How to Inject More Approachability into Your Dental Practice

Last week I spoke to the Greater St. Louis Dental Society. My session was filled with primarily hygienists, receptionists and chair-side assistants.

We explored something I call The OING Model.

OING represents four types of encounters between employees and patients, each of which is an opportunity to inject (no pun intended) a little more of your personality into each encounter.

About 160 people filled out index cards with potential lines, expressions and greetings that were a bit more creative, fun, unique and of course, approachable. Many of these suggestions are listed below, along with a brief description of each category. (Remember: not all of these are gold. It’s an exercise in creativity that brainstorms ideas to make your patients feel more comfortable in a more unforgettable environment.)

Answering the phone in the office, possibly greeting a walk-in

• “This is Beth, I’m here to help…”
• “Smiles are our business, how can we make them yours?”
• “Good morning, and how can we help your child smile today?”
• “You have the pleasure of talking to Rena…”
• “Lovely morning to ya!”
• “World’s greatest dental office…”
• “This is your hunting dentist…”
• “Damn we’re good, when do you want to come in?”
• “Hello, flash us your smile…”

Telling a patient you’ll be right with them during a busy time

• “I’ve lost my mind – you can help me find it in just a sec…”
• “OK, give me two seconds. Start counting…NOW!”
• “I’ll be with you as soon as I catch this kid…”
• “You’ll be the next smile taken care of.”
• “I’ll give you a chance to bite me in just a minute.”

Inviting the next patient in line to enter the office

• “Are you ready for the best cleaning of your life?”
• “Hurry or I’ll start without you!”
• “Come on in, your smile is waiting!”
• “Get moving!”
• “Ready or not, here I come!”
• “Did you draw straws?”
• “Did you flip a coin?”
• “Are you ready to rock and roll?”
• “Come on down! You’re the next contestant at…”
• “Let’s get this party started!”
• “My superpowers have been recharged: I’m ready for you now!”

As patients exit the office, you give them a lasting impression

• “Don’t forget to scrub them bugs away!”
• “We’ll see you in 6 months or 6,000 smiles!”
• “Power to the Plaque Miester!”
• “I’m so glad you got to see me!”
• “See ya later alligator!”
• “Alright, I’m finished picking on you.”

Do you OING?

Brainstorm five new ideas for each of the four encounters with your staff. Try them out, then call me in the morning 😉

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

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Remove what robs you

Before today’s post gets under way, I just wanted to give a quick shout to all of the haters who posted their uplifting comments (anonymously, of course) on Friday’s post.
I’ve been sick lately, so that really cheered me up! Thanks guys!


The first job I had out of college was a bartender. It wasn’t exactly my number one career choice, but I needed money (fast!) to pay for the production of my first book.

Besides, how hard could bartending be, right?

Well, let me tell you how terrible I was: in addition to such blunders as “dropping chunks of cork into a customer’s Merlot” and “accidentally shattering four pint glasses in front of the District Manager,” I was SO bad, that I actually had to consult the Mix Manual to find out what was in a Jack & Coke.

Which made me pretty much the worst bartender in the history of bartenders.

Still, every night I slaved away. And whether I was hurrying around trying to serve drunken customers or frustratingly scraping ABC gum off the underside of the bar, there was only one thought running through my mind:

What the hell am I doing here?! I’ve GOT to get this book done…

I lasted six weeks. (I guess the manager made his first mistake when he hired a bartender who didn’t drink!) And I remember during my exit interview, Clyde said, “Look Scott, it’s just not working out. I’m sure you’ll go on to bigger and better things.”

He was wrong.

Two months later I started my second job out of college as a floor salesman at a discount furniture store. Worst job I ever had in my life. Complaining customers. Pain in ass boss. No money. Killed my lower back.

I lasted a year. And whether I was desperately attempting to sell a $500 loveseat to a family with three crying children or hiding in the men’s bathroom pretending to have a diarrhea so I wouldn’t have to work, there was only one thought I running through my mind:

What the hell am I doing here?! I just want to go home and check my email…

Then, in the summer of 2003, two things happened:

1) I quit my job at the furniture store.
2) I decided to pursue writing books and giving speeches full time.

