What’s your currency?

Not the yen.
Not the dollar.
Not the deutschemark.

Today we’re talking about the metaphorical form of currency.

Consider two facts:

1. Currency is the transmitting of something, especially money from person to person.
2. Currency is just another word for “return.”

THEREFORE: You need to know ahead of time, prior to engaging in any new project, marketing effort or activity, “What’s my currency?”

In other words, “Why the heck am I doing this?”

Because if you don’t…

You won’t know when you’ve succeeded.
You won’t know what to keep, stop or start in the future.
You won’t know the lowest common denominator of your actions.

SO, ASK YOURSELF: “What would have to happen to make me feel like I’ve achieved a Return on Investment from this new endeavor?”

Take online social networking, for example.

Too many companies and businesspeople hesitate to get involved with this trend because they think it’s a fad. That it will just fade away like mini-discs, pogs and Ricky Martin.

BIG mistake.

Online social networking ain’t goin’ nowhere! It’s the future of the Internet, the future of the world!

And the reasons (excuses) people give for not getting involved in social networking are:

1. They don’t have the time.
2. They don’t see the payoff, aka, currency.

Well, remember this:

You WILL have the time…

…when-you-first-understand-your-currency!!

For online social networking, potential currency could be:

o Expanding your network
o Driving traffic
o Filtering in new leads
o Developing, storing content
o Branding and marketing
o Making money
o Projecting transparency
o Building community

Here’s an example.

I never thought blogging was worth it. For about a year, I didn’t see any return, any “currency” from my daily posting.

Then, on August 31st, 2005, I wrote a post that would lead to over $100,000 of new business.

If that happened to you, would YOU make time to blog every morning?

You bet.

So whether it’s online social networking, initiating a new marketing plan, attending a conference or deciding to publish a book, understand this:

It might take six to twelve months before you actually see your currency come to fruition. Heck, that’s the “I” in Return on Investment!

So, be honest with yourself and your business. Find out if you’re willing to pay the price.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What’s your currency?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
Share your best currency success story here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
www.hellomynameisscott.com

Are you the luckiest person you know?

Watch Scott’s interview on 20/20!

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The longer they take, the less they buy

PICTURE THIS: you walk into Borders on a Sunday afternoon. You head over to the business section to pick up the latest book on leadership.

Flipping through, you see nothing remarkable … yet.

So you keep flipping. And flipping. And flipping. Frustratingly hoping to come across a poignant sentence, a cool graph or an astonishing picture to use in tomorrow’s staff meeting.

But to no avail.

About seven minutes go by. You reach the appendix of the book, having found nothing that stood out.

Well, back to the shelf this goes! You think.

And then.

Then something else catches your eye.

“Hmm. What’s this…?” you say.

You grab a different book. You lean up against the shelf and randomly open it to page 147.

And within three seconds, you’re smiling. Nodding and affirming and pointing out a piece of leadership advice that’s SO relevant (and SO SIMPLE), you say to yourself, “Wow. That’s goooood! I’m buying this book for my boss!”

So you do.

And it only took … what? A few seconds?

LESSON LEARNED: the longer they take, the less they buy.

In Doug Hall’s (amazing) Jumpstart Your Brain, he shares several brilliant observations on this very topic.

Based on his extensive research with Proctor & Gamble’s retail division, Doug learned three things:

1. Complexity generates contemplation. You lose when your customer has to contemplate your idea. In the process of contemplating, customers start looking at other options.

2. Get them early. If it takes more than ten seconds to explain or grasp, it’s probably not a wicked good idea.

3. Simple ideas are self-evident. And self-evident products make you want to pick them up when you see the name and the front of the package. No additional communication required.

It’s kind of like the end of Jerry Maguire.

Tom Cruise barges into Rene Zelwegger’s house to profess his love for her. He rambles on and on about how she “completes” him. Everyone in the audience is sobbing.

Eventually, she interrupts his monologue and says, “You had me at hello.”

You had me at hello.

That’s exactly what you need to do.

You need to have them at hello.

Because if you don’t, every second that passes decreases the probability of a sale.

