Does Your Brand Pass The Nametag Test?

Know your customer.
Know your customer.
Know your customer.

Since day one, you’ve been beaten over the head with those three words.

And while they’re important, there’s actually something bigger at stake:

How well do your customers know you?

ANSWER: Not enough.

And if you think you don’t have customers, look harder. Everyone has customers. And they need to know who you are, where you are and why you are. Otherwise your message fades into the echo chamber with the rest of the noise.

Ultimately, it’s a question of trust, which is a function of self-disclosure. That’s a basic tenant of human communication, first researched and proved by psychologists like Sidney Jourard and John Powell.

But you don’t need to read books to know how trust works. In fact, that was one of the first realizations I encountered in the early days of wearing a nametag twenty-four seven: Strangers trusted me more once they knew my name.

Not that much more. It’s not like they gave me their ATM passwords or anything.

But there was enough additional trust to be noticeable.

It was weird. I didn’t really do anything. Just wore a nametag that said, “Scott.”

AND THAT’S THE SECRET: When trust is the only currency that counts – and it is – if your customers don’t know you, you lose.

It’s not about nametags – it’s about making yourself more knowable.

Here’s how:

1. Communicate yourself to the world. Branding is finished. Not as an idea, but as a word. I don’t care what industry you work in. It’s not about branding – it’s about identity. The best and highest version of yourself.

And it’s not about company name – it’s about constitutional knowledge. The non-negotiable values and decision-making mechanisms that drive your daily world. That’s what customers want to know: Why you are, who you are and who you aren’t.

If you’re not communicating that to the world with consistency, intimacy, honesty and immediacy, your customers will pick someone else. Somebody cool. Somebody transparent. Somebody they feel like they already know.

I’m reminded of my friend Harlan, who owns a production company. He once told me, “Video is the second best way for people to meet you.”

What about you? Other than in person, how else are you enabling people to meet you? From online profiles to multimedia introductions, the opportunities are endless. What’s more, the tools to execute them are affordable and accessible. What are you using to make your identity more knowable?

2. Photography is priceless. A picture doesn’t just say a thousand words – its earns a thousand dollars. Literally. In my experience, a cool, interesting, unique and brand-consistent headshot has the power to book new business, secure media interviews and capture the eyes, hearts and wallets off the masses.

But only if you do it right. Only if you pay a real photographer real money (like Bill Sawallich, who I use) to capture the real you. Otherwise your headshot comes out as the same bland, fist-to-chin, Sears Portrait Studio tripe that every other amateur uses on the profile of her Facebook page. Blech.

On the other hand, when your pictures rock, the world doesn’t just pay attention – it pays dividends. For example, I’ll never forget the time I gave a speech in Biloxi, Mississippi. While commuting from the hotel to the conference center, I unexpectedly drove past my own headshot on a highway billboard.

I was so stunned that I nearly swerved off the road. Talk about surreal. But apparently my client loved the picture so much; she wanted to share it with the entire city. And I was happy to let her. Is your headshot billboard worthy?

3. Emphasize your expanded role. Do your customers truly know all the different ways they can engage your services? Or do they just assume you’re a one-trick pony like everybody else? That’s the secret to helping customers get to know your business:

Transitioning from “Should we hire this guy?” to “How should we use this guy?”

I made this transition a few years ago. My role expanded from some guy who wrote books and gave speeches to a trusted resource. Now my clients use me in seven different ways: Speaking, Facilitating, Books, Online Learning, Rent Scott’s Brain, On-Camera Talent and Private Commissioned Art Pieces.

This not only diversifies my business and positions me as a valued asset, but educates my clients on who I am through the depth of what I can deliver.

Your challenge is twofold: First, physically map out a chart of every single possible way somebody can use you. Second, articulate that diverse offering to emphasize your expanded role. Customers won’t just know you – they’ll know how to use you. How many different ways do you make money?

4. Make the mundane memorable. Sam Walton was the first retailer to require all of his employees to wear nametags. The nametags helped the customers get to know the people they bought from, said Walton.

How do your people get to know you? Here are a few ideas that might stick:

*What if you did video interviews with each of the company executives about their individual leadership visions?

*What if you removed everything from your purse, bag or wallet – spread it out on a table in an orderly fashion – then took a picture of it and posted it on your blog?

*What if, instead of your boring resume, bio or curriculum vitae, you published a downloadable and printable copy your Personal Constitution, Professional Philosophy, Theory of the Universe?

Try one of these strategies to make mundane memorable and show your visitors who you really are. What’s your nametag?

5. Embed your personality into your premises. I once worked at a mom-and-pop furniture store in Portland. The owners leveraged self-disclosure to its fullest extent. You couldn’t step five feet into their store without seeing pictures of their family, nostalgic newspaper articles and personal memorabilia from the early days of the business.

These decorations engaged transient customers, contributed to the personality of the business and brought the store to life. What’s more, there was no doubt in the customer’s mind: You knew who these people were. You knew exactly whom you were buying from. It’s no surprise they averaged fifty million a year.

Lesson learned: Stop telling your customers how you are and start showing them who you are. Especially if you have an office, store, branch or location with high traffic. Take advantage of those eyeballs.

Make sure they don’t leave until they have an accurate picture of who you are and why you are. Make sure they’re clear about what you say you’re committed to caring about. Otherwise they won’t tell their friends about you. What makes your walls come alive?

6. Get over your product and get behind your personhood. In a recent blog post, cartoonist Hugh McLeod wrote, “Nobody’s reading your blog because of your art. Or because they have an inherent love for purple dogs and green sofas. They’re reading your blog because the person you are inspires them. Not because they’re thinking of buying your paintings. But because the way you approach your work motivates them. It sets an example for them. It stands for something that resonates with them. It leads them to somewhere that they also want to go.”

Lesson learned: Stop explaining who and what and start demonstrating how and why. That’s the ultimate instrument of your expression. Your life. Your being. Your truth. Try writing with that pen.

Customers, readers and fans – that already enjoy your art – will go absolutely crazy when you reveal the unique process behind it. That’s how you get over your product and get behind your personhood. Do you believe that you’re more than just a pretty picture?

REMEMBER: Hiding the true picture of who you are is a form of reputational risk you can’t afford to take.

Look, we live in a low-trust culture. And people will try to discredit you with anything they can find.

But, if you tell them who you are first, you win.

After all, branding nothing more than committing to and acting from the best, highest version of yourself – every day.

How well do your customers know you?

For the list called, “11 Ways to Out Market Your Competitors,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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

The world’s FIRST two-in-one, flip-flop book!

Buy Scott’s comprehensive marketing guidebook on and learn how to GET noticed, GET remembered and GET business!

Are You Speaking Straight to the Heart of the Human Exeprience?

Last week I wrote a post about making your messages more meaningful, more human and more heard.

IN SHORT: Speaking straight to the heart of human experience.

Does that describe your messaging? If not, consider these additional practices:

1. Recognize the humor and absurdity of being human. That’s what Scott Adams has been doing for over two decades. His Dilbert comics never fail to illustrate just how stupid, selfish and silly our species really is.

One of his strategies for achieving humor through humanity was revealed in his book, Stick to Drawing Comics, Monkey Brain! “My characters re completely and radically honest where most people would say nothing.”

For example, here are a few of my favorite one-liners that speak straight to the heard of the human experience:“I will now silently stare at you until you agree with me,” said Dogbert, Evil Director of Human Resources.

“I’m going to listen to your ideas, intently, then go on doing exactly what I had already planned before you walked in the door.”

“We don’t care what vehicle you reserved. We’re in the business of selling car insurance and overpriced gas.”

Love it. What humorous aspect of your humanity will you leverage?

2. Coat your voice in blood. It’s kind of paradoxical: The more personal your message is, the more universal your appeal is. I learned at the beginning of my career when I read Tolstoy’s advice: “Write only with your pen dipped in your own blood.”

For that reason, my definition of writing has always been: “Slice open a vein and bleed your truth all over the page.”

