Scott Ginsberg reveals the ABSOLUTE, ULTIMATE, #1 SECRET of success!

Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday. Everyday.

Any questions on this?

Send them to [email protected].

What’s under your fingernails?

So, I have this buddy named Spike Jones. Pretty smart dude. And in April when we were having lunch a few hours before my workshop, we got talking about the topic of identity.

“Well, what about you, Scott?” he asked.

“What’s under YOUR fingernails?”

A chill ran down my spine.

Wow. What a question. What a thought. I’ll never forget the feeling of allowing those four words to profoundly penetrate me.

What’s. Under. Your. Fingernails.

So, as I racked my brain, Spike said, “See, the work you do – if it truly matters – becomes a part of you.”

“Like the mechanic who never really loses the oil stains under his fingernails, our work stays with us wherever we go. It becomes a part of our language and our very being. Which isn’t to say work is EVERYTHING. But if your work is your calling – not just your job – you will embrace it in everything you do.”

Holy crap.

Ever since that fateful conversation, I’ve been thinking a lot about my fingernails. And I realize there’s really two ways you can answer that question: literally and metaphorically.

So, here’s what’s (literally) under my fingernails:

1. Metallic bronze dust from the strings on my Taylor 814-CE guitar.
2. Stains of blue Sharpie from hand-writing tens of thousands of nametags.
3. A decade’s worth of chlorine from countless laps of stress-relieving freestyle.
4. Metallic silver residue from daily pounding on the 78 keys on my MacBook Pro.
5. Rainbow cotton fibers from every content note card I’ve ever laid out on the floor.

Next, here’s what’s (metaphorically) under my fingernails:

1. Every email from every random person whose life improved in some way as a result of reading something I wrote.
2. Every email from every random person who told me how stupid I was, or how stupid my idea was.
3. Any of the 5000 creative, penetrating, thought-provoking questions I’ve collected, dissected and incorporated into my lexicon over the years.

– – –

Essentially, this question boils down to a new philosophy, a new paradigm and a new approach to our work. As inspired by Spike’s original post and my hommies @ Brains On Fire:

Work IS play.
That means infusing your childlike energy into everything you do. For the advancement and enhancement of your creative spirit. For the reciprocation of that spirit into the souls of the people you serve.

Work IS pleasure.
That means at the airport ticket counter when the agent asks, “Is this trip business or pleasure?” learning to respond, “Same thing for me!” “Always both!” or “What’s the difference?”

Work IS personal.
That means our technology has made it easy to take the personal-ness for granted. Which is exactly why you need to work so hard at getting personally involved. To prove that a few rounds of golf or some Chamber of Commerce meeting isn’t the extent of your “getting to know you” time with clients.

Work MEANS hitting the streets.
That means getting out of your office and actually talking and listening to the people who (really) pay your salary – the customers. And not in focus groups, online surveys or some other form of contrived, unrealistic cross-section of people you THINK speak for the entire group. We’re talking about real-life, face-to-face, organic human inquiry, conversation and connection. Something that doesn’t have a structure, agenda or regimented time limit.

Work MEANS getting your hands dirty.
That means becoming involved (even if it’s just a little) in the production, manufacturing, research, exploration and baseline development of your company’s ideas. Getting your butt out of the office and into the warehouse.

Work MEANS engaging face-to-face with customers.
That means hanging with them. Learning their language. Drinking their Kool-Aid. Watching them in action as they gain value from your product or service so you can more accurately report back on the posture of the masses.

What’s under your fingernails?

For my list called, “72 Superb Songs on Under Scott’s Fingernails,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
[email protected]

If they can’t come UP to you; how will they ever get BEHIND you?

Buy Scott’s new book and learn daily practices for becoming a more approachable manager!

Pick up your copy (or a case!) right here.

4 Ways to Listen to Yourself

Growing bigger ears is about listening to others, listening to the world, and of course, listening to YOURSELF.

Today we’re going to focus on the latter.

Here are four practices to help you listen to yourself more effectively.

1. TAKE WALKS … with yourself.
Also known as “moving meditation,” taking a walk is a perfect way to enlist your truest, most important thoughts. Walking clears your mind, stabilizes your emotions and levels your perspective. And walking also taps into your higher consciousness and attracts thoughts, ideas and solutions to current problems.

