How to read a book, pt. 2

(For part one in this series, click here!)

1. First of all. Never “read” any book. Study it.

2. Value. A book is an investment in yourself. It’s yours. So, don’t lend it out to ANYBODY. Not even your mom.

3. Personalize. Write, highlight, annotate and mark up that book like you were studying for med school finals. When you personalize a book, it becomes priceless. Even if it’s just one key phrase. This also makes it easier to recopy your notes later. What’s more, writing stuff and underlining and keys ideas increases retention.

4. Memories. When you return to your book a week, a month or a year later, you will thank yourself for circling key points. Almost like creating your own cliff notes! And don’t just underline or circle a passage – comment and explain WHY you picked that particular phrase, i.e., “Great point! Just like my friend Bobby!” This becomes a fascinating window into your thinking patterns at the time.

5. Creativity. While reading, other ideas WILL come to you. And, since ideas are you major source of income, you need to capture them! Either in the margins or on a separate sheet of paper, WRITE-YOUR-NEW-IDEAS-DOWN. Because if you don’t write them down, they never happened.

6. Recopy. Reading the book is only half the battle. The second step is to go back through your book and recopy the key ideas or phrases onto a Summary Document. Save these notes into a folder called “Book Notes” and keep it handy. This creates an accessible reference to be used forever!

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How do you read a book?

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Share your tips here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag


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How to addict yourself to writing

The secret to writing is to addict yourself to it.

Now, I admit: there’s nothing more terrifying than facing a blank page.

Even Shakespeare and Steven King would agree to that!

But, if you can get yourself addicted to writing, writer’s block will become an impossibility.

See, I’ve been writing professionally now for about five years.

And while that doesn’t mean I’ve discovered all of the secrets, I HAVE figured out a three-step process to get addicted to writing:

THE FIRST STEP IS THE HARDEST: just start writing.

Even if you don’t think you’re any good.
Even if you don’t think you have anything good to write about.

If you have to, write about “not having anything to write about” until you think of something to write about.

Do this for a (measly) fifteen minutes a day.

THE SECOND STEP IS THE LONGEST: give it time.

Depending on your style, schedule and goals, this could take anywhere from several weeks to several months to several years.

The secret is to be patient.

To be willing to pay the price.

That way, you become (slowly) addicted to writing.

And in the process, develop a tailor-made system that suits your creative style.

THE THIRD STEP IS THE COOLEST: embrace your addiction!

See, as you get into your daily writing routine, you’ll notice something.

I call it The Circle of Write:

1. The more you write, the more you will LIKE writing.
2. The more you like writing, the more you will WANT to write.
3. The more you want to write, the more THOUGHT you will put into your writing.
4. The more thought you put into your writing, the BETTER your writing will become.
5. The better your writing becomes, the HIGHER your confidence will soar.
6. The higher your confidence soars, the MORE you will like writing.
7. The more you like writing, the more you will WANT to write…

And so on.

The circle just keeps on going.

Let us all chant, Hakuna-matata!

AND HERE’S THE BEST PART: once you reach this point, the better you will feel when you write.

Which means the WORSE you will feel when you DON’T write.

And THAT is how you will know when you’re addicted.

When you can’t (not) write.

After all, if “writing is the basis of all wealth,” wouldn’t YOU want get addicted to it?

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How did YOU get addicted to writing?

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Share your addiction tips here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag


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…but you didn’t

The most common piece of criticism I receive is:

“Scott, wearing a nametag is not a unique idea. I could have done that!”

And I always respond with the same two comments.

Number one:

You know what? You’re right: you probably COULD have done that.

But you didn’t.

And number two:

You know what? You’re (also) right: wearing a nametag is not a unique idea.

But if you think this whole thing is about wearing a nametag, you’ve haven’t been listening.

Because it’s not about the idea – it’s how you leverage it.

See, ideas are free.

But execution is priceless.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What’s your best quotation on leveraging?

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Share it here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag


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Is your nametag too crowded?

“Hey Scott, why do you choose to wear the simple, hand-written, first-name-only nametags? Why not get something more customized and permanent?”

Well, I guess it HAS been a while since I riffed on nametags.

