The World is a Mirror, Part 14

I is for IDEAS
J is for JOY
M is for MUNDANE

I need to apologize.

See, sometimes I get so wrapped up in the big picture of approachability, be that guy, make a name for yourself, that I lose sight of why I started this in the first place: because nametags rock.

Plain and simple. Heck, that was the whole point of my first book!

But last month, something happened that really got to me.

After giving a talk at a hospitality conference in Columbus, I noticed a woman I’d met a few months prior. Unfortunately, I couldn’t recall her name. So, when I first approached to say hello, I was hoping to read her nametag to jar my memory.

But her hair was covering it.

“Forgive me for blanking on your name,” I said, “but, well, your nametag is sort of covered!”

“Oh, sorry about that,” Sarah said as she moved aside her brown locks.

“You should make your nametag more visible,” I joked.

“Well, I could,” she whined, “but my hair looks just hideous when I put it up!”

Oh. I see.

And then it hit me: nametags are not about you.

Nametags are about everyone in the world BUT you.

Nametags are about making someone else feel comfortable; maybe because they’re shy, or maybe because they’re bad with names.

And yet, so many people still complain about wearing them:

“I feel silly wearing this thing.”

“My nametag doesn’t match my outfit.”

“Everybody at this meeting knows me already.”

That may be true, but the problem with these (common) objections to wearing a nametag is this: they’re all about you.

If you’re attending a meeting or event – especially if you’re an existing member – one of your duties is to make guests and newbies feel comfortable. So whether you’re extroverted or shy; friendly or caustic; aloof or gregarious, at least some part of that goal can be easily accomplished by one simple act: wear your nametag!

Because sometimes you have to put the comfort of your guests in front of the comfort of yourself.

What’s your best objection to wearing nametags?

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

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25 gems I’ve learned about goal setting

I’m no expert on goal setting, but 2006 has been the best goal setting/goal achieving year EVER. Thought I’d share 25 of the gems I’ve learned…

1. Brian Tracy, one of the world’s foremost experts on setting and achieving goals, explains the following fact: less than 3 percent of Americans have written goals, and less than 1 percent review and rewrite their goals on a daily basis. Which means if you’re doing both, you’re WAY ahead of the game.

2. Whatever your present goals are, they’re too low.

3. Read your personal and professional goals every morning.

4. Create a Vision Board and look at it every morning. A vision board is a collage of pictures that represent your accomplished goals, as if they’ve already happened. Creative visualization. Forward thinking. This stuff works.

5. Tell your goals to other people. This keeps you accountable.

6. Make a list of 101 goals. It’s tough, but this exercise will change your life.

7. In your bathroom, put post-it notes of your goals on the mirror. Personal on the left, professional on the right. That way, you HAVE to look at them twice a day.

8. Set daily, weekly, monthly and yearly goals.

9. Every week, make yourself a list called “Criticals.” These are your Top 5 Goals for the Week. If you can accomplish these every week, you will also achieve your larger goals over time.

10. Every single day, perform three Highly Valuable Activities. They don’t have to be business, per se. From “working out” to “writing an article” to “meeting my new client in person,” these small things will accumulate. Think about it. 25 a week, 50 weeks a year, that’s 1,250 a year. Wow.

11. Each year, have one major, HUGE goal. Let’s say it’s: “I will make 1 million dollars this year.” Write the term “one million” on a bunch of post it notes. Put them all around your office.

12. Buy a little bell and ring it every time you accomplish a goal, big or small.

13. If a bell’s not enough, create some form of victory dance. Now, you don’t have to do an actual dance (although Snoopy had a great celebration dance), but something that rewards you for a job well done. Me, I like to go out for sushi.

(And now for Scott’s Favorite Goal Setting Tip…)

14. Put a little card by your desk that says, “Is what you’re doing RIGHT NOW consistent with your #1 goal?” I did this a few years ago and it absolutely kicked my goat setting into high gear.

15. My friend once bet me $20 that I would achieve my yearly revenue goal. I took the bet. By August, I had already passed it. So, I took a twenty-dollar bill, framed it, then wrote on it: “Thanks for helping me achieve my goal!” He loved it. (I just hope he never has to break the glass to spend it!)

16. What people don’t realize about goals is that they have to be VISUAL!!!

17. Be specific and put a timeline on all of your goals. It dramatically increases the possibility that they will be accomplished. For example, “I will weigh no more than 195 pounds by December 14, 2006.”

