How to Live Larger Than Your Labels

I was sitting on my mom’s couch when it happened.

“Scott, did you notice what was missing from this article about you?” she asked.

“No. What?”

“Look closely. You’ll see it.”

And then it hit me like punch in the gut.

For the first time in my career – after eight years, ten books and five hundred interviews – this was the first article about me that wasn’t about my nametag.

In fact, the article didn’t even mention my nametag. The piece was about creativity, content management and entrepreneurial execution.

And as I sat back and soaked in the moment, my mom cemented the experience with single question:“How does it feel to be known for your brain – not just your badge?”

Pretty. Damn. Good.

LESSON LEARNED: When you learn to live larger than your labels, an entire symphony of advantages comes your way.

You expand your role repertoire.
You open yourself to becoming more.
You reengage with life’s possibilities.
You uncover new territory for expansion.
You invite new dimensions to your career.
You make profitable use of everything you are.
You crush the boundaries of your personal growth.

Today we’re going to explore strategies to help you live larger than your labels.

1. Know that you’re bigger than your past. Living larger than your labels means bowing to the door of next. Surrendering your case history. And accepting that whatever you created in the past – or whatever created you in the past – matters little beyond the fact that it brought you here.

After all, what happened to you isn’t who you are. Past is prologue. Past brought you here. Past made you who you are. And to align your thinking with this truth, try asking the following question:

If everything I’ve done up until now is just the beginning, what’s next?

When you start to explore a few answers, a new world of growth will opens up like a spring perennial. And you’ll forget all about those measly labels that once limited you.

Maybe Edwin McCain was right: Tell people to let you be who you’re becoming and stop seeing you as everything you’ve been. Will you view the past as a crutch or a catapult?

2. Cast a wider net. When I decided to redesign my blog this year, Tim at Out:Think asked me, “What’s going to be different this time around?”

To which I responded, “Well, I don’t want my blog to box me in. Not to one topic, not to one target market and not as one role. No labels, no limits.”

Two months later, the final product came out beautifully. And not only was the design striking, simple and professional, but Tim also added a minor accentuation that perfectly personified my limit-free objective. On the title bar it reads:

HELLO, my name is Blog! The Brain of Scott Ginsberg.

Yes, yes and yes. Exactly what I didn’t realize I needed. And the best part is: This positioning enables me, as an entrepreneur, to deliver value via infinite ways and via infinite channels. Even the ones I can’t think of yet.

Lesson learned: When you cast a wide net, the right customers will swim into it when they’re ready. How are you positioned in the minds of the people who matter most?

3. Make use of everything you are. Cali Lewis is the founder and host of GeekBeatTV, a widely popular podcast about technology, gadgets and important research projects.

During her keynote presentation at Blog World 2010, she discussed the concept of labels, and how they inhibit growth. And I swear I was the only person in the audience who heard it, but Cali had an inspiring throw-away line that I wrote down immediately:

“Don’t get me wrong: I love my website. But that’s not everything that I am.”

It takes a heroic dose of courage to admit that. To declare in front of thousands of people that your thing, your brainchild, your passion – that became widely successful because you worked your ass off eighteen hours a day for three years – is not all there is to who you are?

That’s how you live larger than you labels: When you realize that it’s okay to be known for more than one thing. As the Tao De Ching said, “When you let go of what you have, you get what you need.” What aspects of yourself – that you absolutely love – do you have to let go of to become something better?

4. Trace your trajectory. Have you ever mapped out your entire career, year by year, on one sheet of paper? It’s a fascinating exercise: Some call it a lifeline, some call it a visual biography or some call it a career trajectory map.

Either way, I was curious about it, so I decided to give it a whirl over the summer. And to say that the results were revelatory would be an understatement. Here’s what happens:

First, you become inspired to live larger than your labels by investigating the labels you’ve already outgrown.

Second, by examining each of the progress points of your professional life, you gain greater perspective on where you’ve been, where you’ve come and who you’ve become in the process.

Finally, because the exercise it’s a form of visual self-reflection and cumulative self-confrontation, the trajectory map helps you creates a healthy distance from yourself.

Ultimately, the map reflects your truth in a new light. The kind of light that outshines the brightness of the former version of yourself. The kind of light that helps you cut yourself loose from the past and swing into the future. When was the last time you traced your professional trajectory?

5. Think of your label as a dry erase board. I’ve never walked off stage without reminding my audience: “If you don’t make a name for yourself, someone will make one for you.”

However, as I evolve as a human being, I’ve recently decided to make an addendum to that philosophy: “If you refuse to rewrite the labels you stick onto yourself, you rob the world of the opportunity to experience the best, highest version of that self.”

