How to Treat People Like People

It’s not that hard to make people happy.

All you have to do is treat them like people.

Not as objects.
Not as integers.
Not as trophies.
Not as machines.
Not as categories.
Not as dollar signs.
Not as commodities.
Not as abstract entities.
Not as a means to an end.
Not as bloodless statistical entities.
Not as impersonal facets of production.

As people.

And I know what you’re thinking:

Do we really need an article to tell us how to treat people like people?

Yes. Yes we do.

Here’s a collection of ideas to help you, your brand and your organization do just that:1. Honor the audience of one. Stop disrespectfully dividing your attention between the person in front of you and the people you’re giving snippets of your digital attention to. You’re sacrificing sincere conversations that count for superficial connections that merely add up.

Instead, here’s a revolutionary suggestion: When you’re with people – really be with people. Make them feel like the only person in the room. Hell, make them feel like the only person in the world. Make sure that what you’re doing – right now – isn’t telling this person that there’s someone else you’d rather be interacting with.

Do you really think they don’t see you checking your smartphone under the table? Come on. People need people in their life who can be bigger than that. Have some respect for your audience of one. Don’t allow the convenience of being connected to tear apart the traditional social fabric.

And remember: Just because you’re instantly connected to the masses doesn’t mean you’re intimately connected to the people who matter. What do people get when they get you?

2. Expose your nakedness as a person. The world is a mirror. However you act is a permission slip for others to do the same. For example, those who choose to be open invite others around them to be open. But those who choose to keep their truth close to their chest signal others around them to shut down.

The question is whether you’re willing to reach out and risk living with both arms. Whether you’re courageous and rare enough to occupy your vulnerability in a space of mutual openness. Unfortunately, it takes time and courage become comfortable with that level of emotional honesty.

John Powell’s groundbreaking work on identity and self-disclosure explains why: “I am afraid to tell you who I am because if I tell you who I am, you may not like who I am – and that’s all I have.”

My suggestion: Risk it anyway. Show people who you are and, more importantly, why you are. What is forcing you to live in a way that is untrue to who you are?

3. Surrender your role. In a recent issue of BusinessWeek, Keith Ayers, President of Sydney’s Integro Leadership Institute, explained that when we get into playing roles, we stop being real.

“If I believe I have to act like a manager, then I focus on myself, my roles, what I’m doing and what I’m saying – instead of focusing on the person I am with. This diminishes trust with employees and decreases their engagement, commitment, and productivity.”

We see evidence of this is trend everywhere: Customer service agents start puking their scripts over the phone before listening to your actual problem. Salespeople dive into obvious closing techniques before you’re ready to buy. And parents treat you like a child long after you’ve become an adult.

The secret is to interact with people as a person – not as a role. To put values before vocation, individuality before industry and person before position. Then, as Ayers says, when you see yourself as a person dealing with another person, no matter what your roles, you can focus on the needs of others and on creating value. What unnecessary title is preventing people from getting to know the real you?

4. Shed your armor. In Creating True Prosperity, Shakti Gawain writes that vulnerability means allowing yourself to be affected by the word around you. This is a terrifying prospect for many leaders because you’re risking your truth. You’re risking being rejected. And you’re risking being stared at or talked about.

But here’s the secret: The more often you stick yourself out there, the more comfortable and confident you become with who you are. And when you’re comfortable and confident with whom you are, your truthful self-expression inspires and gives other people permission to do and be the same.

And that’s when we begin to listen to each other from a truer place, share with each other from a stronger place and communicate with each other from a more genuine place.

Ultimately, you display your love for people by letting those people get to know you. Thus, being vulnerable is a gift that you give to others. And by recognizing and sharing your own truth, you inspire them to do the same. Doesn’t get more personal than that. How much longer do you want to deprive yourself of breaking out in order to protect others from who you really are?

5. Encourage and celebrate their mistakes. When I was a kid, my favorite song from Sesame Street was, “Everybody Makes Mistakes.” It goes like this:

“If you make a mistake, you shouldn’t start to cry. Mistakes are not so bad, and here’s why. Everyone makes mistakes, oh yes they do. Your sister and your brother and your dad and mother too. Big people, small people, matter of fact, all people. And if everyone in the whole wide world makes mistakes, then why can’t you?”

Look: Human beings are naturally infallible creatures. They screw up every day. But they still need reminders that making a mistake isn’t the same as being a mistake.

Next time people you care about bite the big one, help them release their identification with the flub. Remind them that the moment you learn from a mistake is the moment it ceases to be a mistake. And tell them that while failure is an option – not learning form that failure isn’t. What language do you use with people when they fall short?

6. Meet the now need. People want to be heard first and helped second. Always honor this priority. If you treat people’s ideas as inconvenient interruptions to your uninspiring monologues, you lose them forever. If you only listen to people to use their comments as backboards against which you can try out your snappy new stand-up material, you lose them forever.

And, if you over empathize by interrupting people’s stories to share (yet another) selfish, inconsequential diatribe, you lose them forever.

Stop circling back to remind people how vastly experienced you are at their reality. Instead, try listening to people and not just to your improvements for them. Choose to hear the whole person.

Develop a vocabulary for the personal by speaking with humanizing language, not perfect phrases you were forced to memorize from your employee empathy class. Their now need is what matters the most. Meet it. Why are you listening?

7. Indulge in your humanity. I’ve been wearing a nametag twenty-four seven for the past decade. What can I say? Some people wear their heart on their sleeve – I wear my humanity on my chest. And I’ve learned that (contrary to popular conditioning) vulnerability isn’t surrender.

Here’s the reality: The more vulnerable you are, the more open you are. The more open you are, the less you have to hide. The less you have to hide, the more relaxed you become. And the more relaxed you become, the more effectively you can treat people like people. Simple – but not easy.

My suggestion: Instead of making endless plans to reduce unpredictability, mitigate risk and preserve your sense of control, try surrendering. Learn to treat your vulnerability as an advantage. And remember the words Henry James: “To be opened to risk is to risk being shattered. But without shattering, there is no glory.”

Remember: You can’t cram everything into a process. Let improvisation pull the rug out from under the rigidity of the predictable. What do you need to surrender to?

Anyway, that’s my vision for the future.

A church where you’re not a butt in a seat – you’re a person.

A retail store where you’re not a walking wallet – you’re a person.

A dentist’s office where you’re not a mouth with teeth – you’re a person.