The sale of…

Your idea.
Your self.
Your service.
Your product.

LESSON LEARNED: if you don’t have them at hello, it’s already too late.

Because the longer they take, the less they buy.

HERE’S HOW I KNOW THIS: I’ve been wearing a nametag 24-7 for the past 2,431 days.

I do it to make people friendlier. That’s it!

And I’ve probably explained this idea to well over 100,000 people.

Now, according to seven years of non-scientific, empirical data, approximately 10% of the people I encounter will think I’m out of my damn mind.

(Which is true.)

But these people just don’t (and won’t) get it.

They require me to cite scientific data.
They ask me to explain my philosophy over and over.
They argue relentlessly about the validitiy of wearing a nametag.

(And all the while I’m thinking: dude, it’s not that complicated. Nametags = friendlier people)

Which makes me realize something: these people will NEVER, at any point, accept, like or embrace my idea.

Because I never had them at hello.

See, first impressions are based on instinct and emotion. And because they tend to be correct, the first impressions people form about you will probably stay in their minds forever.

After all, people put pressure on themselves to behave consistently with their own existing commitments.

This is known as the primacy effect. Meaning, the information people see or learn about you is more powerful than what is learned later.

IN SHORT: if it takes too long for someone to “get” you (or your idea or your product), they’re probably not going to buy into it. Ever.

The longer they take, the less they buy.

Also, here’s something else I’ve noticed after 2,430 days:

90% of the people I encounter, only SECONDS after hearing that I choose to wear a nametag all the time, will say to me, “That’s the coolest idea I’ve ever heard!”

And they not only embrace the idea, but usually tell at least 10 people about it.

Because I had them at hello.

And it took … what? Three seconds?

Right. Because if the longer they take, the less they buy; then the SHORTER they take, they MORE they buy!

OK. So, here’s what this means for you:

1. KEEP it simple. Say ONE thing. Assure that your ideas; products, services and marketing materials are self-evident. That they need no further communication. That people “get” your stuff right away.

2. MAKE it easy. Ever read a business book without boldface, underlines, italics, font changes or pictures? It’s a pain in the butt! See, few authors understand the value of architecture in writing. So, even if you don’t write books, remember: make it easy. Punch people in the face with what they need to see, hear and know about your business right away.

3. TOUCH it up. If you find that it’s taking too long to convince people, don’t worry! This is your opportunity to tweak your idea, sales pitch or product. Brainstorm several approaches and practice them on friends. If you “get them at hello,” you’re on the right track. Super easy litmus test.

Ultimately, what we’re talking about is a first impression.

Of you.
Of your ideas.
Of your business.

SO REMEMBER: complexity generates contemplation; and contemplation kills sales.

Get them at hello.

Because they longer they take, the less they buy.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Do you have people at hello?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
Share an example of someone who had YOU at hello with THEIR business idea.

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
www.hellomynameisscott.com

Are you the luckiest person you know?

Watch Scott’s interview on 20/20!

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Why are you being so nice to me?

PICTURE THIS: You meet someone at a networking event. He’s friendly, approachable, asks great questions; even introduces you to a few his colleagues.

After the event you exchange business cards.

A few days later he follows up with a quick email, thanking you for coming. He also offers an open-ended invitation to a future lunch to brainstorm and get to know each other better.

Wow!

Still, in the back of your mind, you can’t help but wonder, “Why is he being so nice to me?”

Does he have ulterior motives?
Does he want to sell me something?
Does he think I’m going to become his best friend?

Oris he just nice to everyone?

All of these are possibilities. And it’s human nature to be suspicious of people’s motives. Especially when it appears someone has no apparent reason to be so “nice” to you.

PERFECT EXAMPLE: ever since my 20/20 piece, I’ve been getting SWAMPED with phone calls and emails.

Most are from people who are just nice.

Many are from people who are nice AND want to connect.

However, some are from people are very nice … who want me to become part of their downline. Or read their business proposal. Or buy their products and services.

Yeah.

