A Constant Source of Adventure

It’s not a sticker – it’s a spark.

Every morning when I put on a nametag, I light a match and see what catches fire.

Will I make a new friend? Will I have a cool conversation? Will I be mistaken for an employee at Office Depot? Will I get insulted by a group of drunken football fans? Will I get harassed by the flight attendant who thinks I have a memory problem?

There’s no way to tell. After tens of thousands of interactions, I’m still never quite sure what’s going to happen each day. And that’s the beauty of the nametag: It’s my constant source of adventure.

It creates a never-ending stream of human moments that I live for.

That’s all I ask for.

I just want to have an interesting life. I just want to live a good story.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Don’t you?

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For the list called, “157 Pieces of Contrarian Wisdom,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2011-2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Why Curiosity Matters

I just wanted to see what would happen.

That’s it.

The nametag was an exercise in curiosity, nothing more.

But that’s just me. I’ve always been incurably curious. I’m a giant question mark. I’m the annoying kid who raises his hand right before the lunch bell rings – because he just has to know the answer – then makes everybody late for Tater Tot Tuesday.

The point is, history proves time and time again that the most successful, most celebrated and most influential people in the world were the ones who asked dangerous questions. Despite overwhelming efforts to silence their enthusiasm and deflect their interest, they kept curiosity burning. We can’t forget this. We can’t slide into complacency.

Otherwise we descend into fundamentalism.

Curiosity is not a threat.

It’s a healthy, active response to life.

It might have killed the cat, but it also created my career. I’m a dog person anyway.

What we can’t see, what we are afraid to see and what we are unwilling to see, that is what threatens us more.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What are you questioning?

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For the list called, “52 Secrets of Highly Successful Writers,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2011-2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

NametagTV: Currency That Matters

Money can’t buy everything.

Currency, on the other hand, can.

And if the struggling economy is making life difficult, you might consider seeking out alternative forms of exchange.

Today we’re going to explore a collection of currencies to help you buy what you need:1. Respect buys loyalty. If you want make employees stay, make customers buy, make suppliers sell and make competitors drool, respect them enough to be radically honest. Respect them enough to build expectational clarity in everything you do. Respect them enough to create a climate of joy. And respect them enough not to waste their precious time.

That’s the easiest, cheapest and smartest way to earn people’s attention – respect. The irony is: While it costs nothing to give, it could cost everything to neglect. So just make sure you bother to bother. Make sure you dare to care. Because if you can help people feel more honored and more respected every time they deal with you, they’ll stick around forever. Who are you accidentally disrespecting?

2. Class buys referrals. Customers are nice – but repeat customers are necessary. If you want to earn those second, third and fourth time buyers, here’s a concept to consider: Build a bridge to your competitors. I know it sounds counterintuitive. But if it were just you, it would be hard to survive. If it were just you, there would be nobody to lean against.

Competitors – when treated like partners – can become your power source. What if you posted a handy list of your top ten major competitors and their offers on your website? Can you imagine the message that sends to your customers? Be willing to share in almost every direction. You’ll learn quickly that class is the new quality. How many referrals did you give this week?

3. Compassion buys forgiveness. Next time your customers or employees screw up; respond with a foundation of affirmation. Thank them for being vulnerable enough to be imperfect. Thank them for giving you the chance to love them unfairly. That’s what you call an act of spirit in a moment of struggle. And it doesn’t just make your people happy – it makes them more likely to forgive you when you screw up too.

Because you will screw up. Probably a few days after they do. As long as you’re not managing forgiveness like some corporate scoreboard, the reciprocation of compassion will be worth it. How are you creating an environment where people feel comfortable making mistakes?

4. Consistency buys credibility. Do something once, and that’s a treat. Do something twice, and that’s a trend. But do something every single day for a decade, and that’s a triumph. That’s what your customers are trying to teach you: That they don’t buy what you sell. They buy what you stand for; why you stand for it and the process you endured to make it.

They buy the belief that you will deliver on your promise to solve their problem. And they buy the faith that if their problem isn’t solved; you’ll work tirelessly until it is. That’s why consistency is far better than rare moments of greatness: Because anybody can be great for a month. How many days off did you take last year?

5. Flexibility buys longevity. Lack of flexibility isn’t a fitness problem – it’s a business problem. And unless you’re wiling to develop a predisposition to compromise, good luck staying relevant. The good news is, flexibility doesn’t make you weak or small – it makes you human and malleable. It also makes you more likable and less of a pain in the ass to work with.

There’s nothing worse that getting stuck with a company that suffers from terminal certainty. The point is, being flexible isn’t about touching your toes – it’s about touching people where they’re at. Because if you want them to spend, you’ve got to bend. Are you an expert at meeting people halfway?