A grocery store where you’re not another inventory picker – you’re a person.

A bank where you’re not an account number on a spreadsheet – you’re a person.

A hospital where you’re not a collection of symptoms on a chart – you’re a person.

A networking event where you’re not just a pit stop in people’s lives – you’re a person.

A hair salon where you’re not another name in the appointment book – you’re a person.

IN SHORT: A world where people are treated like people.

I know it’s a lot to ask.

I know it’s hard to be human. Especially when so much inhumanity surrounds us.

But.

When you treat people like people, they don’t just listen to you – they work their hearts out for you.

And they come back over and over again.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What do you see when you see people?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “10 Unmistakable Motivators of Human Engagement,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Entrepreneur, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2011!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

If You Don’t Build an Audience Now, You’ll Hate Yourself Later

You can only talk to yourself for so long.

Eventually, you have to build an audience.

Otherwise, you’re just winking in the dark.

THE COOL PART IS: It’s never been easier to do so.

The technology is available. The access is available. And the energy is available. All you need is a gameplan to leverage your assets to reach the people who matter most.

Whether you sing songs, perform dances, give speeches, publish blogs, pass laws, write books, lead teams or preach sermons on the corner of Grand & Cherokee, here are two lists of strategies to help you build an audience. Thanks to American Express Open Forum for inviting me to contribute:What Smart Companies Know About Customer Engagement

Six Engagement Essentials

REMEMBER: Audiences aren’t accidents.

Whether you’re running for office in your hometown, publishing your thoughts online or performing your art in public, this process requires patience, imagination, creativity, commitment and consistency.

But once you do it, once you find your audience – or, once your audience finds you – I promise: You will never get up out of bed the same way again.

Your tribe is waiting.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Does you brand speak to the brain or the chest?

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For the list called, “22 Unexpected Ways to Help People,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Entrepreneur, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

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

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

The Lloyd Dobler Guide to Courting Inspiration

To court is “to woo and pay homage.”

Which means it’s more than just holding boom-box outside of a girl’s window.

No offense, Lloyd Dobler.

Courting means inviting openly.
Courting means pursuing proactively.
Courting means honoring consistently.
Courting means acknowledging publicly.

AND THE COOL PART IS: Courting isn’t limited to your dating life – it’s also an essential element of your thought life.

Because when it comes to the creative process, treating inspiration with respect and love is the only way to make it lay itself at your feet.

Here’s a collection of strategies to help you court inspiration:1. Greet life with openness. When readers and audience members ask what inspires me, I respond with one word: Everything.

Movies. Interviews. Nature. People. Books. Graffiti. Abandoned parking lots. Everything. All you have to do is pay attention. That’s all creativity is anyway: Active listening.

You don’t have writer’s block – you have hearing damage.

To court inspiration, salute all you encounter with a posture of deep democracy. That means say yes to all of it. That means reject nothing and take in everything. And that means choose to treat everything you experience with unconditional positive regard. What’s more, developing a deep love of do. Refusing to stand for the idle moment.

That way, interesting things don’t happen to you – you happen to them. You have to be approachable to the world. And you have to allow the world to be approachable to you. Because if you harbor a hardened heart, inspiration won’t think twice about returning your calls.

Remember: Feared, creativity atrophies. Saluted, creativity blooms. What will you have to change about your attitude to become inspired by everything in site?

2. Seek out the inherent novelty in all you perceive. Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, founder of the flow movement, has written volumes on courting inspiration. In his book, Creativity, he suggests the following:

“Participate as fully as possibly in the world around you. Fascinate yourself with the ordinary. Evaluate critically every novelty you encounter and study ordinary things intently.”

It’s a beautiful thing. Like when you’re so engrossed in flow that you don’t realize you’ve spilled hot tea down your leg or spattered blood all over the fret board. That’s when you know inspiration is close.

And the good news is: Each of us has our own personal and emotional response to existence. We simply have to make the conscious choice to tap into – and create a personal dialogue with – our immediate environment. What’s more, we have to constantly look for recurring cycles of activities or repetitive patterns in our surroundings.

As philosopher Ferris Bueller once observed, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” How much time are you spending becoming more interesting?

3. Stay in touch with your aesthetic sensibility. Beauty is always relevant to something. And when you surround yourself with things that bring peace to your visual eye, inspiration isn’t far behind.

My girlfriend, for example, reminds me that the environment is the world’s biggest art museum. Do you have a lifetime pass? If not, get out of the house immediately. And as you experience what nature has to offer, look past what you see. Don’t just notice it – not why it exists. Don’t just think it – think about why you think it’s beautiful.

The goal is to enter into an engaging relationship with the world around you. To sit with studious attention and become an audience to the symphony of life. Nature, after all, is an endless source of novelty. A glowing source of inspiration wait to infect you with its beauty. Are you human enough to let it inspire you?

4. Accept divine timing. If you’re good, you can be creative anywhere. For example, nothing bad ever happens to a writer – it’s all just material. Having your heart broken by someone you thought you loved? Missing your flight and getting stuck at a shitty airport hotel? Spending a week in the hospital with a tube in your chest?

Sounds like the perfect experience to activate a creative awakening to me.

The secret is, you have to let it. You have to make yourself vulnerable enough to life a life wholly surrendered. Because it’s that brand of humility grants you an all access pass to where your ideas might take you.

My suggestion: Merge with the energy that urges you forward. Choose to gently move toward what scares you. You’ll discover that the capacity to be delighted and diverted – and the ability to put yourself at the mercy of the moment – is what lets life sing through you. Are you willing to ache with it all?

5. Practice cognitive receptivity. According to Dr. Susan Nash, this is a state of mental preparedness. It is a combination of cognitive readiness – the learner’s levels of development – and of psychological openness – how the learner views the environment.

For example, Keith Richards sleeps with his guitar. Has since the sixties. According to his autobiography, he wants his instrument to be readily available to him. That way, he’s prepared to harvest inspiration when it wakes him up in the middle of the night.

Take the song, Satisfaction. The main riff was something Richards sang to himself in a dream. But instead of rolling over, he woke up, wrote it down, called his friend Mick and made history.

Your challenge is to organize your creative impulse into a systematic approach that fertilizes your mindfield. A unique process turns anywhere into a starting place. That’s the prerequisite of originality: Being a better parent to your brainchildren.

