It’s never too late to…

A few months back I wrote a post that encouraged readers to complete the following sentence:

“It’s never too early to…”

The responses were AWESOME. And I wanted to keep that same spirit alive in today’s post by asking you to complete the exact opposite sentence:

“It’s never too LATE to…”

Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

It’s never too late to … be happy!
It’s never too late to … change old habits.
It’s never too late to … be who you might have become.
It’s never too late to … become creative.
It’s never too late to … build a customer-focused organization.
It’s never too late to … call inactive accounts.
It’s never too late to … call off the firing squad.
It’s never too late to … call someone you love.
It’s never too late to … get an education.
It’s never too late to … get healthy.
It’s never too late to … get rich.
It’s never too late to … get your brain in shape.
It’s never too late to … go after your dream job.
It’s never too late to … go green.
It’s never too late to … have a happy childhood.
It’s never too late to … heal.
It’s never too late to … learn how to communicate.
It’s never too late to … learn.
It’s never too late to … love a computer.
It’s never too late to … move for health.
It’s never too late to … organize your finances.
It’s never too late to … procrastinate.
It’s never too late to … save.
It’s never too late to … start exercising.
It’s never too late to … start learning something new.
It’s never too late to … start over.
It’s never too late to … start singing a brand new song.
It’s never too late to … stop smoking.
It’s never too late to … succeed.
It’s never too late to … turn your life around.
It’s never too late to … write that book you’ve got inside you.

It’s never too late.

What are YOU waiting for?

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Finish this sentence in five different ways: “It’s never too late to…”

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
Post your lists here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

…only 5 more days until NametagTV.com goes ON AIR!

ZOINKS! The customer actually came to ME! Now what?

Do you remember the first time you were asked out on a date?

It probably caught you a little off guard.

Holy crap. You really want to go out with ME? Like, you came up to MY locker and asked for MY number? Oh-boy-oh -boy-oh-boy! Hot dog! This is so exciting! Someone was seeking ME out for a change! What time should I pick you up?

Wow. Can you imagine what the prospective date would think if you said that out loud?

Des-perate!

Nice move, Casanova.

LESSON LEARNED: Don’t telegraph neediness.

Businesspeople do the SAME THING all the time. They get an email out of the blue from a prospective customer. And, just like that nervous, awkward adolescent, they respond the same way:

Wow! You really want to work hire ME? Like, you came to my website and now you actually want to pay me money for my services? Oh-boy-oh-boy-oh-boy! Hot dog! This is so exciting! A customer seeking ME out Where do I sign?

And the same principle applies.

If you act surprised when customers come to YOU, they might start to question your professionalism. To wonder about your busyness. And the silent dialogue becomes, “Wow, sounds like this guy REALLY needs my business…”

So, if you want to project confidence and coolness when YOU’RE the one being pursued, follow these three guidelines:

1. Just relax. Play it cool. Respond as if this happens all the time. Forget about the fact that if this client doesn’t hire you, only ONE of your daughters will get to go to college.

Give the impression that you’re in high demand. That you’re used to customers pursuing YOU for business. Yep, just another day at the office.

FOR EXAMPLE: If someone wants to book you for their upcoming corporate event, one of the most liberating responses you could offer is, “What year?”

2. Watch your emotions. Sure, it’s exciting when a new prospect calls out of the blue. But it’s also a stroke to your ego. So, be careful that your emotions don’t cloud your response. Strive to maintain emotional objectivity.

A few years back, I was asked to give a speech in Jamaica. And I got SO excited and felt SO honored … that I charged the wrong fee! Woops!

REMEMEBER: Overreacting can lead to under charging.

3. Understand your position. Because the customer came to YOU, you’re in a unique situation. First of all, it’s a position of strength, since you’re not the one threatened by rejection. And the ability to walk away from a sale is a tremendous advantage.

Secondly, it’s a position of choice. Since the buyer is pre-qualified, the next question isn’t IF she should use you; it’s HOW she should use you.