Not ink – blood. And not words – truth. It doesn’t get more human than that. Your challenge (even if you’re not a writer) is to plug the message you’re delivering – as well as the medium through which you deliver it – into that mantra.

The cool part is: Bloody messages give audiences access to their truest inmost selves. But only because you went first. That’s what it means to be a leader anyway: To go first.

And if you don’t think you’re a leader, you’re in trouble. Is your voice coated with blood or bullshit?

3. Make transplanting easy. In addition to being the most successful cartoonist in history, Scott Adams also happens to be a trained hypnotist. And he wrote a blog post a few years back about how Dilbert is designed using tricks he learned from hypnosis.

“The reason Dilbert has no last name, and the boss has no name, and the company has no name, and the town has no name is because of my hypnosis training. I remove all the obvious obstacles to imagining Dilbert works at your company.”

Now, I’m not suggesting you enroll in a night class to learn how to hypnotize people. Rather, consider what Scott Adams has done successfully for twenty years: Making it extremely easy for the readers of his comics to transplant themselves into them.

Your challenge is simple, but not easy: Don’t tell people about your experience – take them into it. Because people don’t want to hear stories – they want to become the characters in the stories. How are you inviting your audience to become part of your world?

4. Recognize the paradise of imperfection. Telling the truth about your darkness keeps you in the light of the people who matter. And exerting your imperfect humanity is one of the hallmarks of being an approachable leader.

The secret is personifying it – not preaching it. For example, in my book, The Approachable Leader, I don’t write about the importance of having a calm disposition.

I just tell the story about how I was hospitalized three times in six months for stress-related illnesses; and have since learned how to press the off button for the benefit of myself and the people I serve.

See the difference? One is speaking from your head; the other is living from your heart.

Maybe Leonard Cohen was right. In his song, Anthem,” he sang: “Ring the bells that still can ring. Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”

That’s human. Are you willing to occupy your vulnerability for the sake of building a deeper, more human connection with your constituency?

5. Be a mirror. French essayist Michel Eyquem de Montaigne once said, “Every man bears the whole stamp of human condition.” Your challenge is reflect that stamp in your message.

Here’s how. First: Distill the common reality quickly. Coalesce the vapors of human experience into a viable, meaningful and comprehensive package. Take George Carlin. He was well known for opening his acts with hilarious, unexpected, memorable one-liners that reached right into your heart and squeezed it like a stress ball. Watch a few of his HBO specials and you’ll see what I mean.

Second: Identify with people’s dominant feelings. Understand what their self-interest hinges upon. Figure out what feeds, fuels and fires them up. Then, once you know these things, appeal to them immediately.

I make a point to do so when I lecture at large conferences. Especially when my audience members’ brains are already chock full of content by the time they arrive at my session.

I’ll say within the first three minutes, “Today we’re only going to learn one thing – is that cool with everybody?” They love it because they feel respected, and can just relax and enjoy the program.

Third: Apply directly to people’s day-to-day concerns. Ask yourself what people ask themselves – then make your message the answer to those questions. That’s why I always ask my clients to outline for me a list of specific, activities my audience members, readers or listeners engage in on a daily basis.

That way, during the speech, article or interview, I can get into their heads, under their fingernails and onto their level. Then share my message from their backyard. Are you a mirror into which your audience can see their own truth?

ULTIMATELY: Being human is good for business.

Whether you’re sending an ezine, posting a blog or delivering a presentation to your employees, speaking straight to the heart of the human experience is the single easiest way to have your message heard by the people who matter.

How are you using your humanity to be heard?

For the list called, “12 Secrets of Supremely Successful Writers,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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

Never the same speech twice.
Always delightfully disturbing.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

How To Take Initiative On (And Make Money With) Something Obvious And Simple That Anybody Could Have Done, But Didn’t

“Damn it! Now why didn’t I think of that?”

Wrong question.

Because odds are, you probably did think of that.

What I want to know is:

*Why didn’t you write it down when you thought of it?

*Why didn’t you Google the idea immediately to see if you were crazy?

*Why didn’t you register the domain of the idea to secure ownership and protection?

*Why didn’t you ask yourself if the idea solved a real, urgent, expensive and pervasive problem in a marketplace that had money to buy it?

That’s the easy part about being an entrepreneur: There are a million profitable things you could do – that anybody could have done – that nobody else has the guts, discipline and follow through to do.

The hard part is kindling your spark into a flame and using it to set world on fire.

Fortunately, I have some answers for you…

My name is Scott.

I’m the guy who wears a nametag everyday.

More importantly, I’m the guy who made a career out of wearing a nametag everyday.

And based on my experience of leveraging a simple idea into a six-figure income, I’m going to teach you how to take initiative on – and make money with – something obvious and simple that anybody could have done, but didn’t.1. Never underestimate the cash value of cool. The word “cool” dates back to tenor saxophonist Lester Young, who popularized the term in jazz circles in the late 1920’s. “Cool tune baby. I dig it,” he’d say.

And without explanation, people knew exaclty what he meant. If someone described a song or a person or a club as “cool,” that was enough to communicate its value.

Now, obviously, cool is a subjective term. It’s kind of like art or pornography: You know it when you see it. The secret is to embark on a consistent quest to learn about (and increase your present level of) coolness.

My suggestion: Pay attention to instances in which you or the people around you comment on cool stuff. Listen attentively. Note the commonalities. Keep a Cool Journal if you want.

The point is: Cool isn’t just unforgettable – it’s unconcealable. Even if you don’t know what your product is. Even if you don’t know what it will become. If you’re cool, that’s a priceless asset. How would Lester Young describe your website?

2. Keep the field of activity open. My company mantra is as followers: “Ideas are free, execution is priceless.” Therefore: It’s not (just) about knowing a good idea when you see it – it’s about executing that idea before anyone else sees it. This suggests two challenges:

First, you have to strengthen your eye for opportunity. That means using your eyes as allies. Seeing into the life of things. And carefully observing the problems that fall through the cracks.

The second challenge calls for a different sensibility. It’s about embracing the importance of sustained movement. It’s about solving problems quickly and publicly. And it’s about making sharp and decisive strokes without being sidetracked by secondary thought.

Ultimately, you don’t have to be good to get going, but you have to get going to get good. That’s the thing: We don’t need more idea people – we need more execution people. Which one are you?

3. Go where the party is already happening. How do you find the football field in a small town on an autumn weekend? Simple: You look for the lights. The same rule applies to marketing.

“You don’t create your own party and expect people to show up – you go where the whole town will be,” writes Robbin Phillips in Brains on Fire.

In short: You look for the lights. And the best place to start is within.

For example, the reason I started wearing a nametag everyday in college is because I was sick and tired of not being invited to parties because I didn’t drink.

Simple as that.

The nametag allowed people to get to know me as a person – not as choice.

For you, consider asking yourself: What disturbs you the most? What pisses you off beyond belief? That’s the pain that has most to offer. That’s where the party is already happening.

Focus on that, and you’ll accelerate your idea beyond belief. Otherwise your enterprise will remain a hopeless endeavor. A meaningless portal. A majestically useless and inconsequential occurrence.

Remember: Never underestimate the monetizability of momentum. What horse – that’s already winning the race – do you need to hitch a ride with?

4. Don’t back away from perceived negatives. My friend Julie owns a small town pharmacy. When she rented my brain, she expressed concern about a common customer complaint.

“People want Wal-Mart. And they get upset when they find out we don’t carry ten thousand items. But we’re a small shop and only stock the essentials.”

For that reason, I suggested a new positioning strategy:

No food. No drinks. No shirts. Just the medicine that matters. Your needs, filled.

Now the weakness is a strength.

What about you? What negative perceptions are you underleveraging?

For example, maybe you have a boring name. Fine. That means you can re-invent and become whatever you want. Terrible public speaker? No problem. Offer one-on-one, intimate coaching instead. Technologically illiterate? Cool. Keep your interface lean, simple and user-friendly.

