I sure hope my iPod isn’t reading this post

According to a recent article bashing iPods at work (sniff!) portable music players such as iPods are increasingly showing up on the job, a trend that’s being praised as a boon to productivity as well as criticized as a safety risk and employee distraction.

Furthermore, the article explained: “The use of MP3 players isn’t music to everyone’s ears. While many employees who use the miniature music players believe they help them focus on work by blotting out background noise or revving up their energy, some employers see MP3 players as creating a distraction from work — and a safety and security risk.”


  • 40 million+ iPods have been sold as of January 2006
  • 80% of technical and creative workers listen to music more than 20% of their working hours
  • 20% of management level workers listen to music more than 20% of their working hours
  • 40% of clerical workers listen to music more than 20% of their working hours

    ( – ) MP3 use can be inappropriate in some work settings or can stifle communication because employees may have a hard time catching the attention of a co-worker with ear buds
    (+) iPods = music = motivated employees
    ( – ) Some co-workers may play music through speakers, which can annoy colleagues within earshot
    (+) iPods = podcasts = updates on news = aware employees
    ( – ) iPods can pose a distraction and may prevent the wearer from hearing warning alarms and bells or warnings shouted by co-workers

    I work alone. In my own home. So I guess I can’t really express my opinion on some of those issues. However, I will say that some of the best stuff I’ve ever written has been “under the influence” of my iPod. Personally, I’d go nuts without it. And people don’t want to read articles, books and blog posts from someone who’s nuts. (Or do they…?)

    On the other hand, think about how many times you’ve seen someone walking down the street, working out at the club, riding the bus to work or browsing the shelves of a library…wearing an iPod.

    Unapproachable? Maybe. But most people are smart enough to think, Ok, she doesn’t want to be bothered right now. She’s rockin’ out. I’ll leave her alone. And maybe that’s a good thing inasmuch as iPods give people time to themselves, i.e., commuting, working out, etc.

    I suppose you could always buy one of these AWESOME iPod covers from Shuffle Some. (Thanks to Chief Show Officer for this one.) This design is a visual interpretation of one aspect from my current study about Acoustical Privacy: the iPod as a potential indicator for “non-communication”.

    Through a playful approach the sticker either strengthens the wish for privacy but also offers the opportunity to break up the silence with the direct demand for conversation, says the website.

    But some people, namely those who refuse to remove their iPod earphones while going through security at the airport, for example…just don’t get Ipod Etiquette.

    Folks: it’s not that hard to pull those little white nubs out of your ear and be friendly to someone for 5 seconds. Don’t worry – your iPod won’t be mad at you.

    Although someone waiting in line behind you might be.


    IPods: front porch or back fence?

    * * * *
    Scott Ginsberg
    Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

  • Sometimes the best FIRST impression is a LAST impression

    When I interviewed with the WSJ a few weeks back, the article addressed the narrow window in which people have to make first impressions: 10 seconds? 5 seconds? 2 seconds?

    Whatever. Just remember that it’s quick.

    But also remember that some of our most UNFORGETTABLE first impressions come from our LAST impressions.

    By that I mean, “The last words out of your mouth during the final transaction with a customer.”

    For example, when I stayed at the Paradise Point Resort in San Diego last week, I made notes about various interactions with the hotel staff. Throughout the weekend, everything was awesome. But when I checked out, one of the concierge staff (Liz) said something I’ll never forget.

    “Checking out Scott?”


    “Are you sure…?” she smiled.

    “Ha ha…nice. Yeah, I’m sure. Gotta get back home,” I replied.


    In all my years of traveling, I’ve NEVER heard a front desk attendant say something like that before. I thought it was awesome. Fun, memorable and welcoming. Most importantly, it was the last touch point during my stay. The last chance to project approachability to a guest.

    And it was UNFORGETTABLE.


    How can you make your closing lines more memorable?

