Scott Speaks at ASAE SpringTime Expo!

First time in DC this week. Very cool town! Spoke for 3000 people at ASAE’s SpringTime Expo. The feedback from the audience was tremendous. One woman even said, “I’ve been coming here for 10 years and ALWAYS wanted to hear a speaker who talked about approachability!”

Sweet. That’s me!

I’ve got lots of other great tidbits to share with ya:

Random Cool Quotation Someone At ASAE Told Me
“What we learn with pleasure we never forget.”
-Louis Mercier

The Slug Line
My new friend Bean told me about the famous DC Slug Lines, which I’d never heard of before:

Slugging is a term used to describe a unique form of commuting found in the Washington, DC area sometimes referred to as “Instant Carpooling” or “Casual Carpooling.” It’s unique because people commuting into the city stop to pickup other passengers even though they are total strangers! However, slugging is a very organized system with its own set of rules, proper etiquette, and specific pickup and drop-off practices.


Classic Flavored Answer to a Fruitless Question
As always, I asked the entire audience to answer the question, “How are you?” with a flavored answer instead of FINE. One man named John said, “Whenever people ask me how I’m doin, I always say, ‘Better looking than ever!'”


Are you ready for the holiday or what?! Me, I’m takin’ a week off. See you guys at the Rib America Festival.

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Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

If I learned anything from Terminator 2, it was to beware of fake officers

In all my years of wearing nametags, I’m still amazed how many people mistake me for an employee. And everytime it happens – i.e., “Scott, what aisle has the work shirts? – I think to myself, “How could these people really think I work here?! It’s just a nametag!

Well, apparently a nametag is enough of a disguise to fool someone into being sexually assaulted…

In Duncanville, Texas, NBC recently reported that a fake officer sexually assaulted a woman, police said.

The woman believed she was being pulled over when she saw the flashing red and blue lights on the dash of the car behind her. But she soon learned the officers were fake. She pulled over on a dark side road, and that’s when one man dressed in a dark uniform with a badge and nametag ordered her out of the car.

She said the man sexually assaulted her while another man searched her vehicle.

“You trust them, and if you’re being pulled over, you’re thinking maybe you’ve done something wrong,” Duncanville police spokesman Keith Bilbrey said.

“We know that we have to be real cautious now. It’s just really scary that it happened around here,” resident Shantay Malcolm said.

Police said anyone pulled over should stop in a well-lit area, keep doors locked and roll down the window just far enough to communicate with officers. If still worried, anyone pulled over can call 911.

Wow. Maybe being asked questions in the middle of Target isn’t so bad after all.


Have you ever impersonated an employee?

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Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

HELLO, my name is Podcast – Episode 8: Q & A with Scott

Q & A is quite possibly the best part about giving a speech. It’s fun, improvisational and allows audience members to get answers to important questions that weren’t addressed during the program.

This clip is from a recent BNI speech, which, as you know, was cancelled the first time due to a fire! Fortunately, “take 2” was a lot cooler. (rim shot)

Oh, and the flash player doesn’t seem to want to work today; so just listen here.


How do you feel about post-speech Q & A?

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Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

On Using Cool Words

Don’t you love learning new words? Or better yet, using them in conversation and on paper?

OK, maybe it’s just me. I’m sort of a vocab freak. (Hey, I’m a writer. What can I say?)

Still, I think each person’s communication style is partly defined by the words he or she uses. In fact, I think everyone has a few words that they always use; so much so that others define them by those words. Which I guess could be good or bad.

I got thinking about that this morning when I came across a great post at Life Beyond Code. Here are a few examples:

My friend John always used to say this. It was his description for really good food. “Let’s go to The Roxy. They got the chronic pancakes!” I now say it all the time.

My girlfriend loves this one. And not just, “I feel happy,” but “Ooh! Look at those bean bag chairs! They’re so happy!” Perfect for her glowing personality.

I can’t help but think of Mike, Adam and Roger whenever I hear the word outstanding. It’s just their word. They even named their company Outstanding Productions. And appropriately so – these are three fun, crazy guys who love to have an outstanding time wherever they go. It suits them.

To Kenny, everybody’s babe. Friends, family, coworkers: babe. I love it. Known him my whole life and he’s always been an authentic, charming guy who just loves to call people babe. It makes you fee special.

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I once had a business professor who told us, “Try to use the word pterodactyl at least once a day.” (Hmm…not a bad word either!) As for me, I try to use the word notwithstanding as often as possible. Great word.