Without that kind of preparing and receptivity, it’s extremely hard to absorb the whispered suggestions life sends to you. Is your brain ready?

6. Welcome the unusual. Aussie novelist and playwright Morris West is famous for the following observation: “One has to abandon altogether the search for security, and reach out to the risk of living with both arms. One has to court doubt and darkness as the cost of knowing.”

To incorporate this practice into your thought life – not just your life, but your thought life – try this: Experience something that completely takes you out of who you are. Be an mental omnivore. Cease never from exploration. View things from as many angles as possible by engaging every sense and fully taking in ideas with their whole being.

By broadening and sharpening your sensitivity to alternative types of aesthetic value, you’ll make yourself available to new types of inspiration you would have otherwise missed. Remember: When you look with all of your eyes, love cannot be far behind. Good ideas are waiting. Are you willing to let them sneak up on you?

7. Embrace the virtue of volume. The amount of ideas I have swirling around in my head – at any given moment – would frighten the average person. As such, inspiration is unavoidable by virtue of my enormous input and constant stream of stimulation.

It’s simply a matter of probability. You don’t write seven hours a day and read five books a week without getting a few ideas. And the best part is: It doesn’t require a heavy workload or significant stressful activity to accomplish this.

Creativity is a highly relaxed, incremental process. And if you want to get there, here’s my suggestion: Start your idea factory. Practice freezing what happens to you, extracting the inspiration from your life and documenting your experience along with your reactions to that experience.

Soon, inspiration will form a line around the block just to get five minutes of your time. If you deleted one hour of television from your life, how would your creative volume change?

REMEMBER: A life without inspiration is existentially dangerous.

Court it. Woo it. Pay homage to it respectfully and lovingly.

Who knows? Maybe you won’t even need that boombox after all.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How many ideas did you execute yesterday?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “49 Ways to become an Idea Powerhouse,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Entrepreneur, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

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

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

What to Do When You Can’t Get No (Employee) Satisfaction

Satisfaction is useless and loyalty is overrated.

Your people need to be insistent. Otherwise they’re out the door.

But don’t let the buzzwords sting you.

It’s not about communicating an employee value proposition.
It’s not about encompassing a comprehensive set of change management tools.
It’s not about sweetening people up so they don’t run away after the recession is over.

If you want insistence – that is, people who bleed your company colors – you’re going to need daily, consistent actions of approachability.

Whether you’re the leader of a large company, director of a volunteer base, manager of a sales team or a high school teacher educating the faces of the future, consider these five truths about engagement. Mick Jagger, this one’s for you:1. Allow people the dignity of self-definition. When Random House decided to publish their best selling title of all time, Atlas Shrugged, the president of the company wrote a letter to Any Rand reading: “If we publish you, Miss Rand, nobody is going to try to censor you. You write anything you darn well please and we’ll publish it.”

No wonder she stayed in engaged. That’s what happens when you provide a safe haven for self-definition. On the other hand, people disengage when they’re asked to edit themselves. In business and in life.

Take hospitals, for example. In Social Interaction and Patient Care, I learned that the loss of self-identity is one of the most difficult aspects of being a patient. “Role deprivation means loss of identity,” says the book, “especially when people are reduced to the anonymity of a horizontal figure between the white sheets. They become deprived of their most significant symbols that reinforce that identity.”

Whose identity are you editing? Which of your policies and rules are suppressing the passion of your people? Find small ways to rise above standard operating procedure. Otherwise, every time your people say, “Terrific. More items to submit for approval,” they disengage just a little more. Is your organization a safe haven or an editing booth?

2. Give their truth a megaphone. People want leaders who enable their spirit. They want organizations that enable their passions. Focus on this, and it’s amazing how many other things fall into place.

Especially engagement. Because when people are never forced to restrict their interests, their passion goes from spark to flame to inferno. And it explodes through the company walls, providing warmth to everyone in its path.

If I ever had to get a real job – which I won’t – that’s the kind of place I’d want to go everyday.

Unfortunately, most organizations have been stripped of their humanness. They treat people as cogs in the assembly line – not individuals in the game called life. And their people become easily intimidated and silenced by the walls of formality, preventing them from expressing themselves freely.

And as a result, their culture, service and bottom line suffer. Don’t let this happen to your organization. Because the bloodiest crime committed in the corporate world is the subjugation of the human spirit. Is there enough evidence to find you guilty?

3. Make loving you easy. In the book I Love You More Than My Dog, Jeanne Bliss explores the power of telling people that you believe in them.

“With those three words, we honor the recipient. We give up control and return it back to the sender. And there is an energy that comes from being believed, from being trusted, and from sending that trust back to people.”

That’s how you earn the right to a continued relationship. That’s how you earn the right to have employees not just telling your story – but also convincing others to become characters in it. You love them. You believe in them. And you remind them that you do everyday. Every single day. Otherwise they’re gone.

Think of it this way: If your spouse only said she loved you once a month, you’d be divorced quicker than a contestant on Millionaire Matchmaker. Don’t let your organization become another statistic. How often are you gushing over your people?

4. People want to be treated – not handled. To treat is to respect. To love. To attend to. And to leave people feeling known, seen and heard. To handle is to manage. To manipulate. And to leave people feeling tolerated, dealt with and circumvented. Which approach do you think people prefer?

Odds are, the latter. And I bet they can tell the difference, too. Especially customers. They know exactly what it feels like to interact with someone who, five minutes before dragging his apathetic ass out on the sales floor, got a phone call from a coworker who said, “Hey, can you go handle this lady on line three?”

My suggestion is: Declare a moratorium on handling. Post signs around your office that read, “Treated, not handled.” And tell employees that anytime they use the word “handle,” they have to donate twenty bucks to the curse jar. The money will add up quickly. Hell, you could even throw a party for your customers. Maybe they’ll feel treated for once.

Remember: Handling is what you do to raw meat – treating is what you do to a work of art. Can you imagine how your organization would change if your people transformed from a gathering to a gallery?

5. Envision a more ambitious platform. Ideally, one that allows users to collaborate and resolve issues on their own. Otherwise you end up micromanaging every minor conversation. And nothing scares the engagement out of people faster than knowing they’re being constantly monitored.

The cool part is, when you give your people a forum to connect, they naturally start to convince others of your value. And you can’t beat that kind of marketing. Whether you use online boards, blogs, forums or other chat functions, the key is remembering to back off.

