To Shove People Is To Love People

The greatest gift you can give someone is to shove them over the wall.

I remember the exact moment this happened to me.

I was twenty-two years old.
I was finishing the manuscript for my first book.
I was working full time as a furniture salesman to make ends meet.

I got a call from the president of a local Rotary Club. He asked if I could come give a speech to his group. Being just out of college, I replied, “What the hell is a Rotary Club?”

I reluctantly agreed.

By the time I was finished, I’d never sweat more in my life. My hands trembled as I clenched the ten pages of notes that I never even looked at once.

But when I asked if there were any questions, a ninety-year-old retired surgeon named Harold raised his hand.“Scott, do you have a job?”

“I sell couches.”

They thought that was hilarious.

Not a laugh line.

After we adjourned, Harold pulled me aside and said a four-letter word:

“Quit.”

That was a gift. A shove moment. An interaction that made my path brighter.

So I took his advice and never looked back.

Sometimes we need people to shove us.

To help us see something we’re too close to ourselves to notice.
To applaud our risk, elevate our hope and provoke our decision.
To believe in us more than we believe in ourselves.

To shove people is to love people.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Who have you shoved this week?

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

“After investing in your mentoring program, I’ve become centered on who I am and what I have to offer. Now, I am attracting clients I want to work with. Life is great and I just wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

–Melanie Jatsek, Diet Busters

Rent Scott’s brain today.

Carry Nametags, Not Guns

I often wear multiple nametags.

One on each layer of clothing.

Not just for consistency purposes, but also for safety purposes.

It’s a dangerous world out there. Should I run into trouble, should I encounter somebody whose behavior is threatening, or should I confront an individual who needs to calm down, it’s always good to know I can simply open my jacket and say:

“We got a problem here?”I remember getting into a fender bender once. The guy that I hit leaped out of his car, charged toward my window and starting yelling at me. He made accusations that I was drunk and stupid and didn’t know how to drive.

I didn’t move.
I didn’t say a thing.
I just stayed calm, stared him right in the eye and let him finish.

He huffed back to his car to get his insurance information. About a minute later, he returned a bit calmer. Noticing my nametag, he said, “I’m sorry Scott – I may have overreacted back there.”

That’s my weapon of choice: I don’t pack heat – I pack friendliness.

Carry nametags, not guns.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What do you carry?

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

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

What’s Your Rorschach Test?

Everyone I meet responds to the nametag a little differently.

I was at the park. A guy told me that he would never want to wear a nametag, as it would ruin his lifelong dream of becoming a spy.

I was at a potluck. When I was introduced to the host, he asked if I had any extra nametags. I said yes. He wore it all night.

I was at a downtown deli. On the way out, a man pointed at me, said, “Nice name!” then kept on walking.

I was at an outdoor concert. A cop stopped me. He stared at my nametag, looked me straight in the eye, squinted and then kept walking.

I was at a baseball game. When I bought a soda at the concession stand, the volunteer at the counter said, “Scott, we’re glad you’re here!” I was walking across the street. A monk in an orange robe asked, “Scott, have you heard of Krishna?” I said yes. He smiled.

I was at a coffee shop. I met a toddler while waiting in line. She pointed to my nametag, so I told her my name was Scott. Utterly confused, she asked, “Why?”

Everyday, each of these interactions is a mini Rorschach test.

It’s an indicator of perception.
It’s an insight into personality.
It’s an implication of preferences.

And it is frighteningly accurate. Considering I’ve run this test tens of thousands of times, for more than a decade; you’d be amazed what you can learn about somebody simply based on the way they respond to a nametag.

I know that if they crack a joke immediately, they’re cool people. I know that if they say hello out the window of their car, they’re fun people.

But.

I know that if they roll their eyes and look at me like an alien, they’re insecure people. I know that if they try to rip my nametag off in a public venue, they’re jerky people. Instant analysis.

The nametag is my constant. It’s my filter. It’s how I judge people.

And I think each of us needs something like this. Something small, repeatable and portable that helps us make sense of the people we meet.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What’s your Rorschach?