That’s the problem with labels: They imply immunity. And you assume you’re nailed to a certain cross forever. Fortunately, you don’t have to choke on your labels. In Self Matters, Dr. Phil explains:

“Acknowledge the existence of labels, challenge the ‘fit,’ confront the impact these labels have on your concept of self, and then identify the payoff those labels have in your life.”

He’s more than just a mustache. When was the last time you took a long, honest look at the labels you gave yourself?

6. Differentiate between identification and definition. The most powerful life lessons come unsolicited, unidentified and unexpected. Like the anonymous email I received five years ago that read,

“Dear Scott: Big fan. Love the nametag concept. Hope you keep it up. And just remember: What identifies you doesn’t define you.”

After reattaching my jaw, it occurred to me how right that person really was: Identification is about recognition; definition is about explanation. And you need to be honest with yourself about differentiating between the two.

Here’s how: First, there’s the thing that brings you to the table. That which identifies you. And usually, it’s some kind of shtick.

Second, there’s the thing that keeps you in the room. That which defines you. And usually, it’s some kind of substance.

Now, both things are essential – but each thing fulfills a very different function. Your challenge is to confront the two levels of value that you provide. Otherwise you’ll walk into a room assuming people care about your nametag, when what people crave is the committed heart behind it. Are you identifiable or definable?

REMEMBER: To live larger than your labels is to reengage with life’s possibilities.

Therefore, as much as it pains me to say this, maybe it’s time to rip that stupid nametag off your shirt and open yourself to becoming something more.

No labels, no limits.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Are you ready to live larger than your labels?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “11 Ways to Become Brilliant By Next Thursday,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Entrepreneur, Mentor
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 to Back Off and Let the People You Love Figure Things Out On Their Own

“Is it your place to fix this?”

That’s the question you have to ask yourself.

Especially when someone you love finds themselves on the precipice of disaster.

Sometimes you have to back off.

Yes, it requires great emotional restraint.
Yes, it requires significant self-control.

But if you don’t let people come to their own conclusions, make their own decisions and make their own mistakes, you fractionize their experiences and rob them of valuable learning opportunities.

Here’s how to back off and let the people you love figure things out on their own:1. Abandon your need to constantly add value. Marshall Goldsmith’s book, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There, argues that adding too much value is a variation of needing to win.

“The problem is, you may have improved the content of someone’s idea by five percent, but you’ve reduced their commitment to executing it by fifty percent because you’ve taken away their ownership of the idea,” says Goldsmith, “and I walk out of the room less enthused about it than when I walked in.”

Lesson learned: Be responsive instead of reactive. Reacting is a reflex; responding is a choice.

As an approachable leader, if you want to monopolize the listening, don’t bulldoze. Don’t take over. Don’t try to fix or solve. And don’t add too much value to the conversation.

Just dance in the moment and respond to the other person’s immediate experience. Grant people enough space to be and say what is true.

Remember: Their change is not your war. Lay your conversational weapons down and let the people you love fight the good fight. Is your need to add value crushing people’s commitment to finding solutions on their own?

2. Suspend your need to dominate the conversation. Listening is like midwifing. That means facilitating a natural process, guiding the speaker to make the best choices, nurturing the person’s rhythm and steering people where they deem fit.

Not taking over. Not adding more value. Simply inviting others to listen within – then wait for their inner voice to respond. Even if this process takes six painful months, it still shows them that they can trust their own resource and manager their own lives.

The cool part is, when you approach listening as a midwifing process, you leave people feeling heard. And the echoes of their voice reverberate against their own hearts, impelling them to take ownership and take action.

Remember: The goal of listening is to provide assistance, NOT authority. Don’t take over people’s problems for them. Grow bigger ears by helping the other person give birth to understanding. Are respecting people’s speed of self-discovery?

3. Don’t impose your own direction. I guarantee that you currently have a dear friend whose spouse, significant other or life partner is someone you’d like to see walk into a snake pit wearing a rat skin bodysuit.

I know. It’s painful to watch someone you love have no idea that that person they’ve dedicated their life to is completely wrong for them. And not just your opinion – a literal mismatch from hell.

Unfortunately, it’s not your place to say that.

I don’t care how close you are to a person – you can’t try to convince someone to fall out of love. The power of the heart is simply too substantial. And you will lose that battle.

Even if you did sit your best friend down and say, “Look, Marie, I need to tell you, I’m pretty sure your boyfriend is a serial murderer.”

Do you think she would listen?

No way. She’d say you’re crazy. She’d say you don’t really know him. And she’d say his machete collection is “for hunting purposes only.”

Look: Sometimes people aren’t ready to hear things yet. And if you make the mistake of crossing that line before their ears are tuned into the right frequency, you run the risk of shutting them down permanently. And that’s when people really get hurt.

