NametagTV: Best Practices, Volume 1

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Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur

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How to become the Most Approachable Employee in Your Organization, Pt. 1

In this multi-post series, we’re going to explore daily practices to help you become known as the most approachable person in your organization.

Whether you’re an office professional, middle manager, C-level executive or part of the overnight cleaning crew, executing these strategies will accomplish three goals:

(1) Boost the net worth of your human capital.
(2) Attract MORE attention, MORE people and MORE opportunities into your professional world.
(3) Reduce the possibility that your company will kick your butt to the curb in this crappy economy.

Here we go…

1. Practice your questioning from a better place. Ideally, from a place of seeking to understand. To learn. To listen. To grow. To help. Unfortunately, too many leaders, managers and consultants will ask questions from a place of subtle, suppressed insight or camouflaged advice. As the Pointy Haired Boss from Dilbert says, “Read my mind and then recommend the decision I’ve already decided on.”

TRY THIS: Grab about ten sticky notes. On each one, write one of the following three-word mantras:

o Curious, not Gotcha.
o Discovery, not answers.
o Exploration, not accusation.
o Fascination, not frustration.
o Hypothesis, not analysis.
o Observations, not accusations.
o Responses, not reactions.
o Searching, not snooping.

Post them all around your office (especially by your phone) to reinforce this philosophy. In two weeks, I guarantee you’ll begin questioning from a better place. Are you only listening in order to confirm what you already think? How can you enter the conversation with curiosity? And what would happen to your career if you became known as the best question-asker at your company?

2. Be assertive, not aggressive. Here’s the difference: Assertive allows dialogue; aggressive prohibits listening. Assertive seeks solutions; aggressive just blames. Assertive is direct; aggressive is blunt. Assertive takes charge; aggressive takes over. Assertive invites collaboration; aggressive seeks compliance. Get the picture?

TRY THIS: Think of the ten most aggressive people you know. Then think of the ten most assertive people you know. Then ask yourself: Which group evokes more negative emotions? Which group makes people feel most uncomfortable? The answers will speak for themselves.

Remember: The only judgment people can (honestly) make is how interacting with you made them FEEL. Is your behavior underscored more by assertiveness or aggressiveness? If you asked that same question to the ten people you work with most frequently, what would their answer be? And what can you do in the next ten days to become less aggressive and more assertive?

3. Recognize disagreements as opportunities. First, as opportunities to listen and enable dialogue. Not arguing. Not backing away. Not getting defensive. Dialogue. Use Phrases That Payses like, “What tells you that?” “I’m curious about that line of thinking,” and “Is that something you want to talk about?”

TRY THIS: Recognize disagreements as opportunities to ask questions. More specifically, to positively challenge others to midwive their own solutions. Not telling. Not fixing. Not solving. Facilitating an exploration of their ideas, thus enabling them to give birth to their own understanding.

Now, I know I said it before, but it bears repeating: Don’t view feedback as a direct challenge to your intelligence and authority, nor as a threat to your position or role. Get over yourself and get inside the words. How many new opportunities did you overlook yesterday because you were blinded by defensiveness? How are you encouraging disagreements? And what would happen to your perception as a leader if you greeted all comments, ideas and suggestions with a welcoming heart?

4. Respond positively to all reports. If you constantly say, “Don’t bring me problems – bring me solutions!” you will scare people into thinking that the only time they can ever approach you is when their information is positive. As a result, you’ll always be in the dark when it comes to others’ concerns.

This, of course, sucks.

Your unapproachable appearance will stop communication in its tracks. What’s more, you’ll become the last one to find out how you’re doing.

TRY THIS: I challenge you to consistently respond to good AND bad news in a supportive, helpful and non-emotionally reactive way. That gives people permission to come back to you with their ideas, questions, concerns and thoughts. Seek to suspend your judgment and evaluation of what people tell you until you’ve taken adequate time to process their information. What’s the positive learning experience in this failure? What good could come of this? And now that you know this, what else does this make possible?

5. Share what you’re thinking and feeling. If people never know what’s on your mind, your unpredictability will create apprehension in their process of approaching you. And the silent dialogue will become, “For all I know, she could be a ticking time bomb this morning! Better not say anything deep or lengthy.”

