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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 2011-2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

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.

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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.

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What’s your Rorschach?

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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!

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

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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?

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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!

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.

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What’s your socialization?

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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 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.

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How nerdy are you willing to be?

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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 2011-2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

4 Keys To Success That Small Business Owners Often Forget—Even The Pros

Small businesspeople are smart.

They’re masters of marketing, sales, leadership, operations and customer service.

But occasionally they forget basic elements that make them successful. And to ignore them is to ignore the potential of new business.

Straight from my monthly column at American Express Open Forum, make sure you don’t forget these four keys:

1. Simplicity is eloquence. It happens all the time. Nametag companies send me their fancy, cluttered badges to wear instead of my own. No thanks. Not that I don’t appreciate the gesture. In fact, I save all the nametags people send me. But my brand is a friend of simplicity. Is yours? Or, do you try to be too fancy, make things bigger than they need to be and create riddles that take too long for impatient customers to solve? Simple means instantly repeatable. Simple means easy enough for a kindergartner to understand. Simple means explainable in less than ten seconds with less than ten words. Simple means eliminating the extraneous, letting the necessary speak and disengaging the inessential.

Unfortunately, simple is hard. It requires more energy, more brainpower and more courage that complexity. But simplicity, pursued relentlessly, can change the world. Is your brand a friend of it?

2. Friendly costs nothing. My business card is a nametag. But it doesn’t say Scott – it says Scott’s Friend. I don’t give people a choice. Everybody my friend, whether they like it or not. Amigo del Mundo. That’s how I was raised. I want to be friends with everyone, all the time, everywhere. And I want to love everybody I meet forever and then some.

Over the years, these friend cards have created a lot of special moments. I’ll never forget the incident on the tarmac. I was waiting to board my plane when I felt someone’s eyes upon me. Glancing up at the door, I noticed the groundsman holding up his laminated security badge with one of my business cards facing outward. “Hey look everybody – I’m Scott’s Friend!” he laughed. “Wait a minute. Where did you get that? Have we met before?” “No, but you flew through here last week. And I think the zipper on your bag must have broke, because we found three hundred of your cards scattered across the runway!”

Great. Not only am I a litterbug, but now my contact information is all over the trash. “Oh, don’t worry about it Scott. Matter of fact, I made my entire staff on the runway wear your cards in their security badge holders.” “Really? Why?” “Well, our airport just got a new general manager. His name is Scott, and he doesn’t have any friends.” It’s not who you love – it’s whose life is better because you love them. How many friends did you make last week?

3. The problem with the Internet. When I went to my ten-year high school reunion, I had this romantic, cinematic vision that I’d walk in the door, tell everybody the story about how I made a career out of wearing nametag and watch as they listened in disbelief. One of those how-do-you-like-me-now moments. But it doesn’t work that way. Not anymore.

Instead of asking what I’ve been up to since graduation, former classmates I hadn’t seen in a decade came up to me – didn’t even say hello – poked my chest and asked to see my nametag tattoo. I’m fine, how are you? That’s the downside of the Internet: We never have to wonder about anything anymore. No finding things out on accident. No learning things through trial and error. No imagining things by sitting around and pondering. The Internet just gives you a blank box and puts the entire world behind it. And personally, I think that’s too easy.

The secret is, we can never bury our sense of wonder. It’s what makes us human, helps us feel alive and enables us to connect with each other. Einstein said imagination is more important than knowledge. I say imagination is more important than anything. What does your brand say?

4. Decide what your legend is. Whether I’m attending a conference with colleagues, practicing yoga with friends, interacting online with readers or having dinner with family, people constantly tell me stories about telling my story. A few years ago I was on the bike at the gym. The guy next to me noticed my nametag. And after a few moments of awkward silence, he launched right into the rumor:

“You know, I once heard a story about some guy who wore a nametag everyday in college. I think it was a sociological experiment or something. But they made a documentary about him. And think he set a world record. Pretty crazy, huh?”

I didn’t have the heart to tell him. The rumors were far too interesting to listen to. And I didn’t want to ruin the image he had about the story. So I just kept asking questions. “Did you ever meet him?” “What ever happened to that guy?” “Do you think he went crazy or something? I wonder if he knew I knew.

The point is, your brand tells a story whether you like it or not. And while facts are misleading, rumors are always revealing – even if they’re wrong. If you want to make your legend worth crossing the street for, if you want people to feel proud and eager to spread your myth, you have to manage your story like an asset. Because people don’t just buy what you sell – they buy what you tell. Are you spreading positive rumors about yourself?

REMEMBER: Never underestimate the power of continual application of the fundamentals.

Forget the rudiments and forego the revenue.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What are you overlooking?

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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 My Nametag Taught Me About Diversity

Every culture responds to my nametag in its own unique way.

Latin Americans are engaging.
When I walk in their stores, they smile and say, “Buenos dias, Escott!”

Indians are proper.
When I shake their hands, they always call me, “Mr. Scott.”

Australians are affirmative and humorous.
When I tell them I wear a nametag everyday, they nod and say, “Good on ya mate! I reckon that’s helpful when you’ve had a few pints.”

Canadians are non-confrontational and inclusive.
When I meet them they say, “Nice name tag. Eh?”

Asians are enthusiastic.
When I walk into a sushi bar, the chefs bow and say, “Scotto!”

Jamaicans are hospitable.
When I walk through the airport, they yell, “Scott my brother! Ya mon! Anything you need, no problem.”Brits are dry and sarcastic.
When they see my nametag, they ask, “I take it your name is Scott?”

French people are snobby.
When I walk into their store, they look at me like I’m crazy and said, “Scott.”

Russians are playful.
When I meet them at conferences, they joke, “You have memory problem?”

Hasidics are inquisitive.
When I interact with them, they ask me a million questions, “Why do you wear the nametag on left side? What about color? Where do you buy them? You get good deal?”

Middle Easterners are accommodating.
When I shop with them, they say, “Scott my friend, come inside. I like you. You have nice face. I give you good price.”

What’s amazing to me is, in eleven years, the people who responded most negatively to my nametag were Americans. All the hatemail, insults, negative feedback and death threats came from my own people.

So much for winning the war at home.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How do people from different cultures respond to you?

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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 2011-2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Download a Copy of “The Nametag Principle” For Free, In Its Entirety, No Strings, Right Now!

Thanks to my friends at esbjournal, you can now download my latest daily devotional, “The Nametag Principle”, in its entirety, for free, no strings attached, right now.

Yes, you can also buy the book on Amazon.

But I just figured, what the hell. Why not give it away? The more you give away for free, the wealthier you will be.

Markets reward generosity.

Enjoy the devotional.

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

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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!

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