Here’s me turning off my cell phone

Last week I had lunch with my friend Edward Khatskin, co-owner of K & G Financial. We were talking about cell phones when he gave me a classic approachability technique:

“When I start a meeting with a new (or prospective) client, I make sure they’re looking at me, then take out my cell phone, turn it off and toss it on the table. I’ll say something like:

‘I am now turning off my cell phone. For the next hour, I am giving you my full attention and will not be accepting any phone calls. I do this is because you are just as important to me as my other clients, and I want to make sure that I am giving you my undivided attention.

Also, so you know, my clients can always reach me on my cell phone, however, in the future if you call me and I do not pick up, it is because I am talking to someone just like you. Does that sound agreeable?’

This helps me set tone of professionalism and reiterates how much I value their relationship.”

Well done Edward! Man, I might have to try that one sometime…


How do you show personal availability to people during a meeting?

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag

The World Is A Mirror, Part 3


People either love it or they hate it.

Oscar Wilde once said, “Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.” Robert Owen stated, “Without consistency there is no moral strength.” Then there’s the old cliche (not sure who said it originally), “The only consistent thing in life is change.”

Me, I’m big on consistency. In all areas of my life. And I don’t claim to maintain it 100% of the time – nor should anybody – but I do make it a priority. And I think wearing a nametag 24-7 (today is day 2,049, by the way) has ingrained this idea of consistency into my brain. So, I always seem to notice little inconsistencies wherever I go.

For example, the other day I was relaxing in the hot tub after swimming laps at the Y. Two young kids splahed each other next to me. The lifeguard came over and asked, “Hey, how old are you guys?”

They didn’t say a word.

“Well, our policy is: you have to be 16 to use the hot tub. Get out.”

As the kids frustratingly dragged themselves out of the hot tub, I noticed a sign on the wall right above the lifeguard’s head which read:

“Nobody under the age of 14 is allowed in the hot tub.”

Hmmm. That’s weird.

I couldn’t let it go. The consistency bug started ticking. So when I dried off, I stopped by the lifeguard stand and asked, “Doesn’t the sign say you need to be 14 to use the hot tub?”

“Um, does it really say that?” the teenager replied.

“Yeah, look – it’s right there.”

“Oh, well, uh, I was told it’s 16.”

“Oh, ok. Well, that’s cool. I was just curious.”

Maybe it’s no big deal. But in my humble opinion, the Y’s pool area either needs to change their sign or change their policy. Because where does it stop? Who’s to say that a small inconsistency like this won’t lead to something bigger?

Another example: I once called a fellow author/speaker to introduce myself and praise her work. I also emailed the same message, just to make sure she got it.

She never called me back. No message. No email. Nada.

You know what the best part was? She was an “expert” on customer service.

Now, it’s possible the email never went through. Or maybe she never got my voicemail. But check THIS out: I know several other people who had the same problem contacting this person.

LESSON LEARNED: consistency is far better than rare moments of greatness.


What was the last inconsistency you noticed?

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

HELLO, my name is Podcast – Episode 9: Food for Thought

My Grandfather, Frank Ginsberg, tells the greatest stories and jokes you’ve ever heard. His favorite story to tell goes back to the Great Depression; a time when suffering families used old newspapers as insulation for their ever-deteriorating homes.

As the tale goes, one day, my then-young Grandpa Frank stumbled upon a profound clipping crunched behind the walls of his house. He asked his father (my great-grandfather) to read it to him.

The poem was called “Food for Thought,” and it became a Ginsberg family heirloom for generations to come.

Listen to the poem here.


What’s your food for thought?

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

56 Ways to Increase Blog Traffic

You can always count on my buddy Seth Godin to share ideas on increasing blog traffic.

If you can do any (or all!) of these 56 things, people will be stepping onto your blog’s front porch in no time!