As a result of this unapproachable pattern, here’s what happens:

o Your communication topics will always remain superficial with the people around you.

o Nobody will get to the heart of any important issues because they’re unsure about how you might react.

o People (might) end up doing the exact opposite of what you wanted, and it will be YOUR fault because they won’t know any better.

o You’ll eventually drive the people around you CRAZY because you can only ask someone “How are you?” so many times in one day before they develop the desire to start beating themselves with a stapler.

Sack up. Just tell people what’s on your mind. No need to relying on clouding every interaction to feel in control. How are you initiating movements toward people? What is causing you to be easily misunderstood? And what are you doing that prevents people from learning from you?

6. Communicate before you have to. Otherwise it will feel forced, superficial and therefore, ineffective. In the book Total Life Coaching, authors Williams & Thomas suggest that when people only communicate out of need, their need speaks louder than their words. This results in an imbalance between verbal and non-verbal expressions. (Not good.)

TRY THIS: Tell the truth, tell it all and tell it now. Otherwise people will fill in the gaps with their own worse case scenarios. Even if that means saying, “Steve, I have no answer for you right now, so I promise to let you know by the end of the day.” This reinforces others’ involvement in the decision-making process. What’s more, the speed of the response IS the response.

Ultimately, if you learn to approach people when they don’t have problems, they’ll be more likely to approach you when they DO have problems. By responding with early intervention, you solve small problems before they snowball into big problems. What are you turning your problems into? How could you communicate with this person despite your lack of need to do so? And how much less stress would your body feel if you just told the truth, right now?

How will you become the most approachable employee in your organization?

For the list called, “26 Rapid-Fire Strategies for Turning Approachability into PROFIT-ability,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur

Who’s quoting YOU?

Check out Scott’s Online Quotation Database for a bite-sized education on making a name for yourself!

5 Ways to Judge Less and Accept More

When you label, you judge.
When you judge, you react.
When you react, you’re unconscious.

And being unconscious is unhealthy.

It’s also unapproachable. And if you hold ANY form of leadership position, this is a dangerous place to be.

Here’s a list of five practices for judging less and accepting more…

1. Minimize emotional reactivity. The word “emotion” comes from the Latin emotere, which means, “To disturb.”

Yep. This TOTALLY makes sense.

Emotional Reactivity is contagious, which increases conversational tension.
Emotional Reactivity creates defensiveness, which decreases the likelihood of someone opening up further.

So, if you’re freaking out about something, odds are, the other person isn’t very relaxed. What is this emotion preventing you from learning?

2. Begin without judgment. That means using judgment-free, label-free language.

In the words of Eckhart Tolle, “When you look at it or hold it and let it be without imposing a label on it, its essence silently communicates itself to you and reflects your own essence back to you.”

How would you treat people if you weren’t trying so hard to change them?

3. Listen to who you are before responding. An audience member of mine suggested this during a recent workshop. Blew the entire group away.

What a concept! Can you imagine how honest, how authentic and how approachable people would be if they remembered to do this in their conversations? Man. Listen to who you are before responding. It bears repeating. Are you listening to yourself first?

4. Understand people better. It starts with maintaining an attitude of curiosity. That means exploration, not accusation; fascination, not frustration. Becoming insanely interested in why people do and say what they do and say.

Then, it continues with patient listening. That means questioning. That means pausing. That means listening (and hearing) people’s language patterns and conversational tendencies.

Finally, it means clarifying. Asking people if what you’ve interpreted is what they meant to communicate. Why are you listening?

5. Ignore people’s titles. President? CFO? Receptionist? Janitor? Who the hell cares! The only label people should ever be called by is their name. Because they’re a human being. That’s it.

Titles alienate people. Titles are overrated. Next time someone asks you something like, “So then, are you a Buddhist?” reply with, “Nope, I’m a human!” What unnecessary title is preventing people from getting to know the REAL you?

REMEMBER: Less judging; more accepting.

What is preventing you from attending to this person objectively?

For the list called, “37 Personal Leadership Questions Guaranteed to Shake Your Soul,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

How to Help People Lead Themselves

If you want to grow bigger ears, remember these four words:

Let THEM say it.

Even if you have the answer.
Even if you’re totally right.
Even if what needs to be said is SO obvious.

Let them say it.

Think of yourself as a “Listening Midwife.” Your job is to assist people in giving birth to their own understanding.

As The Listener, you’re trying to uncover truth together. So, the challenge is to give people a chance to peel back another layer of intentions, desires and feelings. The challenge is to lead them down the road to understanding. The challenge is to stay neutral so your objectivity enables people to discover their own solutions and, ultimately, lead themselves.

