HELLO, my name is Podcast – Episode 7: 2000 Days & Counting!

Out of all the 101 Life Lessons Learned from Wearing a Nametag 24-7 for 2000 Days, I thought I’d pick a few memorable ones and tell their back stories. And I know it’s been quite a while since my last podcast, so I promise that this episode is really, really good.

Oh, and my flash player hates me today. So if you want to hear this episode, just listen online over at www.hellomynameispodcast.com.



How do you feel about podcasts? Rate on a scale from 1-10 (1 being “what the heck is a podcast?” and 10 being “podcasts are going to replace mainstream media.”)

FastCompany article features Seth Godin, Squidoo and Scott Ginsberg!

In the Water Cooler section of the latest issue of FastCompany, I was interviewed for an article on online networking; or as I like to call it, internetworking. FastCompany and I discussed the hottest online networking phenoms like MySpace and Seth Godin’s latest gig, Squidoo, as tools to spread WOM and MAGNETIZE more business.

Scroll down to see the clip from page 94. You can also click the image for an enlarged view. (Either way, read the text below. Great little article.)

The MySpace phenomenon has produced a new wave of social networking services where you can set up an online home to connect with friends and broadcast your expertise. Notable newcomers include TagWorld and Seth Godin’s Squidoo. These aren’t just for kids. Everyone needs to be using them. Isn’t a website enough? No.

“People don’t understand the difference between a Web site and a Web presence,” emphasizes Scott Ginsberg, aka “That Guy with the Nametag.” (Ginsberg wears a nametag to make a point about approachability. He’s been wearing it for more than five years.) He has a website, a blog, and a Squidoo page, and writes articles for other websites.

He regularly gets writing and speaking gigs because people find him through Google – and because of how Google works, the more you’re out there thanks to networking sites, the higher you’ll rank when people search for your expertise. So which social-networking service is for you? All of them…

I have Seth Godin to thank for this invaluable piece of publicity. Here’s why. After the interview was over, I asked FastCompany the crucial question you must always ask reporters, customers and prospects: how’d ya hear about me?

FastCompany’s answer? “We saw your page on Squidoo.”

The lesson is simple: websites are no longer enough – you need a web presence.

Get your butt on Squidoo. Get your butt on MySpace. In fact, get your butt on everything! All of these tools for internetworking are front porches for your business. Every one of them positions you in a credible, approachable and valuable manner.

And that’s what MAGENTIZES more business, more word of mouth and more customers.


How do you maximize your web presence?

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

101 Life Lessons Learned from Wearing a Nametag 24-7 for the Past 2000 Days

I took most of yesterday off to celebrate and reflect on the past 2000 days of wearing a nametag 24-7.

I challenged myself to come up with a list of 101 Life Lessons Learned. It wasn’t easy, but I finally finished the list this morning.

I was always told, “Don’t tell ‘em what you did, tell ‘em what you learned.”

Therefore, here are 101 life lessons I’ve learned from wearing a nametag 24-7 for the past 2000 days. Enjoy!

