3 Words of Advice: Try, Listen, Leverage

What’s your process?

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, Publisher, Artist, Mentor
[email protected]

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2011-2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Is Anyone Else Tired of Being Right?

Have you ever been in a committed relationship with someone that you loved completely and devoted yourself to fully – who was totally wrong for you?

That’s terminal certainty.

It’s that mindset when you’ve convinced yourself that you’re correct, despite evidence to the contrary. And from that moment on, nothing will make you go back on your commitment. Nothing.

Because you just know.

The decision is final: She’s the one. Together forever. End of story. No room for discussion.

And then one morning, you wake up and realize that you no longer like this person, you no longer want to spend the rest of your life with this person and, by the way, none of your friends ever liked this person in the first place.

They just kept quiet to avoid breaking your heart. So you stayed together to preserve your sense of rightness. And as a result, you ended breaking your own heart.

That’s terminal certainty.

AND DON’T GET ME WRONG: I’m all about commitment.

But the ego has a sneaky way of convincing the heart that it has shit for brains. And if you’re not careful, you can become a victim of your own conviction.

Here are a few ideas to help you cure terminal certainty:1. Practice listening louder. Readers often ask me how I know what I’m going to write about each day. And to their frustration, my answer is always, “I don’t.”

Because that’s not the way creativity works. You can’t decide what you’re going to write – all you can do is listen for what wants to be written. Otherwise you end up limiting yourself to what you already know you want. And that prevents you from hearing the unintentional music that might change everything.

The same goes for the page of life: If you want to keep yourself open to possibility, don’t ignore the whispering invitations of the world. Listen loudly. Respond to your inner urgencies. And trust that whatever needs to open within you, will. Because the last thing you want to do is force-feed the canvas with something that doesn’t matter.

If you’re not alert to the forces streaming around you, you’ll never pin down what wants to be written. Grow bigger ears. Trust the process. And always ask yourself what wants acceptance in this moment. You’ll have no trouble figuring out your next move. What are you allowing yourself to give birth to?

2. Goals are overrated. It’s one thing to be goal oriented – it’s another to be goal obsessed. That’s the problem: Once you become too fixated on your goals, a whole host of dangerous reverberations echo through your life. First, you lose sign of the true intention behind the goal. And that’s way more important than crossing some arbitrary number off your list.

Second, you become too attached to the outcome. And you lose site of what matters most: The person you’re becoming while accomplishing the goal. Third, you lock yourself into working on something you’re no longer passionate about. And that’s not fair to you, your work or the world.

And finally, when you’re too fixated on accomplishing your goals, you end up living in a perpetual state of dissatisfied expectation. And that blocks you from finding contentment in the now.

My suggestion: Hold intentions; don’t set goals. This approach focuses on the present moment, isn’t so outcome oriented and makes it easier to pivot when life throws you a curveball. Then, instead of striving for the finish line, you can remember why the hell you’re running in the first place. Will you really be that much happier when you accomplish all your goals?

3. Certainty locks down your story. After wearing a nametag everyday for the past eleven years, I’ve finally comes to terms with this reality: Commitment has the potential to degrade into detriment.

Here’s why: The deeper you commit to something, the more likely you are to become so obsessed with idea of being committed to that something, that your desire actually becomes bigger than what you’re committed to. And as a result, you end up hurting the people you love because you’re blinded by the fire of your own conviction.

What’s more, you block yourself from whole world of cool opportunities that would have come your way had you not been so damn certain.

But it’s too late. You were too right.

All I’m saying is: Never overlook the possibility of changing your mind midstream. There’s nothing wrong with quitting. And it’s not a sign of failure to change your vision. As long as you do so when it’s right – not when it’s hard – nobody is going to spank you with a ruler.

In fact, they’ll probably give you a medal. At least you had the guts to admit you were wrong, turn the car around and barrel into the other direction. Most people wouldn’t be able to handle that kind of imperfection. Are you too attached to it?