Sure, you can moderate. But true engagement isn’t about control – it’s about letting go. It’s not about managing the process – it’s about starting a conversation and then getting the hell out of the way.

Don’t worry: If they need you, they’ll holler. Other than that, stop hovering and let them do their thing. Are you willing to surrender the reins and show your people that you trust them enough to interact on their own?

REMEMBER: If you want your people to stick around – and stay engaged while they’re around – forget about satisfaction.

Aim for insistence.

They’ll forget the door is even there.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Are you people satisfied or insistent?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “27 Things to Do First,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Entrepreneur, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2011!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

How to Stay Rare

Rarity is inherent.

The problem is, there’s such pervasive pressure to remain average, that most people lose touch with what makes them exceptional.

HERE’S THE SECRET: It’s not about seeking rarity – it’s about squashing the barriers against finding it.

Here’s a list of suggestions to help you, your brand and your organization stay rare:1. Do it all with daring originality. Rare isn’t the absence of fear; rare is the absence of hesitation to move into that fear. That’s what I’ve learned as a writer: When you’re up against the fear, that’s exactly the time to move into it. Because that’s where genius lives.

For that reason, I constantly ask myself the following question as I’m working: “What do I risk in presenting this material?” If the answer is, “Not much,” I don’t write it. But if the answer is, “I might piss of somebody powerful,” then I absolutely write it.

That’s how I keep my material honest, personal and relatable. And in your own career, you might consider creating a policy, filter or standard operating procedure for attending to your fear.

Perhaps a ritual that greets fear with a welcoming heart, but also leverages it into something beautiful? Without such a practice, your creative flame gets smothered under the ashes of average.

In short: Resist the undertow of normal, pursue a perilous and uncertain course and welcome the difficulties that will propel you beyond ordinary. Even if they scare you. What type of marvelous intelligence is at work in your fear?

2. Clock out later than anybody. Everyone has a chunk of the great mystery in them. But unless they’re willing to put in a little overtime, they may never get the chance to share it with others.

I’m reminded of a classic episode of the Simpsons where Homer attends his twenty-year high school reunion. Not surprisingly, he wins the award for the graduate who gained the most weight.

“How’d you do it?” the principal asks as he presents the trophy. To which Homer replies, “By discovering a meal between breakfast and brunch.”

I know that’s a ridiculous premise – but that’s what rare people do: They break free from the jail of circumstance. They work their tails off to discover that extra meal. Then, from that place of abundance and enoughness, they’re able to give full scope to their colorful imagination. And maybe gain fifty pounds.

Plus, they know it’s not about finding time, it’s not even about making time – it’s about stealing time. Shoplifting whatever you can from the crowded day to focus on whatever makes your heart sing. Even if you only dedicate fifteen minutes a day. That’s still ninety extra hours a year.

Remember: What’s rare is the way you invest your life. What new meal will you discover?

3. Be somewhat predictable. Rarity means everything you do reminds people that they have not wasted the attention they’ve given you. The trick is: Humans are inclined to ignore the commonplace and remain alert to the unexpected. It’s the anthropological mechanism of self-preservation that’s safeguarded our species for millions of years.

This attribute can work to a rare person’s advantage insofar as attention in concerned: You stand out – you get noticed. Perfect. But when the unexpected is taken to the extreme, rare can turn into scare. “You can’t be offbeat in all ways, because then we won’t understand you and we’ll reject you,” writes author Seth Godin.

The secret, he says, is to make sure that some of the elements you present are perfectly aligned with what people are used to. Otherwise you’ll be perceived as a threat. Your challenge is to decide how much predictability you’re going to bring to the marketplace – and then remain consistent with its delivery.

Never forget: Brands are expectations. What has the public grown to expect from you?

4. Choose not to follow the appointed path. I’ve been taking the road less traveled pretty much my whole life. As such, anyone I meet who does the same is rare in my book.

Here’s why: Taking the road less traveled is simultaneously invigorating and intimidating. On one hand, you’re thrilled by the prospect of adventure. On the other, the uncertainty is so overwhelming that you crap your undies.

That’s the special brand of fear comes with the territory of rare. And your challenge is to accept that the voices in your head aren’t going to go away. In fact, they’re probably going to multiply.

But don’t worry – this is a good thing. Fear is the precursor of rare. And the louder those voices scream, the surer you can be that you’re following your heart. If you want rarity take root with extraordinary force, never forget: Anything of any value in life begins with the leap.

So take it. And remain radiant amidst the filth of the world. Are you standing on the foundation of your rarity, or sacrificing your life being everybody else’s dream machine?

5. Work without a net. In my favorite book about creativity, Ignore Everybody, Hugh McLeod advises, “The sovereignty you have over your work will inspire far more people than the actual content ever will.”

That’s the mark of a rare person: Someone who’s free enough to make the music she wants to hear – not the music the market wants to buy. The trick is determining the unique balance. After all, you still need to pay the mortgage.

But at the same time, you also need to define your own private creative domain. That’s what songwriter – and my hero – Chris Whitley accomplished during his career. He was a musician whose life at every level gave evidence of undisputed singularity. And according to his obituary in Acoustic Guitar:

“Chris was rare because he walked away from riches and avoided the carefully crafted record company image to maintain the integrity of his music. That allowed him to remain fearless when it came to following his musical instinct and it’s reflected in over a dozen elegantly forceful studio albums.”

The questions you might ask are: What are you willing to walk away from to stay rare? What are you willing to say no to for the sake of your own autonomy? And what covenant do you have to make with yourself to preserve your freedom? Answer those, and your life will become a living testament to what’s possible when you give yourself permission.

Remember: There are no cover bands in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Are you the maestro of your own melody or the echo of someone else’s song?

6. Choose your commitment device. My generation is frequently typecast as being commitment-averse. The consensus is that we’re impatient, have a mediocre work ethic, don’t offer loyalty easily and are quick to quit and pursue something better.

Is that description accurate? I don’t know and I don’t care. What matters is that my commitment is unquestionable and that everyone who knows me, knows it.

That’s rare no matter what generation you come from. After all, the baseline posture of most people is not to believe you. We live in a low-trust culture and the world demands proof of your commitment. Without it, you will never be taken seriously – no matter how rare you are.

Ultimately, what you’re committed to matters less than how you wear that commitment. That’s the real rarity. And that’s exactly why I got the tattoo of the nametag on my chest. Sure, it was painful. But while the needle hurt my chest for an hour, not being taken seriously would hurt my business for a lifetime.

