31 little things that make a BIG difference

1. Google Alerts. These keep me in the know of my key areas of study. Additionally, they enable me to monitor of where my name, articles, blog posts and books show up around the world, especially on the Internet.

2. May I Ask Who’s Calling? For years I’ve been telling receptionists, “Yes, tell Mr. Jackson it’s The Nametag Guy.” I’m still amazed at what a great first impression this makes.

3. Answering the Phone. Again, for years I’ve answered my phone from unknown numbers: “HELLO, my name is Scott!” People love it.

4. Dates. Not just remembering them, but going out of my way to remind people of the exact dates of when specific stuff happened. Sure, I might sound like RainMan, but: specificity = credibility.

5. Pictures on each blog post. It looks prettier and increases readability. Plus I’ve got some great pictures (as you can see.) Plus few bloggers actually do this.
6. Thanks You Notes. I send them to my clients, handwritten, of course, right after we complete our project. Postcards, too. No letters. People don’t have time for letters.
7. Trash the PC. PC’s suck. And everyone knows it. Buy a Mac.

8.Music while writing. Every morning when I sit down at 6 AM to start writing, I always listen to music. I used to do it to drown out the dogs, now I just do it because of habit. But it truly fosters concentration and enhances creativity. I suggest any of Morphine’s albums. Best band ever.

9. Creativity Books. There must be hundreds of them out there, and whenever I read a new one, my mind starts coming up with great stuff.

10. Pictures. I take pictures of everything: speeches, friends, new cities I travel to, everything. Then I post them on Flickr. Then I share them with the world. Then people see me “doing what I do.” Are people seeing you do what you do?

11. Smiling for three seconds. Not just every time I walk into a room, but especially when I get on stage. Three seconds. Before I say a word. It’s amazing how that captivates an audience. Smile = silence = WOW.

12. State your fee and shut up. It’s hard to do, but it works. Even if you have to wait 10 seconds for a response.
13. Don’t sell; enable people to buy. My entire marketing philosophy is built around this idea. Thanks, Alan Weiss.

14. Ask, Why Me? To customers, to the media, to everyone. You must find out what you did right so you can repeat it in the future.

15. Even when you say no, you’re still marketing. Thanks, Seth Godin.

16. Typos. Each of my books has a few. And I really don’t care. Once I got over that, I realized: success isn’t perfection. Thank God.
17. Signing each book personally. It takes like two seconds, and people remember it forever. Plus they can get a higher bid on Ebay.

18. Be funny early. In conversation, in books, in articles, in speeches, whatever. Humor disarms people and lubricates their digestion of your message.

19. My Pleasure. What can I say? I worked at the Ritz. I can’t even bring myself to say, “You’re welcome.” My Pleasure just sounds better.

20. Double sided business cards. Depending on the nature of my conversation with someone new, I’ll either give that person my business card backside up (the side with the nametag) or front side up (the side with the books). Two very different purposes for each one.

21. I don’t know what that means. This sentence shows that you’re truly listening, that you care to learn more and that you don’t know everything. People love to hear it. Try it. It works!

22. I need your help. Another great sentence that appeals to the helpful nature of service professionals. By starting a conversation in this way, you are 10 times more likely to get better service.
23. Emailing complete strangers back in 2 minutes. It’s no big deal to me, but for some reason, it is to them. Cool.

24. Breathing exercises. I do them 10 times a day. In through the nose for 4 seconds, hold for 7, out for 8. Repeat 4 times. See ya, stress. And thanks, Dr. Andrew Weil.

25. Lists. Easier for me to write, easier for you to read, easier for everyone to remember. Viola!

26. Bold face, short sentences, short paragraphs, line breaks, italics. It’s amazing how many writers don’t utilize key structural stuff like this. It sure makes the writing more readable.
27. Starting sentences with words like “and” & “because.” Conversational. Breaks the rules of grammar. Hey, screw spell check!

28. Eye contact with specific people in an audience for 1-3 seconds. Makes them feel like you’re talking to them personally. Which you are. Thanks, Toastmasters.

29. One extra second. Of eye contact when you shake someone’s hand, say hello or say goodbye. Thanks, Bill Clinton.
29. Delicious, digg and “email this to a friend.” Major web traffic increasers. (See bottom of post)

30. Free books. I have no idea how many books I’ve sold, and frankly, I don’t care. All I know is, I’ve given a LOT of them away for free, and never regretted doing it a single time. It makes people’s days. Especially if you sign it. And it’s gotten me a lot of business and even more publicity.

31. Autographs. Speaking of signing books, check this out: whenever I don’t know what to write, I sign my books, “You’re a great kisser!” or “Thanks for saving my life!” You should see the reactions I get. Especially from men. More importantly, you should see how many other people my readers then show their books to. Nice.

What little things do you do that make a big difference?

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

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Is that gorilla wearing a nametag?

At the recent Big Read festival in St. Louis, Harry the Nametagged Gorilla made a special appearance. He hung out at the SLPA booth, encouraging passerbys to join in the fun.

Meanwhile, he also helped promote a few of his favorite books, namely Bob Baker’s Guerilla Music Marketing Handbooks.

