Are You Sculpting These Four Muscles of Approachable Leaders?

1. Energy is the best attractor. People might not remember what you said – but they’ll never forget how your energy made them feel.

That’s what brings them back for more of you. That’s what causes them to tell everyone they know about you. Whether or not your forcefield of aliveness helped them fall in love with themselves. How do you make people feel essential?

2. Execution is the great qualifier. If you’re not sure whether or not to trust someone, just ask one question: “What measurable success has this person achieved?” That should weed out the talkers from the doers. At the same time, remember that your prospects are probably asking the same question about you.

Your challenge is to reinforce a positive pattern of execution. To present a timeline of credibility. Otherwise you’ll appear about as qualified as George W. Bush. What have you executed this week?

3. Inauthenticity is the great deal-breaker. Because it taints everything else you do. I don’t care how smart, good-looking or successful you are. If you’re bullshitting the world, eventually they’re going to smell it. Especially if you “try” to be authentic.

Doesn’t work that way. Authenticity is like pregnancy: You either are or you aren’t. Sure, it’s not as obvious to onlookers as carrying a child. But time has this funny way of either exposing you or extolling you. May as well go with the real version. What do you rationalize as authenticity?

4. Trust is the great closer. Failure to achieve believability is a widespread challenge. Which is understandable. People are afraid of everything, so they trust nothing. The goal is to teach people to trust and believe in you again so they’re not afraid of you anymore.

After all: The more people trust IN you, the more they will bet on, buy from, follow after, stand beside and tell others about you. And if you’ve ever wondered, “Why don’t people don’t trust me?” perhaps it’s time to ask the bigger question, “Am I trustable?”

Here’s a helpful guide to become more trustable than Oprah without resorting to brainwashing or Jedi mind tricks. What are the signs that you haven’t earned someone’s trust yet?

What makes you an approachable leader?

For the list called, “7 Ways to Radically Raise Receptivity of Those You Serve,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

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

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

4 Ways to Help People Love Themselves More When They’re With You

The best way to get people to fall love with you is to help them fall in love with themselves first.

After all, it’s not about being the life of the party – it’s about bringing other people TO life AT the party.

Here are four ways to do so:

1. Be aware of the weight you have on people. A common mistake made by unapproachable leaders is forgetting to regularly share what they’re thinking and feeling. This confusion over where the leader stands causes stress in their followers. After all, when people never know what’s on your mind, it drives them crazy.

And ultimately, the weight you have on them will become so heavy that your unpredictability will create apprehension in their process of approaching you.


What’s more, let’s talk about the peril of passion. Sure, passion is beautiful because it’s enthusiastic and contagious. But be careful. Part of being an approachable leader is cultivating an awareness of how your energy affects others. Take a campfire, for example. Yes, it provides warmth. Yes, it provides inspiration. Yes, it provides heat to cook your s’mores.

But it can also burn you (and others) pretty good. Does your intensity wear others out?

2. Don’t overwhelm people with your knowledge. In Rules of Thumb, Alan Webber identifies two types of leaders: The ones who compliment other people they work with for their ideas, and the one who use their incredible brainpower to point out the flaws in others’ thinking and shoot down their ideas.

Hopefully, you’re the former. Because the secret is to share your knowledge without showcasing it. To present your ideas without hurling them. As Bob Lefton says in Leadership Through People Skills, “Resist the urge to unload advice on people who haven’t asked for it and aren’t ready to listen to it.”

If you have a lot of ideas to convey, chunk them down into small clusters. By spacing ideas effectively, they’re easier to digest. Otherwise people feel intimidated by a barrage of knowledge, which reduces receptivity. How does the way you use your intelligence come across to the people who work with you?

3. Don’t ignore signs of discomfort in others. That means refraining from telling a lot of insignificant, endless stories that have zero relevance to anyone. This is not only uncomfortable, but also annoying. And it leaves a perception of vanity – not value – in the minds of others.

And yet, tons of people practice this without invitation and it drives others up the wall. So consumed with telling their story, they pay little or no attention to people’s irritation, impatience or disgust. Scott Adams said it best in Dogbert’s Top Secret Management Handbook, “Be obliged to stop rambling if your listener shows signs of starvation, coma or rigor mortis.”

Otherwise, people will experience you as being too selfish to acknowledge anyone else’s right to talk. And the problem with his communication pattern is that it (1) Leaves people wondering why they bothered to listen in the first place, and (2) Lowers the likelihood that they’ll come up TO, feel relaxed AROUND, open up WITH, comfortable walk away FROM and confidently return TO you.