Unfortunately, I learned that there is VERY little money in this industry when you first start out. Especially if:

• You’re 23 years old
• You have no work experience
• You’re just some guy who walks around wearing a nametag 24-7 to make people friendlier

So, while pursuing my writing/speaking career full time, I took a nights/weekends position as a valet parker at the Ritz Carlton.

This job wasn’t nearly as bad as bartending or slinging couches: the money was good, the networking opportunities were excellent and Ritz Carlton ended up being an awesome company to work for.

I lasted two years. (Maybe it would’ve helped if I knew how to drive stick!) Still, I sucked it up; whether I was running full speed for two straight hours during an 80-car wedding in the 105-degree heat, or standing by the lobby door until 2 AM layered in every piece of clothing I had during the biting cold of a St. Louis January.

And the funny thing is, just like every other job I’d held since college, that same thought kept running through my mind:

What the hell am I doing here?! I should be on the phones trying to book speeches…

Eventually, I couldn’t take it anymore.

I knew that every minute I’d spent mixing drinks, selling couches or parking cars was robbing me of:

• My true talent
• Chances to further my career
• Time needed to grow my business
• Opportunities to make a name for myself

So, I made a crucial decision. A decision that everyone, at some point in their career, needs to make:

Remove what robs you, embrace what excites you.

And I never looked back. Best professional decision I ever made.

Look: be fair to yourself. Be fair to your talents and gifts. Remove what robs you.

And if you ever find yourself shaking your head and saying, “What the hell am I doing here?!”

…then you’re on the right track.

What job used to rob you?

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

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Lessons learned from a job that sucked

My first job out of college was at a discount furniture warehouse.

I hated it. Every day was a perfect combination of boredom, back pain and complaints from frustrated customers. The store was hot in the summer and cold in the winter. Most of my coworkers with were twice my age and my boss was a grumpy old jerk.

Fortunately, the pay sucked and there were no benefits.

Nevertheless, I needed money and I needed experience. Fast. So, I sucked it up and did the best I could.

I spent a year there. And although I didn’t realize it at the time, I actually learned a lot about business, sales, service and life. So, here are nine business lessons learned from a job that sucked:

Make a Friend in 30 Seconds
First thing I learned. My boss said it was the key to retail sales. And since he’d been in the business since roughly the 1850’s, I figured he was right. And I think it applies to retail, general sales and networking too. After all, people do business with their friends.

LET ME ASK YA THIS: How long does it take you to turn a stranger into a friend?

Don’t be a Typical Salesman
I shadowed several veteran salesmen for the first week. I studied their approaches, opening lines, closing lines and the like. Then I studied their customers: non-verbal behaviors, emotions and responses. And what I realized was: customers hate salesmen. So, I made it my goal to be the atypical salesman in every way I could. (More on this later.)

LET ME ASK YA THIS: Are you like everyone else you work with?

Think like a Chess Player
I’ve been a customer before. I know what it’s like. So, one afternoon on a slow day, I sat down and made a list of every possible feeling, emotion and assumption made by customers walking through the store. For example: “God I hope the salesman doesn’t talk to me…” and “I just want to browse, go away!” By predicting their behaviors, I was able to disarm their concerns. Instead of approaching them, I enabled them to approach me with my sense of attraction.

LET ME ASK YA THIS: What are your customers thinking about when they walk through the door?

Bring a Soda
I don’t know why, but by carrying a bottle of Diet Dr. Pepper wherever I went, customers seemed to feel more comfortable. The soda made me appear friendly, approachable, casual and not goal oriented. As if I was saying, “Yep, I’m just hanging out, drinkin’ a pop. If you need anything, I’ll be around.” Interesting, huh?

LET ME ASK YA THIS: What object could help you appear more approachable?

Be Upfront and Honest
I wasn’t on commission. So, I told customers that right away. Most of the time it made them feel comfortable, less intimidated and more willing to work with me. This strategy helped me become an atypical salesman because most of my coworkers refused to work with customers who only bought small items. They just wanted the fat commission from the bedroom set. I, on the other hand, treated all customers equally. I just didn’t care. Interestingly, the customers who bought small items from me loved working together so much, that they often returned six months later with their kids to buy the bedroom set. And who do you think they wanted them to sell it to them? Damn right.