I wonder which commitment device you will choose. Or which one will choose you. How will you communicate to the people who matter most that you’re fully committed?

LOOK: You can’t block who you are.

And even if you could, apologizing for the best within you is the highest form of moral treason.

Stop stripping away your rarity.

Put an end to all this self-editing. All these unconscious acts of omission.

Otherwise you’ll wear yourself out trying to be something you’re not.

Instead, access your most elegant instrument. Figure out what you’re good at and do only that. And always retain burning contempt for imitation and mediocrity. Humanity will be better for your life.

You already carry something with you that’s just yours.

It’s your unique vision of the world. Your special blend of magic.

Fail to bring that with you, and risk becoming yesterday’s news.

But lay it naked for the world to see, and an unending rainfall of rarity will surround you.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How will you stay rare?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “19 Telltale Signs of the Perfect Job,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Entrepreneur, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2011!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

8 Engagement Strategies to Keep Your People from Walking Out the Door

If you don’t want people quitting you, you’ve got to figure out how to make love stay.

That was the central idea of Tom Robbins’ book, Still Life With Woodpecker.

“One day you wake up and find that the magic is gone. You hustle to get it back, but by then it’s usually too late, you’ve used it up. What you have to do is work like hell at making additional magic right from the start.

To make love stay, wake love up in the middle of the night and tell it the world is on fire. Dash to the bedroom window and pee out of it. Casually return to bed and assure love that everything is going to be all right. Fall asleep. Love will be there in the morning.”

That’s all engagement is: Making love stay.

Here’s a list of daily practices to keep your people from walking out the door.1. Engagement is the new marketing. Brand perception hinges on the interactions between customers and employees. It’s got nothing to do with your logo. Or your clever direct mail campaign. Or your crummy commercial that aired during halftime of the Superbowl.

From human beings. From your people. Which means every interaction your employees have with the customer either adds to – or subtracts from – the overall perception of your brand. And since this principle colors every component of your organization’s engagement style, consider asking your team two questions:

*How do customers experience your people?
*How do customers experience themselves in relation to your people?

That’s the only thing the world can form an impression on: How interacting with your people makes them feel. That’s why engagement is so essential. Otherwise your engagement is a joke and your organization is the punch line. If your customers could give your company a hug, would they open their arms?

2. Know what emotion you’re selling. Because feelings determine actions, you’ve got to emotionally involve people. You’ve got to determine what experience you deliver, and how you can guarantee its consistent delivery.

One way to do so is by becoming an expert in memory creation. Practice planting moments in your daily interactions that give people something they’ll never forget. In fact: The smaller, the better. When you go out of your way to make the mundane memorable, you convert rare into remarkable. And that’s when you create a significant emotional event that tugs people by the heart.

Remember: Businesses that retain a strong emotional connection with their customers don’t go out of business. Leaving emotional memories to chance is too dangerous. How will you remind yourself to create a significant emotional event?

3. Consider people’s unique definitions of engagement. You don’t need to read another book on employee engagement – you need to get your ass out of the office and ask people what engagement feels like to them.

Not what they think engagement is – but what engagement feels like. Huge difference.

The secret is to use every listening post you can find. From offline to offline, from electronic to human, from walking the floors to monitoring tweet streams, whatever gives you insight into how your employees operate is a worthwhile endeavor.

Second, listen deeply. That means listening the facts along with what the facts point to. Third, listen for the right reasons. Not just enough to flip the answers for your own uses. Not just to boost your ego. And not just to confirm what you already think. Listen to learn how your people truly engage.

Remember: The longer you allow organizational fears to prevent you from pursuing the truth about the people who work there, the more shocked you’re going to be when they suddenly jet out the door. Are you listening to the sound of your own voice or the music of your employee’s voice?

4. Put a little blood into it. As a writer, I invest myself very personally in everything I publish. This is very risky – but that’s the whole point. The more naked my words are, the more engaged my readers become.

That’s the lesson: Self-disclosure earns trust. And people engage when they operate from a place of trust because they’re not wasting their energy protecting themselves. Your goal is to find a way to ship a small piece of who you are with everything that goes out the door, as my new crush Jeanne Bliss suggests.

That’s what earns you the right to be engaged with. That’s what earns your organization the right to have its story told. Because it’s not just how well you know your customer – it’s how well your customers know you.

It’s about how clear they are about what you’re committed to. Otherwise, hiding the true picture of who you are is a form of reputational risk you can’t afford to take. What are you using to make your identity more knowable?

5. Preserve freedom of mind. Nothing disengages a human being faster than the annihilation of independent thought. That’s how you activate someone’s built in pushback mechanism: By demanding homogeneity of beliefs.

Sadly, too many organizations turn mental settling into a silent epidemic. And as a result, their people become stripped of their humanness. Organizational consultant Dave Snowden addressed this issue in a recent article on Cognitive Edge:

“Forcing people to accept a common culture increases the tension between the way that people naturally behave and the way they now feel they have to. That means increasing alienation and inevitably suppressed conflict and increasingly levels of conflict.”

Instead, Snowden suggests creating boundaries around compatible but different cultures – even if a little healthy conflict arises. The point is: You have to make certain that people’s dearly held sense of individualism is honored. That their work unites with their own sense of life. And that they’re treated like individuals on the frontline – not integers on the company report.

Otherwise they’ll be out the door faster than you can say, “Tuesday is Soylent Green Day.” When does the feeling of formality keep your people from communicating freely?

6. Contribution can’t be mere blip on their radar screen. It has to become a legitimate, long-term trend. That’s what makes people engage: When their job makes use of their talent.

The challenge is, not everybody is comfortable being smart. Some people need permission to bring their brilliance to the table. And as their leader, your mission is to create a safe place where individual personality and creativity can shine.

To do so, ask each person the following question: What personal skills are you currently not using in your job?

Their answers might surprise you. Look: Nobody wants to spend their life at a second-hand task. And nothing shackles the human spirit more than a work life that’s prosaic and unmusical. If you want people to engage, the work they do has make a significant contribution to something they value. Do you provide opportunities to do meaningful work that helps others?

7. Don’t just get over yourself – stay over yourself. Here’s the reality: Your organization is one part of your people’s total life experience – not the sole focus.