Over the years I’ve been asked this question SO many times that I have several answers:

1. It’s pure, human and friendly. And most importantly, it’s simple. Not to mention, you’re immediately on a first name basis … with everyone!

2. It’s enough. Sigmund Freud proved that a person’s name is the single context of human memory most forgotten. So, putting your first AND last name on the nametag is almost like asking someone to remember too much.

3. It eliminates preoccupations, conclusions and stereotypes. If your nametag indicates your last name, company name or job title, people are going to prejudge you based on this information. This may result in them NOT approaching you, i.e., if they were recently screwed over by someone from the same company or have had poor experiences with people who work in your field.

4. It’s self-disclosing. Writing ONLY your first name encourages an exchange of (minimal) person information and builds an instant connection. For example, in all the years of wearing my nametag, thousands of complete strangers have just come to me and instantly introduced themselves. Without asking. They just did it because of the norm of reciprocity inherent in interpersonal communication. Wow!

5. It limits the PSD’s, or Potential Silent Dialogues. If you see someone’s nametag that says nothing but “Jack,” the only assumption you can make is, “That guy’s name is Jack,” as opposed to, “He looks like a salesman, don’t go near him.” Associations and churches are notorious for screwing this up by indicating board positions, years of membership, etc. Dude, who cares? Why can’t we just connect as people, not as designations?

6. It puts the person first. Believe it or not, not everyone is defined by his job. And not everyone feels the need to ask, “So, what do YOU do?” ten seconds after meeting someone new. So, that’s the beauty of a plain, vague nametag: it leads with your person. Humanity before statistics. Values before vocation. Personality before position. WHO YOU ARE … before what you do and where you work.

7. It removes yourself as a threat. Nametags instantly and constantly reveal your personal information to everyone around you. This foregoes your anonymity. Which creates instant accountability for your actions. Which proves you’re comfortable in your own skin. Which immediately makes you less threatening to others. THINK ABOUT IT: would you mug somebody if you were wearing a nametag?

8. It detaches from outcomes. The simplicity of your nametag shows that you’re not goal oriented. You’re not selling, marketing or networking. You’re not attending a conference. You’re not trying to convert people. All you’re doing is giving yourself away. Sticking yourself out there. Making other people feel comfortable. That’s it.

FINAL POINT: I’ve been wearing a nametag 24-7 for the past 2,521 days. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that people crave simplicity.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Is your nametag too crowded?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
Next time you are required to wear a nametag, make it as simple, basic, pure and minimal as possible.

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag


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How to convince yourself that you actually hav a real job, pt. 2

(Read the first post in this series here!)

Being an entrepreneur can be a LONELY profession.

Especially if you work out of your home.

After all…

You have no office.
You have no coworkers.
You have no sense of community.

And sometimes, it just sucks!

SO, THAT’S THE CHALLENGE: learning how to protect yourself against potential solitude.

Here’s a collection of tips to help convince yourself that you actually have a real job:

1. Meetings. Set regular lunches, coffees and meetings throughout the week. You don’t have to have one every day – a few per week should keep you sane. Meet with colleagues who work in similar or complimentary industries. Share your troubles, brainstorm ideas and exchange goals.

2. Hangouts. Find out if there’s a local bar, club or coffee shop where people who do what you do hang out. Visit often. Get to know some of the regulars. If you want, you can even start a hangout of your own! Check online or in local papers to see what’s out there.

3. Join Up! Become a member of the local chapter of your professional association. Attend meetings regularly. Consider taking a leadership position. Pick the brains of the veterans and welcome in the newbies.

4. Virtual Lunches. Have regular virtual lunches with out of town colleagues. Agree upon a convenient time to eat and chat over the phone together. This technique is especially helpful if you travel or have a national or international network.

5. Social Networking. Seek out other online options: user groups, message boards, teleconferences, blogs, social networking sites and other community building tools. REMEMBER: whatever you’re into, at least 1000 other people on the Internet will be into it too!

6. Mastermind Group. Gather 3-5 people who work in the same industry as you. Meet every month. Set goals, keep each other accountable, share failures and successes, and of course, celebrate!

ONE LAST POINT: be grateful.

DIY is a lonely road. Be sure you’re constantly thanking people for their time. Show them you appreciate the relationship and will do what you can to keep it alive.