LET ME ASK YA THIS: What truths do you tell the customers right away?

Product Knowledge
During my first few weeks, I walked around the store and made flashcards of every piece of furniture we sold. The cards included descriptions, prices and the like. Over time I was able to speed up my learning curve and memorize every item we offered to better help the customers. I’d even quiz myself on the various products when we were slow. Hell, there was nothing else to do.

LET ME ASK YA THIS: Are you the expert?

Help Customers Participate
As one of the few young salesmen in the store, I was always assigned the task of moving various couches, loveseats and tables. (Damn it!) But, although it was tough on my back, I used the moving process as a sales tool. For example, if I were sliding a couch into a corner, I’d ask customers walking by, “So, does this look good with that maple table?” or “Could you help me slide this chair around the couch please?” They were almost always happy to help. We’d often end up talking about the decorating process, sore muscles and the like. Instant friends! Also, in many instances, instant sales.

LET ME ASK YA THIS: How do you get your customers involved?

Unique Openers
I hated phrases like, “Can I help you?” or “Are you looking for anything special today?” And I knew customers hated them too. So, here’s a list of some of my favorite opening lines that enabled me to make a friend (and often a sale) in 30 seconds:

• While sitting on a couch I’d say to customers passing by, “If you guys have any questions, just wake me up!” or “Don’t tell my boss I’m here.”

• If someone was looking at the Big Lips Couch (yes, we actually sold stuff like that!) I’d say, “See, when you buy this couch, everyone who comes over to your house will get their ass kissed!”

• Lots of kids came into the store. Instead of trying to sell the parents, I sold the kids. I sold them on ME. This included offering them free donuts or taking 50% off or HOT DEAL stickers and putting them on their shirts. They loved it! The kids AND the parents.

• Because we offered donuts on the weekend, I’d always look for customers who were eating them. Then I’d offer such lines as, “Are you all hopped up on sugar yet?” and “If you spill jelly on this couch, you gotta buy it!” They loved it. Good times.

LET ME ASK YA THIS: What’s your unique opener(s)?

Unique Closers
I’m not talking about closing the sale. I’m talking about the last thing you say to a customer in your opening conversation that reminds them who you are and that you’d be happy to help. So, instead of saying, “I’m Scott if you have any questions,” or “Here’s my card if you need me,” I’d say:

• “If you need anything, I’ll be over by the donuts.”

• “Well, I’m Scott. If you have an questions, I’ll be in the back corner sleeping on the $3000 Italian Leather Sofa.” (SIDE NOTE: one out of every five customers then asked me, “Ooh! Can we see that sofa?”)

• “I’ll let you guys go have fun. If you need me, I’m the only salesman under 50.”

LET ME ASK YA THIS: What’s your unique closer(s)?

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

Make your own music

I gave a speech to the DC chapter of ISES last night at a club called Love. Coolest place I’ve ever seen in my life.

The bartender, Preston, told me that on Friday of this week, Ludacris will be performing on the same stage I took last night.

Wow! I can see it now: halfway through his show, Ludacris will say, “Yo, I just wanna thank Club Love for allowing me to perform on the same stage as my hommie Scotty G. Big ups to the Nametag Guy.”

Hey, no problem Ludacris. Whatever I can do dog.

Anyway, that got me thinking about college. During my stint at Miami, I spent a number of nights playing music in coffee shops. Nothing too elaborate, just me, my guitar and a microphone. Sharing songs I’d written about stuff that was going on in my life.

It was a singer/songwriter’s dream: unplugged, intimate and authentic. Like an episode of VH1 Storytellers. The perfect venue to share my art with the world.

The only problem was, people didn’t want art. They wanted to hear songs they knew:

“Play some Dave Matthews!”
“American Pie!”