What about you? What are your favorite words to use? What do they say about your personality?

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Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

Everything is a plus

My Grandma Mimi is smart.

I was showing her the new crib this weekend when she made a comment about my decorating. “Scotty, where did you learn how to coordinate colors so well? This place looks great!”

“Yeah, looks like all those days of selling furniture finally paid off,” I replied.

“Well, just remember: in life, everything is a plus.”

That stuck with me all weekend. Everything is a plus.

Kind of reminded me of something Tony Robbins said in Unlimited Power:

Limited references create a limited life. If you want to expand your life, you must expand your references by pursuing ideas and experiences that wouldn’t be a part of your life if you didn’t consciously seek them out.

I think that’s GOT to be one of the most rewarding things about wearing a nametag 24-7: expanding my references. Cool things and people and experiences I’ve encountered that otherwise never would have existed, all of which have had an effect on my life. From speaking in Switzerland to having a stalker to writing a quiz for Cosmo to talking to 40,000+ strangers to being inducted into Ripley’s, everything is a plus.

The more cool/unique experiences you have…
The more cool/unique people you meet…
The more cool/unique things you see, watch, hear, read, taste…
The more cool/unique places you go…

…the more cool/unique you will become.

Everything is a plus. Like my bud Glen Phillips says, “There is nothing that doesn’t matter. Every word is a seed that scatters. Everything matters.”


What’s your favorite reference?

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Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

Great Icebreaker: Licking The Feet of Strange Women on the Subway

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS – Falling to his knees on a subway train, a young Brooklyn man allegedly grabbed the feet of scores of female straphangers – kissing and licking them until the women screamed.

But last night Joseph Weir, 23, kept his mouth shut and let his lawyer do the talking as he was arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court last night on charges of unlawful imprisonment and forceable touching.

“He would grab women by their ankles, then kiss and lick their feet. A real sicko,” a police source said. Assistant Manhattan District Attorney Rachana Pathak said Weir would corner a woman alone on the subway at night and bow to her while asking, “Can I date you? Can I be your slave?”

Weir was ordered held in lieu of $10,000 bail.

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Well. That’s certainly one way to approach women. Not exactly the most effective front porch I’ve ever seen!


What’s the LEAST effective way to approach men/women for dates?

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Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

My new favorite business card of all time

Last night was the (rescheduled) BNI St. Louis/Illinois Regional Meeting. Everybody was in great spirits, especially when reminiscing about the fire at Spazios.

I met lots of awesome BNI folk from all around the area; namely my new friends from Instant Imprints. And I have to say, they had pretty much the greatest business cards I’ve ever seen.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: it’s just a normal business card, right?

No. Check this out. When Angie handed me her card she said, “Here, it folds out into a t-shirt!”

Too cool! Way to go Instant Imprints! You’ve imprinted an UNFORGETTABLE impression on my mind!


When was the last time someone’s business card blew you away?

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Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

I really think MySpace is going to self-destruct

I love MySpace. I really do. But as much as I’ve been enjoying it and all the cool audience members and friends it’s allowed me to connected with, it saddens me to hear the following story from the AP.

ROCKVILLE, Md. – Two teenagers were charged with setting fires in suburban Washington after they bragged about the blazes on, authorities said.

Stores, vehicles, a bowling alley and two school buses were set on fire between Jan. 20 and April 16. Investigators got a tip to check out the online social networking site, where they found photos and descriptions.

“The significant thing is they posted on the Internet, and bragged about the fires, and that certainly allowed us to break the case,” county Fire Chief Thomas W. Carr Jr. said. “They posted photos of these fires.”

I feel bad because it’s not Tom’s fault. It’s not MySpace’s fault. But every month it seems like two things always happen:

1) MySpace climbs closer and closer to 100 million users.

2) I seem to read another crime-related story about these morons who get arrested via MySpace, which reaffirms my hypothesis:


You heard it here first. That’s my prediction. Sorry, Tom! I love MySpace, but I fear for its future.


What lies ahead for MySpace?

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Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

When I was your age, we didn’t have caller ID!

Someday I hope to say that to my kids.

I remember the days when the phone would ring and you’d have no idea who was calling: a telemarketer, your spouse, a client or a complete stranger.

It made answering the phone exciting. Surprising. Even fun!

Then, in 1988 when the first caller IDhit the market, everything changed. Someone would pick up the receiver and hear, “Hey Karen!” and Karen would think, “Wait, how the hell did you know it was me?!”

“Oh, we have caller ID. I knew it was you,” says Karen’s friend.