1. Friendly always wins.
2. Be the first one.
3. Be the only one.
4. Be a sleeper.
5. Be interesting.
7. Be the world’s expert on yourself.
8. Be somebody who reminds everybody of nobody else in the world.
9. It’s really hard to beat up a stranger if you know his name.
10. Nametags are NOT about you. They’re about everyone in the world except you. Don’t boycott them. Wear your nametag for other people. Always.
11. Jack Canfield was right: if everybody says you’re out of your mind, you just might be onto something.
12. Everybody is somebody’s somebody.
13. Never wear a nametag into a strip club.
14. Never wash your shirt with a nametag still stuck on it.
15. Never use your older brother’s fake ID to get into a bar and then forget to take off your nametag at the door.
16. If the Washington Post calls you “The World’s Foremost Authority On Nametags,” you may as well take it.
17. Don’t be different, be unique.
18. You are what you charge.
19. Market yourself daily.
20. Nametags will not get you dates. If you’re a jerk, not even a nametag will make you approachable.
21. Find a way to give yourself away.
22. If you want 10,000 free nametags, you can always drop the name of the company that manufactures them on CNN.
23. The greatest compliment someone could ever give you is: “Thanks for being yourself.”
24. Do not despise the day of small beginnings.
25. Find a daily ritual.
26. Get a job that people couldn’t pay you NOT to do.
27. Nerds, dorks and geeks rule this world.
28. Give people permission to talk to you.
29. It’s not easy to be yourself.
30. Figure out exactly who you are and then go be that person every day.
31. Find a way to paint yourself in a good corner.
32. Everyone has at least one big idea.
33. Own a word.
34. Be that guy.
35. Confidence is king.
36. If you really want to show (not tell) people that you’re committed to an idea, you can always tattoo that idea on your chest. They’ll never doubt you again.
37. The world cannot resist a man on a mission.
38. Intentional Discomfort is the greatest teacher of all.
39. Everybody should write a book.
40. Life is not about finding yourself, it’s about creating yourself.
41. Validate your existence on a daily basis.
42. Do something cool on a daily basis.
43. There’s nothing more approachable than authenticity.
44. Consistency is far better than rare moments of greatness.
45. Don’t be selfish with your knowledge.
46. Just because the Today Show sends a camera crew to St. Louis to follow you around all day doesn’t mean they will actually air your segment. Jerks.
47. You don’t know intimidation until you’ve given a speech to 300 people who are twice your age, have three times your experience and know four times as much as you do.
48. You are an empty sheet of paper in the minds of people you encounter.
49. You have less than three seconds to create a first impression.
50. Hate mail is a gift, even if it’s true.
51. Indiana Jones was right: it’s not the years, it’s the mileage.
52. If you don’t have a blog, you’re a putz.
53. If you don’t carry your business cards with you wherever you go, you’re a putz.
54. Make daily appointments with yourself.
55. Everyone has a story. And everyone wants to tell that story. So ask them.
56. Smiling will never get you in trouble.
57. If someone is wearing a nametag, use their name. It makes them feel great.
58. It’s impossible to be too friendly.
59. It’s not cool to be an asshole.
60. It’s impossible to be too friendly.
61. If a strange man named Stephen starts calling you every single day for three weeks, it’s probably a good idea to remove your home phone number from your website.
62. If a strange man named Stephen starts showing up at your office, it’s probably a good idea to get a new job.
63. Tom Peters was right: dull encounters = dull you; cool encounters = cool you.
64. Stop worrying about which side of you chest to wear a nametag. Nobody cares. They only care if they can read your name from ten feet away.
65. You’d be surprised how many strangers will grab, touch, poke and molest your chest (and therefore violate your personal space) if you wear a nametag.
66. When people ask you, “So, what do you do?” make your answer memorable, valuable and unique. If their response isn’t “Hmm, that’s interesting…” or “Cool!” you need to rework your answer. Remember, even the most boring jobs can be explained in an UNFORGETTABLE way.
67. Authenticity, not charisma.
68. Fans, not customers.
69. Never underestimate the power of approachability.
70. People buy people first.
71. Find a way to make people stop, think and say, “Wow!”
72. Create encounters that otherwise would not have existed.
73. The best way to make someone feel comfortable is through self-disclosure.
74. Never apologize for your art.
75. Respect people’s no’s.
76. The best swimmers are always in the pool.
77. Find a way to keep yourself visually accountable. Wear a piece of jewelry that symbolizes a personal value; tattoo a credo on your wrist, whatever. Anything to keep you consistent. For me, it’s really hard to be a jerk to someone else when I’m wearing a nametag, which I do 24-7. Which means I can’t be a jerk. (Good!) What about you?
78. Mother Theresa was right: people don’t remember what you said; they only remember how you made them feel.
79. Break the silence. Every day.
80. If you don’t smile, they won’t believe you.
81. If you build it, they (might) come.
82. What’s in a name? Everything. Your character. Your life. Your brand. Your values.
83. If you walk into a hotel on New Year’s Day wearing a nametag on the tuxedo you slept in, people are probably going to say something.
84. If a two year old girl walks up to you in the middle of Starbucks, smiles and points at your nametag, it’s best to peel it off and stick it to her hand. Trust me on this one.85. Boredom is the enemy.
86. In the history of the world, nobody has ever yelled at another person for “Communicating too much.”
87. Don’t try to impress. Inspire first. Then people WILL be impressed.
88. Steve Pressfield was right: when people see you begin to live your authentic lives, it drives them crazy because they’re not living their own.
89. If you wear a nametag around Mexico, locals will more than likely smile at you and simply say, “Mr. Escott!”
90. If you wear a nametag around Switzerland, locals will more than likely smile and you and simply say, “Bonjour Scott!”
91. And if you wear a nametag around New York City, locals will more than likely not smile and simply say, “Get the hell out of my way, Scott.”
92. Some people are just not friendly.
93. If you get an email out of the blue from someone who just saw you speak and he said, “Your speech changed my life,” you’re probably doing a good job.
94. If you get an email out of the blue from someone who said, “You’re nuttier than a bag of trail mix,” you’re definitely doing a good job.
95. Coming up with a list of 101 Life Lessons Learned from Wearing a Nametag 24-7 for the Past 2000 Days is pretty hard.
96. Which is why I’m running short on ideas.
97. (Well, almost.)
98. I saved the three most important ones for the end…