Right. I’m going to stand up here all night and play covers like some typical, unoriginal, crowd-pleasing, sell out copycat so you and your friends can get drunk and sing along to jams you’ve heard a thousand times before. If you want that, stay home and listen to your stereo!

Unfortunately, some of them actually did. (Or they went to another bar. One of the two.)

However, despite smaller crowds, I stayed committed to playing my own stuff.
Not because I was the next campus rock star. Not because I was the next Dylan. But because it’s just not in my nature to do other people’s material.

That’s just not how I roll. Not in art, not in business and not in life.

I make my own music. Period.

Interestingly enough, after a few years of playing shows, audiences started to listen between the notes. People finally embraced the originality of the music. Songs touched them in a new way, even if they didn’t know all the words. And ultimately, the music was that much more beautiful. It was sustained by its creativity and uniqueness.

But we’re not talking about music here.

The point is: you can always play someone else’s material, but that won’t sustain you. It won’t challenge you. It won’t expand you. And it certainly won’t guarantee you success. After all, how many tribute bands have ever been inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame?

That’s right. Zip-o.

Look. I know sometimes it’s just easier to play other people’s stuff: it’s quick, it’s safe and it’s guaranteed to get you some applause.

But you know what? Receiving a nice round of inner applause feels a hell of a lot better.

If you truly want to make a name for yourself, make your own music.

In what way do you make your own music?

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

Read Scott’s interview with Young Wealth Weekly

I was recently interviewed by a very cool new website, Youth Wealth Weekly.

Founder Josiah Mackenzie offers young entrepreneurs free newsletters filled with fascinating stories, helpful tips, private interviews, inspirational quotes, book reviews, and more.

You can read my interview here, or just scroll down. I pasted the text for ya:

How did you make the transition from a “dude who wears a name tag” to a successful speaking and writing business?

When I started wearing a nametag 24-7 in college, I kept a journal of observations, stories and responses; It seemed like it would make a cool book. Since I always wanted to be an author, I decided to write it. I asked some other authors how to self-publish, did some research and put the book out when I graduated.

When my website and book got picked up by the media, people started asking me to give speeches. Since I’d always excelled at speaking, it felt like a good fit. I did more research on the speaking industry, hooked up with some amazing mentors, did a LOT of research and speaking for free, and eventually was able to sustain myself on authorship/speaking.

And hey, it only took 3 years to make money!

How did you become unforgettable?

Well, there’s this pill I take called…just kidding! I’d say by learning how to be UNIQUE, not DIFFERENT. In other words, how not to just stand out, but to be the ONLY ONE.

How have you incorporated ‘Web 2.0’ applications into your self promotion?

Gosh, what haven’t I used! I have two blogs I update regularly. I also podcast, use online social networking like MySpace, Flickr and Squidoo, and also use widgets on my website to talk to people live. Basically, everything Web 2.0 offers, I use. And it’s great. It builds community, enables me to live and breathe the brand, stay in front of fans, market myself daily and drive traffic. 100% of my business is WOM (word of mouth), I’ve never made a cold call in my life and I don’t (nor will ever) spend a dime on advertising. KEY LESSON: If you are remarkable, they’ll find YOU. (Thanks, Seth)

What obstacles or advantages does your young age present when becoming established as a speker and writer?

My GOSH it sucked. Still does. Who the heck is going to listen to a 26 year old kid give a speech, right? But I have learned something called “Disarming Audience Preoccupation,” in which you address the obvious barrier first and explain why it’s not an issue. For example, I open my speeches with a quote from Indiana Jones by saying, “It’s not the years, it’s the mileage.”

Also, I just go out there and be myself and try to give value, and usually people forget how young I am. After all, few 26 year olds have written three books and speak internationally. That’s gotta count for something! If all else fails, I just show people the picture of my tattoo. That shows ’em I mean business. What’s more, being young is also a great advantage insofar as offering a new, fresh, untainted-by-corporate-world perspective.

Is it tough to be a professional speaker when most of your peers are 40 years older than you?

Yep. It’s tough because people won’t take you seriously, but it’s glorious at the same time because it enables you to be a sleeper. They don’t see ya comin!

How should I go about writing a book?