Accept this. Stop operating out of the old school model that loyalty is an entitlement. It’s not.

You have to earn it and re-earn it daily. Instead, start adjusting your company to the rhythm of its constituents. And understand that work isn’t the only determining factor in how your people live their lives.

Especially younger generations. If you want them to engage, you have to show them that you respect their commitments outside of the organization. That’s part of the process of staying over yourself: Focusing less on getting people to join you and focusing more on trying to join them first.

Who knows? Maybe your people would engage more if they felt their lives were participated in too. Are you fitting them into your nice little plan or celebrating how you fit into their lives?

8. Be a value-adding machine. As much as I loathe reality television with all of my being, the sheer number of makeover shows on a typical evening of programming does indicate something reassuring: Most people want to get better.

Not all, but most.

And I’m not just talking about those grease balls on Jersey Shores who want calf implants. I’m talking about your employees, who would relish the possibility to become more valuable. Not just in the organization – but in all areas of their lives.

Why make it so hard for people to grow? Afraid they’ll get too successful and steal your job or find a better job? Come on. They’re going to be gone in four years anyway. May as well show them you support their development. Rise above standard operating procedure and create room for people to become something different. Odds are, they’re eager to reinvent their work experience anyway.

Try asking what it will take to build something that they recognize themselves in. Try treating them as the people they want to become in order for them to know who they really are. Maybe then they’ll stop watching reality television and actually work a few nights a week. Does your organization move its people closer to, or farther away from where they want to be?

REMEMBER: It’s hard work to keep your people from walking out the door.

And odds are, you won’t retain everybody.

But if you make a conscious effort to engage people in the most human, most approachable and most respectful manner, your organization will greatly improve its chances of making love stay.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How will you keep people from walking out the door?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “10 Unmistakable Motivators of Human Engagement,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Entrepreneur, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2011!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

6 Ways to Give People a Front Row Seat to Their Own Brilliance

Most people don’t realize how brilliant they are.

This stems from:

A lack of self-belief.
A lack of external affirmation.
A lack of human mirrors in their life.

Or, maybe they’re just too close to themselves to see it.

“Standing on a whale fishing for minnows,” as the Buddhists say.

THE POINT IS: If you want people to fall in love with you – you have to help them fall in love with themselves first.

Thanks for that one, Dixie Dynamite.

One way to do so is by giving them a front row seat to their own brilliance.

Whether you’re a coach, manager, parent, executive – or simply someone who wants to make others feel essential – consider these strategies for ushering your people to the best seat in the house:1. Be their permission slip. Not everybody is comfortable being smart. In fact, many people require permission to bring their brilliance to the table. Without it, their capability may never come across.

The good news is, there’s no formula. There’s no seven-step system. Often times, giving people a front row seat to their own brilliance is a matter of looking them in the eye and saying:

“I believe in you. I believe in your abilities. And I know that you carry something amazing with you that’s yours and yours alone, so, I invite you to bring it stage center and set the world on fire.”

That’s what approachable leaders do: They make it okay for people. Okay to be smart, okay to be awesome and okay to be the most rocking version of themselves, every day. How can you give people permission to share what they’re afraid of revealing?

2. Put something into people. As an author, I’ve learned that a great book doesn’t inform you – it infects you. Interestingly, in the leadership realm, the same principle applies: You have to breathe life into people’s understanding of themselves. Otherwise they may never realize their own potential.

As Benjamin Hoff explained in The Tao of Pooh, “No matter how useful we may be, sometimes it takes us a while to recognize our own value.” That’s why infection is so critical: You’re putting something into people.

From possibility to vision to enthusiasm to energy, that’s what an approachable leaders remember: It’s not just how people experience you – it’s how they experience themselves in relation to you. How will you send people back with a lighter step?

3. Dig for documentation. Any time one of my colleagues says something even remotely interesting, intelligent or creative, I always offer the same response: “That’s terrific – have you written about that yet?”

Usually their answer is no, which is fine. That’s not the point. The goal of this response is to honor people’s words with an immediate foundation of affirmation, in the hopes that external validation from someone they trust will inspire them to explore their thoughts in greater detail.

What’s more, when you let people know that their words have weight often enough, eventually enough evidence will accumulate to convince them of their brilliance. When people bring you their ideas, are you fundamentally affirmative?

4. Puncture their delusions of inadequacy. Next time someone tries to convince you how much they suck at something, simply ask them, “According to whom?” Odds are, they won’t have a valid source. Probably themselves. And as we all know, nobody is a harsher critic than he person looking back at us in the mirror.

Another bullshit-calling question I find helpful is, “What evidence do you have to support that belief?” It’s a bit annoying, but it does drive home your point.

Or, if either of those suggestions bomb, try this: Help people replay mental reruns of past victories. Mount the evidence heap high enough where they’ll have no choice but to think, “You know what? I’m actually pretty awesome after all.”

Ultimately, by showing faith in others, they believe in themselves, feel more highly of themselves and identify the stories they’re telling to themselves. How acute is your nose for personal falsehood?

5. Roll playback on unintentional music. One of the coolest books I’ve ever read is Unintentional Music, by Lane Arye. His philosophy is that the things we normally consider to be garbage can enrich us. And that when we choose to see disturbing or unwanted materials as potentially meaningful to our work, the final recordings of our life’s music is that much more beautiful.

Next time you’re with someone who does or says something accidentally awesome, refuse to overlook the value of their unintentional notes. Use Phrases That Payses like, “Say that again!” “Wait, what was that?” and “Did you hear what you just said?”

By forcing people to pause, rethink and repeat what just slipped out, they might discover gold. Hell, that’s how most inventions, rock songs and art pieces were created: By accident.

Learn to attend to people’s words with a sense of deep democracy. That there’s always something to treasure. They’ll return the favor by treasuring you. Are you allowing, embracing and using people’s verbal accidents?

6. Memorialize the impact. It’s one thing to tell someone they’re brilliant; it’s another thing to quote that person on your blog, published it for the entire world to see and then email them with the link as an official thank-you for the inspiration.

That’s what I do. Every single day. And it takes less than five minutes. The cool part is: The Internet is forever. Which means that person’s quote isn’t going away. Which means they don’t just have a front row seat to their own brilliance – they have season tickets.

The best part is: You don’t need a blog to do this. You need to listen, you need to remember, you need to publish on a public platform and you need to personally let the person know you’ve done so. People don’t forget. Whose name did you put up in lights last week?