The best thing you do is make observations. That’s it. No opinions. No suggestions. Just things you notice.

Present those things in a respectful, curious and confidential manner – in the hopes that the people you love will eventually realize that dating a convicted killer isn’t the healthiest decision. Are you willing to be an objective observer?

4. Hovering is for helicopters. One thing I admire about my parents is their consistent willingness to let me screw up. Which, from what I hear, is a painful thing for any parent to do.

Because they’re your kids. They’re your babies. And you don’t want them to be in pain.

However, there’s a huge difference between getting hurt and being injured. And I think I’ve (finally) figured out why my parents allow this. It’s because they trust in their own parenting abilities. They believed they raised me right.

And so, when I do screw up, they have faith that I will tap into the foundation of character that they spent the last thirty years of their lives pouring. And wouldn’t you know it? Every time I screw up – which, happens a lot – they back off and let me figure out how to handle it on my own.

Sure, they’re there to help. And guide. And ask questions. And offer suggestions. And, occasionally run over somebody with a tractor.

But they don’t let me get injured. And as a result, my wounds heal under antiseptic of my own actions; the scars of which ultimately help contribute a greater verse to the song of life.

All because they had enough self-control and self-trust to stop hovering and start heeding. Who thinks you’re a helicopter?

5. “I told you so” leads to, “I resent you so.” Okay: You’ve backed off. You’ve listened. And you’ve let the people you love figure out things on their own. Well done.

Now, there’s only one thing left to do: Smother your smugness. Because saying – or implying – any version of “I told you so,” negates all the hard work you’ve put in so far.

Don’t do it. It makes you look arrogant and make them feel small. Instead, trust that she knows you knew – the whole time – that she never should have married that jerk. No need to rub it in her face.

Do what my mentor does. For the past fifteen years, I’ve watched Mr. Jenkins practice this beautifully with each of his students – myself included. Instead of reminding us that he’s always right – which he is – he just waits. Sometimes years.

And when we, his students, eventually figure out how stupid we’ve been the whole time, Mr. Jenkins just smiles and asks us what we’ve learned. And then we reflect together. The learning cycle come to a close, and we move onto the next lesson. How patient are you willing to be with the people you love?

REMEMBER: You can’t convince people to change – you can only give them more information.

Let people learn things on their own.

Otherwise your desire to fix becomes a barrier to being helpful.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Whom are you trying to make just like you?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “22 Unexpected Ways to Help People,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

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

The Approachable Leader’s Handbook of Being Heard, Vol. 3

For those of you human beings out there (and I think you know who you are) here’s a quick list of assumptions.

You want to be:

Valued. Needed. Wanted.
Affirmed. Appreciated. Accepted.
Respected. Recognized. Remembered.
Taken seriously. Given a chance. Part of something that matters.

IN SHORT: You want to be heard.

Because if you’re not – if people can’t hear you – they can’t follow you.

And if they can’t follow you, you lose.

Today we’re going to explore another selection of practices (read part one and part two here!) to help you be heard by the people who matter most: Employees, staff, customers, kids, volunteers – whomever you serve. 1. Approach people as audience members. Not customers. Not employees. Not volunteers. Not associates. Audience members. When you see people in that context, you’re forced to transform your message from a petition into a performance.

But not in that annoying, always-on, doing-shtick, Robin Williams kind of performance. You’re method acting. The character you’re playing is you. Which, if you know who you are, is the easiest character in the world to play.

Remember: The word audience simply means, “The persons reached.” Who’s sitting in your audience, and on what basis do you claim their attention?

2. Risk being real. Honesty is so rare – it’s become remarkable. As a writer and speaker, I’m constantly amazed at how easy it is to have your voice heard, simply by telling your truth. Notice I said “your” truth – not “thee” truth. Huge difference.

One is unarguable – the other is unprovable. And I’m not talking about “authenticity,” or whatever other twenty-five cent lifeless buzzword currently pollutes the professional development lexicon.

This is about keeping rein on your individuality, integrating all of your polarities into a unified whole, then sharing that music with the people who matter. How are you branding your honesty?

3. Be frictionless. When people ask me about the genre of my writing, I like to say, “Non-friction.” What I mean by this is a message that’s findable, readable, breathable, digestible, memorable and actionable. That’s how I write. Material that an impatient, thirty-something entrepreneur like myself would actually sit down and read.

Your challenge is to think about how much friction your message contains. For example:

If it’s not easy to access, it’s not findable.

If it’s not somewhat grammatically and structurally well written, it’s not readable.

If people can’t quickly scan it and get the gist without their eyes bleeding, it’s not breathable.