So, based on my experience of wearing a nametag 24-7 for the past 2,430 days, I believe there are three levels of niceness:

1. ULTERIOR MOTIVES: they seek sales, referrals, joining their organization, becoming a part of their MLM company.

2, ANCILLARY MOTIVES: they seek to develop and maintain mutually valuable relationships. “Who knows?” they think, “Maybe somewhere down the line we’ll be able to help each other!”

3. ZERO MOTIVES: they seek to be nice for the sake of being nice. No scorekeeping. No objective. Just being nice.

The challenge is, the word “nice” is a toughie. And there’s a paradox of meaning when you research the word’s origin.

By definition, the word nice means, “Pleasing and agreeable in nature,” “Having a pleasant or attractive appearance,” “Exhibiting courtesy and politeness,” and “Of good character and reputation; respectable.”

Conversely, the Latin derivative for nice is nescius, or “ignorant.”

Interesting.

No wonder “nice” is so misunderstood!

Still, when it comes to approachability, it’s important to see the value in all three types of conversation levels. None are better than the other; they just serve different purposes.

So, next time someone’s “nice” actions appear suspicious; and you ask yourself, “Why are they being so nice to me?” remember these three variations of niceness before you write someone off.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Why are some people so nice?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
Share your best “Why are you being so nice to me?” story here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
www.hellomynameisscott.com

Are you the luckiest person you know?

Watch Scott’s interview on 20/20!

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8 phrases customers (don’t) want to hear you say

Your customers are tired.

Tired of terrible service.
Tired of getting the run around.
Tired of waiting in lines all morning.

Most importantly, they’re tired of hearing excuses.

THE GOOD NEWS: there IS a way to offer more approachable service!

Here is a list of eight phrases (er, excuses) your customers don’t want to hear; AND, several alternative phrases that payses you can use instead.

1. “I’m sorry.”

Sorry is negative.
Sorry is problem-oriented.
Sorry is usually followed by excuses.
Sorry is focused on the wrong person.
Sorry is sucks the positivity out of a conversation.

Now, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t over-apologize. Instead, consider framing your response differently.

PHRASES THAT PAYSES
“Thanks for telling me.”
“Thanks for bringing that to my attention.”
“That’s horrible!”
“I have no excuse. You’re right.”
“I apologize.”

2. “That’s not my job.”

Too many front line employees evade personal responsibility and professional accountability.

REMEMBER: part of your job is to reassure the customers.

That you’re on it.
That you’re taking ownership of the problem.
That you’re going to find a solution; even it’s not your job.

PHRASES THAT PAYSES
“I will personally take care of that.”
“I will take ownership of this problem.”
“And for future reference, the person who usually handles that problem is…”

3. “There’s nothing I can do,” or “I can’t.”

Negative language! No good.

Focus instead on what you CAN do. On solutions; not problems.

REMEMBER: there’s always something you can do; even if it simply means finding the right person to help.

PHRASES THAT PAYSES
“Good news!”
“You’re in luck!”
“Here’s what I CAN do.”
“Today’s your lucky day!”
“The best way for me to help you RIGHT NOW is…”

4. “I don’t know.”

That’s OK. You can’t know everything!

Still, you want to reassure your customer. So, remember to first lay a positive foundation and then reassure the customer that her problem will be addressed.

PHRASES THAT PAYSES
“Let me find out for you.”
“Let me look that up for you.”
“Good question! I’m not exactly sure, so let me ask someone who DOES know.”

5. “Our policy is…”

The mere mention of the word “policy” sends a chill down customers’ spines.

So, try shifting your verbiage to something more approachable.

PHRASES THAT PAYSES
“Our guidelines are…”
“In order to be fair to everybody.”
“Let me make an exception for you.”

6. “You’ll have to call someone else.”

This is called Punting. Passing the Buck. Evading Responsibility.

And customers are tired of it.

So, even if it’s not your job or area of expertise, you can still be of assistance.

PHRASES THAT PAYSES
“Here’s who you CAN call…”
“Let me connect you with George, he has the answer to your problem!”

7. “He’s not here.”

Especially if your goal is to achieve first call resolution, avoid this phrase!