Remember: A true artist makes use of everything that she is. How are you developing perceived weaknesses into defining strengths?

5. Design a plan to enable consistent promotion. That’s what I tell my clients: You don’t need a marketing plan – you need a visibility plan.

After all, anonymity is bankruptcy. And if you’re not staying in front of your top supporters consistently, all the initiative in the world won’t do you a bit of good. You’re still winking in the dark.

Now, I’m sure you’re smart enough to know how to maintain prime visibility with the people who matter. My suggestion is more of an attitudinal change.

And that brings us to Allison. She’s a fellow public speaker based out of Des Moines. During our last virtual lunch, I asked her about a recent gig she had in Sacramento.

“It sucked. All I did was give my speech. Which went great and everything – but I never got to see the city.”

And that’s when I reassured her, “Yeah, but the city got to see you.”

Lesson learned: Anytime you put yourself in a leadership position in front of the people who matter, you immediately become more yessable.

Everything you do is marketing. Everything. And you have an ongoing imperative to deliver value in a visible way. Do you need a marketing plan or a visibility plan?

In conclusion, we turn to The Hypomanic Edge: The Link Between a Little Craziness and a Lot of Success in America:

“Great entrepreneurs often do not create original ideas – they grasp the significance of an idea, wherever it comes from, and leap on it with everything the have.”

REMEMBER: Ideas are free – but only execution is priceless.

If you want to take initiative on (and make money with) something obvious and simple that anybody could have done – but didn’t – you know what you need to do.

Kindle your spark. Spin it into a flame.

And use it to set world on fire.

What idea have you executed in the past week?

For the list called, “100 People (not) To Listen To,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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

The world’s FIRST two-in-one, flip-flop book!

Buy Scott’s comprehensive marketing guidebook on and learn how to GET noticed, GET remembered and GET business!

8 Proven Strategies to Make You, Your Brand and Your Company a Game Changer

The best way to win the game is to change the way it’s being played.

That’s how you dwarf the competition.
That’s how you reach the people who matter.
That’s how you solidify your place in the history books.

AND THE SECRET IS: It not important what game you change.

It’s important why you want to change it.
It’s important who you become while you change it.
It’s important how the world improves once people start to play.

Are you ready to roll the dice?

Consider these ideas for being a game changer:1. Provide an alternate platform. Hulu changed the television game twice. First, in 2007. Their website began offering ad-supported streaming video of shows and movies from NBC, Fox, ABC and later Disney.

And viewers could watch their favorite shows, anytime, anywhere – for free. Lesson learned: Find out where the door is already revolving. Then let the wind carry you across the threshold.

The second game-changer occurred three years later when they launched Hulu Plus, the first ad-supported subscription service to offer full current season runs of hit programs across multiple Web-connected devices. According to CEO Jason Kilar, “With Hulu Plus – your favorite TV shows love you back.”

Lesson learned: Don’t fight the current. Match your deliverables with your people’s preferred channel. Ultimately, you have to remember that your customers are making music already. The question is: When are you going to join their drum circle, and what type of instrument will you bring?

2. Change the interaction model. I contribute to around fifty different publications, both online and offline. And as a writer and speaker, doing so is essential element of my visibility plan and a crucial component to my listening platform.

What’s more, the reader interaction model I’ve created makes my editors love me. Here’s how: Each of my modules concludes with a unique response mechanism, or call to action.

It’s become a trademark of my writing style and a calling card of my brand. And it’s helped me change the writer/reader game, albeit on a small scale. Inspired by Scott Adams’ idea to include his email address on every Dilbert cartoon, my daily posts take it one step further.

Not only do I give people my email – I offer them an additional resource to supplement the piece of content they just read, watched or listened to. The cool part is, the bonus resource changes every time. There must be hundreds of lists. All of which are free for anybody.

And every day, I receive thirty to fifty emails from readers worldwide who not only want the list – but also want to offer feedback on the piece of content they just read. Which, I later feed back to my editor. Which, they love.

Result: The readers win. The writer wins. The publisher wins. How are you interacting with your people in a way nobody else is?

3. Blow the barriers to powder. Jason Fried is the cofounder and president of Chicago-based collaborative Web-application company, 37signals. He’s also the author of my favorite book of the year, Rework.

“Getting real is less. Less mass, less software, less features, less paperwork, less of everything that’s not essential. And most of what you think is essential actually isn’t.”

Love it. Love it. Love it. Now, the reason Jason’s a game changer is because his software company sells a suite of web tools architected around open-source programming frameworks. According to his interview with Timeout:

“When you lower the barriers of entry, powerful applications (that formerly might have taken months) are executed in a matter of days.”

Lesson learned: To change the game, first pave the way for a new era of players. What about you? How will your organization make it easier for people to participate in your process?

After all, it’s not about technology – it’s about extending usability to new industries. And you don’t need to write software – you just need to surrender a little control. How are you enabling people to take your idea into their own hands?

4. Tip the balance of power. My friends at Brains on Fire have been changing the customer engagement game for years. In their eponymous book, authors Gino Church, Robbin Phillips and Greg Cordell write:

“Participate in people’s lives – not just the conversation about their lives. Because it’s not about you talking about your product. It’s about people celebrating how your product fits into their lives and how you enable them to use it.”

That’s how you tip the balance of power: By asking your fans how they prefer to connect. By giving fans the ability to participate in your message. Otherwise you’re just in love with your own marketing. The door opens both ways.

Like my mom once told me, “Always doing just what you want and making the decisions unilaterally is a sure fire path to destruction.” How are you deeply engaged with your people?

5. Change the basic metabolism. That’s how YouTube trumped television: It was no longer just about watching the videos. Now it was about uploading, sharing, rating, tagging and cataloguing the videos. As a result, they transformed the entire medium. They changed the basic metabolism.

If you want to execute the same for your organization, I challenge is to rethink the way people consume. Take mobile content, for example. Remember when cell phones were used to make phone calls? Pshht. Thing of the past.

Now, because of hyper-connectivity and built-in payment options, the game has changed. Cell phones are no longer cell phones – they’re pocket portals into people’s lives. Not to mention, their wallets.

And if you’re not befriending that current, the crumbled remains of your message will wash up along the mobile shore. Are you trying to put books on people’s shelves or people value in people’s pockets?

6. Become fans of your fans. Take Pearl Jam, for example. After twenty years of rocking, they no longer care about the labels. Or the radio stations. Or the record stores.

All that matters is the music. Giving the fans that love it something to believe in, according to Eddie Vedder’s 2007 Rolling Stone interview. And not surprisingly, Pearl Jam has outlasted most of its grunge rock counterparts.

They’ve sold sixty million records worldwide, many of which were bootleg recordings of live shows to give people a chance to relive their concert experience. All because Pearl Jam was a fans of their fans.

Are you giving your people a reason to ditch the mainstream and follow you into the sunset? After all, love is a circular transaction, says the aforementioned Robbin Phillips. And if you want to change the game, you stop making war on the competition and start making love to your customers. Whose jersey are you willing to wear in public?

7. Access trumps ownership. Google eliminates the need to buy and own books. Pandora eliminates the need to buy and own music. YouTube eliminates the need to buy and own a television. Online storage removes the need to buy and own external hard drives.

That’s been the biggest cultural shift over the past five years: Nobody owns anything anymore. Everything you need is either available for free or shared for cheap. Like landlines and online privacy, owning things is a thing of the past.

“Consumers have more choices, more tools, more information, and more peer-to-peer power,” says Lisa Gansky, author of The Mesh:

“Smart companies create, share and use social media, wireless networks, and data crunched from every available source to provide people with goods and services at the exact moment they need them, without the burden and expense of owning them outright. And there is real money to be made and trusted brands and strong communities to be built in helping your customers buy less but use more.”

Take Zipcar, for example. They changed the game of personal transportation by making it easy and affordable to have a car whenever you need one, without actually owning one. Brilliant.