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, Publisher, Artist, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Proof That Airport Security Isn’t Secure

Going through airport security with a nametag is a fascinating experience.

One time a particularly cranky and compliant agent asked if my nametag was embroidered onto my shirt. Just for fun, I told her that I wore it because if I died, the police would have an easier time identifying the body.

Wrong thing to say.

She stared at me, emotionless, for five seconds – then told me I had been randomly selected for addition screening.

Woops.

Meanwhile, two weeks later I was traveling through the same airport. When they called my boarding group, I approached the gate to scan my ticket. And right as the machine beeped, the agent stopped me abruptly, pointed to my chest and asked:“Hang on, why does your nametag say Scott?”

“Um. Because that’s my name…?”

“Really. Then can you explain why your boarding pass says Kurt?”

“What?”

“Sir, your boarding pass says ‘Kurt Gransberg.’”

“Who the is that?”

“You tell me.”

“I don’t know. I’ve never heard that name in my life.”

Unbeknownst to me – and unbeknownst to the astute staff of the Transportation Security Administration – I had cleared three security checkpoints wearing a nametag that didn’t match the name on my ticket.

They made me exit the terminal, check in again, get in line again, go through security again – and refused to hold the plane for me.

I ended up missing my flight.

And they say that our safety is their priority.

Horseshit.

Their priority is to violate the fourth amendment.
Their priority is to humiliate and grope harmless people
Their priority is to reduce our liberty a little more each day.
Their priority is to protect the assets of the airline industry.
Their priority is to promote the illusion of safety and security.
Their priority is to convince us that they’re actually doing something to protect us.

If you see something, say something?

Well, I see something.

And I’m saying something.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How do you give people proof?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For a list called, “18 Lessons from 18 People Smarter Than Me,” 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

“After investing in your mentoring program, I’ve become centered on who I am and what I have to offer. Now, I am attracting clients I want to work with. Life is great and I just wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

–Melanie Jatsek, Diet Busters

Rent Scott’s brain today.

The Power of Proof

I almost got kicked out a wedding for wearing a nametag.

Let me explain.

I was eating an appetizer, minding my own business. When out of nowhere, the bride noticed me and started marching in my direction. And she was wearing her crazy face.

“Why are you wearing a nametag to my black tie wedding?”

“Oh, I’m Jason’s friend. I always wear a nametag.”

“Really?”

“Really.”

“That’s so weird. Wait a minute. Have you heard about that guy who wears a nametag all the time?”

It could be someone else, right?Meanwhile, my friends are trying not to spit out their drinks.

“Well, as far as I know, I’m the only person in the world doing this. Is it possible that I’m the guy you heard about?”

“Oh trust me Scott – it’s not you. This guy is crazy. I even heard a rumor that he has a nametag tattooed on his chest.”

What would you have done in this situation?

And so, in the middle of her own wedding, I unbuttoned my tuxedo shirt and said:

“You mean he’s got a tattoo like this?”

In eleven years, that may have been the funniest reaction I’ve seen.

Poor girl. The color of her face matched her dress.

But I started thinking to myself – as security dragged me away – that running through her mind was one of two thoughts:

1. That guy is committed.
2. That guy should be committed.

I’ll let you decide which one.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How do you give people proof?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For a list called, “18 Lessons from 18 People Smarter Than Me,” 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

“After investing in your mentoring program, I’ve become centered on who I am and what I have to offer. Now, I am attracting clients I want to work with. Life is great and I just wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

–Melanie Jatsek, Diet Busters

Rent Scott’s brain today.

What Smart Entrepreneurs Know About Engaging Their Customers

Engagement is the new marketing.

How people experience you, plus how people experience themselves in relation to you, is now what determines your success.

Straight from my column on monthly column on American Express Open Forum, here’s what smart entrepreneurs know about engaging their customers: 1. Master the power of personalization. If your customers wore nametags, would you give them better service? Sure you would. Names reduce the distance between people. Today, my flight attendant noticed my nametag and said, “Scott, I wish all my passengers wore nametags, that way I wouldn’t have to say sir!” Makes sense. With a nametag, it’s an unmasking. It assures you’re no longer just another face in the crowd. It humanizes you. And it makes it easier for people treat you with dignity, respect and compassion.