Ultimately, you’ll be able to generate a sense of camaraderie that is ABSOLUTELY necessary to your survival as an entrepreneur.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How do you convince yourself that you actually have a real job?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
Share your best ideas here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag


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How far do your thoughts travel?

Edward DeBono once said, “The measure of a great thinker is how far his thoughts travel.”

I call this “Idea Reach.”

And if you’re a creative professional, thought leader or entrepreneur, know this:

The farther your ideas go, the more your business will grow.

Now, if you want to figure out how far YOUR thoughts travel, the first thing you’ve got to do is take stock. Consider these self-assessment questions:

1. How many subscribers do you have?
2. What different countries do your website hits come from?
3. When was the last time you got an email from a complete stranger across the world that read something you wrote?
4. When was the last time you did an interview on a radio station outside of your hometown?
5. When was the last time you were recognized in a city outside of your hometown?
6. When was the last time your work was published in a widely circulated print publication?
7. When was the last time you were pinged on a blog you never heard of until your Google Alerts told you?
8. When was the last time you got an instant message from someone in China?
9. How often are you receiving unsolicited leads or fan mail from customers outside of your typical industry?
10. When was the last time you met someone who said, “Yeah, I’ve heard of you before…”

These questions should give you a solid primer for your Idea Reach.

Still, there’s one more secret…

You must MONITOR how far your thoughts travel.

Here are two suggestions for doing so:

1. Use The Google. Do regular keyword searches on your name, company name, website, philosophies and product titles. Find out who’s talking about you. Also, sign up for Google Alerts immediately. If you don’t know what that is, just Google it.

2. Keep Record. Create a WOM journal that tracks every single time you were talked about online. You might also keep a separate journal chronicling emails, instant messages, phone calls and personal encounters that tell you how far your thoughts travel.

By combing these questions and measuring tools, you’ll develop a better understanding of your Idea Reach.

REMEMBER: anonymity is your greatest barrier to business success.

The farther your ideas go, the more your business will grow.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How far do your ideas travel?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
Start your Idea Reach Journal Today. Email scott@hellomynameisscott.com with your best Idea Reach experience!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag


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Hear The Nametag Guy on the Marketing Monday Podcast!

Just finished an interview with my new friend, Dean Jackson, from Marketing Monday.

We had great discussion about one of my favorite topics, PERMISSION.

In sales.
In marketing.
In conversation.

You can read the transcript or download the MP3!

Enjoy!

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What’s your best Marketing Monday tip?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
Post it here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag


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Things I Don’t Understand, Pt. 2


PICTURE THIS: you get an email from someone you’ve never met.

Let’s say his name is Matt.

He’s read your blog.
He introduces himself.
He tells you what he does for a living.
Then he asks you to check out his website (if you have time).

Perfectly fine, right?

Nothing wrong with reaching out to someone new!

But.

THEN, let’s say Matt asks, “Could you please blog about my website?”

How would that make you feel?

– – –

Now, if it were me, I’d feel curious.

Curious why someone would have to ASK another person to spread word of mouth about his idea.

AFTER ALL: if an idea was sticky, cool, remarkable and word-of-mouth-worthy, people wouldn’t NEED to be asked to spread the word, right?

KNOW THIS: people are going to tell their friends about your stuff because they connect with it, because there’s an easy story to share and because it’s remarkable.

Not because you asked them to.

In fact, asking might even work against you.

Asking might cause someone to think you’re DES-PER-ATE.

That maybe your idea isn’t worth spreading.

“Well now that he ASKED me to spread the word about his idea, I’m not going to!” someone thinks.

Now, I fully believe that the answer to every question you DON’T ask is no.

Nothing wrong with asking for referrals.

However.

People don’t want to be told what to talk about. They want to decide on their own.

That’s what makes word of mouth the #1 marketing medium on the planet.

Because it’s proactive.
Because it’s authentic.
Because it’s unsolicited.

And yet, businesspeople continue to say things like:

*Please forward this email!
*Could you check out my site and blog it?
*We love referrals!
*Please give this extra copy to someone who might be interested in my services!
*Send this to 10 of your friends!
*Can you pass this on to everyone on your mailing list?

Stop. Please.

Put your tongue back into your mouth. You’re getting slobber all over me.