Who knows? Maybe you can answer the question for a coworker who isn’t available.

Remember: we live in a fast-paced, hyperspeed, A.D.D culture. Customers want answers NOW!

PHRASES THAT PAYSES
“Steve’s unavailable right now, but MY name is Karen; is there anything I can do to help?”
“Steve’s out of the office right now, but is there a question I might be able to answer?”

8. “As soon as possible.”

ASAP. When I get a chance. When I get around to it.

All of these phrases make customers think, “Yeah right!”

You need to emit a sense of urgency, confidence and reassurance. Try these:

PHRASES THAT PAYSES
“Right away.”
“Immediately.”
“Give me fifteen seconds.”

NOTE: for a free, dowloadable copy of my ebook, 117 Phrases That Payses, go to www.hellomynameisscott.com, login if you’re a first-time friend, then scroll down to the “Free Ebooks” section.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What other phrases do customers (not) want to hear?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
Post your alternative phrases that payses here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
www.hellomynameisscott.com

Are you the luckiest person you know?

Watch Scott’s interview on 20/20!

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Taking the shameless out of self-promotion

(To watch a video of The Giant Nametag, click here!)

Self-promotion gets a bad wrap.

In fact, it’s almost impossible to talk about the topic of self-promotion without mentioning the word “shameless.”

Which, according to my thesaurus, is another word for “audacious, brash, dirty, immoral, improper, presumptuous and rude.”

Yikes! No wonder people are so hesitant when it comes to tooting their own horns … they’re afraid!

Afraid of being rejected.
Afraid of appearing boastful.
Afraid that they’re bragging.
Afraid of sticking themselves out there.

BUT, HERE’S THE GOOD NEWS: self-promotion doesn’t have to be shameless.

See, our teachers, parents and mentors tell us (er, brainwash us) that self-promotion is bad form.

Not true.

Self-promotion can be a beautiful thing … when done gracefully.

THINK OF IT THIS WAY: you sit down at a dinner table with seven strangers.

Somebody brings up the topic of children.

“Ooh! Look at these pictures! My daughter just graduated from Kindergarten. Isn’t she just the cutest thing you’ve ever seen? Oh, and she got all A’s and the teacher LOVES her and all the other students in class think she’s the smartest kid in the whole school!”

Self-promotion?

Absolutely.

Shameless?

Heck no!

It’s passionate. It’s loving. It’s fun. It’s engaging. It’s authentic.

And you don’t see it as “selling” your kids to the person next to you.

You’re merely transferring your love.

And THAT is what self-promotion TRULY is: a transference of emotion.

Here’s another example.

At a recent Book Expo in New York City, I spent three days walking around the convention center wearing a giant nametag.

Smiling. Waving. Making friends. Giving away free books. Having fun.

Transferring the emotion of approachability.

Now, sure, I was promoting my new book.

But I didn’t lead with that. I led with passion and love and authenticity.

And the word shameless wasn’t even a consideration.

Interestingly, halfway through the conference, a woman approached me with a big smile on her face and asked why I was wearing this huge nametag.

So I told her.

It turned out she was a reporter for the Christian Science Monitor Her assignment was to interview someone for an upcoming article on self-promotion.

Nice.

We ended up sitting down on the stairs for the next 30 minutes for an impromtu interview!

So, if you want to take the “shameless” out of self-promotion, remember two things:

1. Don’t let your past fears stand in the way.
2. Don’t sell – transfer your love. Enable people to buy.

Because if you don’t make a name for yourself, someone will make one for you.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Does self-promotion have to be shameless?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
Share your hypotheses why people are afraid to toot their own horns here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
www.hellomynameisscott.com

Are you the luckiest person you know?

Watch Scott’s interview on 20/20!

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Ask; don’t tell.

Sales calls.
Employee meetings.
Interviews with candidates.
Phone calls with the media.

Do you want to appear more approachable these type of situations?

Cool! Then, just remember three important words:

Ask; don’t tell.

Here’s why:

People don’t like to be told what to do.
People will remember something if they say it.
People will believe something if they say it.
People will learn something if they say it.