The secret is becoming more mindful of declining receptivity in the people around you. In addition to uncomfortable scanning their watch to see how much longer they have to listen to you, remember to watch for these warning signs: Flat assertions. Impatience. Silence. Nervousness. Superficial questioning. Unquestioning agreement. Each of these are grounded in discomfort and declining receptivity. How listenable are you perceived as being?

4. Identify and disarm silent dialogues. Assumptions. Annoyances. Preoccupations. Concerns. Questions. This is just a sampling of the communication barriers floating around in people’s heads. See, the big question people are asking themselves (as they experience you) is, “Is this person the same on the inside, as he seems on the outside?”

For your sake, I hope the answer is yes. And here’s why. In Parker Palmer’s fantastic book, A Hidden Wholeness, he addresses this perception gap:

“When the answer to that question is yes, we relax. We believe that we are in the presence of integrity and feel secure enough to invest ourselves in the relationship. When the answer to that question is no, we go on high alert. Not knowing who or what are dealing with and feeling unsafe, we hunker down into a psychological foxhole and withhold the investment of our energy, commitment and gifts.”

Wow. What existing defensiveness do you need to diffuse?

REMEMBER: We always fall in love with those who help us fall in love with ourselves.

How are you make this person light up like a Christmas tree?

For the list called, “7 Ways to Radically Raise Receptivity of Those You Serve,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

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

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Are you wasting your audience’s time?

Here’s the most dangerous thought your audience members could EVER have:

“Why did I even bother coming to this?”

I learned this lesson after a recent presentation with the American Advertising Federation.

No, I didn’t bomb. Actually, one of my audience members shared a piece of feedback I’d never heard before, but one I’d never forget:

“Scott, what I appreciated most about your presentation was that you never wasted our time.”

Huh. That’s interesting. Never really thought of it that way.

But it makes perfect sense.

HERE’S THE REALITY CHECK: Time is currency. People are busy. And they don’t care about you.

I’m not saying they don’t like you. I’m sure you’re a very interesting, intelligent person.

But self-interest is a powerful force. And whether you’re a salesperson, speaker, writer, entertainer or leader, the last thing you want to do is deliver your message in a way that’s perceived as a waste of people’s time.

Whether you’re faced with one hundred, one thousand– or just one guy sitting across the table – consider these eight strategies for helping YOUR audience get the maximum mileage out of the presentation:

1. What would YOU do? Let’s start with an experiment. First, make a list of three experiences where you watched a movie, attended an event or sat in the audience of a performance and thought to yourself, “Wow. This is a TOTAL waste of my time.”

Next, write down the attributes that contributed to the meaninglessness of each presentation. Then, be honest. Ask yourself if you’re guilty of embodying any of those attributes while YOU present. If not, rock on! If yes, no worries. Consider using that list as an audit to help you prevent wasting people’s time in the future. How boring are you?

2. Put your material to the test. As you prepare your presentation, run each if your ideas, stories, points, statistics, quotations and illustration through the “Nobody Cares about You Test.” It’s pretty simple. Just ask yourself:

“Is this piece of material meaningful (appeals to self-interest) concrete (meat, not fluff) and immediate (actionable and applicable)?”

If not, throw it out. Because if the audience’s answer to what you say is, “Who cares?” you lose. And so do they. Are you speaking with Meaningful Concrete Immediacy?

3. Challenge people to get lost. Here’s a hard truth to swallow: People will forget 99% of the stuff you say during your presentation. But what they WILL remember is what they said to THEMSELVES while listening to what you said.

Your mission is to send people on mental journeys. To help them get productively lost. Now, I’m not suggesting you encourage them to start text messaging during your speech. Instead, remind your audience up front to take notes on what they hear themselves say. Are you helping your audience members listen to themselves?

4. Be scary good. Dave Grohl from Foo Fighters said it best: “When I’m playing a show, my number one goal is to make sure nobody in my audience looks at their watch.” Now, if you’ve ever seen those guys in concert before, you better believe they accomplish that goal during every gig. Because they’re just THAT good. They give their audience permission to be taken over by their performance.

Here are the two best strategies for constant audience captivation:

(a) Get off the stage and walk around the room. People will have no choice but to pay attention to you.
(b) Talk to individual people. As if your speech was a conversation. Look them straight in the eyes.

When you do this, everyone in the room will be engaged. Because when you focus the attention on one; you capture the attention of all. Are your audience members looking at their watches?

5. The slide show isn’t your girlfriend. Having a relationship with the slide and reading it is an insult to the audience’s intelligence. Do this and I guarantee they will both look at their watches AND ask themselves why the hell they bothered to come to your presentation in the first place. Total waste of time.

Your screen is a reference point – not a Magic Eye poster. If you find yourself looking at your slides for more than five seconds, you have too much information on your slides.