THE GOOD NEWS IS: The more this happens; the more you will normalize your routine. Patterns will emerge, encounters will become more predictable and you will develop an unconscious competency for handling unsolicited requests.

And eventually, YOU will become the selector – not the selected.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How do you respond when customers come to YOU?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the #1 way to (actually) get prospects to come to YOU, send an email to scott@hellomynameisscott.com and I’ll share the secret!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

…only 6 more days until NametagTV.com goes ON AIR!

7 Ways to Prime Your Brain for Constant Creative Insight

OK, so, you want to be more creative.

You want to become a Thought Leader.

And you want to make REAL changes in the world.

Right?

Cool! You sound like my kinda guy. (Or gal.)

So, here’s the plan. Because before you start changing the world, there’s something you need to do first:

Prime your brain.

See, the word “prime” actually means just that: FIRST.

As in, “The First Step of Creativity.”

SO, THAT’S THE SECRET: Before you start concocting the next great business idea, your first move is to motivate your melon.

Here’s a list of seven practices to help you prime your brain so new ideas will start flowing like water!

1. Maintain an expectant frame of mind. Before sleeping, exercising, brainstorming or any other extended periods of heightened creativity, first take a few minutes to invoke The Muse. Focus your thoughts and expectations on receiving insight. Try affirmations like:

o “I am creative.”
o “I have many ideas.”
o “I am a brilliant artist.”
o “I am willing to create.”
o “I love to play with everything.”
o “I am flourishing with creativity.”
o “I am confident in my creative work.”
o “I am a receiver for creative inspiration.”
o “I have a constant flow of interesting and creative ideas.”

2. Make space in your own mind. For something to enter, your mind must first be empty. So, here are four ways to take a Mental Dump:

o Morning Pages: This stream of consciousness method of journaling is life changing AND life clarifying. Learn how to do them here.

o Exercise: Every single day for at least 20 minutes straight. See, with every bead of sweat you release, more space in your mind is also created. Learn more about solvitas perambulatorum here.

o Walking: Now, although you (could) put this under the category of exercise, taking regular walks – even if it’s just around the block – is a form of moving mediation. It clears your mind and fills your body with fresh oxygen. Plus it’s fun.

o Meditation: No, you don’t have to levitate. You just have to relax. In fact, the word “meditate” comes from the Latin meditatus, which means, “to contemplate.” So, whether it’s TM, focused breathing or your Daily Appointment with Yourself, this practice will be the most effective way for making space in your own mind.

3. Operate on multiple planes of consciousness. Prior to engaging in any activity – whether it’s reading, writing or attending a seminar – consider the various lenses through which you could view that activity. Let experiences change you. This will make your mind actively prepared to observe what your eyes see.

For example, let’s say you were reading a book. Consider reading with these three types of eyes:

o Superficial Eyes: You don’t need to read every word. You don’t need to listen to every line. You don’t need to understand every concept. Just get the key ideas. Figure out the ONE thing you’re supposed to be learning. And when you’re done, think (and rethink) about how it applies to your life.

o Academic Eyes: Observe other people’s styles, vocabularies and voices. Then, think about your own writing style. Pick out little things and trends you noticed from other creative people and adapt them to your own work. (Notice I said, “adapt,” not “steal.”)

o Creative Eyes: Highlight or underline a key passage. Put the book down. Make a list of all the reasons, examples, ideas and stories that come to mind when you apply that idea to your own life. Save that document in its own folder. Come back to it later and expand on what you read.

4. Perpetually hunt for insight. Inspiration is ENDLESS and EVERYWHERE. Anyone who ever claims, “I can’t find any good ideas!” is either lazy, stupid or not looking very hard. So, the secret is to maintain an attitude of curiosity, exploration and expectation … in everything you do. To be constantly scanning.