4. Plans are for architects. One of my favorite mantras comes from legendary point guard Steve Nash: “If you don’t know where you’re going, nobody can stop you.” I’ve been living that philosophy for nearly a decade.

Think about it: When I started my business the day I graduated college, I had no idea what I was doing. And now, nearly a decade later, I’m happy to report that I still have no idea what I’m doing.

Interestingly enough, it seems to be working: Business is good, and life is even gooder. That’s the big secret nobody tells you in business school: You don’t need to know where you’re going – you just need to know why you’re going there. Because if you know your why, the how will come. As long as you develop a deeper awareness of the dance – and believe that the path will take you where you want to go – you’ll figure it out.

Stop making gods out of your plans. Find your core motivation, embed into the pavement and use the why to set yourself on fire. Because the irony is, there’s actually a lot of predictability in uncertainty. But only if you listen. Are you willing to plunge forward planless?

REMEMBER: Our troubles come not when we think we’re wrong, but when we’re sure we’re right.

Life’s too short to stay on the wrong path just to avoid looking like an idiot.

Try not knowing. Hug uncertainty. Be blissfully ignorant.

Are you still addicted to terminal certainty?

For the list called, “7 Ways to Out Attract Your Competition,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Publisher, Artist, Mentor
[email protected]

Is your frontline IN line?

Tune in to The Frontline Channel on NametagTV.com!

Watch video lessons on delivering unforgettable service!

How to Stop Editing People

Humans want freedom.

Freedom to think.
Freedom to speak.
Freedom to just be.

It’s a natural motivator of engagement.

THE PROBLEM IS: Everybody’s got a red pen.

And the ones who use them to edit people are making this world a painful place to live.

Here’s a collection of ideas to help you stop editing people:1. Give people permission to be remarkable. When I first told my parents that I wanted to wear a nametag everyday for the rest of my life, they responded with a four-letter word: Cool.

Not exactly the four-letter word you would expect, but that’s just the kind people they are: They’re fundamentally affirmative. They say yes to it all. And unless you’re doing something dangerous or disrespectful, they never ask you to edit yourself. Cool.

If you want people to brag about you the way I brag about my parents, try this: Instead of superimposing your prefabricated definition of who they should be, endow them with the dignity of self-expression. Let them inject their personality into everything they do. And respond to them with foundation of affirmation.

You’ll find that by enabling regular expressions of eccentricity and individuality, people will become more of themselves when they’re around you. And all you’ll have to do is sit back and watch the show.

Life is more than how people experience you – it’s how people experience themselves in relation to you. Have you removed all restrictions of individual expression?

2. Fixing is for plumbers. Editing isn’t limited to writing. It’s much bigger than that. Technically, to edit is to correct the core of something. And I don’t know about you, but any time someone attempts to do that to me, my heart goes batty.

Like the time I went on a date with an actual editor. Huge mistake. She constantly corrected everything I did, said and believed. She was like a giant red pen, but with boobs.

Here’s the reality: People don’t want to be fixed. They want to be heard. They want to been seen. And they want to express themselves fully and freely. Next time you feel the creeping urge to correct the core of someone, staple your tongue to the roof of your mouth.

Instead of trying to improve people, stand on the edge of yourself and salute them. Then, attend to whatever surfaces with deep democracy. And listen as loudly as you can. By engaging with this posture, you make it easy for people to show up as the best, highest version of themselves.

Remember: If they can’t express themselves, they suffocate. Whom are you trying to lock inside your editing booth?

3. Provide a safe haven for self-definition. During a recent newspaper interview, the reporter asked me where I received my creative foundation. I told him about Gifted and Talented Education, the extra curricular program where I spent six crucial years of my childhood.

It was awesome: We learned how to think, when to think, and most importantly, why to think. Plus we got pulled out of math class. Sweet.

But here’s the best part: Our instructor, Mrs. Ray, gave us an irrevocable license to create. Rules, schmules. For two hours a week, we had a permanent permission slip to be whatever and whomever we wanted, with zero consequences. And irregardlessliable of how crazy our ideas were, she greenlighted everything. Even when we made up our own words, like the one in the previous sentence.

