is magnified by the finish, and if the customer can see himself in the reflection – he will buy the furniture.”
Thom Winninger

“When you walk with purpose, you collide with destiny.”
Betrice Berry

“Don’t worry about trying to impress people, worry about trying to inspire people; because if you can inspire them first, they WILL be impressed.”
Willie Jollie

“The greatest barrier to business success is anonymity.”
David Avrin


What’s your best one-liner?

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Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

What’s the HICH? How to Handle Business Card Overflow at a Conference

I’m about halfway through my favorite week of the year: the annual convention of the National Speakers Association. And as I sit here in the lobby of the Atlanta Hyatt, MAN are these business cards piling up!

But this is a good thing – a surefire sign that networking is in the air.

HOWEVER, how many times have you returned home from a 4 day convention, whipped out your stack of new business cards and said to yourself, who the hell are all these people?!

You certainly don’t want that to happen. So here’s how you can keep your “business card overflow” organized.

Keep several clear plastic holders in your convention binder. At the end of each day, collect all of the new cards and assign them to a sleeve. Then, put a post it note next to the card with several key points about your new contact, i.e., what he looks like and what the two of you discussed. (This will come in handy later when you transfer your information to your contact database.)

Then, use the HICH™ Technique. The HICH stands for, “How I Can Help”

Write down HICH on that post it note with some ideas for ways to give value to that person. For example, in the picture below, you see a note I made about “PB resources.” My new friend Mare has an upcoming speech, and I promised her several personal branding resources that would be perfect for her program.


How do you keep your “business card overflow” organized?

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Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

Kiss your power suit goodbye

Yesterday I was having lunch with a colleague when the topic of business attire came up. As a 25 year veteran of the corporate world, she was curious about my thoughts on power suits. So, when she asked what I chose to wear during meetings, speeches, conferences, etc., I told her that I wasn’t a “suit and tie” kind of guy. But I also thought it was important to exude a sense of professionalism while staying consistent with my personal brand and individual style.

She then gave me a brilliant piece of advice I’ll never forget:

“There’s no such thing as a power suit anymore. The outfit that allows you to feel most comfortable and most like yourself will, in fact, give you the most power.”


What does your power suit look like?

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Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

Here’s my card! Oh wait, I don’t have one.

According to last week’s Big Question, 50% of the respondents have, at some point, missed out on a business opportunity because they DIDN’T have a business card with them.

Several participants of the survey also contributed the following feedback:

“Actually, [not having a card] gave me the opportunity to converse more and get more info from them.”

“I have frequently forgotten cards, as I usually run out. So I will write my information on the back of the other person’s card, or better yet, get their card and call them or send them one of mine.”

“I’ve used napkins, the back of someone’s hand, even kleenex!”

“My business cards are always with me, in my purse. Guys can just as easily carry a few in their wallets — that way, whenever you leave the house, you have some cards with you.”

“I have missed a few great chances by not acting fast enough.”

“Not having a card is no excuse for missing an opportunity. Write your name and phone number on the back of your contact’s card, on a napkin – anything!”

How can we prevent this from happening? Here’s one idea.


Have you ever missed out on a business opportunity because you didn’t have a business card?

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Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

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