If the small portions don’t go down smoothly and you just puke one long run-on sentence for two pages about an inconsequential topic, it’s not digestible.

If the ideas don’t cause people to react emotionally in some way, it’s not memorable.

And if the concepts can’t be executed with practical application through a mindset of, “I believe this! I can do this! I want to try this!” it’s not actionable.

How frictionless is your message?

4. Express yourself three-dimensionally. I recently watched a documentary called A Sense of Life. It’s the first authorized film about the life and work of the controversial Russian-born author of The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand.

What moved me most during the movie was Rand’s approach to audience questioning. Known for staying on stage hours after her lecture was scheduled to be over, Ayn wouldn’t just answer people’s questions. She would also take the time to learn what was in her readers’ minds. She would answer their questions, point out the errors that led to those questions, suggest the new set of questions that would come tomorrow, as well as use each question as a springboard to another explanation.

And as a result, her voice, her message and her life altered the philosophical landscape forever. Lesson learned: When you penetratingly come straight at everything people say – your voice is always heard. How askable are you?

5. Avoid being met with rolled eyes. Rolled eyes lead to closed ears. Before sharing your next message, set up a deliberate interruption attempt to disprove your own ideas. Go counterintuitive for a few minutes. Ask yourself, “Will this start or stop dialogue?”

If your latter is the answer, rework it. Silence is the enemy. Messages with massive impact aren’t just mind-boggling – they’re heart boggling. Make sure you’re aimed at the right organ. Like John Maeda expressed in The Laws of Simplicity, “Good art makes your head spin with questions.”

That’s right: Your message is art. Get used to it or get out of the business. How provocative are you willing to be?

6. Consciously pursue the unexpected. There’s a reason your people aren’t being reached: Every other message they receive during the day is just another boring, overextended piece of corporate communication they delete immediately. At best, peruse remorsefully.

Fortunately, you have an opportunity to positively break people’s patterns. To respectfully violate their expectations. And to creatively upset their schemas. All you have to do is ask, “On a scale of 1-10, how dramatically different is this message from the same recycled drivel people have already chosen to tune out?” If you score less than a five, change it.

That’s it. That’s how to be less predictable. Do this, and you’ll find that the courage to be different is the voice that is heard loud and clear. Unless you live in communist China. Can’t help you there. Is your message nothing but an unremarkable skin on an outdated skeleton?

REMEMBER: If they can’t hear you, they can’t follow you.

And if they can’t follow you, you lose.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What’s the cost of being unheard?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “22 Unexpected Ways to Help People,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

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

The Approachable Leader’s Handbook of Being Heard, Vol. 2

For those of you human beings out there (and I think you know who you are) here’s a quick list of assumptions.

You want to be:

Valued. Needed. Wanted.
Affirmed. Appreciated. Accepted.
Respected. Recognized. Remembered.
Taken seriously. Given a chance. Part of something that matters.

IN SHORT: You want to be heard.

Because if you’re not – if people can’t hear you – they can’t follow you.

And if they can’t follow you, you lose.

Today we’re going to explore another selection of practices (read part one here!) to help you be heard by the people who matter most: Employees, staff, customers, kids, volunteers – whomever you serve.

CAUTION: If you’re hoping to read a bunch of vague platitudes like “just hear people first” or “have integrity” – look elsewhere. This list contains only practical, actionable and specific ideas to help you be heard.

And whether you’re a leader, writer, manager, parent, director, marketer, or fourth grade teacher, you’ll be able to plug these practices into your daily life today:

1. Start with a firmer step. A few sad realities: The world is not waiting breathlessly to hear what you have to say. The blogosphere is not standing on the edge of their seats eagerly anticipating your next post. And your followers on Twitter – who, by the way, don’t care about your tweets as much as they care about their stats – are not waking up an hour earlier just to read the hilarious update about your Rottweiler’s latest genital licking adventure.

Instead, consider these firmer-step suggestions:

FIRST: Align your petitions with the self-interest of your audience. Find out what their success seeds are.

SECOND: Give clear direction of what you want people to follow. Make the audience your accomplice.

THIRD: Build a listening platform. Demonstrate to the people you want to hear that they have been heard first.

FOURTH: Create a dialogue that draws people into the cause. Say things you haven’t said elsewhere.

FINALLY: Invite layers of interpretation around your message. Allow people to add multiple dimensions to your ideas.

Follow this process, and your voice will be heard. Maybe even by your dog. Do you hit the ground running or hit the ground stroking?

2. Be music, not noise. The panhandlers who earn the most money aren’t the ones who ask for change; they’re the ones who play drum kits made out of paint buckets. The difference maker? One plays music – the other makes noise. One is heard – the other is ignored.