99. If a 7 year old kid says he wants to be an author – then 15 years later actually becomes an author – he’s probably doing the right thing with his life.

100. If a 19 year old kid wins an award for “The Speaker You Could Listen to For Hours,” then actually becomes a professional speaker 4 years later, he’s definitely doing the right thing with his life.

101. And if all of that stuff happened to him simply because he decided to wear a nametag 24-7 to make people friendlier, there must be a God.


What have you learned from wearing nametags?

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

Today Scott Celebrates 2000 Days Wearing a Nametag!

It seems like a lifetime ago that I left that on-campus seminar at Miami University and decided to leave on my nametag for one day, just to see what happened.

I say “lifetime” because in the past six years, I’ve undergone more changes and more experiences than I could ever dream of. And after 2000 days straight of wearing a nametag 24-7, 37,000+ encounters, 3 books, 100+ speeches, 80+ articles and a full blown career as an entrepreneur, here are some of my favorite moments, lessons and memories…

Favorite People I’ve Met While Wearing A Nametag
I’d say it’s a tie between Ira the Squirrel Man, The Hugging Bellman, The Pick Up Artist, The Windy City Wench and Don’t Mess with Texas, Part 2

Stupidest Thing I’ve Ever Done While Wearing a Nametag
I once tried to use my brother’s fake ID to get into a bar. The bouncer looked at the license and asked, “So, Steve, why does your nametag say ‘Scott’? Woops.

Strangest Reaction to Wearing a Nametag
I still don’t understand how she thought I was on American Idol.

Most Embarrassing Moment While Wearing a Nametag
Even though I HATE strip clubs, I once went to Diamond Cabaret for a bachelor party. (I would have objected but I was the only sober driver.) Anyway, some guy came up to me at 4 AM and said, “Hey Scott! I really enjoyed your speech at my company the other day!” I’ve never been back, nor will I ever go back.

Most Frustrating Moment While Wearing a Nametag
One time before stepping on stage to give a speech, I was introduced as “Seth” Ginsberg. Boy, you’re really not paying attention when you screw that up!

Favorite Accomplishment While Wearing a Nametag
I don’t know what I’m more proud of: writing a quiz on approachability for Cosmo or getting inducted into Ripley’s Believe It Or Not.

Best Thing About Wearing a Nametag
Sigmund Freud says that “a person’s name is the single context of memory most apt to be forgotten.” Fortunately, nobody ever has to worry about forgetting mine; which I’m sure it’s a nice relief, albeit a small one.

Worst Thing About Wearing a Nametag
I’ve ruined a lot of my shirts.

Favorite Day While Wearing a Nametag
I gotta go with November 2, 2005. It was my five year anniversary. I celebrated by getting a nametag tattooed on my chest.

Best Christmas Gift Related to Wearing a Nametag
Thanks, Santa. And by Santa I mean MACO.