We need more Mrs. Rays. Because she understood the value of letting people see through their own eyes. She created a sacred place of refuge where the eccentric kids always felt at home. And she promised that we could come to that home without any interference in expressing our own individuality. Especially during math class. Stupid long division. Who was the first person that let you live by your own definitions?

4. Let people stay loyal to themselves. I don’t drink. Ever. It’s not a religious thing; it’s not an addiction thing – just a personal preference. I don’t like alcohol, I hate being out of control of my body and I can’t handle hangovers.

Plus, I’m high on life. And occasionally paint thinner.

Anyway, what’s fascinating is how difficult it is for some people to wrap their heads around this choice. I’m reminded of another girl I dated who was so colossally insecure, that she once refused to order dinner until I had a drink with her. Swear to god.

But instead of making a scene, I decided to make a point: When my beer arrived, I chugged the entire pint, set it down on the table and walked out of the restaurant. And I never spoke to her again.

Lesson learned: The only thing worse than people trying to define who you are, is when they work overtime to make you believe their definition. Stop pressuring people into your idealized version of what a normal person should be – you’re jailing their truth.

Let them wear their own face, not the mask that makes you feel better about your own ugliness. Are you relentlessly requiring people to adjust who they are to accommodate your selfish insecurities?

REMEMBER: It’s hard to create value when you don’t have a voice.

On the other hand, when you show people that their voice is welcome, they will sing their hearts out for you.

Maybe it’s time to put down the red pen.

Who are you editing?

For the list called, “11 Things to Stop Wasting Your Time On,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Publisher, Artist, Mentor
[email protected]

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2011-2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Are You a Statistic or a Factor?

I was never any good at math.

But I do remember the difference between a statistic and a factor:

Statistics are anonymous integers; factors are influential amplifiers. Statistics are players of the game; factors are permanent imprints on the game. Statistics are expired pieces of the past; factors are essential elements of the future.

Which one describes you?

Today we’re going to explore a collection of ideas to help you be a factor.1. Telling the story isn’t enough. Storytelling is a pull strategy, but only if you understand the larger picture. In the book The Story Factor, Annette Simmons says it best, “You are a story to everyone you meet; but don’t just tell it, demonstrate it.”

The secret is, you have to do so both online and off. Otherwise you’re just winking in the dark.

One way I help my clients extend the influence of their story into the marketplace is by creating customized identity collages, or Brandtags. These limited edition artifacts memorialize their story in striking way that invites the customers, employees and partners to join the brand – not just buy it.

What’s more, the brandtags are given as unique, memorable and spreadable gifts that create an emotional connection that deepens over time. That way, once the art piece is hung, it functions as a social object. And this combination of marketing, art and leadership immediately increases the level of organic, human and authentic conversations about the brand.

Remember: Your story can’t be a factor if nobody retells it. What artifact are you using to make yours hang on the wall forever?

2. Unmute yourself. If you don’t have a voice, you can’t create value. Period. Here’s a collection of ways to amplify it. First, learn think on paper. Spend time each day puking, clarifying and classifying your thoughts. You don’t have to be good – you just have to be willing. And all you need is a blank page and an open mind.

Second, think of yourself as a translator. Forget about finding information, focus on interpretation. Because if you can translate better than anyone, your voice will be heard.

Third, occupy multiple outlets. Use digital tools to give your voice widening access. At the same time, focus less on the tools you’re using to get the word out and more on the word you’re trying to get out.

Fourth, place yourself in opposition to conventional wisdom. If there’s an opinion you’re afraid to have, share it anyway. After all, the voice without venturesomeness is never heard. And if you keep saying, “I can’t say this,” you’re never going to say anything worth repeating.

Lastly, get people to follow your thinking, not just your profile. Create a listening platform that enables an ongoing conversation to engage the people who matter most.

Remember: Volume is the vehicle of being heard. Be prodigious or be ignored. What did you publish this week?