And, as a result, one eats – the other starves. Lesson learned: You can’t shout your way to being heard. Amidst the buzz of competing voices, nobody notices normal, nobody buys boring and nobody pays for average. Construct your unfair advantage or risk being skipped like a commercial on Tivo. Are singing songs or vomiting sound effects?

3. Show them that you can bend. Mental flexibility is a rare thing – which is exactly why it gets through to people. As I learned from the book Flow, “A psychologically androgynous person in effect doubles her repertoire of responses and can interact with the world in terms of a much richer and varied spectrum.”

Essentially, it’s about striking a balance between resolute persistence and commitment, yet remaining flexible enough to bend without compromising foundation or sacrificing respect. Keeping yourself amenable to change of mind instead of allowing the arrogance clamp of terminal certainty to suffocate your brain’s elasticity.

Leaders who do this, get heard. Do you retain ongoing openness to your misguided perceptions?

4. Have a message that’s worthy of being heard. Fascination trumps relevance. Moment to moment, you want your audience to be curious about what will happen next. Here’s how: Creating a message (and a messenger) worth looking at. Make sure you have to have enough going on in your life to be interesting to talk with, listen to and be heard by.

Do not underestimate the importance of this. Everything you’ve learned on this list so far accomplishes nothing without a baseline level of interestingness. How much time are you spending – each day – becoming more fascinating?

5. Create emotional disturbance. Dylan once wrote, “The purpose of art is to stop time.” If you want to accomplish that, you have to disappear from the page. To hide the memory of your hand. To democratize your message in a way that meets your audience where they are. And to reward people from any angle.

These are the things that engage immediately. These are the things that get heard. Do you get people’s full attention as soon as they taste you?

6. Build a truth bridge. First, jolt people into something completely unexpected. Let your words bring things out of them they didn’t know were there. Functioning as a verbal mirror, you help people revise the way they look at themselves. Kind of hard to ignore someone who does that.

Secondly, help people funnel down their world. Help people know what they know. Even if it’s as simple as sending your notes to them after listening to their problems. By reflecting their reality – on paper – you help them see truth in the round.

Ultimately, it’s about standing at the door and knocking patiently until people open it – not breaking into their lives. That’s how you get heard. How are you helping people fall in love with themselves all over again?

REMEMBER: If they can’t hear you, they can’t follow you.

And if they can’t follow you, you lose.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What’s the cost of being unheard?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “22 Unexpected Ways to Help People,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Entrepreneur, Mentor
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 to Recruit Anybody for Anything Without Resorting to Hypnosis or Hairy Guys Named Vinny

Everybody recruits.

New members to join your organization.
New volunteers to donate their time to your cause.
New customers to do business with your company.
New employees to offer their loyalty to your enterprise.
New congregants to share their faith with your community.
New friends to join your cult, drink the cyanide punch and commit mass suicide.

What’s more, whomever you’re recruiting – and whatever you’re recruiting for – there are certain approaches that work, and certain approaches that don’t work. For example:

Holding people up at gunpoint?
Very effective recruiting strategy.

Chasing people down in the parking lot of Safeway until they finally make eye contact with you so you can waste the next seven minutes of their life vomiting the benefits of joining your organization?
Not very effective.

Today we’re going to explore a collection of universal recruiting practices that can be applied to anybody, any organization, any time – without resorting to hypnosis or hairy guys named Vinny.

1. The onus to initiate is on you. In an article from The New York Times called To Hire Sharp People, Recruit in Sharp Ways the first rule of recruiting is that the best people already have positions they like. Which means: You have to find them – they’re not going to find you.

Think about it. It’s highly unlikely you’ll receive random email tomorrow morning from a complete stranger saying, “Scott, I have the singe most fulfilling job in the history of the planet. But do you by any chance have any openings in the mailroom at your company?”

It’s like my mentor Reverend Bill Jenkins reminds me: “You can’t be a Christian in a corner.” Even if you’re not a Christian. It’s not about religion – it’s about reaching out. Be willing to take that first step. Approachability is a two-way street. How many people did you go out of your way to avoid yesterday?

2. Disarm the immediate preoccupation. Instead of trying to convince people to join your organization, understand and neutralize their resistance. For example, let’s say you have lunch with a few people who used to be affiliated with your organization, but have since dissociated. Remind yourself of three key words: Alienated people remember.

People rarely forget how you treated them the last time. And if you know you’re starting with a negative balance with people, address that issue immediately. Ask them what would bring them back.

Another elephant in the room is explaining, specifically, why your organization is worthy of someone’s time. People are ruthless about their time, and are slow forgive if you waste it on a consistent basis.