Even if that means walking around the block or down to the street to Starbucks.

REMEMBER: Solvitas perambulatorum! (More on this philosophy here.)

2. DO SOME WRITING … with yourself.
Undertaking daily exercises like journaling, guiding writing or Morning Pages will (probably) be the BEST way to listen to yourself. Writing is the great clarifier. It’s a ritual of reflection, a psychological holding environment and gateway to your inner and higher self, as Julia Cameron suggests in The Artist’s Way.

For example, think back to those essay tests you took in college. Your professor probably said something like; “You don’t (truly) know the material until you can write about it.”

And, that goes for your inner thoughts too: you don’t truly know what you think and feel about something until you can write about it.

REMEMBER: Writing is the basis of all wealth.

3. MEDITATE … with yourself.
TM. Yoga. Guided imagery. Daily appontments. Self-hypnosis. Mindfulness breathing. Relaxation CD’s. Any of these will work! The word “meditate” comes from the Latin meditatus, which means, “To think over, consider.”

The TYPE of meditation you choose to use isn’t as important as THAT you choose to meditate. Every single day.

Ans when you meditate, you calm your mind. And when your mind is calm – like a still body of water – you can more effectively see (and listen to) your own reflection.

REMEMBER: Meditation is listening.

4. HAVE DISCUSSIONS … with yourself.
Self-questioning is a powerful tool for listening to yourself. The challenge is figuring out which questions to ask.

I suggest combing this practice with #2, writing. Consider spending some time writing out your answers to such questions as:

1. Is this an opportunity or an opportunity to be used?
2. Is this the best use of my time right now?
3. Is what I’m doing right now consistent with my #1 goal?
4. What does this have to do with me?
5. What have I been noticing a lot of lately?
6. What is my body telling me right now?
7. What lessons have I recently learned?

REMEMBER: He who asks the best questions, wins.

Ultimately, you can’t listen to others until you’ve first learned how to listen to yourself. Consider these four practices and grow bigger ears today!

What is your body telling you right now?

For my list called, “101 People (not) to Listen to,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
[email protected]

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

PhD, schmee-h-D

You don’t need a Masters.
You don’t need a PhD.
In fact, you don’t need ANY acronyms, letters or designations after your last name.

You need experience(s).

That’s what people trust.
That’s what people relate to.
That’s what people use to judge you.
That’s what people validate your expertise by.
That’s what people measure your credibility by.

I think IBM pioneer Tom Watson said it best, “Good judgment comes from experience. And experience comes from bad judgment.”

You need experience(s).

AND, along WITH those experiences, three other things:

FIRST: Constant and intelligent reflection upon those experiences.
Because, as my mentor, William Jenkins taught me, “We learn not from our experiences but from intelligent reflection UPON those experiences.”

So, as you experience life, remember to ask yourself:

1. How are these issues related to each other?
2. How can I profit from this experience?
3. How can I use this idea, principle or technique to achieve my goals or solve my problems?
4. How can this mistake be quickly made into something good?
5. How could this mentor me?
6. How does this fit into my theory of the universe?
7. Is there anyone in my life that I treat this way?
8. Now that I’ve done this, what else does this make possible?
9. What happened to me during this experience?
10. What is another use for this failure?
11. What went right/wrong/perfectly about what JUST happened?
12. What worked well and why?

SECOND: An extraction of lessons learned. Because nobody cares what you did. Nobody cares what you know. They only care what you’ve LEARNED; and, how those lessons can help them improve their lives.

Therefore, as you experience life, remember to ask yourself:

1. Can I transfer this information into something else I do?
2. How can the basic concept be applied to different areas?
3. How many different ways can you leverage this?
4. In what kind of future situations could I use these learnings?
5. What did I JUST learn from this experience?
6. What did you experience today that taught you something about your work or life?
7. What else is like this?
8. What have I seen, read or done today that relates to another idea or theme in my life right now?
9. What’s the Universal Human Emotion/Experience?

THIRD: A platform to share those lessons learned. If you don’t write it down, it NEVER HAPPENED. And, writing is the basis of all wealth. The challenge is, how are you going to share that with the world?