    * * * *
    Scott Ginsberg
    Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

    Does anyone in San Diego ever work?

    Just got back from a speech in San Diego with my client, Remodelers Advantage. I spent the whole weekend there to soak up the sun and enjoy the scenery.

    On Friday morning I took a barefoot walk down to the beach at about 8:00 AM. I saw people running, biking, wakeboarding, surfing and lounging. And my first thought was: does anyone in San Diego ever work?

    By the time we made it out to La Jolla at 10, I knew the answer: heck no!

    Would you work if this was your back yard?

    (That’s why I’m never moving out here…unless I’m retired!)

    I met lots of friendly people. Got a couple of “Hey Scott’s” on the beach, passed out plenty of nametags to inquiring strangers around town and even made a few new friends.

    Unfortunately, some homeowners weren’t exactly “welcoming.”

    All around town I noticed street promoters like my noodling friend over here. Funny story. I leaned out of the car window to take a picture, then the promoter’s friend shouted, “Wait, let me take a picture of you taking a picture of us!”

    Good times.

    As usual, we placed Scott’s Friend nametags on each of the 420 chairs. And it’s always fun to watch the interactions of tablemates when they sit down.

    “Boy, Scott has a lot of friends!” was the most common response.

    “Wait, don’t sit there – that seat is saved for Scott’s Friend!”

    One lady even came up to me and joked, “So, do I have to be Scott’s Friend?”

    “Uhh, not if you don’t want to,” I sniffed, “But I hear he’s a really cool guy!”

    Needless to say, the audience was a lively bunch. I had a chance to get to know a lot of them in person, and let the truth be known: when it comes to remodeling, these guys were the cream of the crop!

    I spent a few minutes in the beginning of the program illustrating a critical key of approachability: encounters that otherwise would not have existed. I offered the audience the Nametag Encounter Equation, which recently increased to 35,420.

    We closed with an important discussion on consistency, referring both to Kevin Costner AND, ironically, a Business Week article I just happened to rip out the day before in the health club called If you build it, they might come.

    Oh, and speaking of irony…

    This is one of the slides I’ve been showing to my audiences for the past three years. It’s a picture of a beatiful front porch I found several years back on Google Images.

    Funny story…

    After the speech was over, Bruce Curtis from Woodrights came up to me and said, “Hey Scott, you know that front porch image you used in your presentation? I built it!”

    “Get the hell outta here!”

    “Oh yeah, it’s up in Lansing, Michigan. Worked on the project about 5-6 years ago. That front porch has won awards, been featured in magazines and everything!”

    “Wow!” I said. “I feel like I owe you money or something.”

    Instead we settled for a picture. (Thanks for not sueing Bruce!)

    Hey, somebody’s gotta work around here.


    What city would you never move to?

    * * * *
    Scott Ginsberg
    Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

    How to neutralize your customers’ worst fears

    I used to work in retail, so I know how important approachability can be when it comes to encounters between salespeople and in-store customers.

    That’s why when I read this article from CNN.com called Best-kept secrets of the world’s best companies, I also peed my pants.

    Yes, that’s how amazing this idea is. Check it out…

    Car shopping as entertainment has always been the draw at Planet Honda in Union, N.J., one of Honda’s fastest-growing dealerships. A giant video wall shows footage of the latest models, and new-car buyers get a G-force ride on an 18-foot spaceship simulator.

    The best part of the show? The “tech cafe,” where the presence of salespeople is strictly verboten, and where a receptionist asks shoppers if they need help. If you respond the way most do–“Just looking, thanks”–you get a yellow smiley-face badge emblazoned with the letters “JL” to stick on your lapel, which alerts the sales guys to back off.

    Not for long. Planet Honda owner Tim Ciasulli says JLs turn out to be his best customers, because the badge helps to lower their defenses. “The magic is when they peel it off after 15 minutes and they’re ready to do business,” Ciasulli says. The dealership sold 3,300 new cars last year, more than three times the average for independent dealerships.