3. Envision the end frame. Walt Disney saw everything as a cartoon. And with every new project he started, he’d always ask the question, “What’s the end frame?” This enabled him to envision the future, which inspired him to execute the present.

If you want to inject the same magic into your own endeavors, here’s my suggestion: Don’t waste your time making another bloated list of unachievable goals and a strategic plans that have no relationship with reality. Instead, ask questions that take you back to the future.

Try a few from my master list:

*If everybody did exactly what you said, what would the world look like?
*What would real fulfillment look like if you were truly living your life purpose?
*If a miracle occurred overnight, and you woke up tomorrow morning with all of your dreams realized, what would be the first thing you would notice?

These questions help you imagine what you need to become in order for your vision to manifest. And they inspire you to paint a compelling, detailed picture of the desired future – then make meaningful strides toward it. Sure beats trying to map out your entire career on a flip chart.

Remember: It’s easier to get out of bed when you have a horizon to point to. What’s your end frame?

4. Usefulness trumps innovation. Creating something that nobody’s ever seen before makes you fresh. But creating something that simplifies people’s lives makes you a factor. In the words of software entrepreneur Jason Fried, “If all you bring to the marketplace is cool, your product will never last. Useful, on the other hand, never wears off.”

The secret is to make sure that usefulness has a palpable presence in your work. Consider asking yourself these questions:

*Are you solving a problem that nobody cares about?
*Are you making something useful, or just making something?
*If your brand vanished tomorrow, how many people would experience withdrawal symptoms?
*Are you giving people what they need, or superimposing onto people what you think they should want?

If all else fails, just ask people. They’ll tell you exactly how you can become more useful to them. And all you have to do is listen.

Remember: If your work doesn’t solve a real problem for the world, you’re just doing something cool. Have you hit your quota of usefulness this month?

5. Find work that represents human courage. Not everyone is brave enough to go after what they want. They’re afraid of failing, or, worse yet, afraid of succeeding. So they never stick themselves out there. They never push their chips to the middle of the table.

And at the end of their lives, they have nothing to show for themselves but a dusty ghost of a departed dream.

If you truly want to be a factor, try this: Use fear as a compass. That’s what I do. Whatever scares me the most, whatever invites highest level and self-doubt, I do that. Because I know it’s the work that matters. I know it’s the work that belongs to me. And I know I’m guaranteed to dip into the deepest parts of my heart.

The point is: You can’t live your life on the balcony. Eventually you have to get your ass on the dance floor, let the music own you and spin yourself like a crazy person. Otherwise you’ll melt into the multitude with the rest of the statistic.

Err or the side of heart. People will notice. Are you willing to keep taking risks until it hurts or works?

REMEMBER: Statistics make headlines; but factors make history.

Decide which one you want to be remembered as.

Are you a statistic or a factor?

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, Publisher, Artist, Mentor
[email protected]

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2011-2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

How to Squash Complacency

Relationships work when you work at them.

With your clients, partners and employees.
With your friends, family and significant others.

THAT’S THE SECRET: You can’t get lazy with the people who matter most.

Otherwise your relationships grow stale.

Here’s a collection of ideas to help you squash complacency:1. Never get lazy with your audience. Complacency is the merit badge you get for winning a marathon in your comfort zone. About ten years ago, U2 learned this lesson the hard way. Their album, Pop, sold fewer copies than any other record in their catalogue. As a result, the group made a public declaration:

“Our band is reapplying for the job of the best band in the world.”

But this wasn’t bravado or a publicity stunt – it was pure conviction. They sincerely wanted to squash the complacency they’d built around themselves.

So they worked their tails off. And a year later, their tenth record, All That You Can’t Leave Behind, sold over thirty five million copies and won seven Grammies. All because they rooted out any sense of entitlement and got back to work.

Of course, those guys can afford the setback – you can’t. Your challenge is to take action quicker then they did. After all, by the time you realize you’re trapped in the grasp of complacency – it’s already too late. You’re simply too close to yourself. Are you standing on whale fishing for minnows?