HERE’S THE BIGGER PICTURE: Recognition isn’t just an interactional gift – it’s also an emotional release. And when you give people a front row seat to their own brilliance, a few things happen.

You create a world of delight.
Which increases their level of engagement.
Which reminds people of their fundamental efficacy.

You create a significant emotional event.
Which establishes a memory that sticks in their mind forever.
Which drives people to display the work they’re capable of.

You create a safe haven for people to fall in love with themselves.
Which helps them fall in love with you too.
Which helps people pull out their inner vitality.

Ultimately, giving people a front row seat to their own brilliance requires radical transfer of emphasis.

Because it’s not who you know. It’s not who knows you.

It’s whose life is better because they know you.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Does you brand speak to the brain or the chest?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
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
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

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

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

6 Ways to Avoid Bombing Your Next Employee Engagement Survey

Three hundred billion dollars.

Within the U.S. workforce, Gallup estimates that this is the cost in lost productivity alone, according to their thirty-year Employee Engagement Index.

How much of that money is your company responsible for?

ANSWER: Too much.

Today we’re going to explore six strategies to make sure your organization doesn’t bomb its next employee engagement survey:1. Participation isn’t the same as engagement. On a breakfast table, the chicken participated – but the pig was engaged. Which category do you people fit in? Here’s the distinction:

To participate is to take – to engage is to pledge.
To participate is to take a look around – to engage is to take purposeful action.
To participate is to show up for you – to engage is to share with others.

This makes participation more of a one-way street, and engagement more of a give and take exchange.

To assure you have more of the latter, try this: Don’t conclude your blog posts and social media updates with a thank you – conclude with a call to action. Solicit engagement with a question, a challenge or a fill in the blank exercise. Give people ample space to express themselves on your platform.

Then, keep the loop open to allow other people in your tribe to contribute to the ongoing discussion. That’s the kind of engagement involves risk taking, spontaneity, socially supported co-creation.

Remember: People who participate are helpful additions; people who engage are vital components. Which one would you rather have at your organization?

2. Make yourself more bounceable. Getting people to volunteer information and open up to you is a big challenge – in business and in life. After all, people don’t want to say something stupid, rock the boat, get eaten alive or risk getting canned.

They need reassurance that their ideas will be greeted with a welcoming heart in a safe, honest, question-friendly environment.

The secret is to lay a foundation of affirmation. To instantly reassure people that you appreciate their ideas, regardless of their value. A few Phrases That Payses include, “I’m glad you spoke up,” “Thank you for letting me know,” “I had no idea – thanks for telling me,” and “I’m so glad we had this conversation.”

Think of it this way: Buddhists monks never ring bells – the invite the bells to sound. If your people are disengaged, maybe it’s time to stop ringing and start inviting. Maybe it’s time to stop listening and start leaving people heard. And maybe it’s time to stop asking questions and start questioning answers. Are you encouraging people to save their opinion for later or allow them say the essential thing that is within them?

3. Inspire people with a vision of what they can contribute. There’s a great Counting Crows song that says, “All love wants – is to be believed in.” In the same vain, all your people need – is to feel needed. And your mission is to show them that you’re conscious of their capability to contribute.

More importantly, how that contribution ripples back into their lives – not just the life of the organization. Because without that sense of reciprocity, people labor in vain. And they don’t engage because they’re too busy wondering if the work they’re doing will disappear into the corporate ether.

On the other hand, when you stop looking over people’s shoulders – and when you make it safe for them to experiment – you demonstrate trust in their abilities. And that’s when brilliance gets unlocked. That’s when you evoke people’s capacity to dream. And that’s when they taste the sweet liberation of what’s possible. All because you believed in their untapped potential for growth.

Ultimately, when people view their work as a gateway to something bigger – not just the daily grind – they actually want to come in every day. And they engage because they’re treated as unique individuals, not as a means to organizational ends. Are you actually building people, or just building your own dream and using people as bricks?

4. Create a setting in which everyone’s gifts can flourish. Followable leaders are the ones who are confident enough to surround themselves by strong teammates and not be intimidated by their strengths.

On the other hand, when you disable people from exercising their gifts, they stop operating out of their core. And the work they do becomes stale, mediocre and unengaging.

The challenge is to listen for greatness to show up in each person. Then, to attend to whatever surfaces with deep democracy. Ultimately, by digesting each other’s differences, and acknowledging the diversity of consciousness, you inspire them to remain engaged.

That’s what my mentor taught me: Your have to give people permission to be. You have to allow them to publicly display their successes. And you have to let go of being the life of the party so you can start bringing other people to life at the party. How are you meeting the most critical needs of your people?

5. Reinforce social belongingness. Kalamazoo College conducted a study a few years ago that examined feelings of belongingness as a predictor of engagement of student leaders. Thousands of students surveyed proved that the likelihood of their willingness to engage was directly correlated to their perceived sense of belonging.

How are you reinforcing that with your people?

Because the simplest way to make someone feel like they belong is to actually make them belong. Take Metallica, for example. A few years ago, they began searching for a new bass player. And after weeks of auditions, they finally decided on a guy named Robert Trujillo.

But the cool part was, instead of just throwing him a welcome party; Metallica offered him a one million dollar advance for joining the band.

Think he was engaged? Think he felt like he belonged? You better believe it.

They put their money where their mouth was, affirmed the value he brought to the table and said, “This is how much it means to us that you become part of our family.” Will you let your world open up and lovingly swallow the people who matter most, or will their efforts be another silent symphony?

6. Reinforce people’s sense of thee. In a worldwide survey to test employee engagement, Towers Perrin found that an organization’s symbol or logo was a key indicator, as it they are visible manifestations of pride.

Not unlike the first-round draft pick who holds up his shiny new uniform in front of all the cameras and says, “I’m proud to wear the Tiger Jersey,” when people’s work invokes a sense of gratification, they engage.

Take Anheuser Busch, for example. People who work there don’t brag to their friends that they work for “some” beer company, or even “a” beer company. They work for thee beer company. The big mama. The grand daddy. The King of Beers.

Your challenge is to pinpoint the vehicle of your superiority. To repeatedly articulate your “est.” As in:

Craziest. Dizziest. Fanciest. Gutsiest. Heaviest. Juiciest. Knottiest. Laziest. Purest. Quietest. Rarest.