Remember: No more than ten words. You should be using mainly pictures anyway. Would your spouse be jealous of the affair you’re having with your PowerPoint?

6. Practice non-rambling spontaneity. Build space in your presentation for the unexpected. Comments. Arguments. Hecklers. They’re all good things. Just let them happen. Welcome useful audience digressions. Some of the best stuff is the stuff you never planned on saying.

At the same time, beware of going off on some eye-rolling tangent that instantly encourages people to start checking their email on their iPhones. Listen closely to what your audience isn’t telling you. Because they might be silently saying, “Dude, we GOT it. Move on to the next point.” Are you enabling the organic without beating dead horses?

7. Save self-gratification for the bathroom. There’s nothing wrong with getting a little personal in your presentation. Nor is it a mistake to share vulnerability from the stage to help build credibility. After all, intimacy via self-disclosure IS what builds trust and receptivity in your audience.

Just remember: There’s huge difference between personalizing and masturbating. One builds an approachable connection with the audience. The other is an ego-driven parade of self-indulgence that your audience can see coming from a mile down the street. No pun in intended.

Your challenge is to honesty gauge whether or not what you’re about to say is (actually) going to improve your audience’s condition, of it’s just going to help YOU maintain an erection. Whom are you (really) giving this speech for?

8. Entertaining, educating and inspiring aren’t enough. If you truly want to maximize every minute of your audience’s time, you need to DISTURB them. I don’t suggest gratuitously showing a bunch of sensationalist pictures to prove your point. Rather, consider embedding emotion into everything. EVERYTHING.

The word “disturb” actually comes from the same Latin derivative as “emotion.” So, your job is to elicit physiological reactions: Audible gasps. Extended laughs. Jaw drops. High fives. Head turns. Forehead slaps. Get the picture?

Your presentation must run the gamut on the emotional spectrum. Topic notwithstanding, your words need to make people mad, sad, glad and rad. Remember: Your audience’s bodies will never lie to you. Emotion is the final arbiter of the effectiveness of your presentation. How are you disturbing people?

In conclusion, I’d like to share an experience of attending a presentation that wasted MY time, along with what I learned from it.

In 2006 I attended a program called “How to Create Promo Videos that Make You More Bookable.” Sounds like a cool session, right?

Well, it would have been. But the speaker, Diane, spent the first TWENTY minutes (of a sixty-minute program) playing nothing but clips of her own clients. And even though her videos were cool to watch, that wasn’t the reason I came to her session. It was billed as “How to Create,” not, “Hey Look What I Created!”

For the record, I thought about saying something. But then I totally chickened out. Wimp.

The guy next to me, on the other hand, didn’t.

Right around minute twenty-one of Diane’s Self-Promotional All You Can Eat Buffet, he jolted up with fire in her eyes. And in the middle of her presentation, he flat out yelled, “Excuse me, Diane? Are actually going to tell us HOW to make a video, or just shamelessly self-promote for the remaining forty minutes?”

Dead silence. Even MY draw dropped to the floor – and I give speeches for a living.

The speaker was dumfounded. And I couldn’t wait to see how she was about to handle the situation.

Eventually, after fumbling over a few words, Diane apologized. She even laughed a little. Because she KNEW that she’d screwed up as the presenter. Naturally, she stopped the videotape, turned up the house lights and delved into the meat of her presentation about HOW to make the video.

HERE’S THE FINAL QUESTION: Do you think the Diane ever won the audience back?

Nope. It was too late. The speaker had already wasted twenty minutes of everyone’s time. And when you’re at an out of town conference that you paid seven hundred dollars to attend, that’s unforgivable.

HERE’S THE FINAL LESSON: As the speaker, you have a responsibility to make an improvement on the energy in the room. To enlarge the people sitting in it. And to assure that when people walk out of that room, they’re better off in some way.

Never waste your audience’s time.

If you do, they won’t invite you back next time.

Are your audience members wondering why they bothered to come?

For the list called, “234 Things I’ve Learned about Writing, Delivering and Marketing Speeches,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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

Download a free copy of The Nametag Guy’s (unofficial) 9th book!

HELLO, my name is Scott’s…
“Live your name.”

6 Ways to be More Followable Than Ashton Kutcher on Twitter

“Why doesn’t anybody follow me on Twitter? This sucks!”

Wait a sec. Holster your finger there, buster.

LET ME ASK YA THIS: Have you considered the possibility that you’re not a followable person?

Ouch. Maybe that’s the real problem.

HERE’S THE REALITY: Whatever leadership role you hold – teacher, boss, blogger, tweeter, pastor or parent – being approachable is about increasing the probability that people will follow you.