So, when you’re hunting for insight, ask yourself Filtering Questions like:

o Isn’t that interesting?
o What else is like this?
o What does this have to do with me?
o What’s the Universal Human Emotion?
o How are these issues related to each other?
o How does this have to do with my expertise?
o How could I use this as an example in my work?
o What did you (just) learn from this experience?
o How is this a symbol or example of my expertise?
o How does this fit into my picture of the universe?
o What’s the key idea here, regardless of the context?

5. Write it down! If you’ve read this blog before, you probably know my philosophy on this topic: Writing is the basis of all wealth. And if you don’t write it down, it never happened. So, when it comes to priming your brain, writing is your BEST friend.

See, The Page clarifies, organizes, and best of all, it doesn’t judge you. It just listens. So, if you have a big meeting, conference call or discussion coming up, consider taking fifteen minutes the MORNING OF to write out your thoughts. Voice complaints, ideas and annoyances, even “things NOT to say.”

Oh, and remember to make lots of lists, kind of like this.

6. Soften your eyes. This is more than just a practice; it’s a philosophy. And it’s not just physical, it’s mental and spiritual as well.

See, if you want to prime your brain, you need to slow down and notice the novelties of life. To studying ordinary things intently. To make the mundane memorable and be mindful of your surroundings. Here’s how to soften your eyes:

o You OPEN your mind. This means your optical guard lets down. Which means you’re less likely to neglect key opportunities. Which means you’re more willing to accept multiple perspectives. Which enables you to have more creative thoughts.

o You OBSERVE patterns quickly and frequently. This enables you to make connections between seemingly unrelated things. Which enables you to notice things and give them names. Which enables you to have more creative thoughts.

o You ORGANIZE your thoughts with ease and comfort. This helps you filter them through your personal theory of the universe. Which makes them YOUR unique ideas and theories. Which makes them easier to spread.

7. Become a Suspender. Suspend your self. Suspend your agenda. Suspend your preconceptions. Suspend your preoccupation. Suspend your views.

See, when you are willing to watch things in a detached way, you actually see MORE by striving LESS. If you’re also willing to learn something new (and NOT be obsessed with what you already know) there’s no limit to the amount of ideas your brain might attract!

So, strive to maintain openness to possible thoughts outside of what you already have. Become a suspender.

– – –

REMEMBER: You make a living off your ideas. They are the ancestors of your success.

So, if you want to become a creative powerhouse, a recognized Thought Leader and an agent of REAL change in the world, start by motivating your melon!

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How do you prime your brain?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For a list called “49 Ways to become an Idea Powerhouse,” send an email to scott@hellomynameisscott.com with “Idea Powerhouse” in the subject line, and I’ll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

…only 7 more days until NametagTV.com goes ON AIR!

28 Ways to Challenge People’s Assumptions

Some people are full of BS.
Some people make assumptions.
Some people are nothing but talk.
Some people speak without thinking.
Some people use invalidated, vague, baseless arguments to prove their points.

Your job is to challenge them.

To (not) blindly accept everything people say.

To spot hidden assumptions and avoid mindless acceptance.

You do this for two reasons:

1. YOU gain clarity on their motives, intentions and beliefs.
2. THEY gain an opportunity to restate, reform and rethink their ideas.

Your best tool is to use an ICY Question, which stands for, “I Challenge You.”

Here are seven examples of common situations and dialogues where you can use them:

THEM: “I never thought I’d say this, but…”
YOU: “Why did you never think you’d say that?”

THEM: “I can’t do that!”
YOU: “Why not?” or “Says who?”

THEM: “Well, they say that…”
YOU: “Who’s ‘they’?”

THEM: “So, is this your full time job?”
YOU: “Yes. Why do you ask?”

THEM: “I’ve been calling you all week and I’d really like to get together to talk about a business opportunity!”
YOU: “What is your positive motivation for wanting to meet with me?”

THEM: “I heard/read it was terrible…”
YOU: “Who’d you hear that from?” or “Where’d you read that?”

THEM: “I dunno, this seems pretty expensive?”
YOU: “Compared to what?”