And so, caller ID changed the entire scope of communicating on the phone in the following ways:

  • Instead of having to take every call, now with caller ID, you could screen callers and only talk to the people you wanted to (or whose numbers you recognized)
  • Instead of getting excited every time the phone rang, you’d roll your eyes when you saw it was your college roommate, Steve (and not your biggest customer ready to reorder) and say, “Eh, hey Dave…”

    I’ve been meaning to blog about this issue for a few years now. And I guess it wasn’t until I recently moved office locations (where my new phone does NOT have caller ID) that I started thinking about it.

    When I first moved in, I was a bit annoyed. I was so used to caller ID! I even considered returning my phone to Target and exchanging it for an updated model.

    But now, I gotta say: I kinda like it. It’s only been a few weeks, but every time that phone rings, I get excited! Is it someone calling to book a speech? A friend from California I haven’t talked to in months? Or could it be my old stalker Stephan calling to freak me out again?

    It rules.

    Now, do I think the world would be better without caller ID? Not necessarily. It certainly serves its purpose(s). But I think communication is about consistency. And maybe answering the phone the exact same way for every caller (the way we used to do it) is the way it should be.


    How does caller ID affect your phone communication?

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    Scott Ginsberg
    Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

  • If you write like you talk, readers will listen

    Wait a minute. Does that headline even make sense? Can readers listen to you?

    Sure they can. If you write right. Me, I never took any writing classes. I didn’t major in English. And I’m sure my writing isn’t as polished as other authors.

    So I write like I talk. Like I’m having a conversation with you, right now. And while this isn’t the only way to engage readers and help them “listen” to your writing, it’s certainly an effective technique.

    Kurt Vonnegut once said, “Great writers need to be great dates for their readers.” That means you and I are on a date, right now. (By the way, that shirt really brings out your eyes.)

    Anyway, back to writing right. I think the key to capturing your reader’s ears (in a non-Van Gough kind of way) is with your voice. And by “voice” I mean the distinctive quality, feel, sound and tone of your writing. Take Dave Barry. He is, in my opinion, is the funniest writer in the world. Here’s an excerpt from one of his 1996 columns from the Miami Herald:

    Recently, when I was having a hamburger at an outdoor restaurant, two guys started up their Harley-Davidson motorcycles, parked maybe 25 feet from me. Naturally, being Harley guys, these were rebels — lone wolves, guys who do it Their Way, guys who do not follow the crowd. You could tell because they were wearing the same jeans, jackets, boots, bandannas, sunglasses, belt buckles, tattoos and (presumably) underwear worn by roughly 28 million other lone-wolf Harley guys.

    Readers get the feeling that a face-to-face conversation with Dave Barry would be exactly like his writing: hilarious and exaggerated. So, they listen to him. That’s probably why he’s sold millions and millions of books around the world. And I use Dave as an example because he has a unique voice. Unfortunately, coming from someone who reads two books a week, I’m sorry to say that too few writers understand the value of developing and using their voice.

    Because they’re afraid. They’re afraid of breaking the rules of grammar and structure. They’re afraid of throwing themselves into their art. And they’re afraid they’ll have to apologize because their writing might offend somebody. So, they hide their true selves behind the same boring, unrevealing and this-is-what-my-English-professor-or-boss-told-me-to-do kind of writing.

    Look. I can’t tell you how to put more of yourself into your writing – only you can decide that. Besides, how should I know? After all, this is only our first date.

    Take a tip from two masters. Leo Tolstoy once said, “Write only with your pen dipped in your own blood.” William Jenkins once said, “Good writing is like walking across a stage naked.”

    Now ask yourself: “Does my writing reveal who I really am to my readers?” If the answer is no, here are a few ways to start developing your voice:

    1) Everything you write, read aloud. Decide if it really sounds like you. Imagine you’re giving a speech at Harvard’s Commencement: would those 5000 students really listen to you?

    2)Pay attention to specific words and phrases used in your daily conversations. Do you also use those in your writing?

    3)Grab a newspaper and read three editorials. What do you like/not like about the voice of the reporters? While reading, did you find yourself completely engaged or thinking about something else?

    All writers have a unique voice, whether they use it or not. So, it isn’t something that needs to be created. It’s something that’s already there because it comes from the heart. What you need to do is uncover that voice. Then, your readers will listen.

    Well, this has been a lot of fun. I hope we can go out again sometime…

    …how about a kiss goodnight?


    What’s your writing “voice”?

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    Scott Ginsberg
    Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

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