Therefore, because access trumps ownership, your challenge is twofold. First, to make friends with free. Identify which of the many models of free your organization is going to leverage. Otherwise The Rapture will leave you behind with the rest of the dinosaurs.

Second, deploy assets your customers don’t have to buy, but can easily access. By reducing the burden of ownership and offering wider access to your value, you can change the game forever. Are you (still) trying to charge customers for a cow they’re already milking electronically for free?

8. Shatter the limitations of size. Shawn Fanning never made a billion dollars creating Napster. But do you think he cares? Doubtful. His game-changing program became the pivot that altered the landscape of music industry for-better and for-always.

Screw making money – that guy made history. And he was just some dude in a dorm room. Who’s to say you couldn’t do the same?

Sure, it’s not probable that you’ll disrupt an entire industry. But it is possible. More possible than ever before. And that’s the great part about the Web: All that fluff you were force-fed as a kid about how one person could change the world has actually become a glimmering reality.

Advances in technology have (finally) made changing the game financially viable. I don’t know about you, but that’s the kind of thing that makes me get out – no, leap out – of bed in the morning. Do you think it’s time to pursue your goal with a more modern vehicle?

BOTTOM LINE: You can’t just sit there waiting for the revolution to begin.

You’ve got to extend your arm.
You’ve got to transform the tempo.
You’ve got to deploy an unconventional strategy.
You’ve got to shake people out of their complacencies.
You’ve got to blend the conventional with the contemporary.
You’ve got to carefully observe problems that fall through the cracks – then solve them.

That’s how you change the game.

What’s the nametag of your service process?

For the list called, “12 Ways to Out Service the Competition,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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

Never the same speech twice.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

If Your Organization Doesn’t Increase Membership After Reading This Article, You Have My Permission to Beat Me With a Ball Peen Hammer

You can’t force people to join your organization.

Not legally, that is.

Don’t get any ideas.

What you can do is increase the probability that people will join – simply by making yourself, your people and your organization more joinable.

That means new approaches are required. And if you want to reach the people who matter, consider this counterintuitive suggestion:

Instead of getting people to join you – try joining them first.

Earlier this year I wrote about How to Make Your Organization More Joinable than a Megan Fox Fan Club. Today we’re going to explore six ways to join people first:1. Figure out why people are. It doesn’t matter what people do for a living – it only matters why they do it. That’s what defines people. That’s what drives them to contribute.

And if you want to join people first, I suggest you touch the center of their why. Even if it’s as simple as asking them, “Why do you do what you do?”

You’d be amazed how telling this question is. And the cool part is, once you have their answer, you can connect their why to the organization you represent.

For example, my friend Doug lives and breathes technology. In fact, few people I know are more resourceful when it comes to leveraging technology to make group communication clearer, faster and more relaxing.

But, I only know this because I inquired about Doug’s why. Because I actively petitioned to get know him at his core. And as a result, I was able to find the perfect spot for him on our board of directors. Our organization would never be the same without him. Are you getting in people’s heads or trying on people’s hearts?

2. Involvement isn’t something you can force upon people. People always make time for what’s important to them. Which means, if they aren’t joining your organization, it might not be your fault. It might have nothing to do with you.

Maybe Saturday morning is a terrible time for them to attend chapter functions because their kids have soccer practice.

Or, maybe they’re just out of college and can’t commit to weekly board meetings because they’d rather go to happy hour with their friends.

It doesn’t mean they don’t like you – it just means they have different priorities. In the book Brains on Fire, my friend Robbin Phillips writes about this very idea, “It’s not about how customers fit into your marketing plan – but rather about how you fit into their lives.”

Try this: Instead of assuming people are apathetic, uncommitted heathens, ask them how your organization might become a part of their schedule.

Then, once you’ve gathered consensus, consider alternating your organization’s activity schedule to accommodate a diverse group of member priorities. Are you starting with the customer in mind or just starting with the customer?

3. Hang on their home turf. As the president of my professional association, my recruiting efforts usually include breaking bread with potential members. I’d take that over a phone call any day. I guess I’m just not a hard sell kind of guy.

I’d rather meet people for lunch at their office or in their neighborhood. In my experience, that’s a better window into their world. That’s a smoother transition from “How are you?” to “Who are you?”

Occasionally, I might even have dinner at a prospective joiner’s home. That’s the big win: When I meet their families. Eat their food. Hang on their turf. And we might talk about joining – we might not.

The point is to meet people where they are. Literally. Sure beats sitting on your ass with crossed fingers and high hopes. Whose home turf could you visit this week?

4. Learn people’s learning styles. Not everyone needs to come to the Sunday service. Maybe they’re Wednesday night small group discussion people. Maybe they’re homebodies who’d rather listen to the audio recording of the sermon online while drinking coffee in their bed with their dogs.

Doesn’t make them any less of a member. It just means they process information differently. And only when you understand these preferences can you tailor your messages (and the media through which they’re delivered) accordingly.

Naturally, I’m not just talking about congregations. These principles apply to all member-based organizations. Take my professional association. Last year they started publishing their monthly audio newsletter as a podcast on iTunes.

Finally. Good lord. If I had to open another stupid compact disc shrink wrapped to my magazine, I was going to kill somebody.

The cool part is, because of the increasing population of members under forty, my organization significantly increased their listenership. How many potential members are you alienating because your message isn’t tuned into their frequency?

5. Less outreach, more inbreak. In the pivotal book Jim and Casper Go to Church, I learned the difference between “outreaching,” which is inviting people to join your group, and “inbreaking,” which is joining an existing community action.

According to my friend and occasional mentor Jim Henderson:

“We can find out what groups in our community are already doing to make life better for people and join them. Rather than start groups, we could join their groups. Rather than join groups to convert people, we could join them to connect with and serve people.”

Try this: Consider the types of members you hope to attract. What groups are they already a part of? What role in the community do they currently occupy? Create a gameplan to take a more active role in those spaces. People will notice.

Remember: Your members shouldn’t have to adjust to you. You need to adapt for them. Whose life are you willing to become a part of?

6. Discover their desired way to contribute. Instead of laying a guilt trip on potential members for not devoting every waking moment of their life to your organization, try asking them how they’d like to contribute.

After all, that’s why people join: To give back. To add value to others, to the organization and to the world.

The trick is, not everyone contributes the same way. Personally, I despise meetings. They are the bane of my existence. And I refuse to waste my valuable (and billable) time sitting around a table with seven people trying to figure out whose house the Christmas party is going to be held at this year.

Fortunately, the groups I’m a board member of are smart enough not to ask me to attend meetings.

On the other, I love to write. Actually, that’s an understatement: Writing isn’t just my occupation – it’s my religion. And any time I’ve taken a volunteer position, I’ve always offering my pen as the principle instrument of my contribution.

Need a newsletter article? Need a blog post? Need a welcome letter to new members? No problem. I’m your man.

Your challenge is to dive into the lives of the people around. To join them by discovering and honoring their desired way to contribute. Do so, and you’ll be surprised what they’re willing to give to your organization. How are you helping people help you?

7. Find out what joining looks like to them. Everybody joins differently. A single guy in his thirties approaches joining a group differently than retired widower in her sixties. And if you’ve read Bowling Alone, you know that some people aren’t even joiners at all.

Therefore: If your organization seeks to reach a diverse group of new members, you have to go out of your way to find out how people prefer to join. Without this information, your outreach efforts fall on deaf ears.

I don’t care if have the greatest organization in the world. If you’re leaving voicemail messages on a college student’s land line, odds are she will never, ever call you back. You may as well be winking in the dark.

The reality is, some people just want to pay their dues, show up to five meetings a year and get on with their lives.

They’re never going to volunteer.
They’re never going win member of the year.
They’re never going to spearhead the party planning committee.

No matter how many board members nominate them.

As a leader, you need to be okay with this reality. Stop compartmentalizing people into convenient little personality boxes and just let them join as they see fit. Are you preaching to the atheists?