At one point, a group of kids saw Harry, but were apprehensive to approach. Fortunately, throwing out dozens of packs of free Starburst made it easier. Check out the video…

Harry also received word that Jack Canfield was making an appearance to promote his new book.

As a long time reader of Chicken Soup for the Ape’s Soul, Harry waited in line to meet the best selling author in person. Jack was happy to snap a picture with his furriest fan, who traveled all the way from The Congo just to see him.

All in all, The Big Read was a BIG success!

Would you approach a gorilla wearing a nametag?

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

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This one’s for you, Kane Hodder

It’s just after 5 AM.

I’m sitting here in the hallway by the ice machine on the 14th floor of the San Fransisco Hyatt. The housekeeping lady just walked by and gave me a strange look.

Maybe I should go put a shirt on.

Just kidding! Although I am really out here in the hallway. My wifi signal was pretty bad, and this was the only place I could get online (hint, hint, Hyatt…)

Anyway, it’s been a long week. Took me 12 hours to get from STL to SFO.

12 HOURS. Un-believable.

Not that I’m complaining. I got to catch up on my reading and do some edits on my new book as well. So that was good.

But, to be perfectly honest with ya: I really don’t much to say today. No inspirational, educational or mind-blowing content. Sorry. My brain’s all worn out!

(Today’s post dedicated to one of the greatest actors of all time, Kane Hodder.)

What’s your favorite Friday the 13th? (Mine is #4. Thanks, Corey Feldman.)

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

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The World is a Mirror, Part 11

I is for IDEAS
J is for JOY

Emerson once said, “Every man I meet is my superior in some way. In that, I shall learn of him.”

80,000. That’s roughly the number of people I’ve met over the years of wearing a nametag 24-7.

And I’ve learned a lot from them…

We gain knowledge from any number of sources – books, newspapers, TV, classes, experiences – but the most valuable spring of knowledge comes from our greatest resource, each other.

I know. Cheesy, right?

But it still holds true. For example, the other night I attended a pre-conference cocktail hour hosted by my client. I sat down with several women and somehow got on the topic of marriage, kids, divorces and the like.

During this conversation two terms caught my ear. I asked what they meant and wrote them down.

Here’s what I learned:

1) Toe Tag Marriage: till death do us part. No divorce. We’re in this together. Forever.

2) Casserole Wife: when a man’s wife dies, the first single female neighbor to bring him a casserole within the next 24 hours is most likely to become his next wife.

I never new that. But thanks to that conversation, I’ve now expanded my lexicon of interesting terms. Excellent.

Come to think of it, some of the best books I’ve read, movies I’ve watched and experiences I’ve had were the recommendations of total strangers I met, thanks to the ol’ nametag.

What’s the most interesting thing you learned from someone you recently met?

Make a list called “5 People, 5 Lessons.” Post it here!

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

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Free Ebook: 234 things I’ve learned about…

I’m pretty bummed out.

NSA St. Louis was set to host its annual Speakers U this weekend, in which veteran speakers share their experiences and wisdom about the speaking industry to prospective members.

Now, although I wouldn’t call myself a veteran, I was still excited about the opportunity to share what I’ve learned in my four short years in this business.

Unfortunately, we had to cancel. Not enough people signed up.

Which SUCKS, because I worked really hard on this new ebook.

Anyway, since I can’t give it out on Saturday, I thought I’d post it here. So, for those of you who’ve always wanted to become a professional speaker – or at least become a more effective speaker – here’s pretty much everything I know about the subject:

234 Things I’ve Learned about Creating, Delivering & Marketing Speeches

Enjoy. I’m off to San Fran to speak at the NAPS Conference.

What are your best pieces of advice on creating, delivering and marketing speeches?

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

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Adventures in Nametagging: First Financial Style

I just finished another great program with First Financial Resources in Irving, TX!

We discussed several techniques on how to become that guy, namely, accessibility. I shared my (new) favorite example from last week’s post, So this is what happens when you’re not tainted by the corporate world.

Then they took part in the traditional Nametag Job Title Exercise, from which we had some excellent participation.

Favorites of the day were “Wealth Creation Dude,” “FFR Organizing Wench,” and “Single and Wealthy.”

Additionally, I learned the difference between a Bull Market and a Bear Market, thanks to my new friends @ New York Life. (P.S. It’s a reversible puppet!)

The highlight of the event, however, was the appearance made by former pres George H.W. Bush. He was scheduled to speak to an oil company during lunch. We tried to get in to watch, but there were secret service dudes EVERYWHERE. And you don’t wanna mess with those guys. Not exactly approachable!

Fortunately, I got a picture with his sign, which was almost as cool.

How do you make yourself accessible to the people you serve?

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

Wait for nothing

(Special thanks to Wicks for the beautiful painting.)

I’m such a sucker for John Maxwell books. His stuff is the greatest. It seems like every time I have an extra half-hour at an airport, I buy a new one.

Probably my favorite of his books is Success, One Day at a Time, in which he says, “Success is waiting for you to make the first move.”