And by “follow you” I mean that people will listen TO, learn FROM and be inspired BY you.

Here are six ways to become more followable TODAY:

1. Help people fall in love with themselves. First, by falling in love with YOUR self. This allows people to see firsthand what it’s like when someone honors their Truth. And that experience is inspiring because it grants people permission to do (and BE) the same.

Also, remember that being a followable person is about how people experience themselves when they’re with you. So, make them feel better off having communicated with you. Pinpoint the beauty that they’re too close to themselves to taste.

That’s what being an inspirational person is: Breathing into people a reflection of their awesomeness. How are people changed after having a conversation with you? Are people diminished, unaffected, or enlarged after their encounter with you? And what would happen if everyone who walked away from you was inspired to lead with her truth more frequently?

2. Learn by what you have LIVED, then teach people. Followable people know that orthodoxy (the right beliefs) is exponentially more powerful that orthopraxy (the right practices). After all: People aren’t inspired to follow you because of what they HEAR you SAY consistently – only what they SEE you DO consistently.

So, followable people don’t practice what they preach – they preach what they practice. In the words of my inspiring friend/mentor Jim Henderson: “Action changes everything. We need to major in practices and minor in principles. Practices are attitudes that translate directly into actions.”

If you want to increase the probability of people following you, try this: Do something first, THEN tell people about. Do something first, THEN tell people what you learned. Do something first, THEN challenge people to do the same. Is the message you’re preaching the dominant reality of your life? How deep is the gap between your onstage performance and your backstage reality? And how inspiring is someone who just believes a bunch of stuff, yet takes no action?

3. Make certain people regularly experience you in your element. Windsurfing. Baking. Fixing cars. Solving math problems. Riding horses. Being a Mom. Selling hot dogs to drunken Cardinal fans at the Busch Stadium. Whatever. Pinpoint your natural state of magnificence, and then stay there for as long as you can.

It doesn’t matter what you’re amazing at. When people get the chance to see you being you, doing what you do best, it will always be inspirational. And it will be impossible for them to escape your awesomeness. How could you not follow someone like that?

The secret is to seek out situations that vividly reveal your passions, and then made sure LOTS of people are watching. Do that and they WILL come with you. How often are you in your element? How often is there at least one person watching? And how are you constantly expanding your platform on which to display your gifts?

4. Marinate people in your world. Give them insight into how you operate. Show them how you think. Take them on a tour of You Land. Then, while you’re there, show them that you feel sufficiently complete and whole within yourself. Slowly, this will allow that same space to open up in them.

Then, they will experience themselves as being better, stronger and more beautiful by virtue of your inspirational presence. And that will enable them to follow you. When people listen to your life, what do they hear? What do people get when they get you? And how many people regularly see the most inspirational aspect of your life?

5. Pepper in ordinariness. One of the problems with so-called “inspirational” people is that they’re completely unrelatable. No disrespect to Oprah, but come on. Nobody can relate to her. I don’t care how “regular” she claims to be on her show. Oprah is a cyborg from planet Zoltar, and she does not live in a world of reality.

Therefore: Unless you regularly exert your ordinariness, people wall have a hard time following you. There must be a balance between being admirable; yet relatable. Not being utterly boring; yet not being terminally unique. How well do you merge ordinariness with remarkability? Do the people you follow and listen to ever screw up? Doesn’t it make you want to follow them more when they do?

6. Stick yourself out there. Ultimately, leaders ante up first. They take the first step to inspire others to do the same. So, try this exercise: Think of five people that YOU follow. Or listen to. Or allow yourself to be influenced by. On a scale of 1-10, how willing to risk were those people? My guess: Very. Because that’s what inspirational people do – they stick themselves out there.

In the words of my inspiring, followable colleague, David “Rise to the Top” Garland, “Inspiration correlates with risk. Those that take (some sort of) risk are perceived as inspirational because they’re just regular people who did something remarkable.”

That’s the cool part. We’re not just talking about physical risk like bungee jumping or wearing a Cowboys jersey to an Eagles game. Sticking yourself out there is an emotional risk. It’s about walking your truth in a world of mostly fiction. And that’s what inspires people to walk THEIR Truth right behind you. What risks are you comfortable taking? What truth are you ready to live? And what dream in you that could inspire others would cause you deep regret if you never took the risk to go for it?

REMEMBER: You can’t make people follow you.

All you can do is increase the probability by making yourself more followable.

Do that, and people will listen TO, learn FROM and be inspired BY you.

How are you making yourself more followable?

For the list called, “7 Ways to Radically Raise Receptivity of Those You Serve,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

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

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

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