REMEMBER: There are people out there just dying to join you.

And they will.

As long as you’re willing to join them first.

Whom did you join last week?

For the list called, “62 Types of Questions and Why They Work,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

6 Ways to Make Your Messages More Meaningful, More Human and More Heard

It’s not the noise.
It’s not the clutter.
It’s not the messenger.

Most messages – from personal emails, to annual presentations, to monthly internal marketing communications, to weekly promotional efforts, to daily blog posts, to hourly tweets – are depthless trivialities at best.

THEREFORE: The (real) reason your message fails to break through, get heard by the people who matter, and move those people to take action upon hearing it is:

It fails to speak straight to the heart of human experience.

Here’s how to assure your message does that:1. Be cognizant of the collective dilemma of man. Pain, for example, is a common denominator that unites us all. As such, the moment you’re willing to occupy your vulnerability and reveal some of your own pain first, you’re one step closer to having your voice heard.

Not because you share people’s same pain – but because your humanity gives them permission to hurt too. And that opens the doors of receptivity.

Remember: Although everyone brings unique wounds to the table, we’ve all suffered in some way. Don’t be afraid to go there with your message. Have you mastered (and articulated) the surrounding universality of your struggle?

2. Confront the human condition. In your message, find a way to address universal abstract concepts like:

Debt. Power. War. Sex. Madness. Change. Fear. Mistakes. Violence. Suffering. Isolation. Fragility. Movement. Squirrels. Death. Conflict. Faith. Risk. Anxiety.

Next, find a way to highlight native human needs like:

The need to be acknowledged. The need to feel heard. The need to share. The need for answers. The need to be included. The need to contribute.

Finally, make sure your message illustrates people’s ordinary and persistent struggles:

To make meaning. To feel secure. To play a valuable role in the world. To feel useful. To make sense of the world. To better their life against those who oppress them. To overcoming adversity.

That’s the condition of our condition. Are you being a human or a humanoid?

3. Self-questioning keeps you accountable to your audience. I deliver between forty and fifty speeches a year. When preparing my slides for a presentation – which I commit to making 60% different for each talk – I continually ask myself a few key questions.

First: What image could I use to reinforce my message – that would make people laugh out loud?

I do this for a number of reasons: Pacing, pattern breaking, humor, memorability, breathability, digestibility; but mainly because of what George Carlin wrote in Last Words, “People are never more themselves when they laugh.”

Lesson learned: The images that accompany your messages need to tug at people’s funny bones.

Second: What stories will have universal appeal?

Telling an eye-watering story about how you climbed Mt. Everest with no oxygen, a broken rib and nothing but your faith in Jesus Christ to keep you going isn’t exactly universal.

First of all, nobody else in the world – except other loonies who climb mountains – can relate to you.

And secondly, unless every member of your audience is guaranteed to share your religious beliefs, keep God out of the equation. Otherwise you risk alienation.

Instead of your frostbitten mountaineering adventures, a more human story would be revealing that you walked into the office every morning for a year, wanting to quit.

A more human story would be admitting that you cheated on your low-carb diet by polishing off a three-pound bag of pretzels when nobody was looking.

Lesson learned: Your stories need to make audiences think, “Me too!” and not, “No way!” What questions could you ask yourself as reminders to keep it human?

4. Peel away superficiality. George Carlin once explained during a television interview, “It took a while for my material to evolve and crystallize. When I was young, I was writing superficially from the front of my head, not from the matrix in the back of my head.”

As a writer, I’ve recently found the same trend occurring in my own work. For example, I used to publish articles on how to be a good listener. Which is important, but not as essential as being heard.

I used give presentations about making unforgettable first impressions. Which is important, but not as essential as understanding how people experience you.

And finally, I used to do interviews on how to get noticed, get remembered and get business. Which is important, but not as essential as how to matter.

See the evolution? Your challenge is to continually peel away the superficiality of your messages and start cutting down to the bone. Are ready to take your messages to a deeper level?

5. Embrace the equalizers of life. During a recent spoken word concert, Henry Rollins made a comment that managed to transcend age, gender, ethnicity and background:

“Look guys, all of us share one thing in common: None of us is going to make it out of this century alive. Let’s work together to make it as good as possible.”

Lesson learned: When you highlight universal truths you hit individual nerves. My suggestion is: Pay careful attention to the things people care about. Penetrate the core.

Get beneath the surface of people’s lives. Listen hard to people’s aims – then hit them where they live. Are you talking locally but speaking globally?

6. Go above solving the immediate problem. Whatever people think their core issue is – it isn’t. There’s always something deeper. Your problem is never your problem.

Your challenge is to address what people are unable or afraid to articulate. To take their hiding places away from them by diving in their sea of unspoken emotional needs.

That’s the stuff that matters. That’s the stuff that gets heard. My mentor, Bill Jenkins, is a master of this. When we have one of our many deep conversations, he never fails to uncover the unspoken need, while simultaneously clarifying the core issue.

Two examples. First, with my questions, to which he usually replies: “Well, I think the real question you’re asking is…”

Secondly, with my answers, to which he usually replies: “That’s not the question I asked you.”

The point is: Bill doesn’t let you get away with anything. He listens to the core of what’s happening and responds by tapping into your humanity. Are you slowing down to find out what’s behind people’s words?

ULTIMATELY: Being human is good for business.

Whether you’re sending an ezine, posting a blog or delivering a presentation to your employees, speaking straight to the heart of the human experience is the single easiest way to have your messages more Meaningful, more Human and more heard.

How are you using your humanity to be heard?

For the list called, “25 Questions to Uncover Your Best,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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

Never the same speech twice.
Always delightfully disturbing.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

How to Shut Up and Trust Yourself

“When you trust yourself, you learn how to live.”

Johann Wolfgang Goethe said that.

I agree. And I also think that when you trust yourself, several other cool things happen:

You earn new energy.
You advance inner knowing.
You recognize trust in others.
You live within your own skin better.
You move through whatever happens.

You frame yourself in yessable attitudes.
You develop a deeper sense of self-acceptance.
You radiate trust into the hearts of the people you serve.
You avoid putting all your eggs in other people’s baskets.
You eliminate anxiety that others are going to let you down.
You gain a greater knowledge of your body, mind and spirit.
You quit trying to control everything and let life make you happen.
You stop killing yourself worrying about the judgments of people who don’t matter.

THE CHALLENGE IS: Trusting yourself isn’t always easy.

Probably because it involves accepting reality, surrendering control, dismantling insecurity and taking responsibility. Yikes.

Here’s how to shut up and trust yourself:1. Your life is your preparation. Readers often ask how long it takes me to write a book. I have two standard answers for this question, both of which annoy the hell out of most people. The first is my bakery metaphor:

“If the pie is five dollars – how much do the apples cost?”

Exactly: You don’t know. And it’s impossible to tell because the source is so varied. That’s what writing a book is like: A million disparate bits and pieces that somehow come together as one.

I have no idea how long it takes, I’ll never have any idea how long it takes, and nor will I ever care.

The second response is my philosophical answer:

“It takes my entire life to write one sentence, so, do the math.”

Again, this annoys people because it’s not a straight answer. But that’s the thing about being a writer: My life is my preparation. Everything I’ve ever done since the day I was born has prepared me for this moment.

Which is precisely why I never edit. Ever. Sure, I have a proofreader who checks for grammar, typos and spelling and stupid mistakes. But outside of basic, mechanical modifications:

I don’t edit, I don’t rewrite, I don’t do drafts and I don’t go back and revisit old work. I write things once, I write them in blood, and I publish them to the world with zero regret and infinite confidence. That’s why it causes me physical pain anytime someone tries to change my work. I’m like, “But it took my entire life to write that sentence!”

William Burroughs was right: Rewrites are a betrayal of your own thoughts. The key is, this philosophy isn’t just about writing – it’s about life. And your level of self-belief. Just another example of what happens when you trust yourself. What part of yourself do you need to stop editing?