Well, as you experience life, remember to ask yourself:

1. What type of list could I immediately make my idea into?
2. What journal does this go into?
3. When will I write about this?
4. How many different ways can I share this intellectual property?
5. If I were to share these lessons in a speech, what would I say?
6. How can I make this experience useful to my fellow human beings?
7. How can I make writing a part of this?
8. How can I conduct a debriefing?
9. Who else needs to see this?

REMEMBER: If you want to prove your credibility and validate your expertise, you need experiences.

AND, you need to compound those experiences with a system of reflection, extraction and sharing.

If you can do that, people will no longer have to ask the question: “So, is this your direct personal experience, or are you just quoting someone else?”

PhD, Schmee-h-D.

How do you let experiences change you?

For the list called, “9 Ways to become THEE Expert on Just about ANYTHING,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
[email protected]

Ready to turn YOUR experiences into money?

I can help.

Rent Scott’s Brain today!

Grow Bigger Ears: When is interrupting acceptable?


o If she’s gotten off track
o If you need elaboration
o If you need clarification
o If a boundary has been violated
o If she’s made a gross assumption
o If she’s said something out of line
o If you are unable to effectively listen anymore
o If you have a personal emergency
o If the other person is going too fast
o If you need more time to take notes
o If you think SHE thinks you’re not listening
o If she’s previously given you permission to do so
o If to develop rapport
o If it doesn’t dramatically disturb the balance of conversation


o To tell your own story
o If you’re just waiting to chime in
o It takes the wind out of their sales
o It has nothing to do with anything
o If to dominate and take over conversation
o If it detours from the conversation
o If it detracts from the conversation
o To add in a footnote joke or one-liner clever little jokes
o It adds TOO much value to the conversation

When is interrupting the speaker acceptable?

For the list called, “13 Roles of The Listener,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
[email protected]

How many unsolicited referrals did YOU get this week?

Tune in to The Sales Channel on!

Watch video lessons on enabling customers to buy!

“Is there anyone in my life that I treat this way?”

It’s incredibly convenient to observe someone’s inappropriate behavior and immediately pass judgment on that person.

Man, that guy is really being rude to the waitress…

I can’t believe that woman just said that to her daughter!

How could she be so inconsiderate of the people around her?

See, our egos LOVE this stuff because these silent dialogues immediately make us feel superior to the people around us.

Ironically, pointing out someone else’s judgmental behavior IS, in fact, judgmental.

SO, HERE’S YOUR TASK: Turn inward.

Upon observing any type of foul behavior, use it as a mirror. A bell of awareness.

Ask yourself:

“Is there anyone in my life that I treat this way?”

That way, instead of pointing out others’ faults to camouflage your own, you can take this moment of introspection and create some movement in the development of your own character.

What do you see when you see people?

For the list called, “100 Self-Consultative Questions,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

Now booking dates for 2009!

Only 34 more available slots…

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

No customer has ever said, “Wow, you return calls too fast!”

THREE WORDS OF ADVICE: Return calls faster.

Calls meaning calls.
Calls meaning emails.
Calls meaning text messages.
Calls meaning any other form of instant communication.

We HAVE the technology. And it’s not like it takes a lot of time.

So, make it your new goal to return calls faster.

Within reason, that is. Obviously, you can’t immediately address EVERY single attention magnet that crosses your path.

But when you can, reduce your average response time.

For three reasons:

1. It’s memorable. When you call a customer back right away, it’s unexpected. This is a good thing. After all: The most effective way to capture customers’ attention is to B-R-E-A-K her patterns. And, in a world of ineffective, impersonal customer service, doing so will immediately set you apart from everyone else who takes three days to reply.

2. It demonstrates that you value people. The speed of the response IS the response. The medium IS the message. So, when customers are replied to immediately, they feel special. And listened to. And important. And valued. Which makes them want to continue doing business with you.

3. It builds trust. Sure, quickly returning a phone call or email is small thing. But it’s the accumulation of those small things that builds familiarity and predictability. This approachable action positively frames the entire customer encounter. It sets the stage for successful service and informs the customer how she can expect to be treated from here on in. And THAT IS how you build trust.

Now, some people will make arguments against this style of communication.

That it might come off as desperate.

That it might destroy your Big Shot allure.

Well, maybe that’s true in some cases.

All I know is, I’ve been practicing this principle whenever possible.

And I’ve NEVER had a customer say, “Wow, you return calls too fast!”

So, even if you’re skeptical about returning calls faster, I still challenge you to increase your average response time.