– – –

BONUS! 21 (other) ICY Questions examples include, but are not limited to:

1. How did you arrive at that?
2. How do you measure that?
3. Is that always the case?
4. So?
5. What do you plan to do with this feedback?
6. What stops you?
7. What would happen if you didn’t?
8. What’s (really) bothering you?
9. What’s your point?
10. When did you decide this?
11. Why?
12. What’s your proof?
13. How do you know that’s true?
14. Where’s the evidence?
15. Are you sure that’s true?
16. Why do you believe that?
17. Can you prove it?
18. Why did I receive this email?
19. Why do you think that happened?
20. Why is that so important to you?
21. Why was I put on this list?

Ultimately, the whole reason ICY Questions work is because they break people’s patterns.

Which catches their attention.
Which causes them to stop and think.
Which causes them to clarify their remarks.
Which causes the REAL motives and beliefs to surface.
Which causes you to better understand where they’re coming from.

So, as EA Sports says, challenge everything.

Challenge irrational thoughts.
Challenge programmed knowledge.
Challenge people’s positions.

If you want to be more approachable, start by being more challenging!

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How do you challenge people’s assumptions?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
Share your three best ICY Questions here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

…only 8 more days until NametagTV.com goes ON AIR!

Everything you do should lead to something else you do

The most important TWO WORDS in your entrepreneurial lexicon are:

What’s next?

Because everything you do should lead to something else you do.

Everything you do should:

Set yourself UP.
Set yourself APART.
Set yourself AHEAD.

So, in order to do so, I suggest asking these Leverage Questions. Let’s take a look:

1. What else can be made from this? The key to leverage is to look at something you’ve created and then play with its potential. It’s called “Movement Value.”

For example, if you’ve been posting on your blog every day for a year, could you combine those writings into a book? Or, if you have a stack of pictures sent in from various customers over the years, what if you created a “Meet Our Clients” slide show and posted it online?

REMEMBER: Accumulation is equity.

2. Now that I have this, what else does this make possible? Best leverage question of all time. At the end of a project, or if you gain a new skill or obtain a new piece of technology, think to yourself, “OK, now that I have THIS, what ELSE am I enabled to?” and “What does this make possible that wasn’t possible before?”

REMEMBER: Springboards, not straightjackets.

3. How else could I deliver this information? If you’re a writer or information marketer, remember that your customers and readers learn via four methods: reading, watching, listening and doing.

So, ask yourself if you’re REALLY appealing to widest audience possible. Consider mixing the medium on a regular basis. This will keep your delivery fresh and maximize your visibility. Even if you hate video, for example, do it because your customers love it.

REMEMBER: You aren’t your customer.

4. Are you saving your bad ideas for later? Bad doesn’t mean always “terrible.” It COULD simply mean “bad timing.” So, keep your unused ideas around, just in case. Revisit them regularly. You never know, something that sucked five years ago might be GOLD today!

REMEMBER: Bad (can) later become good.

5. How can I trickle? Once you get your foot in the door and work with ONE particular client, there are three directions in which future client work can trickle:

a. UP: if you worked with the state office last year, perhaps the regional and district office would want you this year!

b. DOWN: if you consulted with the national office this year, there’s no reason you couldn’t secure work with all seven of the regional offices next year!

c. OVER: if you just completed a municipal contract with the West County Branch, what if you sent a testimonial video to the East, North and South County Branches?

REMEMBER: Work three dimensionally.

So, if you want to set yourself UP, set yourself APART and set yourself AHEAD, you MUST ask these types of leverage questions.

Learn to adopt a “What’s next?” philosophy in every endeavor.

AND NEVER FORGET: Everything you do should lead to something else you do.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What’s your secret to leveraging everything?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
Share your best technique here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

…only 11 more days until NametagTV.com goes ON AIR!

Being More Parodyable = Being More Profitable

Ask yourself three questions:

1. When was the last time someone parodied you?
2. When was the last time someone parodied your idea?
3. When was the last time someone parodied your company?

If your answer is, “Never,” then that should tell your something.