18. When you list your goals, also list the following: barriers that will stand in my way of achieving that goal, people that will help me with that goal and reasons I will accomplish that goal

19. Begin with the end in mind

20. Hang out with other people who set, share and accomplish goals. If the people you see the most aren’t in that small percent of the world that writes their goals down, either MAKE them do it, or get new friends.

21. Have a goal partner. The two of you share updates on progress, goal accomplishments and anything else relating to goals.

22. The best weekly goal tip I ever got was to divide my time into 5 sections: to do, to contact, to see, to read and to write. If I could cross everything and everyone off that list by the end of the week, I was successful.

24. Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen, authors of Chicken Soup for the Soul talk about setting one BHAG, or “Big Harry Audacious Goal.” What’s yours?

25. And lastly, don’t just share your goals with a few people. Share as many of your goals as possible with as many people as possible.

You know, I think the real reason all this goal stuff has been on my mind is because I FINALLY read Paulo Coello’s The Alchemist. (By the way, if you are in any way involved with goal setting, read that book TODAY.)

Anyway, the keystone of his message is the following: when you know what you want, the world will conspire to help you achieve it.

What are your three best goal setting tips? Post them here.

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

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7 Ways to Turn Hate Mail into Great Mail

The old saying in customer service is, “A complaint is a compliment.”

If that’s true, then hate mail must be a dozen roses.

I only say that because, in my four years of business, I’ve received my fair share of hate mail.

Now, without going into a whole dissertation about the irony of hate mail being sent to a man who wears a nametag 24-7 to make the world friendlier, I do want to share 7 ways to turn hate mail into great mail.

1. Humor. First of all, at least half of the world’s hate mail is sent from invalid sources. This list of jerks includes – but isn’t limited to – ignorant adolescents, intoxicated persons, general idiots, uneducated anonymous loudmouths, no-life negative-nay-sayers and standard player-haters. So, if you can uncover the superficiality of someone’s ridiculous claims and realize that he has no evidence to support his arguments, you’ll probably start laughing.

Keep your favorite pieces of hate mail in a folder, or even posted on your wall.

2. Loyalty. If someone leaves a cutting, negative comment on your blog, message board or forum, don’t delete it. More often than not, your fans, customers, friends and loyalists will come to your rescue and defend you. Because that’s what fans do. For example, years ago, Kevin Smith started a website called He posted his own hate mail just so others would come to his defense. And they did.

Allow the negative comments to remain, and the people who love you will come to your rescue.

3. Feedback. On occasion, a piece of hate mail might make a good point. My suggestion is to reply to the person (providing they actually leave an email, which they don’t often do), and thank them for their comments. Explain how you plan to use their feedback to make positive change to your organization. Of course, don’t antagonize them. Just be grateful. In my experience, I’ve made major changes to my ideas simply because a hate mail letter was spot on.
Don’t be so close-minded to think that ALL hate mail is incorrect.

4. Leverage. Two of my best pieces of hate mail have become two of my best stories. One has to do with commitment; the other has to do with innovation. The best part is: when I tell those stories during a speech, they always get the audience on my side and support my points better than any other story could.

Brainstorm three people with whom you could share your latest piece of hate mail. Get ‘em on your side.

5. Motivation. Hate mail is a great motivator. Hell, I even thanked all of the people who sent me hate mail in the acknowledgements section of my second book! After all, their letters only made me finish that book sooner.

There’s nothing like someone telling you that you can’t do it to make you do it.

6. Reinforcement. Senders of hate mail also tend to be jealous of your success, probably because they’re not successful themselves. It’s like Steven Pressfield explained in The War of Art: “When people see you begin to live you authentic lives, it drives them crazy because they’re not living their own.” So, haters do this because they have no parade of their own. That’s why they’ve chosen to rain on yours. Which means you’re probably doing something right.

Every time you get a piece of hate mail, jump up and down and yell, “YES! I DID IT!”

7. Personal Growth. Valid or not, all hate mail is a perfect way to test patience and positive attitude. Think about it: if you get an anonymous letter from an ignorant person who thinks you’re stupid, you don’t have to let it get you down. How you react is your choice. Of course, if you do react negatively, take it personally and get all defensive, then maybe you are stupid.

Each piece of hate mail is a test of your ability to respond positively to a negative stimulus.

The deal is: you always have a choice.