AND HERE’S THE BEST PART: When you “let them say it,” a few cool things happen…

Their answer is more rich.
Their answer is more right.
Their answer is more precise.
Their answer is more accurate.
Their answer is more expeditious.
Their answer is more THEIRS.

You help them access their own ideas.
You help them end up with better ideas.
You help their mind to think for the second time.
You help them set up conditions to find the answer with the same brain that asked the question.

Ultimately, by not taking sides, by “letting them say it,” you bolster their self-reliance.

Here’s a list of Phrases That Payses to help people lead themselves:

1. What else do you think about this?
2. So, what does that tell you?
3. So, what do you think that means?
4. Is there anything else?
5. What are you going to do?
6. What do you think is the best solution?
7. What would you do if YOU were you?

REMEMBER: If you want people’s dreams, desires and truths to come to the surface – as well as stick around ON the surface – you’ve got to enable them to lead themselves.

How could you turn this person into a genius?

For the list called, “37 Personal Leadership Questions Guaranteed to Shake Your Soul,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

32 Ways to Pinpoint the Vehicle of Your Uniqueness

Many of my clients, colleagues, readers and audience members come to me with the same challenge:

What’s my uniqueness?

My response is usually twofold.

FIRST: Dude, I have no idea. That’s not my job.

Consider Curly’s Law, as portrayed by Jack Palance in City Slickers:

“The secret of life is one thing. Just one thing. And that’s for YOU to find out. Stick to that, and everything else don’t mean sheeeeit.”

SECOND: That uniqueness – that ONE THING which makes you That Guy – isn’t some goofy shtick that you and your Mastermind Group come up with during an afternoon brainstorming session at Panera that you haphazardly smear all over a bunch of low-rent promotional materials and put up on a website designed by your fourteen year old daughter that makes you look like a wannabe loser.

That ONE THING is already there.

In the depths of your being. In the core of your personhood.

And we know this because Michelangelo told us so:

“The sculpture is inside the stone,” he said.

WHICH MEANS: If you truly want to pinpoint the vehicle of your uniqueness, you need to start chipping away.

Fortunately for you, I have a chisel…

Actually, I have twenty-six of them. And I’d be happy to share those chisels with you right now.

No charge. No strings. No worries.

“What’s your uniqueness?”


1. It’s what you’re known as.
2. It’s what you’re known for.
3. It’s what you are the best at.
4. It’s what you were the first at.
5. It’s what you’re the answer to.
6. It’s what you’re known for knowing.
7. It’s what you find absorbing, involving, enthralling.
8. It’s what you’ve always found to be incredibly easy.

9. It’s what your life intends to do with you.
10. It’s what validates your existence on a daily basis.
11. It’s what you could talk about forever at the drop of a hat.
12. It’s what you’re the Undisputed Heavyweight Champion of the World of.

13. It’s what you love to do that (you can’t believe) people actually pay you money to do.

14. It’s what you’ve internalized the technical foundation of and no longer have to think about when you do it.

15. It’s the three compliments people make about your business that, to you, are just effortless extensions of your inherent expertise.

16. It’s what makes people stop, listen and say WOW.
17. It’s what makes people watch you with breathless interest.
18. It’s what makes people email you to thank you for teaching them.

19. It’s what people are always asking for your advice on.
20. It’s what people take notes on when they watch you in action.
21. It’s what people say when they introduce you to someone new.
22. It’s what would disappoint people if they heard you had stopped doing it.
23. It’s what people will never think about the same way again after meeting you.

24. It’s the ONE thing you do great.
25. It’s the ONE thing you can’t (not) do.
26. It’s the ONE thing you can’t (not) be.
27. It’s the ONE thing that’s underneath your fingernails.
28. It’s the ONE thing you have to force yourself NOT to do.
29. It’s the ONE activity during which you are most true to yourself.
30. It’s the ONE thing you would (still) do every day, even if were the last human on Earth.

31. It’s the ONE activity that, when you start doing it, you don’t stop until your spouse elbows you in the ribs.

32. It’s the ONE thing, like Mozart sitting down to the piano at age three; like Tiger stepping up to the tee at age four; or like Will Hunting approaching the chalkboard at age twenty, that you’ve never had to THINK about doing – you could just play.

OF COURSE: Pinpointing the vehicle of your uniqueness is only half the battle.