It brings to mind the words of Aristotle, who once said, “He who persuades me with my own words is the best.”

Ask; don’t tell.

Next, let’s explore the core differences between these two actions:

1. WHAT THEY ARE…

ASKING is curious.
TELLING is judgmental.

ASKING is generative language.
TELLING is retrospective language

ASKING is engaging.
TELLING is one-sided.

2. WHAT THEY LEAD TO…

ASKING leads to goals.
TELLING leads to controls.

ASKING leads to listening.
TELLING leads to talking.

ASKING leads to dialogue.
TELLING leads to defensive responses.

ASKING leads to positive framing of a conversation.
TELLING leads to negative framing of a conversation.

3. WHAT THEY DO…

ASKING shows that you trust others to develop their own answers.
TELLING shows that your answers are the only ones of importance.

ASKING uncovers information that helps you present your ideas in a highly customized manner.
TELLING overlooks information and assumes you already know what somebody needs.

OK. Let’s review:

You understand the value of asking, not telling.

You understand the difference between asking and telling.

Now it’s time to heighten the approachability of your language

Here are several examples of how to ASK instead of TELL:

1. DON’T SAY, “You should sit down and think about…”
DO ASK, “Have you ever thought about…?”

2. DON’T SAY, “I’m upset with you because…”
DO ASK, “Do you know why I’m upset with you?”

3. DON’T SAY, “You screwed up because…”
DO ASK, “Do you know where you went wrong?”

4. DON’T SAY, “Here’s why you need my product…”
DO ASK, “What are your biggest challenges with…?”

5. DON’T SAY, “Your viewers would love…”
DO ASK, “What are the major concerns of…?”

6. DON’T SAY, “I can’t believe you did that!”
DO ASK, “Is that what you were expecting to happen?”

7. DON’T SAY, “You should have been more successful!”
DO SAY, “What else would need to happen for you to accomplish your goal?”

Ask; don’t tell.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Do you ask more or tell more?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
Think of the last time you had greater success asking, not telling. Share your story here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
www.hellomynameisscott.com

Are you the luckiest person you know?

Watch Scott’s interview on 20/20!

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Become an expert at learning from your experiences

“We learn not from our experiences, but from intelligent reflection upon those experiences.”

My mentor, William Jenkins, taught me that when I was 17.

I never forgot it.

AND THE BEST PART IS: over a decade later, his philosophy still holds true.

See, I make a living writing and speaking about my experiences of wearing a nametag every day.

A nametag!

And I don’t have a master’s degree. I don’t have a PhD. Nor I don’t have any scientific data to back up my knowledge.

But I DO have thousands of experiences.

Which means it’s all empirical. It’s all experiential.

And sometimes, that’s the best teacher of all.

However.

When it comes to experiential knowledge, there are two categories of people:

1. Those people who simply HAVE experiences.

2. The people who (not only) have experiences; but reflect upon them, figure out WHY they happened and then WRITE DOWN the lessons they learned.

Sadly, too many people find themselves in the first category.

Here’s a list of four actions you can take TODAY to become an expert at learning from your experiences:

1. Prepare yourself. Every day, every moment, every experience, you need to be open and prepared to learn. Embrace the irrelevant! Cherish the mundane! No matter how miniscule or seemingly unimportant, you must maintain an attitude of continuous improvement in all situations an encounters with others.

SAY TO YOURSELF: “This is going to be great! I can’t wait to see what I learn from this experience…”

2. Listen. For the clues, tips, ideas, take-aways and life lessons learned. Pluck them as they occur. Keep your eyes and ears open for opportunities. Watch out for things to say YES to. Those are the biggies.

SAY TO YOURSELF: “Oh. So, THAT’S why that happened to me! Got it.”

3. Write it down. When you’ve finished an experience, sit down and force yourself to make a list of the stuff you just learned. This is a must! Because writing is the basis of all wealth. Because that which goes unrecorded goes unmemorable. And because if you don’t write it down, it never happened.

SAY TO YOURSELF: “Alright, what lessons could I learn from what JUST happened to me?”