Kind of reminds us of the old saying, “Imitation is the highest form of flattery.”

See, if people aren’t at least TALKING about you – much less joking about you – you’re in trouble.

LESSON LEARNED: Businesses that get made fun of get more business.

Usually.

Obviously, Enron isn’t exactly a thriving corporation anymore.

Obviously, Crystal Pepsi didn’t exactly win the Soft Drink of Year.

But in many cases, people and ideas and organizations that are joked about, parodied – even made fun of – are usually the ones who are making a name for themselves.

And in my experience (as someone who gets made fun of a lot) there are five reasons why parody leads to profit:

1. It means you’re getting NOTICED. Amidst the clutter, infinite choices – and within the narrow window of time you have to get your message out – it’s an accomplishment just to get someone’s attention!

So, because nobody notices normal anymore, breaking through that initial clutter is the most important step. Just being recognized is a victory!

2. It means you’re being REMEMBERED. That’s the next step. Because usually, those who get noticed … get remembered. And those who get remembered, get business. That is, as long as there’s SOME substance to back up the shtick.

Of course, the brain (still) HAS to be appealed to emotionally! So, that’s why when it comes to memory, humor works best. That which is ridiculous and exaggerated is remembered.

3. It means you’re getting TALKED ABOUT. Oscar Wilde once remarked, “The only thing worse than being talked about is NOT being talked about.” So, even if you or your ideas are being parodied, joked about or spoofed on, think of it as a compliment AND a victory.

REMEMBER:If your clients are not actively telling their friends about you, that probably means THIS.

4. You’re being IMITATED. Seth Godin recently came out with an action figure. It’s HILARIOUS! And it’s a perfect example of being parodyable.

So, if people are imitating your idea, that should tell you a few things. Things like:

o It’s remarkable
o It’s worth copying
o It’s simple to understand
o It’s the origin, not the echo
o It’s unique, not different.

Sounds like a good idea to me!

5. It means you”re being MARKETED. Sure, it might sting a bit to see a group of 16 year-old kids parody your company in a YouTube video. But at the lowest common denominator – that’s still free publicity! If I were you, I’d send them a thank you note. Er, maybe some brownies.

– – –

Now, understandably, nobody likes being made fun of.

So, I’m not encouraging you to go out there and humiliate yourself. Nor am I suggesting that any company who gets made fun of will automatically become successful.

However, let us not forget the power of the poke.

Because in my experience, parody often leads to profit.

After all, if people aren’t at least TALKING about you, your idea and your company, you’re doing something wrong.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Who’s making fun of YOU?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
Share your best example of a successful company or idea that’s been parodied!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

…only 12 more days until NametagTV.com goes ON AIR!

15 random thoughts and the people who inspired me think them

This week I’m back in good ol’ Cincinnati, working with my friends over at The Hyatt Regency.

It’s always good to be back. Reminds me of college. Things like Skyline and WEBN bring back fond memories. Sigh…

Anyway, today I wanted to try something a little different: a bunch of random thoughts PLUS the “thought inspiration” behind each one.

Just in case you were wondering where I come up with all this stuff.

Enjoy!

– – –

1. Always think on paper. (Inspired by reading a lot of Mihaly.)

2. Art comes through you, not from you. (Inspired by eating lunch with Bill Jenkins.)

3. Customers become comfortable when YOU are comfortable. (No idea where this one came from.)

4. Do everything creatively. (More Mihaly.)

5. Do experiments everywhere. (Sparks of Genius – really neat book.)

6. Everything communicates something. (It’s fun to look around at the world and ask yourself, “Now, what is THAT communicating?”)

7. Foster customer activity. (From reading Chip’s stuff.)

8. Help people get beyond their misconceptions. (Yep, more Chip.)

9. Let experiences change you. (No idea where I heard this one.)

10. Other people who do what you do have already miseducated your customers. (Doesn’t that suck?)

11. Premature organization stifles creative generation. (Ah, the wonderful world of Distributive Cognition!)

12. Recognize threats to your ownership. (Really fantastic book called Ordering Your Private World – all leaders MUST read this.)