The real challenge is turning that expertise into MONEY.

Fortunately for you, I have tool for helping you do that too.

And if you would like access to it, follow the instructions below…

What is the vehicle of your uniqueness?

For the list called, “31 Questions to Turn Your Expertise into Money,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur

Nobody seeing YOUR name anywhere?

Bummer. Perhaps my monthly coaching program would help.

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How to Leave a Permanent Imprint on Everyone You Meet

The only judgment people can (honestly) make is how interacting with you made them FEEL.

As such, emotion is the final arbiter of communication effectiveness. Which means you have a choice:

Will people feel diminished, unaffected, or enlarged after their encounters with you?

TRY THIS: Constantly ask yourself the question, “What new world could I open up for this person?”

All it takes is one powerful insight, one thought-provoking question or one engaging conversation to send someone off to the races. To get her hamster wheel spinning furiously. To change her thinking FOR-ever.

It’s all in the delivery, too…

For example, the seven words that left a permanent imprint on me were “Writing is the basis of all wealth.” (Thanks, Gitomer.)

Now, you can read those words on paper, but it doesn’t have the same effect. So, whenever I pass along that particular nugget to one of my coaching clients, here’s what I do. As you explore my process, ask yourself how you could craft your own system of delivering insight to people that leaves a permanent imprint on them forever:

1. Prepare the person to receive. Paired with direct eye contact, I’ll say, “Erin, I want you to listen very closely to what I’m about to tell you. It changed my life forever and made me a LOT of money…”

2. Punctuate with a five-second pause. After I say, “Writing is the basis of all wealth,” I shut up and stare. This allows my words to profoundly penetrate and, hopefully, disturb her.

3. Say it again. Repetition reemphasizes importance and solidifies memory.

4. Make it tangible. Then I usually write the sentence down on a little piece of paper and physically hand it to her, ask her to write it down herself, or email her later that day as a reminder.

5. Pound it in. Through her brain, past her heart and down to her soul. And I do this by constantly repeating those words over and over whenever we meet: “Remember what we talked about Erin: Writing is the basis of all wealth.”

That’s how you alter people’s pulses.

That’s how you leave a permanent imprint on them forever.

REMEMBER: The only judgment people can (honestly) make is how interacting with you made them FEEL.

What do people get from communicating with you? How are they changed after having a conversation with you? And do they feel diminished, unaffected, or enlarged after their encounters with you?

For the list called, “37 Personal Leadership Questions Guaranteed to Shake Your Soul,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

6 Ways to become the Most Listenable Person You Know

“Nobody around here ever listens to me!”

If you’ve ever said this before, there are two possible reasons why.

First, maybe you’re surrounded by poor listeners.

This is highly probable, as a large percentage of people suck at listening.

Of course, that’s the easy way out – to blame everyone else. To complain, but take no personal responsibility.

ON THE OTHER HAND: Has it ever occurred to you that perhaps you’re not a Listenable Person?

I’m not saying that’s true. But it IS incredibly convenient to observe someone’s unapproachable behavior and immediately assume that it’s their fault.

When instead, you could turn inward and ask yourself:

“What is it in ME that might be causing this person to be unapproachable?”

So, the secret is not to “get people to listen to you,” but rather, to identify and embody the attributes of Listenable People.

Let’s explore six elements of what makes an employee (or any person, for that matter), listenable. As you read them, ask yourself three questions: (1) How good am I at this? (2) How could I improve on this? (3) Who do I know that currently does this, and how do I respond to it when they do?

1. LISTENABLE PEOPLE … listen first. Because I’ve written about four book’s worth of modules on listening, let me just give you the quickest, easiest, most effective summary of how to grow bigger ears:

o In ONE word: Patience
o In TWO words: Take notes.
o In THREE words: Don’t react; respond.
o In FOUR words: Dance in the moment.
o In FIVE words: Love them with your ears.
o In SIX words: Will this comment disrupt or contribute?
o In SEVEN words: Stop rehearsing what you’re going to say.
o In EIGHT words: Create a safe container where people can share.
o In NINE words: Facilitate the exploration of the other person’s immediate
o experience.
o In TEN words: Enable the person to give birth to their own understanding.

Then, when the time is right, make the transition. After someone appears to be finished speaking, try saying, “Have you said everything you need to say?” If they confirm, then ask, “Now that I’ve listened to your point of view, would you be willing to me share mine?” How big are your ears? How are you monopolizing the listening? And what would happen if you always let the other person speak first?