2. Make allowance for doubt. Doubt is healthy. Doubt reinforces humility. Doubt protects you. Doubt stretches you. And while you don’t have to become best buds with doubt – you do need to make allowances for it.

The trick is honoring your doubts for the value they carry, and then letting go of those inner voices before they drown out the voice of trust.

Every morning during my daily appointment with myself, I affirm the following:

“If I notice any doubt, I will greet it with a welcoming heart. I will attend to it as a natural part of the life experience. And I will be thankful for it and the wisdom it brings.”

That’s how you put unadulterated self-respect at the apex of your value system: By honoring whatever surfaces, by learning from what scares you, and by still believing that you can handle what life sends you. When was the last time you followed your doubt down into the basement?

3. Self-belief dismantles insecurity. Writing is my occupation inasmuch as it occupies most of my time. My job, however, is to be a resource. A vendor of value.

One of the ways my clients use me is through a service called Rent Scott’s Brain. Now, it’s not really coaching. Not really consulting. Not really mentoring. More like a guided tour of my mind that disturbs stuck people into executing what matters.

The clients I work with – from entrepreneurs to writers to company leaders – pay for this service because it’s completely organic. Just them and me, in a room, with minimal agendas, and a desire to get better. Nothing else in the marketplace quite like it.

The interesting part is, because of the informal nature of the process, there’s no preparation on my part.

Outside of our initial discovery conversation, my mission is to show up as the best, highest version of myself, remain respectful of (and responsive to) the needs of the moment, and spend the next four hours adding value in the best way I can.

Naturally, this approach requires heaps of self-trust. And admittedly, when I started offering this service five years ago, the first few sessions were pretty intimidating.

But here’s what I learned: Trusting yourself requires dismantling your insecurities. It means having faith in the wisdom that created you and knowing that you are the person who can do this.

Next time you sit across a table from people who demand that you deliver, keep replaying in your mind: “These people called me for a reason. They want me to succeed. And they’re going to get their money’s worth.”

Otherwise they’ll smell your fear the minute you walk in the door. When people rent your brain, what resources do you deliver?

4. Raise your hand for pain. In the movie Fight Club, Brad Pitt poses the question, “How much can you really know about yourself if you’ve never been in a fight?”

Answer: Not enough. Especially if you’ve been surrounded by safety nets all your life.

And if you’re one of those people, someone who comes from a trouble-free existence – but who is not willing to expose yourself to the world – you’re doomed.

Not to suggest you hit the streets and start punching strangers. This isn’t about violence – this is about voluntary discomfort. It’s about allowing yourself to get hurt during practice so you can avoid injury during the game.

That’s the cool part about pain: It’s an invitation to excel. It means your body is alive and talking to you. And it’s a natural and necessary part of achieving success.

Volunteer for it. Live out what you already know to be true. Even if it stings like hell. Do you invite pain in the short term to build your armor against injury in the long term?

5. Let the performance happen by itself. As a public speaker, part of my job is to get out of my own way and let the speech give itself. Otherwise I end up micromanaging every outburst of emotion. And that’s just not fair to my audience.

Fortunately, after a few hundred presentations, you develop the confidence that when you open your mouth, something good will come out. Even if you occasionally spit some garbage.

For example, think back to the last time you delivered a crucial message – one to one or one to many – in which you trusted your own voice.

How did it feel?
Were you content with the delivery?
What did you say to yourself to build the trust that fueled your performance?

By identifying these keys, you’ll be able to recreate it in the future. Remember: When you allow yourself to trust your spontaneous instinctual abilities, you never make a false move or a wrong choice. Are you giving your audience permission to be taken over by your performance?

6. Bend your boundaries. Sometimes the best way to trust yourself is to test yourself. After all: If you never test your limits, you never transcend them.

The hard part is, testing means surrendering. And surrendering means being vulnerable. This is a terrifying prospect for many people. Especially if you’re one of those neurotic control freaks who shits a brick anytime sometime tries to make you abandon your pace.

To help preserve your sense of control, consider these three words:

Bend, don’t violate.

That’s the key to effective boundary management: Being flexible enough to bend when needed, while still honoring your constitution and without compromising foundation.

I’m reminded of what Alan Watts wrote in The Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are, “You don’t grab a hold of the water when you swim.” That’s how you trust yourself: You let the water swim you. Even if it’s lightyears out of your comfort zone. Where are you willing to bend?

7. Surround yourself with human mirrors. My support system is amazing. From friends to family members to colleagues to mentors, the people who matter never fail to come through for me. And I feel incredibly fortunate to have them as an asset.

Especially in those moments where I’m having a hard time trusting myself, they serve as human mirrors.

Lesson learned: The best way to trust yourself is to keep the company people who reflect the best, highest version of yourself.

That means: People who will make you feel heard. People who will reflect your reality. And most importantly, people who will tell you when you’re off your tree. Think of these individuals as your source of sobriety, deriving from the French sobrieté, which means, “steadiness.”

That’s the sort of stillness required to help you listen to your own voice. Remember: Life’s short to surround yourself with people that don’t challenge and inspire you. Are you still convinced that success comes unassisted?

In conclusion, we turn to the words of the wise philosopher, Bob Dylan:

Trust yourself to do the things that only you know best.
Trust yourself to do what’s right and not be second-guessed.
Don’t trust me to show you beauty.
When beauty may only turn to rust.
If you need somebody you can trust, trust yourself.

Trust yourself to know the way that will prove true in the end.
Trust yourself to find the path where there is no if and when.
Don’t trust me to show you the truth.
When the truth may only be ashes and dust.
If you want somebody you can trust, trust yourself.

Trust yourself and you won’t be disappointed when vain people let you down.
And look not for answers where no answers can be found.
You’re on your own.
You always were in a land of wolves and thieves.
Don’t put your hope in ungodly man.
Or be a slave to what somebody else believes.
If you want somebody you can trust, trust yourself.

REMEMBER: You’re stronger than you give yourself credit for.

Trust yourself today; learn how to live tomorrow.

Where are you afraid to trust yourself?

For the list called, “7 Ways to Out Experience the Competition,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

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

Who’s quoting YOU?

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

How to Reach the World, Part 2

Sing it with me:

“I will no longer be a non-force.”

That’s the mantra of your mission.

Because whether you’re the leader of a congregation, the executive director of a non-profit, the author of a mommy blog or a political candidate running for office, the dream still remains the same:

To reach the world.

And, to turn that world upside down once you get there.

Here’s how: (read part one here!) 1. Become more like the world you wish to reach. Thom Winninger once told me: “The finish magnifies the quality of the wood. And when people see themselves in the reflection, they always buy the furniture.”

Lesson learned: Reachability comes from relatability. Not from selling out, dressing up or fitting in. But from forming an authentic connection with the people who matter. Because the goal isn’t to change who you are.

Rather, to simply choose what is real and true about who you are – that suitably mirrors the world you wish to reach – and then fly that flag front and center.

That’s how you reach people. That’s how you influence people. By catering to the very desires that constitute their strongest urges.

Remember: It’s hard extend an arm to a world populated by people with tentacles. Are you making a conscious effort to see your work through the eyes of the people connected to it?

2. Personalize your entire audience as one individual. I recently received an email with the subject line, “Scott, are you stalking me?”

The woman explained, “I can’t tell you how many of your entries are directly related to my life. Almost as if you’re here in the office with me on a daily basis!”

This was not an accident. I get letters like this all the time. And I’ve finally figured out why:

Everything I write is a conversation with myself.

I’m not just writing for me, I’m writing to me. Sometimes to the current me. Sometimes to an older version of me. Sometimes to the future version of me. But this forces me to write for my ideal reader.

And the cool part is, by making it personal and direct to myself, it ends up relating to more people. It’s weird how that works: The more specific you are, the more universal you are.