When someone sends you hate mail, it’s all about your response. Ultimately, criticism keeps you in check when it’s right, and keeps you in chuckles when it’s ridiculous. And the way I see it, using positive turn-around techniques like the ones I’ve mentioned are sure-fire ways to leverage negative comments to your advantage.

Now, allow me to close this article with my all-time-favorite hate mail example. Actually, it wasn’t so much a piece of hate mail as it was a death threat:

It came about three years ago from some guy in New York City. He left a note on my guestbook that read (and I quote), “Scott, if you ever come to New York, I’ll f***ing kill you!”

Seriously, I don’t think I’ve laughed that hard in years. It was the funniest letter I’d ever read. I’ll kill you?! You can’t make that stuff up! A death threat?! Are you kidding me?! It was so great, I not only told all my friends about it; not only posted it on my bulletin board and my blog; but I even replied to the guy and thanked him for his letter. (After all, how could I turn down a dozen roses?)

And believe it or not, he wrote me back! In fact, he was SO shocked to receive such a positive response, that he actually apologized for his harsh words.

Now that’s what I call turning hate mail into great mail!

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

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That Guy meets That Bloke

Hey look, it’s That Guy!

And look, he’s with That Bloke!

Meet my friend Pete Williams. Referred to in the media as “Budding Richard Branson”, 24 year-old Pete Williams has been an entrepreneur from an extremely young age.

During 2003 while reading the book The One Minute Millionaire, Pete Williams got a business idea…

The MCG (The Aussie version of Madison Square Garden) under its own redevelopment and as Australia’s number 1 sporting ground, PeteWilliams took action to recreate the certificates using the timber that was once the seating at the ‘G.

On the back of a few phone calls and self-confidence he was able to track down the wrecking company which was demolishing the Ponsford stand (at this stage the Members Pavilion had not been touched), who informed him they had a significant amount of timber from the seating and flooring as hoped, however to his amazement they also had a considerable amount of the world famous MCC Crested Carpet – which originally lay in the members dining room. After viewing the carpet lying in the corner of the wreckers’ warehouse the following morning he took the entire sum along with a mass of timber at a very ‘pleasing’ price.

From that point on he developed and created a series of limited edition sports memorabilia pieces which sold from $395 – $1495. These included a photo of the G, a piece of the famous carpet and even a limited number series that had their frame created out of the timber which was once the stadium. Amongst a wide range of creative and unique marketing techniques and strategies employed, a press release created with the headline ‘21 Year Old Sells MCG For Under $500’ generated over $50,000 of FREE advertising and publicity in media via Channel 7 news, Herald Sun articles, AM and FM Radio interviews and trade magazine articles – which generated a huge proportion of sales at no cost.

His new book comes out this month, How to Turn Your Million Dollar Idea into a Reality. I’ve already read some of it, and it’s awesome.

Also, Pete and I happened to be in Dallas on the same day, so we shared a cab to the airport. Then we got lost for about an hour at DFW. It was a lot of fun. I guess we were so excited aboue meeting that we blanked out on our sense of direction.

Oh, wait, I forgot: I have no sense of direction.

Anyway, thought you guys would like to meet Pete. He’s a cool dude.

Er, I mean, “bloke.”

Aren’t Aussies the coolest?

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

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A quick story about the greatest day of my life

Tuesday, April 29th, 2003.

5:47 AM.

Standing at the corner of 6th and Morrison, I was the only person around for three blocks. I anxiously awaited the 5:50 train to take me to the Portland airport.

To my amazement, I was off to New York City to do the biggest interview of my life. In less than 24 hours, I would appear on the CBS Early Show before an audience of five million people to talk about my new book, HELLO, my name is Scott.

Suffice it to say, I was FREAKING out.

In my left hand: an overnight suitcase full of books.
In my right hand: a copy of the USA Today.

And as the habitual Portland mist smeared the fresh ink on my paper, I read through several of the day’s headlines.

Let me share with you – word for word – what they said:

1. Identity theft cases rise this month
2. 75 million Americans living without health insurance
3. Luther Vandross catches pneumonia after stroke
4. SARS outbreak troubles China workers
5. The end of Buffy feels like a dagger to the heart
6. War letters from the Iraqi front lines
7. Cost of AIDS drugs for poor nations
8. Studies find disturbing amounts of contamination in lettuce
9. Hubble telescope catches approaching storm of turbulent gases
10.Man wears nametag 24-7 for a friendlier society

What’s wrong with this picture?