Very carefully. No, just kiding. I’d go buy Dan Poynter’s book “The Self Publishing Manual.” He’s the best in the biz, and he can help you more than I could. It’s my bible.

How did you start recieving media coverage?

Dude, I have no idea. I met the right person at the right time who passed my info to a reporter which started a collossal snowball effect which got me on every radio, TV and print outlet in the country. I wouldn’t call it luck, because if my idea wasn’t remarkable they wouldn’t have interviewed me.

But I’ve never “pitched” a media outlet before. I think the key is: get them to call you. Be amazing and unforgettable and remarkable and unique and cool and they will find you. Oh, and it helps to be funny. And if possible, smart. I’m still working on that last one 😉

How can our readers achieve success as a young entrepeneur?

Huge question. I actually have a fourth book called Make a Name for Yourself coming out next year about that exact idea. So, let me give you some ideas from the closing chapter. They’re alphabetical. This is good stuff here. Enjoy…

Action develops courage.
Ask, “What’s next?”
Ask, “Why me?”
Assault the minute.
Attract through attitude.
Authenticity, not charisma.
Avoid the always.
Be a sleeper.
Be completely original.
Be one eyed.
Be regularly silly.
Become your beliefs.
Cherish uncertain ground.
Confidence is king.
Consider nothing useless.
Create the fist.
Don’t overeducate audiences.
Do something cool.
Earn inner applause.
Fans, not customers.
Feed your brain.
Friendly always wins.
Get a glory.
Give value first.
Give yourself away.
Go somewhere alone.
Have big ears.
Imagination is everything.
Interaction, not interruption.
Just do something.
Let it go.
Life leaves clues.
Market yourself daily.
Medium is message.
Mundane into memorable.
Never be bored.
Nurture your nature.
Opportunity knocks constantly.
Own a word.
Plant impossible gardens.
Prepare for serendipity.
Respect people’s nos.
Respect your hunches.
Say affirmations daily.
Schmoozing is stupid.
Self talk works.
Small victories first.
Success isn’t perfection.
Take massive action.
Take more pictures.
Think grandiose thoughts.
Travel without plans.
Unique, not different.
Verbs, not nouns.
We’re all marketers.
We’re all salesmen.
Write everything down.
You’re always marketing.

What advice would you like to leave with our readers?

Read three books a week. That’s what I do.

What advice would you give young entrepreneurs?

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

Adventures in Nametagging: MadeBig Style

This past weekend I had the opportunity to speak at the Conference. As you can see, “big” isn’t just the name of the company, it’s a way of life for these guys! The event was huge. 2000 people from around the US met in Salt Lake City at the Grand America, pretty much the nicest hotel I’ve ever stayed at in my life. I even had a bag of Kookaburra waiting for me!

I showed the audience my favorite picture, the famous CNN interview in which I was dubbed “Name Tag Wearer.” After we all stopped laughing, I reminded them, “If you don’t actively make a name for yourself, someone will make one for you.”

I also reminded the audience about something I call The Triple If Factor:

1) IF…everybody loves your brand, you’re doing something wrong (Peter Montoya)
2) IF…at first your idea doesn’t sound absurd, there is no hope for it (Einstein)
3) IF…everyone says you’re out of your mind, you just might be onto something (Canfield)

The breakout sessions in the afternoon furthered our discussion on how to be that guy. I even showed the ol’ tattoo to a few curious Oregonians, who were easily spotted by their sandals (my kind of people).

And as a plus, Salt Lake City was excellent. Clean, beautiful, really good gumbo, even better jazz, and as a nice surprise, many friendly homeless people who asked, “What’s up Scott!?” all night.

What are your “If Factors?”

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

The World is a Mirror, Part 10

I is for IDEAS (coming next week)
J is for JOY

For the past few months I’ve been writing essays on how wearing a nametag 24-7 for the past 2,139 days to make people friendlier has reflected back on my own life. (Hence the title, The World is a Mirror.)

If you’ve been keeping up, I’ve addressed myriad issues: personal, professional, simple and humorous.

None of those categories apply to today’s post.