Favorite Traveling Adventure While Wearing a Nametag
The best chocolate and cheese from the world’s most neutral country.

Most Ironic Moment While Wearing a Nametag
I guess you had to be there.

* * * *
2000 days. Wow. And you know, it’s funny; a lot of audience members ask me, “Scott, can you believe all that’s happened to you in the past 2000 days?”

My answer is…

…YES. After all, if I didn’t believe, none of this would have happened.

Here’s to the next 2000!


Am I out of my mind or what!?

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

Holy crap! Spazio’s caught on fire two hours before my BNI speech!

Right before we were about to start the BNI Conference, someone came in yelling, “There’s a fire! Everybody out!”

Whoa. We ran outside and saw smoke coming from the roof. Sure enough, it was a real fire. This was not a drill. Everyone starting filing out of the building when the alarm went on.

“Scott, you better pack up your table and get your stuff out NOW,” Andy said.

“Nah, it’ll die down,” I replied.

But it didn’t. The fire kept spreading. We could see flames creeping out of the door panel. Man that was surreal. I’d never seen a real fire before.

I ran back inside through a cloud of smoke to rescue my laptop, chord, briefcase and anything else I could grab. Andy and I ran out of the building as the smoke continued to pour out.

Damn. There were books on each person’s chair. All 240 of them. Freakin’ great.

One of the maintenance guys tried to put out the flames with his exstinguisher, but it was just too big. It kept growing and growing.

By this time, most people (employees, guests, BNI folk) made it out without a problem. A few of us had trouble breathing in the smoke, but thankfully, nobody seemed to be seriously injured.

Everybody cleared out to the parking lot as the fire engines and ambulences echoed in the distance. “Well, I guess your speech is cancelled, huh Scott?” asked several people.

Yeah. Don’t think we’ll be learning about approachability on this day.

It took longer than I expected for the firemen to arrive. But they came with several trucks and two abulances, plus a few patrol cars to monitor traffic. And everyone seemed calm too. In fact, I was glad to see people talking, passing out business cards and networking. That’s what BNI is all about!

Wow, look at the smoke. It got really cloudy and hard to breath. I felt sick for the rest of the day.

Eventually people started talking about moving our meeting. I heard rumors of a coffee shop alternative, which actually worked out well.

Everyone drove down the street a few blocks to Bread Co. to continue our networking. After all, too many people came in from various parts of MO and IL for the regional meeting – we had to make use of our time!

This was my first experience with BNI. I was impressed. These people know how to give a networking introduction! I heard some amazing 30 second speeches. Even though it was hard to hear.

Scott Simon asked if I wanted to speak. I didn’t feel well in the head or stomach from the smoke, so I stood up and said, “Look, I need to be honest with you guys – I feel like crap. So I’m going to simply let you ask questions and we can get a discussion going.”

It turned out to be a great program. We had fun, shared ideas and stories and got to know each other a lot better. I thanked everyone for hanging out after the fire and told them I’d post the attendance list on this blog to show what a true, dedicated networker looks like. So, mucho props to the following folks:

Michael Momeno, Diane Lynn Parsons, Sharon Moses, Beckie Piontek, Dianne Overschmidt, Gary Tobben, Terri Jordan, Debbie Ducar, Joel Harris, Cherie Schroer, Becky Harmon, Corina Stagner, Bill Rau, Mike Scalise, Joe Gaboury, Tony Gartner, Nelson Wright, Linda Maynard, Marry Ellen Renaud, Sam Vladova, Laurie Kreienhedger, Joanna, Doyel, Fred Veinfurt, Don Barnes, Chuck Grbich, Nich Larosa, John Suarez, Ross Loevy, Joyce Fry, Laura Mocabese, Ann Grana, John Silberhorn, Aric Schreiner and Sharon Moses.


Have you ever been in a real fire before?

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

These canvassers really need to read up on approachability

I give props to anyone who canvasses. That’s a tough racket! And I’d say it’s as difficult – if not more so – than door to door sales. Not to mention it takes some understanding of approachability to do it.