    The Approachability Gods have shined down upon thee, oh mighty Planet Honda of Union, New Jersey!

    It’s reeeeeally interesting how this works. You could say it’s an anti-front porch (back fence) inasmuch as the customers don’t care to be approached (yet). But just because they have the stickers on, doesn’t mean they can’t be approached at all or ever! They just need to be approached them differently.

    And what happens is, there’s a sense of comfort on the end of the customer, since he doesn’t have to worry about being bugged; yet the salesman can better read the customers he DOES need to approach in order to serve them better.

    Everybody wins because everybody’s comfortable.


    What steps do you take to neutralize your customers’ worst fears?

    * * * *
    Scott Ginsberg
    Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

    If you build it, they will come…maybe

    Was Kevin Costner accurate in Field of Dreams right when he said:

    “If you build it, they will come…”?


    You can take that quotation in all kinds of directions. And I think one way to transfer his words is into the realm of marketing, or as I call it, professional approachability:

    If you build it = a front porch for you and your company that projects approachability…

    They = customers, prospects, the media, strangers…

    Will come = confidently and comfortably TO YOU in order to learn more, become fans, hopefully buy from you, then tell others how cool you are


    But still, there’s something missing. Check this out:

    If you build it (authentically), they will come.
    If you build it (creatively), they will come.
    If you build it (consistently), they will come.
    If you build it (interestingly), they will come.
    If you build it (intentionally), they will come.
    If you build it (fearlessly), they will come.
    If you build it (daily), they will come.
    If you build it (humanly), they will come.
    If you build it (visually), they will come.
    If you build it (concisely), they will come.
    If you build it (transparently), they will come.
    If you build it (participatory), they will come.
    If you build it (uniquely), they will come.
    If you build it (respectfully), they will come.
    If you build it (unselfishly), they will come.
    If you build it (simply), they will come.
    If you build it (magnetically), they will come.


    Can you fill in the blank?
    If you build it (__________), they will come.

    * * * * *
    Scott Ginsberg
    Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

    HELLO, my name is Podcast – Episode 6: Clips From Scott’s Speech @ WOMMA

    I just got the audio recording of my keynote @ WOMMA’s Basic Training Conference in January. A couple of great clips are included in this week’s podcast, including (what I think is) the funniest thing that’s ever happened to me during a speech.

    Guess you’ll just have to listen to find out what it is!


    What’s the funniest moment you’ve ever experienced during a speech?

    * * * *
    Scott Ginsberg
    Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

    “Hey Scott, do you know anyone else who wears a nametag all the time?”

    I get this question a lot. And while I’ve received lots of emails over the years on the topic of “nametag wishes and sharpie dreams,” I’ve only met a few dozens folks who’ve really stuck with it. (God the puns are endless with this stuff!)

    But every once in a while an article pops up about some guy (and it’s usually a guy, too, for some reason…I don’t think women would be as likely to wear a nametag all the time for security reasons) who decides to start wearing a nametag. And I LOVE reading the observations, stories and reactions by their friends and families. For example, this column by Brent Holloway was published in the Southern Utah Spectrum the other day. It’s called A nametag is more than an addiction.

    Here are a few excerpts from Brent’s article, along with comments from my own experiences:

    BRENT: “As I stood looking in the mirror the other day, I could see that my wife was watching me. Of course, I thought it was pure admiration – until she started talking.

    ‘Do you really feel it’s necessary to wear your name tag?’ she asked.”

    SCOTT: Welcome to my world, Brent. Every roomate, friend, girlfriend and family member for the past 6 years has made some variation of that comment to me hundreds of times. Especially my brother. He used to be SO annoyed with my nametag that he’d actually rip it off and yell, “Scott, why can’t you just be NORMAL for one night?!”