The challenge is learning what makes each individual person’s time value, and then positioning the value of your organization as worthwhile investments of that time. And you can only do that by hooking moments to personal meaning. How are you preparing yourself to overcome people’s existing concerns about the value of joining you?

3. Come out swinging and you will be perceived as a threat. Why are pitchers terrified of Albert Pujols? Is it because his average is .350? Or that his on base percentage is 83%? Or that he’s the most dominant hitter the MLB has seen in years?

Nope. Pitchers are scared of Pujols because of one foundational attribute of his ability: He comes out swinging.

He’s not looking for a walk. He’s not trying to force a balk or a wild pitch. He’s not hoping to lean into an inside curve, take one for the team and load the bases. Instead, he’s focusing that laser vision of his. That way, if a pitch comes anywhere near his wheelhouse, he’ll be ready to knock the cover off the ball.

As such: These things make Albert a threat. Which is great for the Cardinals.

But it’s just the opposite when you’re trying to recruit someone.

Think about it: When you sit down with people, do you threaten them by coming out swinging? Or do you ease into the recruitment-heavy part of the conversation only after you’ve gauged receptivity?

As much as it pains me to say it: Don’t be like Albert. Don’t get right down to business. How long are you willing to wait before launching into your recruitment pitch?

4. Hold an information session that’s actually worth attending. First, deliver value that can’t simply be found by spending five minutes on your website. Exclusive information prevents people from feeling their time was wasted.

Second, don’t make people sit through a bunch of job descriptions. Nobody cares what it feels like to be a president. Tell them what it’s like, specifically, on a daily basis, to be part of your organization.

Third, during your pitch or presentation, if you’re not getting some kind of laugh every sixty seconds – you lose. Laughter is the lubricator of communication.

These things make your message more relaxing to experience, more enjoyable to hear, more digestible to consume and spreadable to people who weren’t there. Are you offering information meetings or unforgettable emotional experiences?

5. Breathe life into the hopes and dreams of others. I recruit people to yoga all the time. But not intentionally – incidentally. See, yoga is my religion. It’s not a big part of my life – it is my life. And interestingly, the reason I started practicing yoga was because of my best friend Drew recruited me.

He once told me that the first time he walked out of Bikram class, he felt more alive and more healthful than ever in his life.

I was sold. That’s all it took for me.

And Drew was right, too. I walk out of class now and I literally feel my health as if it were a tangible thing. And that’s what I breathe and infect into other people with when I recruit them: The hope and dream of feeling alive.

What are the hopes and dreams of the people you’re recruiting?

That’s the cool part about this approach. If you concentrate on breathing and infecting intentionally, you will recruit and retain incidentally. Are you vomiting hot garbage onto people or breathing healthful life into people?

6. Your organization isn’t a catchall. Unfortunately, yoga is not for everybody. Take my friend Rhonda, for example. She took my advice and came to practice one day. And at the end of class when I asked her how she felt, her exact words were, “I hate you.”

Lesson learned: Health benefits notwithstanding, recognize that what you’re recruiting people for isn’t necessarily for all people. Learn to walk away. Have enough self-control to discontinue your recruiting efforts when it’s clear that someone is not going to become part of your organization.

Yes, be persistent. Yes, ask for the sale. But don’t be pushy. Preaching to atheists is a nice challenge – but it tends to be a waste of time. Plus, the frustration that results only reinforces and strengthens the non-believers position.

Look: Some people aren’t just going to change. You need to be okay with that. And you need to remember that the first word that comes after “no” is “next.”

Remember: Fulfilling a compelling need for your target market isn’t the same thing projecting onto that market what you think they should want. Are you blinded by the illusion that everyone in the world needs what your organization offers?

7. Demonstrate interest in the person, not the potential. While recruiting, speak to someone as a person. Not as a position. Not as a prospect. Not as a butt in the seat. Not as a possible board member. Not as a statistic. And not as a number on your recruiting quota so you can attend next year’s national conference for half price.

Successful recruitment is a natural byproduct of speaking to people with an abundance of compassion and an absence of compartmentalization. Remember: People buy people first. Is that what you’re selling first?

8. Face time never fails. I’m not a futurist, but here’s my prediction: Face-to-face is making a comeback. We’ve been held hostage by instant, electronic communication for the past ten years. People miss people. It’s time to get back to basics. Never underestimate the power of having lunch with someone.

The secret is laying a foundation of comfort and honesty at the onset. Consider reaching out to people and saying something like, “Hey Brian: You’re cool. I’m cool. We should hang out. Would you be interested in having a zero agenda conversation sometime?”

That’s it. That’s all you have to say. No technique. No system. No hidden plan. Just two people talking. Like we used to do. Kind of hard to resist. I’ve been having those conversations for years and never once been rejected. The only caveat is: During lunch, you’re not allowed to say single word about recruiting unless they ask.