I first read this after a giving a speech at Wayne State University. I’ll never forget Tom, the student in the audience who asked me, “What kind of formal training did you have in the areas of giving speeches and writing books?”

And I thought, “Training…?”

Nothing. Zip. Nada. I just started doing it. I waited for nothing.

This brings to mind another pertinent quotation from Og Mandino, one of the world’s most beloved (and my favorite) self-help author. He said in his University of Success, “Being here is all the permission we need to succeed.”

Amen to that!

That means you don’t need to wait for anything or anybody to make a name for yourself.

You don’t need to wait for permission.
You don’t need to wait for the right time.
You don’t need to wait until you get the money.
You don’t need to wait for someone else to lead the way.
You don’t need to wait until you’ve had 20 years of experience.
You don’t need to wait for the mainstream to validate your voice.

I wrote my first book when I was 22.
I gave my first paid speech when I was 23.

Apparently, that’s not the way you’re “supposed” to do it.

See, most authors and speakers spend half their lives working for some big company or organization, then decide to write books or give speeches.

Not the other way around.

But the age of 22, my thought was, “Dude, I’m not waiting 15 years. Screw that! I’m ready now. Let’s go…”

So I did. And looking back, I realize it was the smartest move I ever made.

What are you waiting for?

Make a list of everything you’re waiting for, everything that’s holding you back. Burn it.

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

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The New Paradox: More Choices, Less Time

The other day a client of mine had an odd request: “Scott, could you close your speech by discussing the future of marketing and product innovation?”

Well, I’m no futurist. But I guess I’ll give it a shot…

I answered her request with the following four words: more choices, less time.

Let me throw a few numbers at ya:

• In the August 2005 issue of FastCompany, their research indicated that 26,000 new products hit the US market every year.

• In a study conducted by Para Publishing in 2004, research indicated that 177,000 new books hit the shelves every year.

More choices.

EXAMPLE: You’re shopping at Whole Foods to buy some energy bars. You make your way to aisle 11. And in front of you are 47 different varieties to choose from!

High protein!
Low sugar!
Low carb!
Low net carbs!

They all looked the same to you. Same price. Same orange, red and yellow packaging. Same promises of nutrition.

You’re completely overwhelmed. Unlike like 10 years ago when Powerbar was the only energy bar on the market.

More choices.

OK. Now onto the second half of the paradox. A few more numbers for ya:

•In 1974 a book called First Impressions revealed that humans had seven minutes to make a first impression.

• In a Wall Street Journal article from February 15th, 2006, their research indicated that humans now have a whopping two seconds to make a first impression.

Less time.

EXAMPLE: last week my girlfriend and I decided bake cookies.

Now, I use the word “bake” lightly, because truthfully, we barely baked anything. The cookie bag contained a dozen perfectly circular chunks of pre-made, pre-cut, 100% oven-ready cookie dough. All you had to do was place them on an un-greased cookie sheet.

TOTAL PREP TIME: 30 seconds.

12-15 minutes later, the cookies were done.


Less time.

And therein lies the paradox: every day we have more and more choices; and every day we have less and less time in which to make those choices.

Scary, huh?

It makes me wonder if, five years from now, people are going to be so overwhelmed by the saturation of choices and so pressured by the ever-decreasing time crunch, that they’re going to end up starving to death because they can’t decide which energy bar to buy!

OK, that example was a bit extreme.

All I’m saying is, if I were Luna or Powerbar or any other company that puts out products that compete with dozens of other similar items between which there are no discernable differences, I’d sure be scared.

In any event, I’m going to have to cut this post short. I don’t have enough time to finish it.

Off to the store to buy more cookies!

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

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Boxes are for suckers

The world will try to put you in a box.

This includes people such as:

•Your parents
•Your friends
•Your coworkers
•Your bosses
•Your competitors
•The media
•Organizations of which you are a member

And the moment you realize that you don’t need their box is the moment you are set free.

In National Speakers Association, there is a form I fill out which indicates the “topic” on which I speak. There are only about two dozen options. None of them I speak on. There is no box for “approachability” or “being that guy” or “making a name for yourself.”

So, I always pick the box that says, “other.”

Because I don’t need no stinkin’ box.

And neither do you.

Pick the box that says “other.”

What boxes do people try to put you in?

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

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Love the haters

Over the years, I’ve accumulated a nice collection of hate mail.

I know. Who sends hate mail to a guy trying to make the world friendlier?

Anyway, all of the hate mail I’ve received over the years has taught me a valuable lesson: in the process of making a name for yourself, you will encounter people who will not want you to succeed.

I say, screw those people.

They are jealous.
They are not making a name for themselves.
They have no parade of their own so they’re raining on yours.
They are too weak to follow their own dreams so they have to discourage yours.

They are haters. And they serve no purpose other than to:

1) Bring you down, or
2) Fuel your own self-belief

So, the choice is yours: get pissed or start laughing.

My advice? Just remember what Steven Pressfield wrote in The War of Art: “When we begin to see people livinge their authentic lives, it drives us crazy because we know we’re not living own.”

How do you deal with the haters?

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

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