2. LISTENABLE PEOPLE … create a listenable environment. When you walk into someone’s office or sit down, start off by asking, “Is this a good time for you to listen to me?” If yes, proceed to speak. If not, ask them, “When would be a good time for you to listen to me?” These questions reinforce your commitment to creating listenable environments.

Also, be sure to remove listening distractions. If you’re having a conversation in your office, shut down your email and instant messenger programs. Turn off your cell.

Or, if you’re meeting someone in public, get there early so you can sit down first. Chose the chair that faces out into the busyness. That way your conversation partner will be facing a wall or booth backdrop where there are limited distractions.

This will keep him focused on you. This will keep him listening to you. Is this setting conducive to listening? What around you might be distracting someone from listening to you? How could you put yourself in the most listenable position?

3. LISTENABLE PEOPLE … are enjoyable. The word listenable simply means, “A pleasure to listen to.” So, that’s pretty simple. If you want people to listen to you, concentrate on (NOT) morphing into one of the following toxic personalities: complainers, whiners, criticizers, know-it-alls, conversational narcissists, assholes and emotionally overactive people.

These people contribute little (if any) positive value to encounters and are either avoided or ignored. Which one are you? Which one do other people perceive you as? Would YOU listen to you?

4. LISTENABLE PEOPLE … use hangars. A surefire strategy for becoming more listenable is to use Vocal Hangars. These conversational bookmarks attract people’s attention by building excitement around what you’re going to say next. Examples include:

o What if…
o The secret is…
o Here’s the deal…
o Let me ask ya this…
o Yes, and here’s why…
o Here’s the best part…
o Here’s the cool part…
o Think of it this way…
o Here’s my suggestion…
o Here’s the good news…
o What would happen if…
o And here’s the difference…
o I wonder what would happen…
o Well, there’s a distinction…
o Well there’s a secret behind it…
o Have you ever thought about this…
o The question I always ask myself is…
o Here’s what I want you to think about…
o I can answer that question in TWO words…
o The question you’ve got to ask yourself is…
o Think carefully before you ask this question…
o I have one observation and one question – are you ready? (my personal fave)

The secret to using Vocal Hangers is to pause ever so slightly right before you deliver the goods. This heightens the level of anticipation and energy into the conversation.

What’s more, the more you use them, the more you’ll internalize them.

The more you internalize them, the more natural they’ll sound.

The more natural they sound, the more they become part of your lexicon.

The more they become part of your lexicon; the more people begin to expect them.

And the more people begin to expect them, the more they pay attention when they hear them.

Now THAT’s listenable! What is your trademark Vocal Hanger? How do you elicit rapt interest? And what words or phrases used by others always captivate your attention?

5. LISTENABLE PEOPLE … are musical. Well, sort of. When you google the word listenable, the majority of the 205,000 pages that come up are related to music: Forums, message boards, concert reviews and record label blogs.

Each discussion points to a variety of bands and artists that are “listenable,” inasmuch as they are good for any mood/weather/situation and appeal to a wide, cross-generational audience.

IN SHORT: Listenable music is the band you watch for two hours without looking at your watch. Listenable music is the album you could spin on Repeat all afternoon and not even care that you’ve been listening to the same ten songs seven times in a row.

Your challenge is to extract those elements of listenability from the music world and teleport them into your daily interactions.

REMEMBER: If having a conversation with you is like blasting amateur screamo tunes at full volume, it’s going to be tough for people to listen to you. Can you relate to almost anybody? Would people love to be around you in a tense situation? And, during your conversations, are people thinking about booing you off stage, or raising their lighters for an encore?

6. LISTENABLE PEOPLE … aren’t unlistenable. Damn it. Double negative. Sorry. Anyway, when I googled listenable, I also did a search for unlistenable. What I found were people’s discussions on “unlistenable music.” They were fascinating. Here are a few of my favorite reviews:

o “If you take your date out to this concert, you ain’t getting’ lucky.”
o “I would never play this record for anyone for fear that they would uncontrollably start hurting me.”
o “I don’t really know how the song ended, as I didn’t get that far before running out of the room crying.”

Obviously, these reviews of unlistenable music are a bit extreme. But the parallels between music and interpersonal communication DO exist. So, here’s my suggestion:

STEP 1: Make a list called “Ten People Whose Conversations Make Me Want to
Commit Suicide with a Protractor.”