That means no unnatural, unnecessary sneaking of your organization’s name into the conversation.

That means no wearing of your company logo shirt in the hopes that they’ll notice the emblem and ask a question about it.

That means no handing them a brochure you conveniently had in your pocket the whole time right as the waiter brings the check.

Just be cool. Have a conversation with another human being. Zero agenda. I know it’s a lot to ask. But people rarely forget such gestures. What would happen if you tripled your amount of face time?

9. Communicate the need. All love wants – is to be believed in. (Counting Crows!) In the same vain, all people need – is to feel needed. I experienced this truth firsthand several years ago. Two conversations. Two different people. Both of whom I was recruiting for my professional organization; and both to whom I made the exact same remark:

“Look, we need you. Our current membership is filled with too many people who don’t matter and don’t belong – but you do.”

It just sort of came out. With all the sincerity and honesty I could muster, that’s what I said. And it must have struck a nerve, because both people were speechless. My organization’s need was communicated, and their human need to feel needed was confronted.

Lesson learned: When you acknowledge people’s unique contribution and show them that you’re conscious of their capability, you inspire them with of a vision of what they can contribute. And it all starts by speaking to their need to be acknowledged, need to feel heard, need to share, need for answers and their need to be included.

That’s what drives people’s decisions. When you speak straight to the heart of human experience. Are you paying careful attention to the things people care about?

10. Solicit commitment actively but carefully. People work best when they know that others are depending on them. Don’t be afraid to ask for specific, small participation. Even if you think you’re being too pushy when you ask people to join or participate. Consider the fact that some people are just waiting for you to invite them.

On the other hand, keep time demands reasonable. Assure people that exploring options isn’t committing to them. Commitment-phobes are a dime a dozen. Are you asking for too much too quickly from someone who isn’t too interested in being too committed?

11. Offer yourself as a resource of accessibility and candor. Make sure your actions silent say, “I’m here if you need me. And if you don’t, cool. But if you do, I promise not to bullshit you.” I attribute my seven-year membership (and current presidency) to National Speaker’s Association to this very principle.

I was fortunate enough have several board members who offered themselves as available resources. That way, if I ever needed honest answers to questions I wasn’t normally getting straight answers for, they were there. And through their example of accessibility and candor, I eventually felt comfortable enough to join.

Thanks guys. Are you willing to be somebody’s first friend – who also tells him the naked truth about your organization?

REMEMBER: Everybody recruits.

Whether you’re looking for employees, members, donors, congregants – or just some random sucker to man the punch bowl – I challenge you to mesh these practices into your recruiting efforts.

However, if none of the above suggestions work, you can always contact my friend Vinny at yougotaproblemwiththat@gmail.com.

But please don’t tell him I sent you. I can’t swim.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
When you were first recruited, why did you say yes?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “62 Pieces of Advice Busy Leaders Need to Know, But Don’t Have Time to Learn on Their Own,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

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

The Approachable Leader’s Handbook of Being Heard, Vol. 1

For those of you human beings out there (and I think you know who you are) here’s a quick list of assumptions.

You want to be:

Valued. Needed. Wanted.
Affirmed. Appreciated. Accepted.
Respected. Recognized. Remembered.
Taken seriously. Given a chance. Part of something that matters.

IN SHORT: You want to be heard.

Because if you’re not – if people can’t hear you – they can’t follow you.

And if they can’t follow you, you lose.

Today we’re going to explore a selection of practices to help you be heard by the people who matter most: Employees, staff, customers, kids, volunteers – whomever you serve.

CAUTION: If you’re hoping to read a bunch of vague platitudes like “just hear people first” or “have integrity” – look elsewhere. This list contains only practical, actionable and specific ideas to help you be heard.

And whether you’re a leader, writer, manager, parent, director, marketer, or fourth grade teacher, you’ll be able to plug these practices into your daily life today:

1. Be a living statement. If the message you’re preaching is the dominant reality of your life, you’ll be heard. If your onstage performance is the mirror image of your backstage reality, you’ll be heard. And if your life enshrines what your lips proclaim, you’ll be heard.

The secret is to be the message you seek to deliver. Otherwise, if what you say doesn’t contain a big enough piece of who you are, nobody will hear you. Your challenge is to navigate from your true center. To practice living your mission in minor moments. My suggestion is to begin by running a consistency audit.

Remember: Consistency is far better than rare moments of greatness. People would much rather see a sermon than hear one. Instead of flapping your gums, try shuffling your feet. Is your vision framed in your office or lived in your life?