That’s my way of reaching the world in a sort of backwards manner. Your challenge is to wrap the world you want to reach into an individual you can touch. And you don’t need to be a writer – you just need to speak straight to the heart of the human experience. How do you personalize your audience?

3. Let people reach you first. You can’t reach the world if you never go out into it. But sometimes a resting posture is the move that matters at the moment. As Kafka says:

“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked. It has no choice. It will roll in ecstasy at your feet.”

The point is: Reachability is a two-way street. And some people would rather take the first steps themselves. But only if there’s enough trust. There has to be a certain amount of predictability in you as a person (or your cause, brand, organization, whatever) for them to reach you.

Otherwise the arm you extend ends up hanging in the breeze like the nerd who tries to high five the quarterback.

The cool part is, when you give people permission to reach you first – and then they do – you earn the right to reciprocate. And as long as you do so respectfully, you win.

That means: No heavy-handedness. No lapel latching. No demands. No authoritarianism. Just an invitation. How reachable are you?

4. Create an abundance of confidence capital. Despite being ostracized by the ignorant, and notwithstanding the crescendo of voices that hopes to silence you, don’t take “so” for an answer. Ever.

The mantra that drenches me in confidence – especially on the days when it feels like the world is a world away – is to remind myself, “I expect nothing. I have no successes or failures. Only the consequences of my experiments.”

Also, never underestimate the reachability of practice. No less than ten thousand hours. That’s the critical number, however it applies to your world. Do that, and confidence will have no choice but to show up.

And I know: Practice sucks. But not as much as sucking from not practicing. Remember: people who suck rarely reach the world. How do you persevere and extend your confidence?

Ultimately, reaching the world – however you define that process – comes with its share of ups and downs.

THE TRICKY PART IS: It’s terrifying because the world feels so big; and it’s frustrating because you feel so small.

THE COOL PART IS: There has never been a better time in history to reach the world.

Dealing yourself into the game has never been easier. Thanks to those nerds you used to pick on in high school, technology now enables us to overcome barriers of distance and accessibility. Even one person on a laptop sitting in his living room can achieve immediate global disbursement of a message that matters.


Only if you commit with both feet.
Only if you execute consistently and exquisitely.
Only if you believe that you possess the means to propel yourself into the orbit you want.

LOOK: Reaching the world is not some arbitrary eruption.

Never allow a gloomy reality to overshadow the possibility of a glorious future.

This is to be your symphony.

And remember that the real question isn’t, “Will you reach the world?” but rather…

How will you change the world once you reach it?

For the list called, “20 Types of Value You Must Deliver,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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

Never the same speech twice.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

How to Reach the World, Part 1

Sing it with me:

“I will no longer be a non-force.”

That’s the mantra of your mission.

Because whether you’re the leader of a congregation, the executive director of a non-profit, the author of a mommy blog or a political candidate running for office, the dream still remains the same:

To reach the world.

And, to turn that world upside down once you get there.

Here’s how: (read part two here!) 1. Commitment plus consistency equals reachability. Nothing can stop a consistent will and a committed heart. In Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, she writes:

“Do not let your fire go out. Spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swaps of the not quite, the not yet, and the not at all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exists. It is real. It is possible. It’s yours.”

Now, the secret to putting her words to action is to clarify your definition of the word “reach.” According to my research, the term has many meanings:

To succeed in touching. To stretch out your hand. To put right. To arrive at. To make contact with. To influence. To establish communication. To penetrate.

What’s yours? What does reaching look like to you? Because only when you clarify and commit to your definition of reaching can you execute it exquisitely.

Remember: Take your commitments seriously and with glowing intensity – the world will do the same. Is your dedication a dinner candle or a dungeon torch?

2. Decide if you’re going to be an architect or an advocate. I heard NPR highlight the distinction between these two roles during a recent episode of All Things Considered. Here’s the breakdown:

An architect is chosen to build; an advocate is called to aid.

An architect is a master of space; an advocate is a master of voice.

An architect specializes in design creation; an advocate specializes in message distribution.

An architect plans for an issue when it’s most profitable; an advocate stands for an issue when it’s least popular.

Now, it’s possible that your role includes a little bit of both. And that’s cool. Odds are, however, one particular role will suit your style best. For example, I’m a writer and a speaker – not a planner and a detailer. Ergo, I lean towards advocacy. And I pay people to do the rest.

The challenge is twofold: Figure out if you’re more of an architect or an advocate – then solicit support from smart people who can fill the gaps. Are you drawing the blueprints or communicating the vision of the blueprints?

3. Begin in your own backyard. Last time I checked, the world was a pretty big place. And when reaching it seems overwhelming, starting where you already are is the perfect first step.

For example, how many of your neighbors know what you’re passionate about? How many of your coworkers know the causes you fight for? And how many of the people on your intramural kickball team understand what you really do all day long?

Work on closing that gap. Make sure the people that see you the most know who you are, where you are and why you are. They don’t have to become your best friends. But if you want to reach the people in your immediately proximity, simply being friends with them on Facebook isn’t enough.

You gotta gush. You gotta infect them with your enthusiasm.

Now, the only caveat is: If you plan to start small in your own backyard, walk with love instead of judgment. Be the light that illuminates the darkness, not the voice that condemns it.

After all, you reach the world by opening you palm – not pointing your finger. And you have to believe that the people you meet aren’t just targets. They’re not just another pair of clapping hands in your audience. You have to think about what you see when you see people. Who are the ten most logical individuals you need to reach first?

4. Broadcast your ministry. No religion necessary. The word “ministry” comes from the Latin ministerium, which means, “office, service.” And it’s impossible to reach the world without it.

The secret is making sure you don’t fall into the trap of pathological service. According to leadership legend Warren Bennis, those type of people only serve because their need to be needed is greater than the needs of those they were supposed to be meeting.

Might be helpful to ask yourself why you want to reach the world: Because you want change it for the better – or because you want your signature at the bottom on the canvas?

And look: Nothing against signing your work. Just make sure your ego doesn’t eclipse your purpose. And make sure that when you broadcast your ministry to the world you hope to reach, the interference is kept to a minimum. What’s the motivation behind your movement?

Ultimately, reaching the world – however you define that process – comes with its share of ups and downs.

THE TRICKY PART IS: It’s terrifying because the world feels so big; and it’s frustrating because you feel so small.

THE COOL PART IS: There has never been a better time in history to reach the world.

Dealing yourself into the game has never been easier. Thanks to those nerds you used to pick on in high school, technology now enables us to overcome barriers of distance and accessibility. Even one person on a laptop sitting in his living room can achieve immediate global disbursement of a message that matters.


Only if you commit with both feet.
Only if you execute consistently and exquisitely.
Only if you believe that you possess the means to propel yourself into the orbit you want.

LOOK: Reaching the world is not some arbitrary eruption.

Never allow a gloomy reality to overshadow the possibility of a glorious future.

This is to be your symphony.

And remember that the real question isn’t, “Will you reach the world?” but rather…

How will you change the world once you reach it?

For the list called, “20 Types of Value You Must Deliver,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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

Never the same speech twice.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

How to Stop Waiting for Permission and Start Doing What You Really Want to Do

Which one of the following questions dominates your daily decision-making?

1. Who’s going to let me?
2. Who’s going to stop me?

If it’s the first, you’re the type of person who asks for permission.

If it’s the second, you’re the type of person who acts without restriction.

AND MY THEORY IS: People whose decisions are determined from the second question (that is, people not addicted to permission) are happier, healthier and more successful in business and life.

Naturally, I have no scientific evidence to back this up.

Just my own experience.

But, because permission is so pervasive in so many people’s lives, today we’re going to talk about how to stop waiting for permission and start doing what you really want to do:1. Stop waiting for baptism. Seriously: What’s the holdup? What lies are your excuses guarding? Just go. Just start. Just do stuff. Right now. I don’t know about you, but I never waited to be appointed.

Since I was seven, I was on a path. I was a writer who was going to write, no matter what. And there’s nothing anybody could have done – or will ever do – to stop my pen or silence my voice.