13. The goal is to get them to learn it on their own. (Teaching really DOES sell.)

14. The listener controls. (Man, that’s really a neat thought. Thanks Mark!)

15. There’s never a perfect time. (Because, obviously, SFKA.)

OK, that’s it! See ya tomorrow.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What (or whom) inspires your thinking?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
Share five random thoughts, and how you were inspired to think them.

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

…only 13 more days until NametagTV.com goes ON AIR!

8 Ways to Avoid Conversational Narcissism

Forget yourself and submit to the other person.

That’s the BIG challenge of listening.

To check your ego.
To relinquish you agendas.
To suspend your preoccupation.

Unfortunately, it’s dangerously easy for people to fall into the trap of Conversational Narcissism.

Especially when they’re too busy.

Too busy trying to contribute.
Too busy trying to prove themselves.
Too busy trying impose their own agenda.
Too busy trying to take ownership of someone else’s ideas.

Today we’re going to explore 8 practices to help you avoid Conversation Narcissism so you can continue to grow bigger ears!

1. Watch your intent. First, beware of listening for selfish reasons. In fact, ask yourself this: Why are you listening? Could it be…

Listening to give advice?
Listening to change people?
Listening to hear yourself talk?
Listening to control the conversation?
Listening to appear like a good listener?
Listening to find your opportunity to steal the stage take over?

Or, are you listening to understand, learn and help? The choice is yours.

2. Switch the spotlight. Give THEM the glory. REMEMBER: Listening isn’t about you. And your words need to reinforce that principle. So, try these Phrases That Payses after you’ve finished making a comment:

o “And you…?”
o “Have you had similar experiences?”
o “Is it the same in your industry?”
o “What about yourself?”
o “What’s YOUR philosophy on that?”

3. Silently check yourself. In the back of your mind (while still listening, of course), find a way to keep yourself accountable. Consider using QREATIVITY by asking silent self-assessment questions like:

o Am I granting others space to talk?
o Am I listening or controlling the conversation?
o Am I listening or trying to fix?
o Am I listening or waiting to talk?
o What questions wants to be asked next?
o Will this comment disrupt or contribute?

4. Don’t add too much value. Trust in your ability to add value AFTER (not during) the listening process. Resist the temptation to hijack the conversation by matching or one-upping people’s points, or by trying to solve the problem too quickly.

A great practice to remind you of this principle is to post listening reminders on sticky notes by your desk and phone. Examples might include:

a. Listening, not solving.
b. Don’t add (too much) value!
c. Listen, don’t fix.
d. Listeners don’t bulldoze!
e. Three seconds before responding.
f. Two ears, one mouth!

Check out the complete list of 38 Listening Reminders!

5. Open the space. Part of your role as the listener is to make room (both physically and emotionally) in the conversation. Your best practice for this principle is the strategic use of silence. This lets the other person fill in the empty spaces AND enables him to set the pace of the conversation.

The challenge, of course, is that most Conversational Narcissists don’t like silence. They talk for the sake of talking. As if silence made them look weak and indecisive.

Nope. Silence is strength. And “silence is golden” because it helps the other person articulate their most precious emotions. So, your goal is to become more comfortable with silence. Here’s why:

o The more you practice silence alone, the more comfortable you will be during silence with others.
o The more comfortable you are during silence with others, the less likely you are to feel the need to fill the space.
o The less you feel the need to fill the space, the more open the atmosphere becomes.
o The more open the atmosphere becomes, the more likely the other person is to share her authentic feelings, concerns and questions.

6. Be mindful of ownership. Don’t take over people’s problems. That’s not your job. And that’s (probably) not why they came to you. Instead, provide support so they can safely process their own thoughts and eventually formulate their own solutions. In so doing, you show the other person respect and reinforce their ability to manage their own lives. Use Phrases That Payses like:

o “What do you think is the best option?”
o “What does your gut tell you?”
o “What outcome would be optimal in this situation?”
o “What are you going to do about it?”