DON’T: focus on asking people to spread the word for you.

DO: concentrate on making your ideas, products and services self-evident. Build remarkability into them ahead of time.

That way, you won’t HAVE to ask.

People will just do it.

– – –

P.S. If you could link this article and post it on your blog, I’d really appreciate it.

Pretty please with sugar on top?

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Do you think WOM need to be solicited?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
Think about the last five products or services you told your friends about. Did the company ASK you to do that? Or did you just do it because they rocked?

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag


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Create a portable creative environment

Inspiration comes unannounced.

And if you don’t write it down, it never happened.

SO, HERE’S THE SECRET: create a portable creative environment.

My new favorite creativity Big Shot is Mihály Csíkszentmihályi. (Try saying THAT one three times fast!)

Anyway, he says, “Shape your immediate surroundings so as to feel in harmony with the small segment of the universe in which you happen to be located.”

So, if you’re a creative professional, you can’t expect to do all of your best work in the office or studio.

You must learn to thrive in many environments.

Here’s a list of tips to help you create on the go!

1. Capture. Keep a jotter or small notebook on your person at all times. It’s five bucks and probably the biggest lifesaver for idea capturing in the WORLD. Also, Zebra makes a contractible pen for easy storage.

2. Prepare. Keep books, tapes, pictures and other inspirational material everywhere. On coffee tables, in your car or bag, even in the bathroom! Make a list of all the places you might be stuck for a few minutes. Assure that each of them has SOMETHING to motivate your melon.

3. Commutes. If you take public transportation regularly, make a Creativity Travel Kit. Include writing tools, blank paper, books on brain-building, inspirational materials, music and a few protein-based snacks.

4. Car. Great ideas often come behind the wheel. Be ready to capture them with easily accessible tools like notepads or audio recorders. NOTE: be careful when getting creative while driving. Your new idea won’t do you any good if you’re stuck in the hospital!

5. Visits. If you’re a regular visitor or overnight guest at the houses of friends, family members or significant others, be ready. Let them know you’ll be keeping a notebook or small bag at their place, just in case.

6. THREE WORDS: get a laptop.

7. FOUR WORDS: index cards and Sharpies.

8. Backup. If you get a new idea on the road, at work or at any other unexpected time, email or call yourself and leave a message.

The key idea to remember about creating a portable environment is that it’s tailor-made and makes you feel in control.

To quote Mihaly again…

“Regardless of whether the conditions in which they find themselves are luxurious or miserable, creatives must manage to give their surroundings a personal pattern that echoes the rhythm of their thoughts and habits of action. Within this environment of their own making, they can forget the rest of the world and concentrate on pursuing the Muse.”

Good luck!

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Where do you create outside of your studio?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
Create your portable creative environment today!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag


Are you a friend of The Nametag Network?

Read more blogs!
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13 reasons to give stuff away for free

1. Because the more you give away for free, the wealthier you will be. Read more about this theory here.

2. Because stuff that you create doesn’t do you any good sitting in a folder on your computer.

3. Because you can let the world be your editor. By sharing your ideas (for free) with lots of people, you will get unexpected, unsolicited feedback on how to improve it.

4. Because the more stuff you have out there for free, the more fans you will create.

5. Because the Internet was founded upon the idea of free. And some things (like information, articles, videos, content,) are so readily available, that if you DON’T have at least SOME stuff for free, people are going to find them elsewhere.

6. Because if you dropped a piano and a plum off of the Empire State Building, which one would hurt more if it hit you? Exactly. The piano. Because More Mass = More Power.

7. Because who’s more of an expert: someone who wrote 12 articles or someone who write 1,200 articles?

8. Because, “The act of giving away our knowledge makes it again fresh in our mind,” says my hero, Julia Cameron.

9. Because it boosts your Google juice.

10. Because it increases the odds of someone NEW reading your stuff, thus earning their loyalty.

11. Because it increases the odds of someone OLD reading your stuff, thus reinforcing their loyalty.

12. Because it delivers multiple forms of value.

13. Because it increases website revisitability.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Why do you give stuff away for free?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
Share your best reasons here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag


Are you a friend of The Nametag Network?

Read more blogs!
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Download articles and ebooks!
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Make a name for yourself here…


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