Actually, I should say, “What’s right with this picture?”

Because that exact moment, my 23 year-old mind realized something:

Oh. My. God. This is it. This is what I’m supposed to do with my life.

This is how I will make a name for myself.

Ahh…memories 🙂

What was the greatest day of your life?

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

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6 Googleicious Ways to Approach Your Next Sales Call

In 20 minutes, you have the biggest sales call of your life.

It could mean your next promotion.
It could mean millions of dollars in revenue.
It could mean a new business relationship that lasts a lifetime.

Are you wearing The Armor of Google?

Huh? The Armor of what?!

You heard me: Google. The greatest thing to happen to the Internet since the Internet. And, your best friend in approaching the sale.

See, approachability stems from confidence. Confidence grows from knowledge. And knowledge is enhanced through preparation. So, what better way to prepare yourself for your upcoming sales call than to spend the next 20 minutes Googling your brains out?

Here are 6 ways turn Google into your secret weapon when approaching the sale.

SECRET WEAPON #1: Google Yourself
If you’re not doing this at least a few times a month anyway, you’re crazy. And this isn’t an ego thing, it’s about visibility. It’s about reputation. You need to know who’s talking about you, where you show up & where you don’t show up.

REMEMBER: every time you encounter a potential client – in person, on the phone, via email – odds are, they’ve already Googled you.

ALSO REMEMBER: if you don’t exist on Google, you don’t exist.

SECRET WEAPON #2: Google Your Company
Find out what customers, clients and the competition are saying about your company. If possible, get involved in chat rooms, bulletin boards and other online networking venues to represent (or defend) your organization.

KEEP IN THE FRONT OF YOUR MIND: you can participate in your online image, but you can’t control it.

KEEP IN THE BACK OF YOUR MIND: you and your company are getting talked about, whether you like it or not.

SECRET WEAPON #3: Google Their Company
Sure, you can go to the website of a potential client you hope to work with, but Googling their company name will give you a much broader scope. Find out what other people are saying about them. Especially if it’s negative feedback. See if they’ve been in the news lately, either for something good OR bad.

THINK ABOUT IT: a company’s own website won’t post anything bad about themselves.

AND THINK ABOUT THIS: you might say something stupid or accidentally hit a hot button if you don’t do your research first.

SECRET WEAPON #4: Google Your Prospects
I recently did a conference call with the VP of Marketing from a Fortune 500 company. He was interested in working together, so prior to our meeting, I spent a few minutes Googling his name. I found a great article all about his leadership style; printed it out, stuck it on my wall, then quoted the VP’s own words back to him at the end of our conversation. I complimented his eloquence and then explained how my services connected with his philosophy. He loved it!

YOUR GOAL: preparation, preparation, preparation.

ALSO YOUR GOAL: make that prospect think, “Wow, he did his homework!”

SECRET WEAPON #5: Google Alerts
Every time I speak to a group of people, I always ask them, “How many of you are using Google Alerts?” Usually 3 hands out of 500 go up. And I’m always amazed, mainly because Google Alerts are GOLD. They are email updates of the latest relevant Google results (web, news, etc.) based on your choice of query or topic. My suggest to you is, get alerts for your specific areas of expertise. Help enhance your ongoing education. For example, I have alerts on “nametags” and “approachability.” Other items you might want to consider getting alerts for: your name, your company’s name, your product’s name, your website’s name, clients’ names, your competition’s name, etc.

YOU’LL BE AMAZED: about where your name shows up on the Internet.

YOU’LL ALSO BE AMAZED: at what you can learn that you otherwise never would have discovered.

SECRET WEAPON #6: Googling Personal Info
This one is just fun. Try your own phone number, address, or better yet, your email. Try your boss’s or your spouse’s information. It’s wicked cool. Also, Google your OLD personal information, especially out-of-date phone numbers. You can see which websites list you incorrectly. (If you’re really anal, you can call them up and tell them to change it.) That one will blow your mind.

(NOTE: I just Googled my social security number. Nothing came up, thank God.)

TRUST ME: your personal information is out there somewhere.

AND TRUST THIS: the Internet is forever. (Insert spooky sound effect sound.)

Now, one bit of caution: be careful how you reveal this information to your prospect. If you shake someone’s hand, look him in the eye and say, “So I was Googling you yesterday…” that might give the impression that you were stalking him.