STEP 2: Under each person’s name, write three reasons WHY that person is difficult to listen to.

STEP 3: Compile a master list called “Characteristics of Unlistenable People” and post in your office.

STEP 4: Do the opposite. BE the opposite.

If you do this, I guarantee that the people you work with will start listening to you more. Who are the most unlistenable people you know? Where in your life do you make those same mistakes? What could you do instead?

– – –

REMEMBER: The secret is not to “get people to listen to you,” but rather, to identify and embody the attributes of Listenable People.

Commit to doing that, and soon you’ll never have to say, “Nobody around here ever listens to me!” again.

How will you become the most listenable person you know?

For the list called, “23 Ways to Bring More of Yourself to Any Situation,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur

Who’s quoting YOU?

Check out Scott’s Online Quotation Database for a bite-sized education on branding success!

8 Questions to Identify and Appeal to Anyone’s Self Interest

Four words that changed my life forever:

Nobody cares about you.

I know.

It’s hard to wrap your head around that concept.

But it’s true.

(Thanks to Handsome Steve Hughes for enlightening me on this highly scientific axiom.)

Here’s the deal:

People don’t care how good you are – they care how good you’re going to help them become.

People don’t care what you’ve done – they care what you’ve learned, and how those lessons can help them.

And people don’t care if you’re having a bad day – they care how you’re going to help them have a better day.

Here’s an exercise that will keep you focused on whoever your “them” is…

Before your next sales call, presentation or teleseminar, ask yourself the following eight questions, each of which can be phrased for individuals or groups of people…

o What is this person’s success seed?
o What is the key to this person’s heart?
o What does this person place high value on?
o Who does this person need to look good for?
o What is #1 on this person’s Self Interest List?
o What does this person’s self-interest hinge upon?
o Who can hurt this person the most, and how can I address that?
o What underlying objective or goal does this person’s role create?

Then, try these three Phrases That Payses to let people know that you understand what’s important to them:

1. “I can see this is important to you.”
2. “I know how much this means to you.”
3. “Jim, you obviously wouldn’t have knocked off that jewelry store if you didn’t love your wife.”

REMEMBER: You need to identify and appeal to their self-interest.

Because nobody cares about you – they care about THEM. As my friend Robert Bradford likes to bluntly say, “People care about money, sex and happiness. That’s about it.”

Who are most of your conversations “all about”? How quickly do you invite other people to talk about their passion? If you had a stopwatch, how many seconds could you go in the conversation without talking about yourself?

For the list called, “68 Things Employees Never Want to Hear You Say,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

4 Ways to Constructively Challenge Everyone You Meet

Challenged minds expand.
Challenged minds create lightbulbs.
Challenged minds mobilize resources.

AND HERE’S THE BEST PART: When you challenge people (constructively, that is) several cool things happen:

1. You gain clarity on their motives, intentions and beliefs.
2. They gain an opportunity to restate, reform and rethink their ideas.
3. Which catches their attention.
4. Which causes them to stop and think.
5. Which causes them to clarify their remarks.
6. Which causes the REAL motives and beliefs to surface.
7. Which causes you to better understand where they’re coming from.

Here’s a list of four practices to become more challenging TODAY…

1. Exhaust people’s limits. Try pushing them a little harder. And a little harder. And a little harder. Don’t kill ‘em, but challenge people to create new edges for themselves. As my yoga instructor says, “Stretch their bodies and minds and souls to a point where they’re not in pain; but where pain is definitely possible. Go to the doorway of pain, but don’t enter.” Whom are YOU stretching?

2. Practice negative thinking. Posing occasional questions underscored with doubt and skepticism is a healthy way to maintain objectivity and curiosity. What’s more, negative thinking – more specifically, negative questioning – is a protective measure. It’s challenging, counterintuitive and gives you permission to explore the downside. Human beings NEED to have (occasional) negative thoughts. Here are 22 ways to do so. Remember: Doubt protects us. Doubt gives us choices. Doubt is smart. Whose rationale are you willing to call out?

3. Train people’s eyes. Ever tried to show someone how to stare at a Magic Eye poster? You probably said something like, “Just relax your eyes, soften your gaze and don’t look at anything particular.” The same process goes for life. When you’re with someone, explain your thinking process out loud as you observe. Let them hear how you process your visuals. Explain your inner monologue. Let them hear how you ask yourself questions. All of these practices give people an insight into how you operate, which will challenge them to wonder about how THEY operate. Whose eyes are YOU training?