When I got to the letter “J,” I thought long and hard about possible words to tackle. Job? Jerk? Jabberwocky? (Which, by the way, is my new favorite word.)

Nah. I’d rather pick something bigger.

I decided to go with “joy.”

The word actually means: “To feel great happiness or pleasure, especially of an elevated or spiritual kind.”

So, it’s kind of like happiness, but better. Deeper. Bordering on ethereal.

Now, I won’t waste your time with quotations or scriptures about joy. That would be too easy.

Instead, I’d like to share a few things that happened to me over the past year as a direct result of wearing a nametag that have been sources of joy.

1) Over the summer I gave a speech at a conference for The Washington Initiative for Supportive Employment. Many of my audience members had physical or mental disabilities, some of which were unable to speak. After my speech was over, a man from the front row whose badge read, “Hurricane Mike,” came right up to me a with a huge smile on his face. And even though he could barely put the words together to speak, he placed his hand on my nametag and said, “It’s not the nametag; it’s the heart behind it.”

2) Last year I received an email from a subscriber to my blog who said, “Scott, I’ve been having a terrible time moving my bowels lately; but thanks to your blog, apparently daily hysterical laughter has kept me regular!”

3) When I returned home from giving a speech in Orlando, I received an email from a fellow blogger who said, “Scott, your speech changed my life. I am serious. You got me thinking in completely different ways now!”

4) Yesterday I met a woman who had just heard me give a speech to 2000 people in Salt Lake City. Her only comment was, “Scott, I want to meet your parents.”

5) My older brother and I were hanging out in Chicago a few weeks ago for his birthday/engagement celebration. On the way to the airport he said, “Scott, I know I gave you a lot of shit when you first started wearing a nametag, but I’m really proud of you.”

Truthfully, stuff like this makes me tear up. But these are tears of joy. Tears that I’m happy to shed. And tears that in no way compare to the tears shed by thousands of people five years ago who lost their lives – or the lives of someone they loved – in the 9/11 attacks.

Here’s the point: today when you open the newspaper, turn on the TV or listen to the radio, you will be exposed to articles, interviews, pictures and stories about the horror that was 9/11.

And it’s going to be sad. It’s going to be tough. It might even scare you a little.

So, when that happens, I want you to do three things:

1) Mourn for the people who lost their lives during the attack.
2) Pray for the intrepid soldiers defending our country to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
3) Give thanks for all the things in your life that give you joy.

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

People buy people first

I’d just finished a speech with group of sales managers at a Fortune 500 company. After everyone cleared out of the room, my client came up to me with a huge smile on his face.

“Great job Scott! I’ve been getting awesome feedback. You truly resonated with my staff!”

“Cool, that’s what I like to hear,” I replied.

Steve sat down in the chair in front of me. He leaned back, put his feet up and said, “You know Scott, I gotta be honest: I hire a lot of outside trainers just like yourself. And as valuable as your message of approachability is, the real reason I chose you … is because I LIKED you.”

Wow. So there it was. Just like that. Because he liked me.

LESSON LEARNED: people buy people first.

Before your company.
Before your products.
Before your services.

They buy YOU first.

Before your ideas.
Before your suggestions.
Before your work.

They buy YOU first.

THEREFORE: you owe it to yourself to put your values before vocation. Beliefs before business. Person before profession. Individuality before industry.

Here’s how. I call it The ABC’s of Leading with Your Person:

A is for attitude.
(Cliché but true!) Sun Tzu said, “What you believe about yourself, the world will believe about you.” So, before you sell a product, idea or service, first sell yourself on yourself. Because if you don’t like you, nobody else will.

How much time do you spend each day selling yourself to yourself?

B is for breathing.
…your person through every possible touch point, that is. The way you answer the phone, type emails, engage in person, or appear on paper – all of these are different channels through which you have an opportunity to communicate your person FIRST. It’s like Seth Godin says, “The only thing people judge about you is how an engagement with you makes them feel.”

Do your communication channels define you by what you do or who you are?

C is for consistency.
Ever run into one of your coworkers outside of the office and think, “Oh my God! Jan from Accounting?! She’s like a completely different person!”