Because nobody else does stuff like that.

And usually, the stuff nobody else does tends to be the stuff customers love.

Are you returning calls faster than your competitors?

For the list called, “38 Ways to Make Customers GASP” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
[email protected]

Satisfaction not enough?
Customers not telling their friends about you?
Want to learn how to deliver unforgettable service?

Buy Scott’s new book and learn how to get your frontline IN line!

Pick up your copy (or a case!) right here.

The Ultimate Dream Statement™

Creative solutions.
Famous inventions.
Groundbreaking innovations.

All of these bright ideas hinge on your ability to complete the following sentence:

I wish there was a/an (X) so I wouldn’t have to (Y)!

I call this The Ultimate Dream Statement™, or UDS for short. And it (might) be the most important idea an entrepreneur could entertain.

Let’s explore the two elements within:

So, it’s dream focused. Optimistic. Solution oriented. It’s what customers want in an ideal world. The answer to their problems. The Tylenol for their headache. The relief they so desperately need. The (X).

As a result of purchasing (X), they’re saving time. Or money. Or energy. Or paper. Or manpower. Or opportunity cost. Whatever. The key is, by eliminating (Y), the customer moves away from pain and towards pleasure.

OK! Now that you understand the root of this concept, let’s try a few. See if you can guess the already existing product that, at one point in time, was considered a groundbreaking innovation:

“I wish there was a way to see our vacation pictures RIGHT NOW so we wouldn’t have to wait until we got home next week.”

So, what’s the product?

OF COURSE! Polaroid and (eventually) digital cameras.

Let’s try another one…

“I wish there was a fast forward button so I wouldn’t have to sit through those atrocious commercials.”

So, what’s the product?

OF COURSE! Tivo, or any other form of DVR.

OK, last example…

“I wish there was a way to keep my kids quiet in the back seat of the car so I wouldn’t feel like stabbing myself in the eye with a plastic spork!”

So, what’s the product?

OF COURSE! Duct tape.

Nah, just kidding.

The real answer is Backseat DVD Player. What parent of four rug rats doesn’t LOVE that invention!

NOW, HERE’S THE COOL PART: This innovation process works in reverse, too. You can take any of your most cherished toys, gadgets or products and extract their version of The Ultimate Dream Statement™.

For example, think about your iPod. The UDS would be:

“I wish there was a way to compile all of my music onto a compact, digital storage device so I wouldn’t have to lug 100 CD’s in my car, to work and on the plane!

You get the point.

Make customers’ dreams come true while simultaneously helping them avoid something frustrating.

Move closer to pleasure, move further from pain.

NOW, HERE’S THE INTERESTING PART: I did some googling with the phrases “I wish there was a,” and “so I wouldn’t have to…”

And after searching through a few hundred blogs, message boards and forums, here are my favorite examples:

*“I wish there was a way to pick the flavors I prefer, so I wouldn’t have to throw any away.”

*”I wish there was a website that would just tell me where to go so I wouldn’t have to stress about this stuff.”

*”I wish there was a that morons couldn’t find so I wouldn’t have to read such dim-witted remarks anymore.”

*”I wish there was a way on the adapter to turn up the volume a bit so I wouldn’t have to turn the volume pretty high to get “normal” volume”

*”I wish there was a way to get my seats reassigned online so I wouldn’t have to get up early.”

*”I wish there was a drive thru Wal-Mart where I could just pull up to the window and order what I wanted so I wouldn’t have to wake my baby up and take her into the store.”

*”I wish there was a way to refresh our brains and wipe the slate clean so we would not have to learn new good habits and relearn not to do bad habits.”

*”I wish there was a tutorial somewhere where I could learn to do this stuff on my own so I wouldn’t have to pester you all!”

*”I wish there was a dustpan with a long stick on it like the broom handle so I wouldn’t have to hold the dustpan.”

*”I wish my pump could measure my sugar reading so that I wouldn’t have to worry about the cost of the glucose meter supplies.”

*”I wish there was a Depresso-Meter that I could use to measure my current mental state so that I wouldn’t have to deal with people asking me all the time ‘What is wrong?'”

– – –

Now, obviously, some of these ideas are more far-fetched than others.

But that’s a good thing.

After all, Einstein once said, “If at first your idea does not sound absurd, there is no hope for it.”