7. Listening is NOT a performance. Listening is about temporarily suspending your need for self-expression. So, don’t use what people say as triggers for your own jokes. Listening takes, among many things, self-control. One of my favorite rules is: Acknowledge, then shut up! SO REMEMBER: Take in; don’t take over.

8. Recognize and return. Notwithstanding the first seven suggestions on this list, it’s still nearly impossible to avoid ALL traces of conversational narcissism. So, the secret is to recognize when you feel yourself being pulled into narcissistic territory. That way you can correct it, then pass the conversation back to the other person. Consider using these Phrases That Payses:

a. “I’ve been doing most of the talking, so let me stop now and just listen.”
b. “Enough from me, what about you?”
c. “I’m sorry; I’ve been talking too much!”

Ultimately, Conversational Narcissism boils down to this simple idea:

Listening isn’t about you.

It’s about forgetting yourself and submitting to the other person.

So, check your ego. Relinquish you agendas. And suspend your preoccupation.

Start growing bigger ears today!

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How do you avoid Conversational Narcissism?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
Share your best practice for Growing Bigger Ears here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

…only 14 more days until NametagTV.com goes ON AIR!

38 (More) Ways to Grow Bigger Ears

What’s the secret to Growing Bigger Ears?

THREE WORDS: Constant, visual reinforcement.

So, here’s what you do.

1. Grab a few sticky notes and a Sharpie.

2. Start brainstorming a list of your biggest listening challenges, i.e., “Pause three seconds before answering a question,” or “Don’t ask ‘Why?’ ask, ‘What or How?’”

3. Summarize, symbolize and shorten those ideas into memorable soundbites.

4. Post them around your office, by your phone, in your car, on the door, in the bathroom, on the mirror, or anywhere else you might glance at during the day.

5. Start Growing Bigger Ears!

Now, if you’re stumped for Listening Reminder ideas, here’s a quick list of 38 suggestions to get you started:

– – –

1. L-I-S-T-E-N = S-I-L-E-N-T
Whaddaya know? Same letters! How comfortable are you with silence?

2. 2 ears, 1 mouth
Listen and speak proportionately. This physical feature wasn’t an accident.

3. SHUT UP!
A little harsh, but some people need to hear it.

4. Advice or understanding?
Find out which one the other person is asking you for.

5. WAIT 3 SECONDS.
Let the pearl sink. Think before responding.

6. MAKE SPACE.
Physically and emotionally, to accept new ideas and thoughts.

7. Attention, acknowledgment, appreciation, affirmation.
The four A’s of effective listening!

8. Responses, not answers.
That’s what to look for. Sometimes their body says something else.

9. (L-I-S-T) E-N
The first four letters suggest a great method of note taking. More about the magic of listing here!

10. SAFETY.
Until this exists, the other person will NOT open up comfortably.

11. WHAT or HOW, not Why.
Prefixing your questions with Why? causes defensiveness. Depersonalize your words.

12. What happened next?
Think of yourself as a trial lawyer. Lead the witness where she wants to go.

13. TELL ME ABOUT.
Encourages people to open up comfortably, allows them to pace and name the conversation according to their needs.

14. Bite your tongue!
People with big ears have teeth marks on their tongues.

15. NO ADVICE.
Are you giving it when people didn’t ask for it?

16. Don’t add (too much) VALUE.
Contribute AFTER (not during) the listening process. Resist the temptation to hijack the conversation with your own experiences or ideas.

17. Listening, not waiting to talk.
Are you trying to find an opportunity to steal the stage take over?

18. Don’t fix.
That’s not your job. That’s not what they want. That’s not why they came to you.

19. Say what you see.
“I see that you’re really upset.” “I see that you’ve come in an hour late every day this week.” Maintain objectivity so you don’t sound accusatory.