It’s a bummer when that happens. I feel like I see it a lot. Not exactly consistent, huh?

Now I know, I know: some people work in jobs that require them to be someone different compared to who they are when they’re off the clock.

Those people should find new jobs.

When was the last time someone told you “tone down” your real self?


That’s how you lead with your person. Got it?


How do you lead with your person?

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

Are you That Guy?

Find out in Scott’s new book at!

Adventures in Nametagging: Santa Barbara Style

This week I had the opportunity to speak with 150 student leaders of Res Hall Life at University of California Santa Barbara.

It’s actually a cool story how I ended up there…

Several years ago, a guy named Mike bought my first book. After reading it, he was inspired to create a community-building program for his Res Hall in Delaware which included using nametags with all of his students. Apparently it worked so well that he actually won an award! (Way to go Mike!)

Long story short: my client, Michele, was his coworker. She and I kept in touch over the years and finally got our scheduling together for UCSB’s program.

They were definitely an unforgettable group! First of all, the entire front row was filled with couches. That’s what I’m talkin’ about! I was tempted to sit down in the middle of the training!

We spent the bulk of the program talking about personal availability. And I have to apologize to everyone in the audience for TOTALLY blanking on my second “success sentence.” (Hey, I’m human…)

My three points were:

1) Listening is not waiting to talk.
2) You have two ears and one mouth, listen and talk proportionately.
3) Say to people, “I don’t know what that means” and “How do you feel about that?” to show your humanness. (This was the one I forgot. D’oh!)

We also had awesome feedback from the students during the famous Three Word Nametag Exercise. They all agreed that the favorites of the day included:

*Big Ben Casanova
*I’m Rick James
*Sexiest Unemployed Millionaire

Now, since I’m still trying to get the hang of my new Mac, we had to bail on the PowerPoint; which wasn’t really a problem, although I do love seeing the audience’s reaction to this slide.

So, I had to think fast. And right before I finished up, I got the permission of the audience (and of course, the director of Res Hall Life) to reveal the tattoo in person as my closing point on consistency and commitment.

I rarely (and I DO mean rarely) ever do that, but everyone agreed: what the hell.

I started unbuttoning the top two buttons of my shirt. All 150 of the students were laughing so hard that I could barely stand, much less keep a straight face. But sure enough, as I held open my shirt and thought to myself (Man, I must be out of my f***ing mind!) I revealed The Ink and reminded them, “Consistency is far better than rare moments of greatness.”

What’s the most dangerous thing you’ve ever done on stage?

Next time you give a speech, remember: dangerous can be good.

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

Are you That Guy?

Find out in Scott’s new book at

Focus on the umbrella

I really hate to admit it, but I once watched an episode of Dr. Phil.

I know.

Anyway, his advice to the panel of overweight guests was, “Don’t dwell on the idea of shedding pounds, but rather, focus on living a healthier lifestyle.”

He encouraged (er, yelled at) them to modify their eating, drinking, exercising and sleeping habits. As a result, he said, they would experience increased energy, higher self-esteem, a more positive self-image, and of course, a loss of weight.

In other words, they needed be healthy intentionally so they could lose weight incidentally.

I saw that episode two years ago. But it wasn’t until yesterday afternoon during an eight mile run in the middle of the mountains – the type of environment where I always seem to get my best ideas – that I realized how applicable the concept was to business.

I even came up with a cool name for it: focus on the umbrella.

Take networking, for example. Some people think it’s about selling. Or gaining referrals. Or obtaining new clients.


Networking is about the development and maintenance of mutually valuable relationships. In other words, the healthier lifestyle. The umbrella.

Now, sure, while you’re networking, it’s possible that you’ll make a few sales, earn a referral or two or even gain a new client, i.e., lose weight.

But those things will only happen to you incidentally, not intentionally.

Focus on the umbrella.

What are you doing intentionally to create indicental results?

On the top of a sheet of paper, write: MY INTENTIONAL ACTION IS __________. Then, below it write all the possible incidental results.

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

Are you That Guy?

Find out in Scott’s new book at

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