6. Generosity buys heartshare. First, it was all about marketshare. Next, it was mindshare. Now, it’s all about heartshare. I define that as, “The level of emotional responsiveness your work commands.” And if you want more of it, you have to become a gift giver. Not bottles of whiskey. Not boxes of brownies. A gift is anything that leaves people altered.

For example, give the gift of art, or, solving a problem in a way it’s never been solved before. Give the gift of initiative, or, being willing to go off script and work without a map. Lastly, give the gift of elevation, or, helping people walk away feeling more in love with themselves. Those are the types of gifts that change the recipient. Who knows? You could even document each of those heartshare moments in a blog. People would notice. What gifts are you known for giving?

7. Visibility buys belief. Woody Allen is famous for saying that eighty percent of life is showing up. I disagree – I think it’s higher. More importantly, it’s not just about showing up, it’s about showing up when it’s hard. For example: Showing up when you’re tired, when you’re scared, when you’re not asked, when you’re not prepared, when you’re not expected, when you’re not being paid, when you’re not in the mood and especially when you’re not on the clock.

That’s the kind of visibility that matters. Both online and off. And if you can build it with the people who count, they will believe in you. Because in their eyes, just showing is a synonym for going out on a limb. Do you have a marketing plan or a visibility plan?

REMEMBER: There are some things money can’t buy.

But if you have the right currency, no price is too high.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What’s in your wallet?

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

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

Sick of selling?
Tired of cold calling?
Bored with traditional prospecting approaches?

Buy Scott’s book and learn how to sell enable people to buy!

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

Take a Moment, Make a Memory

Today the barista asked me for a name on my coffee order.

I didn’t answer.

Instead, I just waited until she looked up from her computer, actually made eye contact with me and noticed my nametag.

“Oh, duh – Scott. Your name’s right there. Sorry.”

This happens to me all the time.

Sometimes people feel embarrassed.
Sometimes people say thanks.
Sometimes people just laugh.

But I always smile. And I never bust chops about it.I just wish people would pay more attention to their customers.
I just wish employees would notice opportunities to take a moment and make a memory.

What if, upon seeing my nametag, she thanked me for making her job easier?
What if, upon seeing my nametag, she used my name and said she was psychic?
What if, upon seeing my nametag, she offered a friendly joke that made my day?

That would be worth repeating. That would be worth telling a friend about. That would be worth remembering next time I walked in the door.

Instead of reaching for another robotic, ready-made script about how important someone’s call is, say something that invites people to store the memory in the heart.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Will you take a moment to make a memory?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “52 Random Insights to Grow Your Business,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2011-2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Where Do You Belong?

When I was a kid, I struggled to find a spot.

A niche. A home. A place where I belonged.

But nothing seemed to work. No matter how hard I tried, I still felt like an outsider.

Eventually, I couldn’t take it anymore. I was tired of feeling like part of the wallpaper. I was tired of being held hostage by my outsiderness.So I stuck on a nametag and said, “Screw it. Now I belong everywhere.”

And that changed everything. The posture with which I approached the world was never the same again.

My name is Scott. I am a global citizen.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Where do you belong?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “58 Questions about Questions” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2011-2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Where’s Your Chisel?

Wearing a nametag didn’t make me into somebody new.

What it did was surface the kind person I already was. What it did was accelerate my growth into the person I was born to become.

And if I do a little research, it makes a lot of sense:

I’ve been creative, quirky and exceptional my whole life.
The nametag just gave me an outlet.

I’ve been a performer, an artist and a writer my whole life.
The nametag just gave me a canvas.

I’ve been a radical, a heretic and a leader my whole life.
The nametag just gave me a platform.

It’s weird. The older you get, the younger you feel. The older you get, the more you remind yourself of the person you’ve always been.

But I do think people change – when they want to. When they decide to. And when the pain of staying the same is greater than the cost to change.Still, we are all more or less the same as we were. I think if each of us traced our identities back to the beginning, we’d find shocking similarities between the people we started as and the people we became.

Michelangelo used to say that the sculpture was already inside the stone.

Maybe that’s all life is: A chance to chip away.

It’s not a nametag – it’s a chisel.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What’s yours?

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For the list called, “37 Things Not To Do This Year” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2011-2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

What Forever Can Change

“How long do you plan on doing this?”

That’s what people used to ask me.

As if my dream had an expiration date. As if one day I was going to snap out of my delusions, close the door on my cute little experiment and rejoin the rest of the world.

But I just kept saying forever.

Me and my nametag just kept showing up.

All day. Every day.

And after about five years, the questions stopped. People knew I was serious. People knew I was in it for the long haul. And they no longer doubted my dedication.

Dennis Miller used to say a good rule of thumb is, if you’ve made it to thirty-five and your job still requires you to wear a nametag, you’ve made a serious vocational error.

Funny what forever can change.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How committed are you?

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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
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2011-2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

The Trashcan That Changed Everything

When you look into a trashcan, you have a choice.

You can see trash, or you can see treasure.