Think about the one thing your organization does that nobody else can touch – and reinforce it daily. Your people will want to attach themselves with that. What are you the world heavyweight champion of?

ULTIMATELY: Engagement isn’t something you just decide to implement into your organization.

It isn’t a process.
It isn’t a strategic initiative.
It isn’t a tool for driving profits.
It isn’t a method for growing membership.

Engagement needs to be a living, breathing component of your organization’s constitution.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How will you avoid bombing your next employee engagement survey?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “27 Affirmations to Prepare Yourself to Listen,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Entrepreneur, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2011!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

How to be Taken Seriously by People Half Your Age

Everyone is old to someone.

Whether you’re fresh out of college, well into your career, a veteran office worker, a recently retired professional, or a grizzled old fart, there will always be people younger than you.

And if you want them to take you seriously, I have three words for you:

Just For Men.

Only kidding. Hair dye isn’t going to help you.

If you really want to be taken seriously by people half your age, you have to make a conscious decision to do so. Since I’ve already written on how to be taken seriously by people twice your age, here’s a list of ideas to help you on you way, Grandma: 1. If you’re not current – you’re not credible. The word “credibility” comes from the Latin creditum, which means, “Something loaned or entrusted to another.” Interesting. Credibility is on loan. Which means your credibility might take years to assemble, but only seconds to annihilate.

My suggestion is to stop reminiscing about how things used to be and start reveling in how things currently are. That’s the easiest way to invite someone to tune you out: By talking about the old days. Even if the old days were five years ago. Move on. Talk about the new days. What irrelevancies do you need to discard?

2. Learn the new tricks that matter. Fine. You’re an old dog. Big deal. The marketplace doesn’t care. If there’s a new trick that matters to your people, you still have to learn it.

For example, if you’re struggling with technology they’re familiar with, learn it. Take a class if you have to. Otherwise you’ll lose them. If you’re not up with current cultural trends, research it. Spend an hour on Wikipedia each week if you have to. Otherwise you’ll lose them.

Remember: The reason people aren’t taking you seriously has nothing to do with old age and everything to do with old thinking. Are the cobwebs in your brain marring your credibility?

3. Young people always rebel when they feel fundamentally disrespected. As such, avoid telling them you know what’s best for them. Avoid imposing your own direction on their lives. Avoid traveling roads for people they know they need to travel themselves.

And at all cost, avoid the phrase, “I told you so.”

All that does is cause people feel small and think, “I resent you so.” Instead, let people come to their own conclusions, make their own decisions and make their own mistakes.

Yes, it requires great emotional restraint. And yes, it requires significant self-control. But without such respectful delegation, you fractionize their experiences and rob them of valuable learning opportunities. Good luck being taken seriously after that.

Look: You can’t convince people to change – you can only give them more information. And sometimes the best way to help is to get the hell out of the way. What happened to the last person you tried to fix?

4. Don’t just get over yourself – stay over yourself. Not everyone who gets over himself remains in that position. Educate yourself in the language of humility. Learn to win less. Publicly share your mistakes. And be smart enough to be dumb.

Otherwise you kill your credibility with terminal certainty.

Also, consider getting down off your pedestal by offering it to others. Here’s how: When you share a success story, use someone younger as an example. When share tell a mistake moment, use yourself as an example. People of all generations will appreciate your honesty and be more willing to listen to you. Are you poking fun in the mirror?

5. Tune into their frequency. I once asked my fourteen-year-old cousin to email me the name of a particular video game he mentioned. His response: “Email? That takes forever!” I couldn’t believe my ears.

But it was a helpful lesson, because the bottom line was: People under eighteen don’t email. Ever. They communicate via text, instant message or social media. As such, before sending your next message, consider how people prefer to hear. Respond to the idiosyncratic needs of each person.

Otherwise, if you force everyone to conform to the your communication style, you run the risk of losing people who matter most.

Remember: And any number multiplied by zero is still zero. It’s not that they don’t like you – it’s that you’re not speaking on their frequency. Are you trying to reach people with outdated technology?

6. Magnifying the unhideable. There’s no need to dye the gray out of your hair. Instead, convert pigeonholes into goldmines. Consider the five most pervasive stereotypes young people have about your generation.

Next, ask yourself, “What do I bring that’s contrary to those judgments?” Then, use that unique value to disarm the immediate preoccupation in people’s mind. Let them know that despite your age – you’re different. Not that you’re in denial, but that you’re the exception to certain rules.

Ultimately, by putting your age on the table, you express honesty, humility and a healthy sense of humor. And those three attributes transcend age barriers every time. How could you express yourself instead of trying to prove yourself?

7. Enough trying to relate to people. You can’t manufacture commonality. And nothing annoys young people more than someone who pretends to be just like them. That’s the mistake older generations make:

They either go overboard trying to relate to young people and end up insulting their intelligence; or they ignore and disqualify anything that they don’t understand and alienate those people further.

Bad move. False relatability is the ultimate eye-roller. Just because you get a tattoo on your arm or mention Facebook doesn’t mean young people are going to take you seriously. Stop trying so hard.

What’s more, Millennials might actually take you seriously if you stopped calling them Millennials. All people, regardless of age, want to be called by their name – not their birthday. Do you see people as labels to be related to or individuals to be cared for and enjoyed?

REMEMBER: If you want younger generations to take you seriously, you don’t need hair dye, you don’t need Botox and you don’t need a new wardrobe.

What you need is a mental makeover.

Because the problem isn’t old age – it’s old thinking.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How many opportunities did you lose because people didn’t take you seriously?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “65 Things I Wish Somebody Would Have Told Me When I Started My Company,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Entrepreneur, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Who’s quoting YOU?

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

www.stuffscottsaid.com.

How a Little Creativity Can Make a Lot of Money

My friend Sean Gallagher at StartupFreedom recently interviewed me about execution, idea protection and business sustainability.

Here’s what we learned:

Coming up with a creative business idea isn’t the magic solution to making money online.

In fact, coming up with a really creative, innovative business idea may even be harder to make money with.

You may create something that is innovative and unique but nobody in the market may be willing to pay for it.

Last week I posted this interview, and here is the next one. Enjoy!

LET ME ASK YA THIS:
How do you keep moving forward and maintain your vision when so many people put your idea down or don’t understand it?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS:
For the list called, “99 Questions Every Entrepreneur Should Ask,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Entrepreneur, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

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

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

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