20. NO Agenda.
Listen not to add value, argue, fix, solve;; to make the other person feel better or to look like a good listener. Listen just to listen.

21. Will this comment disrupt or contribute?
Before interjecting, this is a great question to ask yourself? If it can wait, write it down. If not, acknowledge and shut up.

22. Post a picture of a blank tape.
To remind you what you’re there for.

23. Don’t react; respond.
Emotional reactivity is the #1 internal barrier to effective listening.

24. WHAT wants to be said next?
Not, “What do I want to say next?” Suspend your agenda and let the appropriate comment surface on its own.

25. I see, not OK.
It’s positive, empathetic and non-committal; whereas “OK” takes a side.

26. PERMISSION.
Because that’s what people need in order to feel safe to open up.

27. Post a picture of a lake.
Be still like a body of water. As a result, the other person will be able to see their reflection in it, which will lead to breakthroughs of their own making.

28. Problem or predicament?
Problems have solutions; predicaments have options.

29. Take two breaths first.
This is a great technique to practice before answering the phone or opening the door for someone to walk in. Oxygen prepares your body and primes your mind and heart to receive the other person.

30. Ask; don’t tell.
Be curious, not judgmental. Use engaging, generative language. Show the other person that you trust them to develop their own answers.

31. Curious, not judgmental.
Be fascinated, not frustrated. Be a giant question mark.

32. Post a picture of the Rich Uncle Pennybags.
As a reminder to monopolize the listening.

33. Post of a picture of an ear and a heart.
Because listening to someone is a form of loving that person.

34. You don’t own the problem.
Resist the temptation to claim ownership of the other person’s issue by trying to solving it too quickly, offering advice or assuming THEE answer.

35. WOW.
An effective response that acknowledges the other person, shows concern and (minimal) emotion; yet still keeps you fairly neutral.

36. Listening isn’t a performance.
Careful.

37. Full body listening.
Listen with your eyes, arms, hands, fingers, legs; heart, mind and soul.

38. Post a cartoon or a picture of someone with HUGE ears.
It will make you laugh and remind you of this listening philosophy.

– – –

These listening reminders will accomplish three goals:

1. They will REMIND you … of the value of listening.

2. They will TEACH you … to become a better listener.

3. They will KEEP you … accountable to yourself and to the people you serve.

Start growing bigger ears today!

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How do you remind yourself to become a better listener?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
Share your best Listening Reminders here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

…only 15 more days until NametagTV.com goes ON AIR!

37 Things (Not) to Do This Year

1. Don’t accuse, inform.

2. Don’t exist, live.

3. Don’t hear, listen.

4. Don’t hype. Appear.

5. Don’t inform, form.

6. Don’t jump, pause.

7. Don’t listen, understand.

8. Don’t look, observe.

9. Don’t memorize, prepare.

10. Don’t perform, satisfy.

11. Don’t read, observe.

12. Don’t sell, solve.

13. Don’t solve, dissolve.

14. Don’t talk, do.

15. Don’t think, react.

16. Don’t think, reflect.

17. Don’t touch, feel.

18. Don’t write, transmit.

19. Don’t advertise your importance.

20. Don’t be a flat person.

21. Don’t be typecast.

22. Don’t say you don’t know.

23. Don’t cheap out on design.

24. Don’t (over) actively listen.

27. Don’t get right down to business.

28. Don’t overuse techniques.

25. Don’t ask too many questions.

26. Don’t use assumptive, vague language.

29. Don’t force familiarity.

30. Don’t be so goal oriented..

31. Don’t criticize imperfections.

32. Don’t memorize your speech, prepare your speech.

33. Don’t proofread thoughts.

34. Don’t unload everything.

35. Don’t let them catch you acting.

36. Don’t count on your audience to connect the dots.

37. Don’t do things FOR anyone or anything. Just do them.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What do you encourage people (not) to do?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
Share your Top Five Best Pieces of Counterintuitive Wisdom here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

…only 18 more days until NametagTV.com goes ON AIR!

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