Or so I thought…

Today I was filling up the tank (for no less than $2.77 a gallon, mind you), when I saw a guy standing by the door holding a clipboard.

Canvasser, I thought.

I inserted the nozzle into my tank and sat back down in the driver’s seat. Out of my front window I saw three other men with clipboards surrounding an old man in a red Mustang. Whoa, there’s more!

This guy didn’t look happy. And although it was hard to tell what he was saying over the sound of The Strokes, he looked mildly annoyed.

And then it occured to me: a gas station is a great place to canvass.

Think about it: you’ve got a diverse group of people over the age of 16 who have to stay put for at least 5 minutes. Which means they can’t walk away from you! It’s a canvasser’s dream! That is, as long as the canvasser approaches people in a friendly, non-invasive manner.

When my nozzle clicked, I walked out to get my credit card receipt. I kept my eye on the closest of the three canvassers, waiting to see if he’d approach me. Not yet. Maybe he doesn’t see me.

I sat down, closed the door and turned on the car. And before I could drive away, the canvasser walked towards my car and said, “Yo my man…!”

My window was open. He stuck his head inside and flashed the clipboard in front of my face.

“Hey why doncha sign this petition right quick?”

Hmmm. Interesting approach. So much for “personal space.”

“What’s it for?” I asked.

“It’s to help raise money for kids.”

“Oh, no thanks,” I said.


Dude…did this guy just yell at me? I thought.

But instead of getting upset like Mr. Mustang, I just decided to take the friendly way out. “Good luck to you guys!” I smiled.

“Hmmph…thanks,” he said as he rolled his eyes.

I drove out of the lot thinking, “Good luck getting signatures with that attitude.”


How could canvassers be more approachable?

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

Adventures in Nametagging: Motor City Style

Just got back from The Motor City. Cool town. Never been to Detroit before. Home of the RedWings (grrr…they stole Brett Hull from the Blues) and birthplace of Motown.

I stayed at the Inn on Ferry Street (pictured). Very historic. Each property was a real-life mansion! And much like the entire city of Detroit, the architecture was amazing.

I checked out yesterday morning before speaking to the students and alumni @ WSU. The women at the counter said, “Scott, you must be checkin’ out…”

“Yep, time to go to work.”

“Do they make you wear a nametag?”

“Oh, no. I always wear a nametag to make people friendlier.”

“Really?” she laughed.

“Yep. Going on 6 years now.”

“You know, that’s a good point. Whenever I wear my nametag, people are always a lot nicer. Probably because my name is unusual.”

“What is your name?”

“Levintres.” (not sure on the spelling, sorry)

“That’s beautiful. Where did it come from?”

“Well, it’s actually rooted in the French word for ‘adventure.’ And you know Scott, I hated my name for so long. Probably till I was about 22. But then I grew up and realized that I was my name.”


I noticed a billboard on the way to campus for Shady Records, Eminem’s label. It was appropriate since I planned to use Eminem as an example of commitment and dedication in my speech.

About halfway through my presentation I said, “This example of commitment reminds me of the city of Detroit. I’ve never been here before, but yesterday the first thing I saw on the highway was a bullet…”


“Billboard! Billboard! I meant to say…”

Shit. It was too late. I said “bullet.” Everybody died laughing. Nice one Ginsberg. Fortunately the audience was very forgiving and didn’t hold it against me.

Guess you had to be there.

Anyway, on the way out of the student center back to the car, I passed by a guy in his early 40’s wearing workout clothes who turned around and said, “Hey, are you Scott, The Nametag Guy?”

I stopped dead in my tracks. What the heck?!

“Yeah, that would be me.”

The man walked over and said, “My name’s Mike. I’m a highschool teacher right up the road. I actually used you as an example in one of my classes a few years ago. I saw your interview on CNN, showed it to my kids and then I made them all wear nametags for the entire day! They loved it!”

“Get the heck outta here! That’s crazy!” I replied.

I gave him both of my books and encouraged his kids to check me out on myspace.

All in all, it was an awesome trip. (See all my pictures here.) I’d go back to Detroit any day. But maybe next time I’ll check out a RedWings/Blues game.