Check it out:

1) Use lists.
2) Be topical… write posts that need to be read right now.
3) Learn enough to become the expert in your field.
4) Break news.
5) Be timeless… write posts that will be readable in a year.
6) Be among the first with a great blog on your topic, then encourage others to blog on the same topic.
7) Share your expertise generously so people recognize it and depend on you.
Announce news.
9) Write short, pithy posts.
10) Encourage your readers to help you manipulate the technorati top blog list.
11) Don’t write about your cat, your boyfriend or your kids.
12) Write long, definitive posts.
13) Write about your kids.
14) Be snarky. Write nearly libelous things about fellow bloggers, daring them to respond (with links back to you) on their blog.
15) Be sycophantic. Share linklove and expect some back.
16) Include polls, meters and other eye candy.
17) Tag your posts. Use
18) Coin a term or two.
19) Do email interviews with the well-known.
20) Answer your email.
21) Use photos. Salacious ones are best.
22) Be anonymous.
23) Encourage your readers to digg your posts. (and to use furl and reddit). Do it with every post.
24) Post your photos on flickr.
25) Encourage your readers to subscribe by RSS.
26) Start at the beginning and take your readers through a months-long education.
27) Include comments so your blog becomes a virtual water cooler that feeds itself.
28) Assume that every day is the beginning, because you always have new readers.
29) Highlight your best posts on your Squidoo lens.
30) Point to useful but little-known resources.
31) Write about stuff that appeals to the majority of current blog readers–like gadgets and web 2.0.
32) Write about Google.
33) Have relevant ads that are even better than your content.
34) Don’t include comments, people will cross post their responses.
35) Write posts that each include dozens of trackbacks to dozens of blog posts so that people will notice you.
36) Run no ads.
37) Keep tweaking your template to make it include every conceivable bell or whistle.
38) Write about blogging.
39) Digest the good ideas of other people, all day, every day.
40) Invent a whole new kind of art or interaction.
41) Post on weekdays, because there are more readers.
42) Write about a never-ending parade of different topics so you don’t bore your readers.
43) Post on weekends, because there are fewer new posts.
44) Don’t interrupt your writing with a lot of links.
45) Dress your blog (fonts and design) as well as you would dress yourself for a meeting with a stranger.
46) Edit yourself. Ruthlessly.
47) Don’t promote yourself and your business or your books or your projects at the expense of the reader’s attention.
48) Be patient.
49) Give credit to those that inspired, it makes your writing more useful.
50) Ping technorati. Or have someone smarter than me tell you how to do it automatically.
51) Write about only one thing, in ever-deepening detail, so you become definitive.
52) Write in English.
53) Better, write in Chinese.
54) Write about obscure stuff that appeals to an obsessed minority.
55) Don’t be boring.
56) Write stuff that people want to read and share.


What’s your best tip for increasing blog traffic?

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

Why do gentlemen prefer blondes? Maybe because they’re more approachable…

I’ve read a number of articles and surveys claiming that blondes are more approachable. (Usually referring to women.) One particular article called Blondes: a dying breed caught my eye. This is really cool…

“According to a study by the World Health Organisation (WHO), natural blonds are likely to be extinct within 200 years, because there are too few people carrying the blond gene. The WHO study claims that the last natural blond is likely to be born in Finland during 2202.”

“I think men are definitely more drawn to blondes, simply because dark haired girls come across as serious and conservative, while blondes appear more fun and easy and sexy,” vouches Ozy Mamodeally, working in media sales.

An explanation on why golden locks, fair skin and blue eyes make the typical blonde such an attractive creature is attempted by Peter Frost, a Canadian anthropologist. According to Frost, it all goes back 11,000 years, where a genetic mutation resulted in blond hair. He says north European women evolved blonde hair and blue eyes at the end of the Ice Age to make them stand out from their rivals at a time of fierce competition for scarce males – since a lot of males died during the long and grueling hunting trips of the time.

“The high death rate among male hunters increased the pressures of sexual selection on early European women and led to rapid change as women struggled to evolve the most alluring qualities – with one possible outcome being an unusual complex of colour traits,” says Frost.

* * * *

Huh. That’s crazy. Going all the way back to the cavemen days?!