2. Stay hungry. The word complacent derives from the Latin complacentia, which means, “satisfied.” Which means the opposite of complacency isn’t happiness – it’s hunger. That is, being proactive in the way you honor, recognize and thank the people whose relationships are essential to your existence. If you want to create an emotional connection that deepens over time, consider these ideas:

First, treat gratitude as ongoing process. A calendar of consistent thankful action. Not just a trying chore or an isolated event. Second, give meaningful rewards that recognize outstanding contributions to your organization. Make gratitude palpable and recurrent by giving gifts people remember and keep forever.

Third, give compliments that matter. Show people that they’re not just important, but essential. After all, people love to hear how great they are, but they long to hear how great you’ve become because of who they are.

Remember: Success never comes unassisted. Live your life as a thank you in perpetuity to the people who matter most, and they’ll always remain by your side. Are you trying to satisfy today’s hunger with yesterday’s meal?

3. Constantly reeducate your market. Good brands evolve, upgrade and mature – but great brands actively share the highlights of that process with their customers. Otherwise people will have a limited understanding of the value you deliver. And it will become increasingly hard for them to be your advocates. Your challenge is to remind people of three things.

First, what you do: That is, your current positioning to the marketplace. Second, what you’re doing: That is, your current projects and clients in the marketplace. Third, what you’ve done: That is, your past work and successes thereof. This spectrum eliminates the question of, “Should we hire these guys?” and focuses on the solution, “How should we use these guys?” And that’s a position of diversity and resourcefulness that makes you more buyable and more revisitable.

Remember: Just because someone did business with you five years ago doesn’t mean they know who, what, where and why you are today. How many different ways can people say yes to you?

4. Deeper mindfulness plus deliberate effort. In any relationship, there’s a natural complacency that people gravitate toward. After a certain period of time, you just get comfortable with your rhythms. You let yourself go. And you figure it’s just easier to order pizza and watch a movie instead of taking the time to cook dinner and have a real conversation about something that matters.

The problem is, each of those micro moments of complacency add up. And before you know it, your relationship has degraded into a predictable, undersexed stalemate that fails to give itself the attention and care it so desperately needs.

I understand the chase can’t last forever. But that doesn’t give you permission to undercut each others’ relational ambition. The good new is, you can still be a force in people’s lives without forcing yourself in people’s lives. As my parents like to remind me,

“The secret to a long, healthy marriage is to never get lazy with each other.”

Try this: Next time you say to yourself, “I don’t want to bother her with this minor issue,” share it anyway. It’s an Share for no reason other than to remind people that they’re worth sharing to. Be being radically honest when most people would say nothing, you create an act of caring in a moment of inconvenience. Do you bother to bother?

5. Use every available tool to nurture your relationships. The advantage of technology is that it provides you with multiple points of contact. It allows you to meet people where they are and tune into their preferred frequency, instead of forcing them to conform to your communication style.

For example: Some people prefer phone calls, some prefer email. Some prefer face-to-face meetings; some prefer text and instant messaging. And some people prefer Facebook, while others prefer Twitter.

Fine. Whatever it takes. Use everything. You’re in a position where you can respond to the idiosyncratic needs of each person efficiently and expeditiously. My suggestion is twofold:

First, keep tabs on which medium people prefer. That way you can always reach them the way they want to be reached. Second, let people know ho you preferred to be reached. That way you remain accessible without violating your own boundaries.

Ultimately, and as long as you stay organized, stay updated and stay connected, you’ll be able to nurture your relationships through a variety of tools. And the risk of complacency will drop dramatically. What systems can you put in place to make sure everyone feels heard?

REMEMBER: Every relationship has a contract.

Whether it’s online or offline, personal or professional, engaged to marry or hired to help, relationships work when you work at them.

Don’t get lazy with each other.

We’re all we’ve got.

How will you squash complacency?

