I didn’t realize how much I sucked until you told me!

Halfway through a recent business coaching session, my client stopped mid-sentence, laughed to himself and confessed the following:

“You know Scott, I didn’t realize how much I sucked until you told me!”

We had a good laugh about it.

Now, I WILL say that although my coaching style has never been to “give people a breakdown so they can achieve a breakthrough,” Patrick’s comment WAS a valuable insight.

He demonstrated that he felt safe enough in the space that we’d created together to share his vulnerability.
feel that he did suck, either.

Rather, my job as his coach was to disturb him into action.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How many insights from clients or employees are you missing out on because you’re not giving them permission to feel dumb and vulnerable in front of you?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “33 Daily Practices for Boosting Your Managerial Magnetism, ” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Little Known Ways for Creating an Open MIND Policy

Doors are for amateurs.

Approachable leaders need to have open MINDS.

Because even if you surgically remove the door from your wall, that might not reduce the psychological distance between you and your people.

Here are four little known ways for implementing and Open Mind Policy at your office:

1. Create an environment of openness. People need to feel they’ve been given PERMISSION to (1) come up to, (2) feel relaxed around, (3) open up with, (4) comfortably walk away from, and (5) confidently return to you.

Don’t be too busy to explain anything. If that’s the perception people maintain of you, you’ve communicated two dangerous messages: (1) Your time is more valuable than theirs, and (2) Their question is not important. Suggestion: Stop whatever you’re doing and give yourself fully to the other person.

Or, if people catch you off guard, book “blank time” in your schedule so people know for certain when they can get you. Another suggestion is to post a “Lunch with Mark” sign-up sheet outside your office or on your door. Let people choose the day that best fits their schedule. That way they can come shoot the breeze with you on an informal, unstructured, non-threatening, one-on-one basis. They WILL open up. How do you initiate movement toward people?

2. Be someone who can be trusted with sensitive information. Becoming someone that anyone can tell anything will reduce the likelihood of your company kicking you to the curb.

Exercise confidentiality when dealing with sensitive issues. Create a Question Friendly Environment (QFE.) A safe space. A non-threatening atmosphere where people (1) feel comfortable, and (2) feel like they have permission to ask anything that’s on their minds.

Consider trashing your “Suggestion Box” and replace it with a “Question Box.” People will open up. Honesty will flourish. Feedback will flow like wine. Especially if people don’t have to sign their names. Do people feel safe around you?

3. Engage in more “What if?” discussions. Approachable leaders are giant question marks.

There are only two possible responses to a “What if?” discussion: Either you pause and openly consider the question with an attitude of curiosity and enthusiasm — or you reflexively launch into a defensive routine of “Yeah, but…” backpedaling in order to preserve your precious ego.

And the challenge is, ONE of those response patterns draws people TO you, while the other repels people FROM you. I wonder which one YOU practice. Perhaps a sticky note with a giant X through the words, “Yeah, but…” would reinforce this behavior. What words govern your questions?

4. Eagerly pursue new knowledge, skills, and methods. Approachability is a function of teachability.

In the book Beyond Counterfeit Leadership, Ken Shelton explains, “Continuous learning is the best protection against pride. A person who is vigorously learning can’t be egotistical about what he or she knows, because each increase in understanding reveals a larger area of ignorance.”

The secret to being teachable is daring to be dumm. Demonstrating a willingness to put your ego on the shelf and approach everyone and everything as your teacher, mentor and resource. Without such mental flexibility and openness, here’s what happens: You stop learning, which means you stop growing, which means you start dying. Yikes. Not good for business. How many books did you read last month?

REMEMBER: Nobody cares if your door is open – they only care if your mind is open.

That’s what being an approachable leader is all about.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What’s your company’s Open Mind Policy?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “33 Daily Practices for Boosting Your Managerial Magnetism, ” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

8 Ways to become More Askable than a Tibetan Mountain Guru

You can’t make people ask you questions.

You CAN, however, increase the probability that people will approach you with their concerns by becoming more ASKABLE.

So, whether you’re a teacher, leader, parent or office manager, here’s a list of eight ways to do so:

1. Begin with a willingness to find answers. Sadly, not everybody does. Not everybody is interested in taking the time to find answers to the questions they’ve been asked. Mainly because their ego won’t let them. So, there’s an attitude of curiosity and openness that MUST underscore your askability.