It all depends on how big your thinking is.

On that fateful day in college when everyone else threw their nametags away, I looked into the trash and saw the latter.

And it changed everything. Forever.

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

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “6 Ways to Out Position 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
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2011-2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Do We Need a Call to Arms or Call to Connect?

Years ago somebody asked me if I was wearing a nametag to build social capital.

Social what?

So I did some research.

As defined by Robert Putnam’s groundbreaking book, social capital is our reserve of personal bonds and fellowship. Like a bank account, every interaction that builds trust and reciprocity strengthens our sense of community and instills a feeling of belonging.

What’s interesting is how many different areas of daily life social capital affects – everything from productivity to depression to suicide to juvenile delinquency to test scores to government response time to divorce rate.The problem is, our reserve is eroding. Nobody engages anymore. People are building bigger fences and smaller porches. And we’re becoming more disconnected from each other than ever before.

Are nametags the answer? Probably not.

But each of us needs to be reminded that our species is better together. Each of us needs to remember that navigating life is much easier when you have a solid crew. Each of us needs to be reminded that life is a lot richer when you have people to share it with.

We don’t need a call to arms – we need a call to connect.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How do you build social capital?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “15 Ownership Phrases That Payses” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2011-2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

How to Out Heart the Competition, Part 2

Love isn’t something you feel – it’s something you decide.

THE QUESTION IS: Has your organization made that decision yet?

If you haven’t, people will find out.
If you haven’t, people will find someone else.

From my column on American Express Open Forum, we’re going to explore a few more ideas about how to out heart the competition:1. Contact trumps content. Loveless companies are notorious for only delivering select information. And that makes people feel out of control. For example, I recently called a local property management company to discuss leasing options. When I got their voicemail, here’s what the recording said:

“Thanks for calling, but everything you need can be found on our website.”

And I thought to myself, “Well, I need to talk to a human being right now. Got any of those on your website?” Click. Frustrated, I sought out one of their competitors. And to my delight, when I called their number, not only did a human being answer on the second ring; she even googled my name as we talked to learn more about my business. Which company would you pick?

That’s the amazing thing: Sometimes loving people is as simple as showing up and giving voice to their needs. Are you offering access to information about your company or access to individuals who work there?

2. Ask your customers early. Netflix recently increased their streaming service by sixty percent – without making any changes in the subscription model. According to an interview in The New York Times, the purpose behind the move was to make streaming films the core of its business – not physically mailed movies. Sadly, this price increase spurred tens of thousands of customer complaints, thousands of cancellations and hundreds of negative media stories.

After reading several dozen comments on the company blog, here’s what I learned from their (now former) subscribers: If Netflix loved their customers, they would have increased the quality of the streaming movie selection with the increase of the price. Or, they would have offered bundled discounts for veteran members. Also, wouldn’t have made the pricing change when the economy was the worse since the Great Depression.

And lastly, they would have realized they made a horrible pricing mistake, listened to their customers, apologized, and then returned to their original pricing model. By loving customers, you have automatically asked for their opinion on everything. Have you?

3. Make normal a possibility. Secrecy is a lonely experience. People don’t want to feel terminally unique – they want to feel like they’re not alone. That’s why it’s so important to respond to their experience in a calm, even way. You have to meet them where they are. You have to be willing to go as deep – or as shallow – as they want to go. And you have to help them merge their checkered past into something that smacks of normality.

My physician is an artist when it comes to this. He never fails to remind his patients that they’re not the only ones having an experience. I remember the first time I came in with stomach problems. “Tell me about your typical day,” he asked. So I did. And when I finished, he smiled and said, “Well, you certainly have a unique career path for someone your age. But your symptoms couldn’t be more normal. Happens every day at this clinic. In fact, if you didn’t have stomach problems, then I’d really be concerned.”

That was the love I needed to hear. Interestingly, I’ve only had to see him once in the past three years. Behold, the healing power of normality. When was the last time one of your people trusted you with a secret?

4. Intimacy can’t be forced – but it can be accelerated. I don’t have to warm up to people. I don’t have to get to know someone before we connect. And I don’t have to wait until we’ve hung out six times before I start opening up. I just jump right in. I reveal myself quickly, openly, honestly and respectfully. And most of the time, others reciprocate.

Sure, not everybody is used to that level of openness. But most people appreciate the willingness to cut the formalities and start connecting for real. As my dad likes to remind me, “When you treat people like family, it’s hard to say no.”

That’s the key to exhibiting loving intimacy: It’s not about pretending you’re everyone’s best friend. It’s about finding the common point of interest that makes people feel like you’ve been friends for years. Do you treat customer intimacy as a feeling or a business model?

REMEMBER: It’s not a secret that love is what everybody secretly wants.

Love looks good on everybody.

It’s the style that never goes out of style.

Make the decision.

Out heart the competition.

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

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2011-2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

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