Psychology Today reports that bowling with strangers can…get you high?

According to an article in this month’s issue of Psychology Today by Willow Lawson, “Given a choice between an outing with good friends or an evening with strangers, most people would choose their friends. But according to a new study, we might have a better time—and go home in a better mood—if we chose to make new acquaintances.”

“Tayyab Rashid, a University of Pennsylvania psychologist, randomly assigned college students to bowl by themselves, with close friends or with complete strangers. He was inspired by the 2000 best-selling book Bowling Alone by Robert Putnam, the Harvard researcher who argued that the disintegration of close-knit American communities causes low levels of personal happiness—even in the face of economic prosperity. He singled out bowling, which, though more popular than ever, has morphed from a team sport to solitary pursuit.”

“To Rashid’s surprise, he found participants who bowled with strangers were happier than students who hand-picked buddies to accompany them (and, as expected, people who bowled by themselves). For those who made new friends, the experience was similar to a successful date. Says Rashid, “They were euphoric.” Although college students tend to be an outgoing bunch, Rashid says one’s level of extroversion didn’t predict who would see the greatest uptick in mood. The study was presented at the annual Positive Psychology Summit.”


When was the last time you joined a group of strangers?

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Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

HELLO, my name is Podcast – Episode 4: Five Ways to Magnetize More Business

Since I’ve been dangerously sick for the past two weeks, I’ve had a lot of time between episodes of Law & Order to read and relax. Now that I’m on the road to recovery, I finally got around to recording another episode of HELLO, my name is Podcast.

This week’s clip focuses on MAGNETIZING more business. I really like the word magnetize. It’s the epitome of professional approachability: enabling the customers to come to YOU, as a result of your networking, branding and marketing efforts. It’s about giving value first, demonstrating credibility and authenticity to make people think, “Yeah, I wanna work with someone like that!”

So, enjoy. And if you haven’t already subscribed to my podcast, you can do so here.

Oh, and a special thanks to everyone who offered their kindness, prayers, cards and gifts while I was sick. You’re the reason I’m back to work. You’re the reason I’m feeling better. Thank you thank you thank you thank you.


What technique do you use to MAGNETIZE more business?

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Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

First Words Make (or Break) First Impressions


“Checking in…?”

“Here or To-Go?”

Isn’t it frustrating when those are the first words that come out of a front line employee’s mouth? As if they didn’t want to take the time, or couldn’t care less about offering a friendly, approachable greeting to the customer. Meanwhile, the next guy waiting in line thinks to himself, “Gee, thanks for the warm welcome. Nice first impression.”

SAD BUT TRUE FACT: the first impression window is narrowing.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this social trend since I was interviewed by the Wall Street Journal on the topic. The reporter and I discussed this “window,” and I mentioned my research on hundreds of books on first impressions.

MY THEORY: As years go by, we seem to have less and less time to make a first impression.

Consider these numbers:

•In the 80’s and 90’s, NLP authors like Nicholas Boothman claimed you only had 90 seconds to make a first impression

•By the time the new millennium hit, you only had four seconds, according to hundreds of articles

•In 2005, Malcom Gladwell’s bestselling book Blink explained that people made first impressions in TWO seconds

•This year, an article from The BBC quoted a study which explained that Internet surfers form an impression “in one 20th of a second of viewing a webpage”

It kind of makes you wonder: as technology accelerates and as time goes on, will people eventually have ZERO seconds to make a first impression?

Ok, just kidding.

But think back to the guy waiting in line at the counter: if employees only have a few seconds to make a first impression anyway, why would the first words out of their mouths be so unfriendly?

I used to work at the Ritz Carlton. We were trained to eliminate the word “Hello” from our vocabulary. It was always “Good morning!” or “Welcome in!”

What ever happened to phraseology like that? Have we become so rushed, so programmed, so unfriendly, so unapproachable and so robotic that we can’t sincerely take the time to offer a customer a warm welcome?

Nevertheless, the following list of substitute phrases will make the first words out of your mouth UNFORGETTABLE:

Instead of “Next,” try:

•“Step right up!”
•“Come on down!” (that one’s for you, Bob Barker!)
•“Don’t be shy!”

Instead of “Checking in?” try:

•“You finally made it!”
•“Welcome to paradise!”
•“Everyone’s been waiting for you!”

Now, if your company has a standard protocol for greetings, that’s understandable. You don’t want to piss of your boss. On the other hand, if you say, “Step right up,” and your customer starts laughing before he even begins the transaction, I seriously doubt your boss will say, “Johnson! Stick with the script!”

Look, these phrases work. I’ve used them thousands of times in my retail, food and guest service experience, and customers love them. They’re funny. They’re memorable. Most of all, they’re different. And that’s the whole point: not only to give your customers a brief encounter or experience that’s both friendly AND memorable; but also to communicate in a way so others can’t help but pay attention to and remember you.

After all, if you only have two seconds anyway, you may as well have a little fun!


What’s your best two-second customer greeting?

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Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

This is the kind of stuff that actually makes guests want to come BACK to your hotel

Last year I spent several months researching seven key areas of personal approachability. These categories came from over 300,000 articles, resources, journals, case studies, evaluations, training modules and college course notes from various disciplines; and ultimately led to the creation of The Approachability Indicator™.

Now, the one word which seemed to show up the most in all these resources was availability. But there seemed to be two kinds: personal and physical. And during my extended stint in Columbus last month (thanks a lot, Mother Nature), I encountered my new favorite example of physical availability…

At about 4:30 PM I checked in at the Hyatt Regency Columbus. The front desk attendant printed my key card, inserted it into the envelope and said, “Mr. Ginsberg, I’m Chris. I’m writing my name down on this card, that way if there’s anything you need, you can ask for me directly!”

He handed me the key card as I looked back with a huge smile on my face.

“Wait, do you guys always do that? I mean, when someone checks in, are you trained to write your name on the card like that?

“Yes sir. We’re feel it’s important to introduce and make ourselves available to the guests.”

“Really?! That’s great! I’m going to use that in my speech on approachability tomorrow!”

“Go right ahead!” Chris said.

“One last question,” I asked, “I’ve stayed at a lot of hotels. Especially Hyatts, who are one of my biggest clients. So, do all Hyatts do this?”

“Not that I know of. It’s just something we do here in Columbus to make our guests feel more welcome.”

Bravo, Chris. Bravo. 5-Star.


How do you make yourself physically available to your guests and customers?

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Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

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