Lesson learned: Even in the midst of doubt and danger, even among the cacophony of voices delivering conflicting advice – remain true to your basic nature. Saw yes to your heart. And just go.

Because the cool part is, when you grant permission to your authentic voice to sing as loud, as silly, as creative and as original as it wants, people don’t just listen to you – they hear you. Being washed in the blood is not a pre-requisite for success. What is the life cost of clinging to the comfort of permission?

2. Dive into yourself. Permission comes from within. Not from your parents. Not from your peers. And not from some high-faluten industry putz who’s convinced himself that he’s found the only path to artistic success.

From within. From you. All you have to do is search for what bids you to create. To harvest that which spreads out its roots in the deepest recesses of your heart. That’s where you find your why. That’s where you give yourself permission to try something – even if you’re not that good.

And don’t get me wrong: You want to you remain open to input from the people who matter. But when it comes to executing an idea that’s important to you, you still have to get out of your head, get into your heart and deliver the ultimate verdict yourself. What will it take to become your own authority figure?

3. Decide whom you need to delete. Some people will be threatened by your trajectory. Others intimidated by your success. Some will outlive their usefulness in your life. Others will distract you from giving your best.

And it’s not like they’re being malicious. Just human. The challenge is training the ears of your heart to listen for who needs to be deleted.

Because sometimes, just when you think someone is on the journey to the summit with you, you wake up and realize that the most they could ever do was get you to base camp. At which point it’s time to pack up, move on – and never look back down the mountain. Otherwise you wind up hitching your self-esteem to the fickle whims of people whose voices shouldn’t be heeded.

And as a result, life becomes a series of compromises. A sad constellation of trying and proving. Which, last time I checked, is a sucky way to go about your day.

Your mission is to mature out of your addiction to approval and melt into the tenderness of self-support. Who are you subject to the whims of?

4. Permission pummels creativity I’m lucky. Permission has historically been a non-force in my life. Almost to the point that have no idea what it’s like on the other side of the fence.

For example, in my line of work as a writer, I can be creative without limitation. All day. Every day. It’s pretty damn cool.

Unfortunately, not everyone can relate to this freedom. Especially when permission is so real in their lives. Like my clients, Rachel and Tim. During a recent Rent Scott’s Brain session they revealed:

“Scott, the reason we hired you is because we get so caught up in the day-to-day, that we never have any time to think.”

This, I could not believe. No thinking? Ever? What kind of job is that? What kind of life is that?

And that’s when it occurred to me: Excessive permission reduces the size of your thinking. And that reduces the size of your bank account. Don’t let this happen to you. Don’t fall for permission’s tricks. People who are perpetually bogged down by the tactical rob themselves of the opportunity to execute something great.

And without conscious effort to eradicate it, they slowly allow it to become a cancer of the conscience. That’s what pummels their creative potential into the ground. That’s what prevents people from doing what they really want to do. Will you be distracted by the red dress of permission?

5. Safety and security are two different things. Living without permission means liberating yourself from rigid intellectual traditions, infusing yourself with earnest purpose, and, if necessary, exposing yourself to the hailstones.

The secret is, you can’t ease your way into it – you have to leap. And you have to remain undismayed in the face of odds. Because if you’re constantly preoccupied with your own safety, you’ll beat yourself before you begin. But, if you’re willing to forego some of that safety for the opportunity to execute what matters – knowing that you’re still secure on the inside – you win.

For example, my yoga teacher constantly reminds us, “If you own your breath, nobody can steal your peace.” This isn’t yoga advice – this is life advice. Because no matter how unsafe the surrounding world is, when you thread your breath through every move you make, nobody can shatter the rock that is your foundation. Prana, as it were, finds the form to impose on the chaos of the world.

Those are the moments that equip you. Your breath becomes your security. Even when the world around you feels unsafe. Lesson learned: When you get stuck waiting for permission to do what you really want to do, your lungs are your lifelines. I urge you to take a breath, even if you don’t think you need one. How’s your breathing?

6. Build a permission-free vocabulary. The first kill phrase that should never come out of your mouth is, “Yeah, but I can’t just.” Really? Why not? Says who? Can you Google that rule? Because if you can’t – it’s not a rule. Just a self-imposed limitation that’s squelching the life out of your dream.

The second kill phrase to avoid is, “Yeah, but who am I to?” This tsunami of self-doubt stems from a lack of confidence in your own abilities. Cancel that thought from your mind. Begin writing the following sentence fifteen times a day: “I am the person who can do this … I am the person who can do this.”

You’ll believe in yourself down to your toes before you know it. Ultimately, deleting self-limiting language form your vocabulary turns doing what you really want to do into something you don’t need permission to do. Do you listen closely to the way you talk to yourself?

7. Become your own source of worthiness. The term “esteem” comes from the Latin aestimare, or “to estimate.” Therefore: Self-esteem is how you estimate yourself. It’s the overall appraisal of your personal value.

And if you want to make sure permission doesn’t eclipse your dream, here’s my suggestion: Stop competing with people other than yourself. Life’s too short to morph every element of your existence into a competition. Sure, the competitive spirit is healthy and natural and has historically motivated many great things.

But it’s a beautiful moment when you realize that you’re no longer anxious to prove your value. And the best part is, the less you have to prove, the less other people feel threatened around you. Which means the secret to self-esteem isn’t removing competition, but redefining the subject with whom you’re competing.

My theory: The only person worth competing with is the earlier version of yourself. Because it’s not about being better than anyone – it’s about being better than you used to be. That’s how inner permission grows. How do you supercharge your own self-esteem – even when the world thinks you’re nuttier than a bag of trail mix?

8. Refuse to be a lukewarm person. I don’t know about you, but I want my life to burn like a gas lamp. And I regret only the moments in which I chose not to be fully alive. That’s the danger with permission: It prevents you from being the best, highest – and hottest – version of yourself.

And if you find yourself slipping into the skin of average, here’s how my suggestion: Become unwaveringly vigilant about the company you keep. Look: Life’s too short to surround yourself with people that don’t set you ablaze. Personally amputate anyone who doesn’t believe in or support you.

These are the people who will keep you average, keep you lukewarm and keep addicted to the need for permission. What relationships (that you’ve outgrown) are keeping your core temperate dangerously low?

9. Voluntarily opt out of the mainstream. Have you ever received a compliment for something you didn’t realize you were doing? This happened to me a few weeks ago. An audience member commented, “You’re just so free with what you say.”

And I thought, Well, why wouldn’t I be? Why wouldn’t anybody be? Doesn’t it make sense that, in a country whose first amendment explicitly grants all its citizens the right to free speech, that people would speak their minds?

Apparently not. Especially in the corporate world. Turns out we live in a litigious, oversensitive, out-of-touch-with-reality society where people would rather tiptoe around the issues that matter than man-up and put their balls on the table.

Which means: Maybe the way we’re working isn’t working. Maybe a few fundamental redefinitions are required. Maybe to shed the shackles of permission, each individual needs to make a conscious choice to opt out of the very bullshit that’s stinking up their halls.

Because that’s the thing about permission: If you can’t grant it to yourself, who’s going to do it for you? Nobody. And if you can’t be free with your words (within the boundaries of respect), what do you have left? Nothing. Are you an artist of life or an article of mediocrity?

ULTIMATELY: Permission is a spiritual revolt. It’s a soulful drive for significance. And it’s part of how you sustain your quest for truth.

And as you embark on a personal mission to seek less permission and start doing what you really want to do, I urge you to remember one final thought:

The only permission slip that matters is the one you sign for yourself.

It’s time to stop asking, “Who’s going to let me?” and start wondering, “Who’s going to stop me?”

What are you waiting for?

For the list called, “35 Things You Simply Can’t Do,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

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

Who’s quoting YOU?

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

Sign up for daily updates


Daily updates straight to your inbox.

Copyright ©2020 HELLO, my name is Blog!