Sadly, most organizations miss this. They obsess over offering better customer service, but fail to see the big picture about the actual relationship. Truth is, the purpose of a nametag isn’t to enable customers to tattle on someone who gives poor service. The purpose of nametag is to help you become better friends with customers, that way, better service happens naturally. Familiarity doesn’t breed contempt—it brings people back.

2. Lower the threat level. I was meeting my friends for sushi once and they invited a girl named Sandra, a friend of a friend who was passing through town. When we met, she thanked me for wearing a nametag. “It’s just so non-threatening,” she said. Interesting.

How do you lower the threat level when you meet people? With most strangers, you’re starting with negative balance. You’re operating from a deficit position. It’s just the posture of the masses. People have been sold, scammed, conned, manipulated and used too long—and they’re tired of it. But a nametag takes a few bricks out of the wall. A nametag immediately and intentionally disqualifies me from people’s fears.

3. Trust is a function of self-disclosure. The more you reveal about yourself, the more likely people are to trust you. That’s a basic tenant of human communication. But you don’t need books to know how trust works. That’s what the nametag proved: Strangers trusted me more once they knew my name. Not that much more, but there was enough additional trust to be noticeable. People recognized my willingness to stick myself out there—albeit in a small, simple way—and as a result, perceived me as being a more trustworthy person.

But it was weird. I didn’t really do anything. Just wore a nametag that said, “Scott.” And yet, people would tell me things. Personal things. I’ll never forget the time I sat down next to an older guy at the train station. He noticed my nametag and said hello. I did the same. He then proceeded to tell me every single detail about his wife’s schizophrenia. And I was happy to listen, but the whole time I kept thinking to myself, “Sir, why are you telling me all this?” Simple: He felt like he already knew me.

4. Enable reciprocity. I was in a cupcake store in Australia. When the cashier rang me up, I clumsily grabbed all the coins in my pocket, took one look at the confusing shapes and colors, then took one look at the long line behind me, turned to cashier and said: “Here. You do it.” She smiled back; picked out the coins she needed and completed the transaction.

That’s reciprocity. If you want people to trust you, trust them first. Even if you have no logical reason to do so. You always gain a greater interaction. The world is a mirror. What you put out, comes back. It’s not a cliché—it’s human nature. People have mindless, automatic reciprocity reflexes. And they perform certain actions when the world presents them with certain patterns of input. That’s why strangers will spontaneously introduce themselves to me: Not necessarily because they want to meet me, but because of my nametag—I’m willing to meet them.

REMEMBER: Interaction is the agent of human decision. Help people have a better experience with you, and of themselves in relation to you, and you’ll win customers for life.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How could you engage your people in a way they’ve never seen before?

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For a list called, “11 Ways to Out Google 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

“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

The Nametag Guy Live: How to Inspire People to Motivate Themselves

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How do you inspire people to motivate themselves?

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

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Do You Taste Like Fish?

I was in Tokyo when it happened.

When I sat down at the sushi bar, the chef noticed my nametag, bowed and greeted me with what I assume is the Japanese version of my name:

“Scotto!”

He laughed, so I showed him the second nametag under my jacket.

“Scotto! Hai!”

He motioned over to his boss, yelled something in Japanese and brought him over to meet me. I pulled down my shirt and showed them layer number three, my tattoo.

“Scotto! Arigato!”

They both laughed and bowed. I bowed back.

And then they started feeding me. For two hours. I have no idea what I was eating, but it was the freshest, most delicious sushi I ever had. Eventually, the rice expanded in my stomach to the point of immobility. And as I sat back to celebrate the moment, he proud chef looked me in the eye and imparted a priceless life lesson:

“Sushi that taste like fish – no good sushi.”

Never let them catch you acting.

Learn how to disappear, and you can change people forever.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Do you taste like fish?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “17 Ways to become a Thought Leader,” 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 2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

How to Break the Box Around Yourself and Let People Like You

College was hard.