2. Platform amplifies message. You can no longer afford to be invisible. Winking in the dark is not a smart leadership strategy. Your platform – by which I mean your entire visibility engine – is a pre-requisite for being heard. It no longer a novelty, it’s a necessity. And it’s the price of admission for being listened to, much less heard.

Make sure you’re constantly and creatively building it by focusing your daily activities on IMPE’s, or “Intentional Moments of Platform Expansion.” From internal communications to blogs to public presentations to social media outlets, anonymity is your greatest barrier to success. How are you making people aware of you?

3. Don’t be afraid to be bloody. In The Bloody Writer’s Guide to Crafting More Honest Material, I defined writing as, “Slicing open a vein and bleeding your truth all over the page.”

Pure, raw expression. Unhindered and unedited. That’s what gets heard. To do so, try these ideas: First, ask penetrating questions. Questions stop people. What’s more, they challenge, inspire, penetrate, disturb and confront the reader and toggle their brains.

Next, commit to self-disclosure. Hold (almost) nothing back. Take full swings. Being vulnerable is a healthy, beautiful and approachable thing. Just as long as you’re doing so to make a point – not just to get a laugh, or to use your audience as group therapy.

Third, assess the risk. Your willingness to be unpopular, make wave, rock boats – and, in general, piss people off – makes your writing bloodier. Ask one question of everything you compose or publish: “What do I risk in writing this material?”

Remember: Ink gets ignored; blood gets heard. What is your pen soaked with?

4. Speak straight to the heart of human experience. Speak the unspokens. Stir up which has long been buried. You’ll find that when you take people’s hiding places away from them and plunge into the depths they need to explore, it’s impossible for them (not) to hear you.

Leonard Cohen is a master of this. Through his poems, books, songs and interviews, he’s been heard for over forty years. In his biography, Everybody Knows, Cohen suggested the following: “Scrap your song from out of your heart. Sit in the very bonfire of distress and sit until it’s burned away and you’re ashes and you’re gone.”

It’s weird: The more personal your material is, the more your audience relates to it; and the more they relate to it, the more they hear it. Are you hitting individual nerves by highlighting universal truths?

5. Timing is everything. Never underestimate the power of being the last to speak. If possible, wait to speak until the perfect psychological moment when the words will have the maximum impact on the audience. Bide your time and veil your light until the perfect instance for expression comes along.

Then, just when everyone thought the meeting was over, drop an H-bomb from left field. Don’t be shy about making your positions known. Conclusions weren’t meant to be kept quiet. And don’t back down from who you are, either. Create a case for your agenda. The right message at the right place at the right time – in the right proportion – can completely destroy the static equilibrium.

But you have to be willing to grab the world by the lapel and aggressively whisper into its ear. And you can’t just make protests – you have to offer propositions. Consider a 3:1 ratio: With every complaint you file, offer three potential solutions. This leaves a larger footprint in people’s mind and achieves a greater probability of being heard. Are you delightfully disturbing or painfully annoying?

6. Consider the roadblocks. In The Psychology of Attention, I learned to beware of introducing new objects of attention into what you’re doing. Human attention span is just too fickle. If you want to arrest the interest of the world, don’t underestimate the cost of complexity.

Make your message simple, focused, clear, meaningful, concrete and immediate. Let your words breathe. Otherwise the point you’re trying to make will drown in the noise.

Why? Because familiar structures and predictable rhythms lead to mental laziness. And you the human brain filters out unchanging backgrounds. Which means there’s no need to pay attention if nothing moves.

Sadly, most communicators mess this up. Their audience tunes them out because their communication isn’t oxygen rich. Your challenge is to let the pearl sink. To arouse riveting curiosity as your words profoundly penetrate people. Otherwise you’ll step on the silence, smother the sparks of your message and cripple the impact of your point. How are you scattering the clouds obscuring your message’s light?

7. Build your bedrock of conviction. If you want your voice to reverberate for years to come, it has to come from a place of passion. My suggestion is to capture the “how” of the one thing you do better than anyone else on the planet.

For example, I publish time-lapse videos of my content generation, content management and content deployment processes. That way, instead of wondering what the hell I do all day, now my audience can experience the reality of my vocation. I’ve memorialized my unquestionable commitment for the entire world to see and, more importantly, hear.

Lesson learned: If you’re not about something, your vanilla voice will join the ranks of mediocre masses and fade into a sea of sameness. Are you a public spokesperson for your value you execute and the value(s) you embody?

REMEMBER: If they can’t hear you, they can’t follow you.

And if they can’t follow you, you lose.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What’s your strategy for being heard?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “22 Unexpected Ways to Help People,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

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

Sign up for daily updates
Connect

Subscribe

Daily updates straight to your inbox.

Copyright ©2020 HELLO, my name is Blog!