What are YOU the answer to?

For the list called, “50 Questions Every Entrepreneur Should Ask,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
[email protected]

Who’s telling their friends about YOUR new product?

Tune in to The Marketing Channel on!

Watch video lessons on spreading the word!

Grow Creative Ears, Part 3

In the first post of this series, we explored a list of things, forces, people and situations to “actively listen to” so you could grow your creative practice.

In the second post, we explored a list of things NOT to listen to for maximum creative output.

In this third and final post on creativity as active listening, I wanted to share a few observations from my own creative practice, along with a collection of probing questions to challenge your own:

1. Become an expert at NOTICING. That means discerning those little details that send your brain off to the creative races. Ancillary answers, happy accidents, internal comments, what’s around you, what doesn’t work and how quickly people understand and respond to your ideas. It also means Meta Noticing: Noticing the fact THAT you’re noticing. Because awareness is the first step towards mastery.

LISTEN TO THIS: What are you noticing?

2. Creation = Reaction. Literally. It’s an anagram. Same letters. (Cool, huh?) So, watch how you immediately react to things. Notice how you take in information and process experiences. Observe the mobilization of your inner resources, for these movements will allow you to create something beautiful.

LISTEN TO THIS: Are you listening and watching your initial responses?

3. Curiosity is active response to life. It’s about observation, followed by questions. Asking yourself, asking others, asking the world. Spying on the universe. Metabolizing the strands and tendrils of so many sparkling creatures and melding them into your own reality. Participating in the world around you as fully and actively as you possibly can.

LISTEN TO THIS: Are you asking enough questions?

4. Everything is fodder. I repeat: Everything. Material. Content. Ingredients. The world is one big-ass idea market, and it’s all F-R-E-E! There are no lines, and coupons are irrelevant. If you see something you like and you want, and you take it. Then, when you get home, you mix it with related thoughts and conjure something bigger, as you become bigger yourself.

LISTEN TO THIS: From which unusual and obscure places do you get your material?

5. Everything is prey. No limitations. Nothing is off-limits. Everything is fair game. Whatever the artist sees, he or she can use. Steal. Pluck. Insert. Capture. Marry ideas with other ideas. (Of course, this doesn’t mean plagiarism. It means capturing the essence of something and making it your own. So be careful!)

LISTEN TO THIS: What did you extract today?

6. Learn to freeze things. All this fodder, this material surrounding you – that you eat and perceive through your personal filter – you must be able to F-R-E-E-Z-E. That means you see something, take a Mental Polaroid of it and then clothespin it onto your psyche for further evaluation. As it freezes, you view it from all angles. You walk 360 degrees around it. You investigate it. Ask it questions. Maybe poke it a little. Rip its clothes off, strip it of every outer layer until its essence plops down on that imaginary interrogation chair, staring at you.

LISTEN TO THIS: Are you freezing your observations?

7. Listen, listen and listen. Listen to your work from a cool, objective distance. But be sure to do so in a way that prevents you from falling in love with your work. (This prevents emotions from disturbing the process.) See, that’s all writers do: they listen. To the world, to the people, to the ideas that zoom and fly in, to what their hearts are telling them to write. So, never stop listening. Identify the language of your own thought.

LISTEN TO THIS: Are you writing or listening?

8. Notice your soundscapes. Anyone who says, “I never have any good ideas,” or “I have writer’s block” or “There’s nothing good out there,” … IS A TERRIBLE LISTENER. To themselves. To the world. To others. No ideas? Bullshit. They’re everywhere! You just need to figure out what wants to be written. To figure out what your Muse is telling you. To figure out what new piece of material is standing by for your plucking. Remember: Opportunity never stops knocking – only YOU stop listening. So, saddle up. Finger through the jukebox of your creative mind and locate that ONE unique song you’re supposed to be singing. Then, belt it out!

LISTEN TO THIS: What’s your excuse for NOT having any good ideas?

9. Perpetually hunt for insight. Inspiration is ENDLESS and EVERYWHERE. And if you maintain an attitude of curiosity, exploration and expectation in everything you do, it’s yours for the plucking. So, be constantly scanning. Like one of those secret service dudes with one hand on their gun and the other on their earpiece. Ceaselessly looking around, sweeping the crowd and scrutinizing the scene for things and people that don’t belong. Allowing objects and events and people to let loose some movement in your mind.