    BRENT: “‘Well,’ she replied, ‘I can see that, but I wish you’d at least stop wearing it to church. I think the bishop and the members of the congregation already know who you are and most of them know what you do ever since you decided to hand out your business cards during Sunday school last month.’

    Then she sternly added, ‘I was relieved when the instructor finally asked you to sit down and behave yourself.’

    SCOTT: Yep, heard that one a million times. Once when I was helping out at a Brian Tracy seminar, I asked to get a picture with the sales master himself.

    Right before the photo snapped, he kindly whispered into my ear, “Alright Scott, better lose the nametag for the picture.”

    Yeah. You wish, Tracy.

    Furthermore, churches are the #1 most common place for people to wear nametags. It’s almost taboo if churches DON’T provide nametags for members, guests and first-timers! Therefore, I think your bishop and fellow congregation members should commend you for your bravery, approachability and friendliness.

    BRENT: “‘I realize that,’ she replied. ‘But you still need to consider your circumstances and evaluate whether or not a name tag is considered appropriate. In fact, I’ll tell you what; I’ll help you right now. Under the current circumstances, I would say that a name tag is probably not appropriate.’

    ‘Why not?’ I asked.

    ‘Well, you’re standing in your pajamas and getting ready for bed.’

    You know, I really hate to admit it. But this time, she just might be right.

    SCOTT: No offense Brent, but she’s wrong. Don’t listen to her. If you want to wear a nametag to bed, you go right ahead. Wear it wherever you want! I’ve worn a nametag in every questionable circumstance you can imagine: funerals, weddings, the beach, clubs, dark alleys, climbing the Grand Canyon, even on a gorilla suit at Mardi Gras! Nobody gets offended. It’s friendly and rarely inappropriate. In fact, as The World’s Foremost Authority On Nametags, Scott Ginsberg hereby grants you official permission to do so.

    So Brent: Good luck, Good Nametagging and Godspeed.


    Do you think nametags are innapropriate in certain circumstances?

    * * * *
    Scott Ginsberg
    Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

    OK, I finally jumped onto the MySpace bandwagon

    I admit it: I’ve been skeptical about MySpace for a while now.

    To me, it just seemed like something that would have been fun to do in high school or college; but as a business person, probably not a prudent use of my time.

    Then I read this article from the USA Today about MySpace that educated me further.

    “Traffic on MySpace has grown 318% in the last year to 37.3 million visitors in February, making it the top social networking site on the Web and the eighth most popular website overall, according to ComScore Media Metrix. In July, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. bought MySpace for $580 million.

    THEN, I was interviewed by FastCompany (look for my article in the upcoming May issue!), during which the topic of MySpace came up. And I learned how Dane Cook has utilized MySpace as his #1 marketing tool that’s catapulted his career tremendously, i.e., because of MySpace, Dane Cook’s SNL appearance was the highest rated episode in several years.

    Now, I’ve also read articles like this that discuss possible downsides to MySpace. In addition, I’ve heard it gets very addicting and could potentially invite online predators.

    In the end I figured, what the hell – I’ll do it. So I sucked it up, took a few hours to get my page together, (with the help of Design Shark Studios), and here it is:


    Now, my page has only been up for a week, but I gotta say: it’s pretty damn cool. I’m really enjoying it. I’ve met some cool new people, re-connected with old friends; even started a second blog called “Adventures in Nametagging.”

    This new blog will chronicle daily, short, fun, nametag-related stories ONLY, most of which WILL NOT be posted on this blog. So, definitely check out the new page, subscribe to the new blog, and if you’re already on MySpace, I would love to be your friend!

    Ultimately, I guess it just makes sense: MySpace is a virtual front porch. I probably should have gotten on it a long time ago. Oh well! I’m there now!


    What’s your position on MySpace in terms of 1) business, and 2) personal capacities?

    * * * *
    Scott Ginsberg
    Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

    Survey reveals that “beasts” increase a wine bottle’s retail approachability

    Thanks to good ol’ Google Alerts, as soon as the words “approachable,” “approachability” and the like show up on the internet, I get to read about them.