All I know is this: I’ve been getting my hair cut by the same stylist for 4 years. She’s a blonde. And about 9 months ago, she radically changed her hair to jet black. When I unknowingly walked into the salon and Sara jumped out from behind the corner, I took one look at her and yelled, “Holy crap!”

“So, whaddaya think?”

“Wow. THAT is different. Hmmm…you know, I gotta say, you look kind of…evil.

“Really? Man, that’s what everybody is saying! Sara replied. “Gosh, maybe blondes really are more approachable!”

Who knows. That’s why I stick to the redheads.


What perceptions do certain hair colors give off?

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

Welcome to Tag Town, USA

I know this is my third DC-related post in the past week, but I just couldn’t pass up this absolutely fascinating article (thanks to Christin Berry from ASAE):

Washingtonians love their game of tag…

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The dark suit is impeccable, the hair conservatively cut, the shoes a refined statement of solidity. But the outfit isn’t complete for a Washington insider without an identity tag or two — or more.

While some know this city as “the capital of the free world,” its denizens recognize it as Tagtown.

Virtually everyone in downtown Washington wears some kind of credential during working hours. For some, it may be a simple pass that unlocks a garage or an office security door. But for those who work with the sprawling U.S. federal bureaucracy, it is literally a badge of honor.

There are tags for Congress, the White House, the Pentagon, the State Department, the Treasury, the Justice Department, the Supreme Court, individual trials, museum openings and even some news conferences. And instead of taking off the tags when the workday is done, as people elsewhere might do, Washingtonians tend to keep them on, especially if they hint at a close relationship to power.

Anthropologist Edward Smith recalls that when he worked as a White House speechwriter, there was a rule against wearing the White House tag after work. He also recalled it was widely flouted. The willingness to be labeled fits with the Washington mindset, said Smith, a professor at American University and a third-generation Washingtonian.

“People wear these things as if they were bars on their uniform,” Smith said. “I think that some people, particularly young people, want that extra patina of prestige. In Washington, you are much more recognized as a position than as a personality.”

* * * *
You know, it’s funny. Whenever I speak to businesspeople, I stress the importance of “leading with your person, not with your profession.” For example: whether you’re prospecting, networking or just meeting someone new, you DON’T always have to revert to the default “So, what do you do?” conversation.

Rather, it’s more valuable to find the CPI. To make a friend in 30 seconds. Get to know someone for who they are, not just what they do. It reminds me of an episode of Inside the Actor’s Studio featuring Dave Chappelle. The almost-too-famous comedian told James Lipton, “I went to Africa on sabbatical because nobody knew me as a celebrity, as a comedian; but just as a guy. As Dave.”

Personally, when I meet someone new, I try to go as long as possible without asking the question, “So, what do you do?”

In other words: person before profession.


Are certain cities/countries more apt to lead with “person” vs. “profession”?

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

The coolest retail store I’ve seen in five years

When I was speaking in DC a few weeks ago, I spent a few hours cruising around Georgetown.

This particular store caught my eye. At first I walked right past it. But when my nose twitched from the sweet aroma of bath products, I stopped, started laughing and thought, wait a minute…what did that sign say?”

Upon closer inspection, here’s what I saw:

Ok. That’s just cool. So cool that I walked inside, found the manager and asked, “Your store is awesome! Do you have a card?”

Of course they did. I learned that Lush has been around since the late seventies, although their first official shop opened in 1994. Today they have 370+ shops around the world and also operate mail order businesses from the UK, Canada, Australia, Italy, Japan, Sweden, Hong Kong, Switzerland, Hungary, Germany, Taiwan and the United States.

They hand-make the cosmetics in UK, Italy, Canada, South America and Japan (in their own production facilities) so that every product available in their shops or sent to you by mail is as fresh as it can possibly be. Why? Because fresh products work better and use fewer preservatives.

Their aim is to have the youngest, freshest products in the history of cosmetics.

* * * *
Lush’s version of being that guy is “Those Hand-Made Soap People.” They also own a word (maybe it’s happy, soap, hand-made, or lush).

Great stuff.


When was the last time a cool storefront made you stop and walk in the door (when you normally would’ve kept walking)?

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

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