LISTEN TO THIS: What little things do you always seem to notice?

10. Register the moment. Mark it down. Label it. Name it. Call it something. Then, put it where it needs to go. (Not in an overly specific way, as you don’t want to prematurely, cognitively commit to something.) Just enough where it can go somewhere with its friends. Where it fits in. Where it belongs. Where it can be returned to a later time and picked up exactly where it left off.

LISTEN TO THIS: Where does this new idea belong?

11. Scanning. Find interesting in anything. Study ordinary things intently. See yourself in anything. Plug whatever you perceive into the equations of your topic and your philosophy and expertise. Ask yourself how it relates to you, why it’s interesting, how it’s an example or symbol of something that’s important to you.

LISTEN TO THIS: What mundane things do you find fascinating?

– – –

REMEMBER: Creativity is the ultimate form of active listening.

So, learn what to listen to. Learn what (not) to listen to.

Practice being silently attentive and letting your art be subordinate to your life.

How are you using you ears as a creative tool?

For the list called, “49 Ways to become a Idea Powerhouse,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
[email protected]

Nobody talking about your business?

Bummer. Perhaps I could help on a more personal, one-on-one basis.

Rent Scott’s Brain today!

Your hand doesn’t have to shoot up first

My parents’ favorite childhood tale to tell – mainly to embarrass me, I assume – is called “The Hand Raiser.”

(Apparently) when I was four years old, my folks used to watch my pre-school class through a one-way mirror.

The school I attended provided an Observation Room so parents could observe their kids completely without distracting students or teachers. Ultimately, the goal was to present them with a clear picture of how their children interacted during school.

Now, contrary to frequent assumption, I was NOT the class clown.

My behavior was a little different.

See, if you ask my mother, she’ll proudly tell you, “Whenever the teacher posed a question, asked for participation or requested a student’s help … Scott’s hand would ALWAYS shoot up first! Sometimes before the teacher even finished talking!”

To which I’ve always conceded, Yeah. That sounds like me…

“It’s like, it didn’t matter WHAT the question was,” my Dad often adds. “Scott just wanted to talk! He LOVED to participate in the discussion, even if he had no idea what he was talking about.”

Ha! Once again, guilty.

Now, keep in mind: I was only four years old at the time.

Twenty-five years later, I’m all grows up and I’m all grows up, as Vince Vaughn would say. And I’m proud to say I’ve made GREAT progress in my listening practice.

SEE, HERE’S WHAT I’VE LEARNED: Your hand doesn’t have to shoot up first.

Show some restraint. Practice some patience. Just listen and wait for the answer. No need to pounce on every pause.

As my marketing professor, Dr. Speh, used to teach us, “When you go to a meeting, don’t say anything until the last five minutes. That way you can collect you thoughts, clarify your position and speak confidently.”

Growing up, children create the perception that whoever hand shoots up first is the smartest person in the room.

Not (always) true.

Instead, biting your tongue until the end of the meeting (or group conversation, teleseminar, etc.) will net four key results:

1. By looking around, listening and learning FIRST, your eventually comment will contain its maximum amount of brilliance. Because you will have perfected your answer by listening to others first.

2. By asking yourself, “Is it a sound instinct or a strong impulse?” you learn to respond, not react. This helps you become a better judge of which thoughts need to be shared, and which thoughts need to be shirked.

3. If you only say one thing, it become more profound, as scarcity creates a perception of value. Think Silent Bob. He only voices one thought per movie, and it’s always killer!

4. The longer you wait to say something, the more everybody else will want to know what you’re thinking. And your calmness, patience and quietude will draw them in.

See, most meetings eventually come to a point where the leader or facilitator will say, “OK, is there anything else?” “Does anybody have any questions?” or “Any final thoughts before we finish?”

At which point, all you have to say is, “I had an observation…”

At which point, all the people in the room or around the table will turn their heads, rotate their chairs and look in the direction of the ONE person who hasn’t said anything all morning.

And the floor will be yours.

REMEMBER: Your hand doesn’t have to shoot up first.

Ultimately, you’ll increase your approachability without saying a word.

Are you an impatient listener?

For the list called, “31 Questions to Test Your Listening Skills,: send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
[email protected]

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