4. Tell people why. Never assume anyone knows your reasoning for doing anything. So, don’t DEFEND yourself; explain yourself. Make your motivations and intentions crystal clear. When you tell people why, they’re more likely to (1) believe you, (2) understand you, and (3) respond TO you. Are you constantly making people aware of your Why?

REMEMBER: Being a choirboy isn’t helping anyone. People need to be challenged.

How are you constructively challenging everyone you meet?

For the list called, “79 Questions Every Manager Needs to Ask,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur

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.

What to Say (and What NOT to Say) When Dealing with Highly Emotional People

Listening isn’t just about saying the right thing at the right time.

It’s also about NOT saying the WRONG thing at the WRONG time.

LESSON LEARNED: In highly emotional situations, be careful not to fall into the trap of rote responses.

They often come off as insincere and patronizing. And while you may THINK you’re listening, you’re actually doing more damage than if you had said nothing.

I call these rote responses “You’re Not Helping” Phrases.

Because that’s exactly what they do – detract from the effectiveness of your listening practice. And especially when you’re dealing with a person who’s upset, angry, suffering or highly emotional, you want to respond as authentically as possible.

Here are five categories of “You’re Not Helping” Phrases to avoid, along with suggestions of what TO say instead…

1. PLATITUDES: If it sounds like something you might see on a bumper sticker, church bulletin or on the Hallmark channel, don’t say it.

For example:

o All thing work together for the common good…
o God will take care of it.
o It will be all right.
o It’ll all work out.
o It’s probably for the best.
o It’s time to get on with your life.
o Just have faith.
o Look on the bright side…
o There are other fish in the sea.
o Things will get better.
o We all have bad days sometimes.
o You have to be patient.

INSTEAD, SAY: “That must be difficult,” or “Wow.”

2. MINIMIZERS: These phrases show you don’t comprehend the seriousness, enormity or respect the full emotions and efforts of the situation.

Avoid saying:

o Are you sure you’re trying hard enough?
o Everything will be OK.
o Get over it.
o It’s not that bad.
o Just forget it and move on.
o Just give it time.
o I’m sure your husband didn’t intentionally run over the cat with the lawn mower.
o Oh, cheer up!
o Snap out of it!
o Things could be worse.
o You’ll find someone else.
o You’re making too much of a fuss about this.

INSTEAD, SAY: “Well, then what’s next?” “You’re right,” and “You have a right to feel that way.”

3. EMPTY PROMISES: These phrases are non-specific and, therefore, non-meaningful.

Steer clear of saying:

o Call if you need me.
o I’ll be here…
o Let me know if I can help.
o Let’s have lunch sometime.
o We’ll have to get together sometime…

INSTEAD, SAY: “Let’s chat tomorrow afternoon on the phone,” “Would you like to have lunch next week?”

4. SHOULDS, ADVICE & CONVO-STEALERS: When people are emotional, they don’t want advice. They want someone to listen to them. They want someone to just BE there. What’s more, they don’t want you to steal the conversation.

Avoid saying:

o A friend of mine once…
o Dude, I am the SAME way…
o Have you tried…?
o Here’s what you should do…
o One time I…
o That reminds me of…
o That’s like when I was…
o That’s nothing! Let me tell you about…
o The same thing happened to me when…
o Yeah! Me too! It’s like that one time last year when MY dog…
o You should have known better.
o You shouldn’t feel that way.
o You shouldn’t have done that.

INSTEAD, SAY: Try suggesting nothing. Just listen. Remember, it’s not a performance.

5. FALSE EMPATHY: Certain phrases sound like nice things to say, but in actuality, they’re total lies.

Avoid these falsehoods:

o I know how you feel.
o I’m SO sorry.
o You look great!
o You know, I’ve been through the same thing.

INSTEAD, SAY: “Look, I have NO idea what you’re going through, but I’m still here for you,” and “You know, I might not be able to understand, but what I CAN do is listen.”

REMEMBER: When listening, the last thing you want someone to think is, “Yeah, you’re NOT helping.”

Watch your words. Regulate your rote responses. Steer clear of platitudes, minimizers, empty promises, shorthand listening techniques and false empathy.

And you WILL help.

Are you words helping or hindering this highly emotional situation?

For the list called, “17 Behaviors to Avoid for Effective Listening,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

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