    I started doing this for research purposes, as well as discover cool stuff to post on this blog. And the one thing I’ve noticed in the past few years is that whenever “approachable” comes up, at least one of the links is a page about wine.


    From what I’ve gathered, people who talk in “winespeak” use the word approachable to describe the flavor, smell and age of the wine. I personally have NO idea what the hell that means since a) I don’t drink, b) know absolutely nothing about wine, and c) don’t really care about wine.

    Although, Sideways is one of my favorite movies, ironically. But that might have less to do with wine and more to do with Virginia Madsen. Yowsa.

    Anyway, I DID come across a fascinating press release about the LABELS of wine as they pertain to approachability. Check it out:

    “According to the marketing information company, ACNielsen, in the super-competitive business of selling wine, animals on labels give new brands an edge.”

    And this is my favorite part…

    “Americans buy twice as much of new wines with beasts on their labels as they do other new wines.”

    “Animals help labels stand out on crowded wine shelves where a monkey, kangaroo or a loon can be seen against a backdrop of the more mundane.”

    “And in addition to using colorful, animal labels, some of the hottest-selling wines are swapping corks for screwcaps.”

    “California’s FishEye Winery is one of the wines coming in new 3-liter boxes as well as in traditional bottles. Company spokeswoman Laurie Jones says selling wine in boxes makes the process less intimidating. She says approachable wines with memorable labels are able to attract consumers, especially when they’re affordable.”

    I’ll drink to that!


    What do you think makes a product package approachable to retail customers?

    * * * *
    Scott Ginsberg
    Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

    Hey Scott, how many people have you actually met by wearing a nametag 24-7 for 6 years?

    Special thanks to all my new friends at T-Mobile (namely, Dennis Smith) who invited me to speak at their monthly teleseminar yesterday. We had a great time talking about recruitment, an industry for which approachability is absolutely essential.

    During Q & A, Dennis posed an interesting question that I’d actually been wondering about myself recently. “Scott, have you ever tried to quantify the approximate number of people you’ve met by wearing a nametag that you otherwise wouldn’t have encountered?”

    Of course I have!

    The Nametag Encounter Equation

    (x) people met in person per day
    (y) people met via internet, email, phone per week
    (z) audience members spoken to per month
    (1,962 days straight)


    ≈ 35,000 people!!

    35,000 people I wouldn’t have met otherwise.


    Now, you might wonder, “Yeah, but Scott, how many of those 35,000 people actually became your ‘friends’?”

    Good question.

    First of all, who do you define as a “friend”? And does that really matter? Isn’t everyone just a friend you haven’t met yet anyway?

    Secondly, it’s not just about making friends. It’s about making friendLINESS. It’s about how great someone feels after talking to a new person; not whether or not they get together for coffee the next day, or ANY day!

    Lastly, according about 500 networking booksthat I’ve read, the average person knows approximately 250 people.

    That’s “people,” not “friends.”

    So let me just say this. Out of those 35,000 people:

  • many I never saw again
  • many I became acquaintances with
  • many I became good friends with
  • many I became great friends with
  • many became my clients or customers
  • and yes, a few of them I ended up dating 😉

    The point is, approachability is about encounters that otherwise would not have existed. It’s about NOT missing those opportunities by breaking the silence and giving people permission to talk to you in a comfortable, confident environment.

    BOTTOM LINE: 35,000 is a LOT of people. And I’m grateful every day that I’ve had the opportunity to meet all of them, notwithstanding the level or result of the encounter. So whether it’s a fleeting conversation, a mutually valuable friendship or a date for friday night, it all matters. In the words of my hero Glen Phillips, “Everything matters. Every word is a seed that scatters.”


    How often do you go out of your way to meet new people?

    * * * *
    Scott Ginsberg
    Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

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