I suggest you wait until the moment is right, and casually say “I asked around,” “I was surfing the web” or “I stumbed upon…” Those phrases are a lot less threatening.

Ultimately, when you’re faced with an important sales call, Google is a brilliant preparation tool. It equips you with the information, and therefore, the confidence; to approach that sale like a pro.

Google on!

How are you using Google to prepare yourself to approach the sale?

Get your people, team, department (whatever) together for “Google Time.” Have each person spend 20 minutes Googling, then have a meeting where you discuss your findings.

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

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The World is a Mirror, Part 13

I is for IDEAS
J is for JOY
M is for MUNDANE

Today I’m celebrating my six-year anniversary of wearing a nametag 24-7! Woo hoo!

Which means it’s day 2,191 – but who’s counting, right?

(Actually, the counter at the bottom of my website is.)


Wearing a nametag 24-7-365 for six big ones represents a simple, yet powerful business idea: make the mundane memorable.

I’m still surprised more organizations don’t embrace this. It’s not our corporate policy. It violates our company’s handbook. We don’t want to do anything risky.

Come on. That’s garbage!

Businesses NEED to be doing this stuff. Because when companies can find a way to make the mundane memorable, fives things happen:

1) Customers start talking
2) Employees have more fun
3) The brand lives and breathes in a new way
4) Uniqueness shines through
5) Loyalty skyrockets

QuikTrip is the perfect example of this. I fill up at QT whenever possible (ahem, loyalty), just to hear the cashier say, “Hurry back!”

That’s what they say. In every transaction.

Not “Have a nice day.”
Not “Thank you, come again.”

They say, “Hurry back.”

And people do. Not to mention, they’ve made the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For 3 years running. Wonder why?

Mundane into memorable.

Or Bishop’s Barbershop in Portland, where you can get a great haircut for roughly the same price as anywhere else. Except at Bishop’s, the minute you walk in the door for your appointment, the receptionist gives you a free bottle of Pabst Blue Ribbon.

That’s just cool. I don’t even drink, but I used to go there when I lived in Portland, just to get the free beer!

Mundane into memorable.

Then there’s my favorite ad agency, The Hughes Group. When you walk into their elevator, you’ll notice 21 buttons, just like any other elevator. Except theirs doesn’t say “4,” it says “Hughes.” And you better believe every client, potential client or guest comments about it. Then they tell five other people about it. Awesome! (See a picture of the button on my original post from 2005.)

Mundane into memorable.

Or what about the parking garage down the street from my office? Every time I go there for a meeting, the guy in the little ticket box takes my slip and says, “That’ll be $4000!” I go back there every month, just to hear him say it. A parking garage! It doesn’t get more mundane than that!

The point is: this stuff is easy. Yet very few companies (and people) do it.

Because they’re scared of stepping out of their corporate comfort zones.

However, for those bold few who choose to embrace the mundane, here’s what happens:

Breaking the silence = breaking the pattern.
Breaking the pattern = mundane into memorable.
Memorable moments = increased comfort.
Increased comfort = increased approachability.
More approachability = strangers into friends.
Friends = people who become loyal, aka, fans.
Fans = people who love your stuff.
More fans = more positive word of mouth.
More people talking about how much they love your stuff = 🙂 🙂 🙂

Mission accomplished.

When was the last time someone make the mundane memorable for you?

Picture your typical day. You interactions with customers, prospects, coworkers. Now think specifically about five mundane moments. List three ways each of those moments could become more memorable. Post your lists here and next week I’ll compile all the answers for a new article (along with a link to your organization’s website.)

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

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HELLO, my name is Gary

I just realized something: I haven’t carved pumpkins in about 10 years.

I forgot how much fun it is. Especially cooking and eating the seeds afterward, dusted with Emeril’s Gaaahlic Essence.

Also, as I mentioned in my ezine, I decided to go with the El Cheapo Halloween costume. I changed my nametag to Gary.

When I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror, I admit it was a bit strange. But, I’ve done this a few years in a row, so, what the hell?

Nothing spectacular happened. Had a few people say “Hey Gary!” That’s about it. I suppose I could pass for a Gary.

Originally, I was going to go as “Jamal,” but I wasn’t sure if anyone would buy that.

Hope you had a Happy Halloween! Send any extra candy to 7563 Oxford Dr. #2S, St. Louis, MO 63105.

What was the best Halloween costume you saw this year?

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

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