For the list called, “38 Ways to Make Customers Gasp,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Publisher, Artist, Mentor
[email protected]

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2011-2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

The Bob Dylan Guide to Owning the Room

In Bob Dylan’s bestselling book, Chronicles, he spends a lot of time talking about performing, captivating audiences and playing concerts around the globe for millions of screaming fans.

Here’s my favorite passage:

“I don’t do it for the money, I do it because I was summoned set the record straight.”

That’s how he owned the room.

By giving people more than just a vague glimmer.
By plunging straight into the heart of unimagined territory.
By helping people see what lies beyond the mystery curtain.

Here’s how to make it work for you:1. Understand room equity. This is a term I coined a few years ago when I wrote The Approachable Leader. And it hinges upon two key questions: When you walk into a room, how does it change? When you walk out of a room, how does it change?

That’s the thing: Owning the room isn’t about being larger than life – it’s about making the room larger by injecting it with life.

It’s not about controlling people – it’s about acting like the audience is your people. It’s not about being the most important person in the room – it about embodying the most important idea in the room. And it’s not about waiting for people to respond to your very presence – it’s about enlarging people so much that they wonder who was responsible.

That’s the first challenge: To think about your current level of room equity. Because whatever change occurs to the room is a tangible representation of how your character, reputation and personality have been experienced by the people around you. Remember: It’s not just how people experience you – it’s how they experience themselves in relation to you. What is the temperature of your presence?

2. The show started a year ago. If you’re waiting until your performance starts, it’s already too late. That’s the big misconception about room ownership: It commences long before you walk in the door. It’s not about leveraging power phrases, employing strategic hand gestures or yakking out a steady stream of rhetorical devices.

It’s about living your life in a way that creates an honorable, attractive and intriguing reputation that’s waiting for you when you walk in the door. And it’s about engaging your fans in a conversation that’s honest, prompt and personal so they’re waiting with baited breath when you walk on stage.

That way, all you have to do is smile, set yourself on fire and let people watch you burn.

Remember: If you just started preparing for it the night before the performance, you’ve lost your audience long before you walked in the door. Are people waiting with baited breath to hear your very first words?

3. Charts are recorded, but experiences are remembered. Because Bob Dylan started performing in the mid to late fifties, most of his early influences were jazz and blues greats like Miles Davis. And according to the book, Miles never actually made any hit records. But according to Dylan, his legendary performances brought people back, with their friends and with their money.

If you want to do the same, consider these suggestions: First, show people a side of themselves they didn’t know was there. They’ll believe in possibilities they wouldn’t have allowed before. Second, sustain visual, verbal and interactional diversity. When you perform, make sure people are participating – not just staring.

Third, stop treating your audience like children. Come at people like they don’t have a brain and they’ll come at you like they don’t have a wallet. Fourth, surrender control. Crowd source your performance. All the audience to become co-creators of the experience.

Remember: As technology accelerates, and as people become more isolated from each other, there is a growing craving for live experience. Be someone who delivers that, and the room will be yours. Are you trying to be number one or trying to be the only one?

4. Capture heartshare. As a professional speaker, I’ve certainly fallen victim to the fantasy that I’m changing people’s lives. And maybe I am. But sometimes all your audience just wants is to be validated. To feel like they’re not alone. And to know that they’re not the only people who feel a certain way.

If you can bring that kind of sanity into a world of madness – your voice will never drop out of sight.

Here’s my suggestion: Instead of telling pointless, meandering stories; start positioning yourself as the mirror in which people can see a clearer picture of themselves. It makes it easy for your audience to transplant themselves into your message.

Plus, it increases the memorability of your delivery. After all: Being memorable has less to do with you, and more to do with how people experience themselves in relation to you.

The point is: If your message can simply remind people that they’re not the only ones cluelessly staggering through this world, you won’t have to change people’s lives – because they do it for themselves. All you had to do was give them the tap. Are you leaving your audience begging for more or begging for mercy?

5. Tactical is rarely timeless. If you want your performance to be wholly engrossing, give people ideas that will be relevant in fifty years. That’s the stuff of real flesh and blood. Otherwise you’re just dispensing tactics. And if people can get those online – for free – what do they need you for?