4. Reflect & Revise. Go back through your notes. Think back about what (else) you learned since writing down the original lessons.

SAY TO YOURSELF: “What else (over time) happened as a result of that experience? And what can I learn from that?”

Ultimately, if you consistently practice these four keys to experiential learning, you’ll get to know yourself better AND exponentially increase your learning curve.

Because you learn not from your experiences, but from intelligent reflection upon those experiences.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Are you an expert at learning from your experiences?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
Pick something that happened to you last week. Post three things you learned from that experience here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
www.hellomynameisscott.com

Are you the luckiest person you know?

Watch Scott’s interview on 20/20!

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24 reasons why content is KING

“Hey Scott, how do you get 35,000 hits a day on your website?” I’m often asked.

Google Adwords?
Sponsored links?
Pay per click?
Search engine optimization?

Maybe.

Still, I think the BEST answer is one powerful word: content.

Because content is KING.

And it comes in many forms:

o Articles
o Blog posts
o Pictures
o Videos
o Testimonials
o Profiles
o Lists
o Downloadable ebooks
o PowerPoint slides
o PDF’s and other documents
o Evaluations, tests and assessments
o Podcasts, either video or audio
o Message boards
o Comments and notes left by page visitors
o Any other form of value-added substance that a visitor to the web page would benefit from.

Content is king.

And here’s why:

1. It leads to sales.
2. It gives value first.
3. It helps sell product.
4. It forces you to write.
5. It shows thought leadership.
6. It shows you doing what you do
7. It boosts search engine rankings.
8. It gives social proof of your value.
9. It gets the media to come to YOU.
10. It support and enhances expertise.
11. It adds depth and value to your website.
12. It contributes to your company’s positive reputation.
13. It offers multiple forms of media to convey your message.
14. It keeps your website current, which creates return traffic.
15. It creates a web PRESENCE, since just having a web SITE is no longer enough.
16. It gives away free information; and the more you give away for free, the wealthier you will be.

Content is king.

And if you haven’t already been convinced, here are a few more reasons:

1. Content drives action.
2. Content replaces selling.
3. Content replaces agents.
4. Content replaces pitching.
5. Content drives transactions.
6. Content replaces advertising.
7. Content replaces cold calling.
8. Content pulls instead of pushes.

Content is king.

So, now that you’ve realized the power of content, remember a few final tips:

1. Make content interactive. Can people comment on your stuff?
2. Encourage viral marketing. Can people (easily) share your content with their friends?
3. Link content directly into the sales cycle. At the end of your articles, do you have a call to action? Something that brings the reader over to your site?
4. Make content the focus of your site. When someone arrives at your site, is there a login that grants her full access to your online library?
5. Make your content answer your customers’ problems. Are you asking your target market what topics they want content about?

Content is king.

Speaking of content, for FULL ACCESS to my entire online libray (over 700 pages of content), become a member of The Nametag Network!

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Do you have enough content?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
Email scott@hellomynameisscott.com with your best piece of original content. I’ll share your resources on a future post!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
www.hellomynameisscott.com

Are you the luckiest person you know?

Watch Scott’s interview on 20/20!

add to del.icio.us * digg it! * email this post

17 ways to become a thought leader

The origin of the term “thought leader” goes back a few years.

Joel Kurtzman, editor-in-chief of Strategy & Business magazine, first coined the expression in 1994.

According to Wikipedia, the term was used to designate interview subjects for that magazine who had contributed new thoughts to business.

Since that time, the term has spread from business to other disciplines and has come to mean “someone who enlivens old processes with new ideas.”

AND, HERE’S THE GOOD NEWS: you CAN become one too!

But.

HERE’S THE BAD NEWS: the media, the blogosphere and the business world seem to be debating the validity of this term.

That it’s overused.
That it’s contrived.
That it’s meaningless.

Probably because people just LOVE to throw around expressions like this.

For example, author/blogger Brian Carroll from Lead Generation Blog says, “First of all, thought leaders don’t refer to themselves as thought leaders. Thought leadership is an outside assessment based on what others say about you, not what YOU say about you.”