Ever been to The Motor City?

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

Speaking @ WSU today; thinking back to the days of college

Man I miss college. So much fun, so little responsibility. And sitting here in Detroit as I prepare for my speech at the Senior Brunch today, I think back to all the great speakers I heard when I was a student.

Freshman year it was the CEO of Wrigley. As the owner of the Chicago Cubs, it was fascinating to hear him speak during the McGuire/Sosa homerun battle. I’ll never forget the way he ended his speech, “…so, in the words of Sammy Sosa, let me say that you students have been berry, berry good to me.

Nice. Kinda makes you wonder what his speech would be like today with all the hubub surrounding Bonds and other juiced up players.

Sophomore year it was Colin Powell, who was suprisingly funny. Halfway through his talk he asked all the members of ROTC to stand up so the rest of us could give them a round of applause. Of course, this was pre-911. Today, I think he’d ask us to give them a standing ovation.

Junior year I saw Rubin “Hurricaine” Carter address the student body. THAT was cool. When I heard he was coming to campus, I rented the movie based on his life to get a better understanding what he’d gone through as an athelete and a prisoner. Great acting job by Denzel. And I’ll always remember the line in his speech when he talked about being wrongfully im p risoned, “Hate threw me in, but love busted me out.”


What was the best speech you ever heard?

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

Why every entrepreneur needs to be on Flickr no later than tomorrow

Great news! I finally uploaded 140+ pics of speeches, travels and friends on Flickr.

And now I see what all the rage is about.

Flickr is super easy to use, it’s fun and it’s free. And in terms of the big picture…(ok, bad pun)…Flickr is a perfect tool to help businesspeople become more approachable…

1) It enables entrepreneurs to share pics with their customers. In my case, audience members like my friend Joe from Cincy. Click the box to watch a slide show!

2) You organize “sets” of pictures in groups based on the various areas of your profession (or life). For me, see pics of past speeches, media photos and book production. Click the box to learn more!

3) Albums of you simply “being you.” From baseball games to book signings to weddings, these photos capture it all. Check out my pic with the Easter Bunny!

The reason Flickr is so great is because it enhances the basic principle upon which approachability is based: TRUST.

Why should I hire this person?
Because you’ve just seen 40 pictures of him working (and laughing) with past clients.

How do I know this person is a credible expert?
Just browse through an album of her being interviewed in the media.

Will I get along and work well with him?
Well, if a picture is worth a thousand words, that answer should be apparent by the time you’re done flipping through the albums.

BOTTOM LINE: get your butt on Flickr. It’s authentic, approachable, fun, personal and shows your customers, fans, friends and prospects that you walk your talk.

My Favorite Flickr Peeps
Tom Peters
Steve Rubel
John Moore


How do you use pictures to promote trust?

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

Rewriting the Open Door Policy

Last week I spoke to a group of sales managers from UniGroup, Inc. Part of our session dealt with physical availability, namely the common management cliche, “open door policy.”

I’ve read about this a thousand times. I’ve even had managers who assured me that there was, in fact, an open door policy.

So here’s my question: why is it always up to the employee to take the first step?

This reminds me of a key point about approachability that not enough people understand: it’s a two way street.

Literally. The word “approachability” comes from the Latin verb appropiare, or “to come nearer to.” Which means it’s both proative and reactive.

Unfortunately, management must have missed the boat on this one. For example, check out a few definitions of “open door policy” from About.com:

An open door policy provides employee access to any manager or supervisor including the CEO.

Adopt an open door policy that states any employee can talk with any level manager about any issue at any time.

Every manager’s door is open to every employee.

Our open door policy means that employees are free to talk with any manager at any time.

THE PROBLEM WITH THIS: it’s one sided. You don’t see anything about the manager stepping out to the employees, do you?

This is why we need to rewrite the Open Door Policy. The door should swing both ways. Managers should not only keep their own doors open; but get out of their offices and open other people’s doors too.

After all, the only way to get to your employee’s door is by first stepping onto his front porch.


How would you rewrite the Open Door Policy?

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

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