Consider these ideas: First, avoid getting caught in the seductive undertow of trendy inconsequentialities. Strategies are nice, but eventually they will reach the end of their product lifecycle. Which means you’ll have to start over. Second, design matters. Always. No matter what you do, how you do it, why you do it, and whom you do it for, beauty makes you timeless. Make friends with it.

Third, speak with a transcending tongue. Go straight to the heart of the human experience. And allow the theme behind what you do to speak louder than the era in which you do it. Finally, peel away the superficiality of your message. Instead of firing off a bunch of depthless trivialities, coat your voice in blood. Personal becomes universal, and universal lasts forever.

Look: There’s nothing more frightening than the prospect of irrelevancy. It’s always worth investing extra time in making your message more timeless. What are you doing to keep from fading away?

6. Dare to live by a different script. Never let people forget that you have your own way of seeing things. That’s why you got into art in the first place: As a mechanism for defining the way you think about the world. And if you want to share it with the people who matter most, remember the advice of hockey legend Tony Twist, “Don’t be afraid of hitting people too hard.”

You have to look the world straight in the eye, be blazingly honest and let your artistic spirit fill the room like a smoke machine. Because if all you do is mutter through locked teeth, your work won’t stand a chance of meaning anything. If all you do is conveniently ride the coattails of someone else’s truth, your voice will remain stale and colorless.

I’ve seen performances that made me want to drive my car over a cliff. But I’m thankful every time it happens, because it reminds me of what it truly takes to own the room: Authentic stylistic identity.

Vowing to follow your own heart’s love. Keeping your word with yourself, no matter what happens. And knowing that when you sing the true song of your soul, you speak in a language that people can’t misunderstand. Are you addicted to permission or indifferent to approval?

REMEMBER: Owning the room has less to do with you, and more to do with how people are better off from listening to you.

Practice that, and, as Bob Dylan sang, “You ain’t going nowhere.”

Do you own the room?

For the list called, “11 Things to Stop Wasting Your Time On,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Publisher, Artist, Mentor
[email protected]

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2011-2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

How to Out Heart the Competition

There’s no reason to be mean.

Slinging hate, slashing tires, undercutting pricing and poaching customers is not the smartest way approach your competition.

HERE’S MY SUGGESTION: Out heart the competition.

It’s easier.
It’s cheaper.
It’s more fun.

Here’s how to make it work for your organization: 1. Give your brand three dimensions. Cooking websites are getting smarter. They know that their users don’t just want recipes. They also want to learn what others thought about the recipe, what ingredients they added, what spices they used, what side they paired it with, what wine goes with it and what their families thought about it.

In short: They want to become better cooks, not just better at following directions. And if you want people to join you, know this: Information is price of admission. Giving people a bunch of facts isn’t enough.

To out heart the competition, you have to offer people context, perspective and community. Public radio is another brand that does this beautifully: They speak straight to the heart of the human experience. They explore new angles most stations miss. And they create a safe place to learn that broadens the listener’s cultural sensibilities. You can’t get that from top forty stations.

The point is: Customers want to listen to the whole song. And if all you’re giving them is a few random notes, they’re going to go somewhere else. How many dimensions does your brand deliver?

2. You can’t work incognito. If facts worked, the gym would be crowded. But it’s not. And here’s why: Numbers don’t inspire commitment – story does. And if you don’t dress your truth in it, you’ll never out heart the competition.

Here are the two questions that matter:

*Are you telling a better, funnier, more spreadable and more emotional story than the competition?
*As is that story embedded into every nook and cranny of your brand’s existence?

If not, your product is just a commodity. Another annoying interruption that’s going to be forgotten anyway. Look: You don’t need public speaking lessons – you need to cut your soul open. And you need to express yourself from that place relentlessly and expressively.

Even if it scares you. Even if it scares others. Because you intentionally set out to make the viewer blink, you incidentally end up making the viewer buy.