Not the school part – the social part.

Making friends. Going to parties. Hanging out at bars. Trying to score dates.

All of it was a struggle.

Not because I was shy – because I was sober.

I don’t drink. I don’t smoke. I don’t do drugs. I don’t do anything.

It’s nothing religious. Nothing philosophical. Just a choice: I don’t like the taste. I don’t like being out of control of my body. I don’t need chemicals to have fun. And I hate being hung over.

But it was still college. And the story we’ve been programmed to believe is that the purpose of college is to get as intoxicated as possible as often as possible. And anyone who deviates from that herd gets left behind.

So I was the outcast. I was the weird one. I was the guy who wasn’t drunk, wasn’t stoned and, as far as people knew, wasn’t having fun and wasn’t worth talking to. Just a straight edge silently judging the rest of the room. Who wants hang out with that guy?

But after two years of college, I finally said to myself: “This has to stop.”

I was tired of not having friends. I was tired of being excluded. And I was tired of spending my weekends eating roast beef sandwiches watching Dawson’s Creek alone in my dorm room.

Don’t judge me. That show was awesome.

So I started wearing the nametag. All the time. And everything changed.

Now, I had an in.
Now, I had an opening.
Now, I had an opportunity to engage.

But it was more than just trying to get attention – I was trying to give myself away.

I chose to live a better story.

And you’d be amazed how well that worked.

With the nametag, everybody saw me.
With the nametag, everybody knew me.
With the nametag, everybody talked to me.

It was a socialization.

A signal. A permission slip. An invitation for friendliness. And the nametag was also disarming gesture. A non-threatening symbol. And a cue that reduced the social distance between me and the world.

From the moment I stuck it on my shirt, I became more approachable. People treated me differently. College started to suck less. And I had some of the best times and made some of the best friends of my life.

But here’s the really interesting part.

With the nametag, nobody seemed to care that was always sober.

They were too busy saying hi.

They were getting to know me as a person – not as a preference.

And all I had to do was give myself away.

I broke the box I put around myself and let people like me.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What’s your socialization?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “23 Ways to Learn a Lot at a Really Young Age,” 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!

Letting the Nerd Come Out to Play

I once found a Halloween costume called “The Nerd Kit.”

The contents included a pocket protector, fake teeth with braces, acne paint, a black bow tie, a pair of thick-rimmed glasses with adhesive tape over the bridge, and of course, a red and white nametag that read “Harold.”

Perfect.

Then again, I’ve always been a nerd.

The nametag just gave me permission to let him come out and play.

When I was in elementary school, every week a handful of us were pulled out of class to spend part of our time in Gifted and Talented Education. We did critical thinking drills and creative exercises. We learned how to ask questions and where to listen for answers. And we were given an irrevocable license to create in an atmosphere that was free of judgment, ridicule and snobby girls named Emily.

Basically, it’s where we got to practice being nerds.

And the cool part was, nobody really told us why we were pulled out class. Our parents and teachers just said we were part of this unique group. And when the gifted teacher visited our classroom, it was time to pack up and go get creative.

Which clearly meant that we were better than all the other kids in class.

Suckers.

Looking back, that program was the absolute highlight of my childhood.

It’s where we were totally free.
It’s where we felt safe being ourselves.
It’s where we nurtured our eccentricities.
It’s where we no longer had to hide our truth.

Everything was fair game, everybody was weird and nothing was off limits. By practicing being nerds, we had an emotional and spiritual release that helped us become the best, highest versions of ourselves.

Interestingly, I don’t remember anything I learned in third grade.

But I’ll never forget gifted time. I can’t. It’s too much a part of my creative soul.

And so I always wondered to myself: Why wouldn’t they make all of school like that?

Kind of like the airplane: If the only thing that survives the crash is the black box, wouldn’t they just make the whole plane out of the black box?

I don’t understand.

We shouldn’t need a separate classroom to let the nerd come out and play.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How nerdy are you willing to be?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the 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, 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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