However, Carroll still defends the expression. “I rather like it,” he says, “even thought some people abuse it as a hollow form of self-promotion.”

Personally, I think the idea of being a thought leader is cool.

Not that you should go around telling people, “Hey, look at me! I’m a thought leader!”

That might sound kind of pretentious.

So, maybe it’s better as a frame of mind.

An attitude.
A way of doing business.
A way of treating people.

Controversies aside, here’s the bottom line about thought leadership:

If you do it respectfully, authentically, intelligently and uniquely, you will get people to come to you.

Actually, wait a sec. I’m wrong.

I shouldn’t have said, “DO it.”

I should have said, “LIVE it.”

Because being a thought leader isn’t something you DO.

Being a thought leader is something you ARE.

Approachability?
Being That Guy?
Making a name for yourself?

Being a thought leader is a HUGE part of that.

Because it’s another way of sticking yourself out there.

So, if you think you’re up to the challenge (and yes, it IS challenging) consider these 17 strategies for becoming a thought leader:

1. Pay the price. You won’t become a thought leader overnight. Which doesn’t mean that it takes lots of physical time; but it DOES take experience. Get it any way you can. For example, check out this list called 38 Ways to Speed Up Your Learning Curve.

2. Learn well. Become an expert at learning from your experiences. After all, people don’t care what you know. They don’t care what you did. They only care what you LEARNED. And, how those lessons can help them become better.

3. Write, write and write. Did I say write? Writing is the basis of all wealth. If you’re not capturing your thoughts, ideas, experiences, stories, advice and insights, forget all about this whole thought leader thing. Get a blog and get on www.ezinearticles.com. Today.

4. Read everything. When I first starting giving speeches and writing books, my mentor told me, “You have no right to write or speak about any topic unless you’ve read every book ever written on that topic.” Also, DeBono said, “The thinker should be able to look at the thinking used by other people or used in general about a particular subject. Looking at the thinking of others does not mean doing so with the aim of criticizing or attacking it. The intention is to watch what thinking is being applied.” What about you? Have you read everything else?

5. Read more. Also seek out books such as The Obvious Expert, Thinking for a Change and How to be a Thought Leader. Great advice and easy to read.

6. Read even more. Lastly, read books about lateral thinking and creativity (ahem, DeBono). Explore biographies about the world’s greatest thinkers, i.e., Einstein and da Vinci.

7. Hang with other thought leaders. Start a mastermind group, thinking club or online discussion with other thought leaders. Pick brains often. Stop hanging around people who don’t think thinking is cool.

8. Speak. At every club, meeting, tradeshow, conference, chamber, rotary and street corner you can find. If they pay, great. If not, no biggie. Either way, you need to be fun, fun-ny, informative and entertaining. Talk about ONE THING, and have a little laminated double-sided philosophy card as your handout.

9. Philosophy. Ask yourself this question: “If everybody did EXACTLY what I said, what would the world look like?” You answer(s) = your philosophy. Shout it from the rooftops. Be known for it.

10. Reinvent the wheel. Figure out what everybody else is saying about your area of expertise. Then figure out YOUR unique perspective, spin, paradigm, etc. Find the hole that nobody sees and fill it with your unique expertise. (Hey, wait! That last sentence TOTALLY rhymed. Sweet. I’m writing that one down.)

11. Become a CONFIDENT thinker. In the book A Thinking Course, Edward DeBono said, “A thinker should be able to turn on his thinking at will. A thinker should be able to direct his thinking to any subject or any aspect of a subject. A confident thinker does not have to prove himself right and the other person wrong. Thinking is an operating skill, not an ego-achievement. A confident thinker is willing to set out to think about something.” Wow. Talk about a thought leader! WHAT ABOUT YOU: can you speak on your expertise … forever?

12. Content is king. Content drives action. Content replaces selling. Content replaces agents. Content replaces pitching. Content drives transactions. Content replaces advertising. Content replaces cold calling. Content pulls instead of pushes. (Read 16 more reasons why content is king!)