Remember: Don’t be afraid to chose a better story. Shout it from the rooftops or risk being ignored. Does your work evoke an active resonance or a dull thud?

3. Speak to the heart of human experience. Here’s why Starbucks rocks: They understand that “home” isn’t just the house you live in – it’s the space you return everyday. Sure, they don’t know what’s going on in your life when you walk in the door.

But their store still provides you with an act of escape in a moment of chaos. It’s a daily refuge for people. And that’s ten times more addictive than the caffeine.

Unfortunately, that’s where most companies lose: They fail to recognize and affirm our shared humanity. But if you want to out heart the competition, you have to master that deeper humanity within your work. And then you have to embed it into your job function on a daily basis. Consider these examples:

First, virus protection software. Their job is to preserve the inalienable right of digital freedom. Second, insurance companies. Their job is to help people live their lives free from fear every day. Third, trade associations: They job is to create a network of human healing. Has your brand anchored itself in the concrete foundation of compassion?

4. Anchor belonging. Every quarter, my mastermind group gathers for a full day strategy session. We give feedback to each other, laugh at each other, share with each other and confide in each other. It’s a beautiful thing. And any time new members join us, we always make sure they feel like they’re part of the group immediately.

In fact, I recently received an email from one woman who said, “This was the first group meeting I attended where nobody squeezed my shoulder.”

That’s a great reminder for anyone organization who has a membership base: People don’t want to have their head patted and told they’re going to make it someday. They just want to belong. They just want to have a home. They just want to feel like they’re part of the club.

Try this: Instead of waiting to warm up to people, skip the small talk. Stop inquiring about the goddamn traffic and just jump right in. And instead of asking people what their job title says – ask them what their emotional labor is dedicated to. They’ll forget all about the fact that they’re a first-timer. What do you see when you see people?

5. Squash complacency. Relationships work when you work at them. Period. Otherwise they degrade into predictable, boring and complacent stalemates. And that’s when people start to feel invisible. If you want to avoid getting lazy with your customers, ask one crucial question: How do you recognize longtime partners in a unique, memorable and spreadable way?

And I’m not talking about thoughtless, uninspiring holiday cards that get trashed instantly. Or impersonal, emotionless autoresponders reminding people how important their business is to you.

This is about creating an emotional connection that deepens over time. Gifting – not just giving – meaningful rewards that recognize outstanding contributions to your organization.

That’s why my company makes brandtags. These customized limited edition art pieces, or “identity collages,” completely erase the memory of any other gift your clients have ever received.

With a brandtag, you make people feel essential. With a brandtag, you make gratitude palpable and recurrent. And with a brandtag, you prove that recognition isn’t some corporate initiative – it’s a constitutional ingredient.

Remember: Ingratitude is the gateway drug to complacency. And complacency the merit badge you get for winning a marathon in your comfort zone. How do you thank people?

REMEMBER: People buy from people, not from faceless conformist hierarchies.

Follow the path of heart.
Wear it on your sleeve.

And let it bleed for the people who matter most.

Will you out heart the competition?

For a 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, Publisher, Artist, Mentor
[email protected]

“I usually refuse to pay for mentoring. But after Scott’s first brain rental session, the fact that I had paid something to be working with him left my mind – as far as I was concerned, the value of that (and subsequent) exchange of wisdom and knowledge, far outweighed any payment.”

–Gilly Johnson The Australian Mentoring Center

Rent Scott’s Brain today!

Are You a Resilient Leader?

To celebrate the release of Jeffrey Gitomer’s new book, The Little Book of Leadership, he’s asked me to offer a special gift to those who buy today.

I write books and give talks on approachability.

And, since Gitomer’s book is all about leadership, I’ve written something specifically for young leaders. The ebook you’ll win (along with tons of other awesome extras) is called, What Most Young Leaders Overlook.

Buy Jeffrey’s book here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Publisher, Artist, Mentor
[email protected]

Never the same speech twice.
Now booking for 2011-2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

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