13. Become a media darling. Build relationships with local (and hopefully, national!) press. Offer yourself as a resource and expert. Send them business cards ALREADY stapled to a Rolodex card. Make yourself easily available. REMEMBER: the media is your customer. (Speaking of media darlings, I just did an this article with The Daily Record.)

14. Stay in front of your fans. Blog or no blog, you still need to be writing and publishing SOME form of newsletter. At least once a month. Make it quick, easy to read and packed with practical content. (See #12) Oh, and don’t sell too much. Selling annoys readers.

15. Be open mentally. DeBono also says, “A confident thinker is willing to listen to others. He is willing to improve his thinking by acquiring a new idea or a new way of looking at things. He is also able to acknowledge that an answer has not been found. Besides, being right is really boring.” LESSON LEARNED: be open to other thought leaders’ ideas.

16. Be open physically. On your blog, be sure to leave the “comments” button on. And make them available to anybody, even anonymous readers. Transparency and openness apply online too.

17. Close with value. At the end of every article, blog post, video or piece of content you publish, be sure your sign-off accomplishes a few things. FIRST, tell people what you do, how you do it and who you do it for. SECOND, offer an easy way to get in touch with you. THIRD, have a call to action, i.e., a free report, a video to watch, a link to click, an exercise, a thought-provoking question, an email assignment, free access to your online library or a 15-minute consultation.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Are you a thought leader?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
Tell us how you became one!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
www.hellomynameisscott.com

Are you the luckiest person you know?

Watch Scott’s interview on 20/20!

add to del.icio.us * digg it! * email this post

How to become the Luckiest Person You Know, Part 3

Ever since the 20/20 segment ran last week, I’ve been getting LOTS of emails, IM’s and phone calls about luck.

So, let’s continue our discussion on How to become the Luckiest Person You Know!

First of all, if you’re new here, welcome!

My name is Scott. I wear a nametag 24-7.

Check out parts one and two of this series first!)

OK. Let’s get down to business…

1. Exponentially increase your activity level. Since November 2nd, 2000, I’ve met over 100,000 people. I also seem to be extremely lucky. Coincidence?

LUCK OUT: figure out how many people you encounter on an average day. Then triple it.

2. Don’t stay at home. The best way to be in the right place at the right time is to be in a lot of places.

LUCK OUT: next time you want to sit around and surf the net, read or write, go to Starbucks or something. Increase the probability of an encounter by positioning yourself in a high-traffic area.

3. Practice strategic serendipity. It’s about preparation, observation and relaxation. This is especially important for trade shows, conferences and other high-traffic venues.

LUCK OUT: got an event coming up? Cool! Read this article called 19 Ways to be the One Person at Your Next Conference Everybody Remembers.

Also, watch this:

4. Stick yourself out there. The reason I meet so many people (and, subsequently have so many opportunities) is because a nametag is unexpected. It breaks people’s patterns. It makes them wonder, “Huh?” And especially if they notice a nametag in an unexpected venue, like a concert or a wedding, they’re more likely to approach me.

LUCK OUT: it’s not about the nametag – it’s about making the mundane memorable. Be unexpected.

5. Go to where people are. Identify your perfect customer. Find out where that type of person hangs out. Then go there all the time! Make yourself visible. Consistently deliver value through articles and giving speeches … and let them come to you!

LUCK OUT: learn what association(s) your perfect customer belongs to. Become a member. (Also, take this hint from Samuel Jackson.)

6. What’s in your wallet? Write every one of your goals down on one sheet of paper. Make them specific and attainable. Give each of them a date. Keep this goal sheet in your wallet at all times. Commence luck.

LUCK OUT: try this exercise for three months. See what happens. I triple dog dare you.

7. Kiss your comfort zone goodbye. Practice intentional discomfort. Do something absolutely crazy. No guts, no glory.

LUCK OUT: watch the video clip below to find out the three steps to making a name for yourself!

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What is the #1 pigeonhole of your industry?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
Share your list of three ways to disarm it here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
www.hellomynameisscott.com

Are you the luckiest person you know?

Watch Scott’s interview on 20/20!

add to del.icio.us * digg it! * email this post

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