Otherwise people will perceive you as someone who isn’t interested in expanding his worldview. Someone who’s too set in his ways. Never willing to change. Never willing to let new ideas enter his mind. And rarely interested in considering questions that challenge his point of view.

This perception stops questions in their tracks, preventing you from uncovering the key issues in the lives of those you serve. And if you set aside your ego and opened yourself to being changed, how much stronger would your organization become?

2. Dare to be asked more. If you’ve ever done Q & A during a presentation, TV spot, radio interviews, or a public press conference, you certainly recognize the risk in making yourself more askable. After all, it IS a form of sticking yourself out there. And so, notwithstanding the discomfort that’s required, being askable begins with your attitude. It’s about opening yourself to the possibility of being vulnerable, being wrong, and, in some cases, looking like a complete idiot.

Speaking of idiots, take Sarah Palin. During the 2008 Presidential Election, she was reluctant to do almost ANY public interview. Meanwhile, opposing VP Candidate Joe Biden was everywhere. TV. Radio. Print. Town Hall Meetings. If you had a question, Joe would be happy to answer. Palin, on the other hand, was completely unaskable. And I wasn’t surprised that the Obama campaign crushed her and John McCain.

Now, I’m no political analyst, so I’m not going to make any gross assumptions. But if I had to make an educated guess as to what made Sarah Palin such an unaskable person, I’d say it’s because she’s never “dared to be asked more.” Either that, or the fact that she was a colossal redneck bimbo moron. Do you dare to be asked more?

3. An answer for one is an answer for all. People – especially students – will shy away from asking questions because they don’t want to hold up the discussion. (Especially if recess, pizza or the end of class is rapidly approaching.) Students also don’t ask because they assume everyone else in the room already understands everything. However, in many classroom settings, this isn’t always the case.

My mentor and former high school English teacher, Mr. Jenkins, practiced an effective strategy for overcoming this fear. “I always encouraged my students NOT to approach my desk with questions, but rather, to ask me from their seats. That way, ALL the students in the class would hear the answer – including the ones who were too shy to raise their hand.”

What’s more, this approach also helped saved time since multiple students usually pose similar questions. As my yoga instructor always says, “An answer for one is a an answer for all.” How much time would you save if you addressed questions communally?

4. Disarm immediate preoccupations. The challenge is, many people associate question asking with conflict. So, the silent dialogue becomes: “Asking questions means rocking the boat, which means questioning the status quo, which means making a big mess, which means getting in trouble. Better keep quiet during the meeting…”

For that reason, your goal is to make sure your people know that their answers won’t be used against them. That anytime is the right time to ask. That asking questions isn’t a threat to formality or a violation of the chain of command. And that when you ARE asked questions, that you don’t feel like you’re being interrogated. When is the feeling of formality preventing your people from communicating freely and honestly?

5. Have a positive track record of listening. Otherwise people won’t take the time to ask you a question in the first place. It’s only after you have proved yourself as open, trustworthy, non-judgmental and willing to listen that someone starts to think to herself, “I feel like I can ask him anything.”

Like my askable dad, Mark, who reminds me, “It’s about playing the averages. Aggregating trust and building openness by making small, frequent deposits in people’s emotional bank accounts.” What deposits in people’s emotional bank accounts have you made in the past 24 hours to foster greater askability?

6. Be a good answerer. People ask questions to people who give good answers. Period. Creative answers. Unexpected answers. Counterintuitive answers. And the best part is, answering in these kinds of way leads to higher levels of thinking. Which elevates the conversation. Which enables people to discover individual truths. Which yields more compelling results. Here’s a list of ways to become a better answerer:

o “Actually, that question doesn’t matter.”
o “Well, let’s take that question in pieces…”
o “Well, that depends on how you define the word…”
o “Well, there are a couple of answers to that question.”
o “There are three reasons my answer to that question is no. Number one…”

Ultimately, the point of answering questions in these creative, counterintuitive and unexpected ways is NOT to dodge the truth; nor is to appear brilliant. It’s about achieving a higher level of thinking for both parties. What’s your answering style?

7. Be more informative. Without overwhelming people with your knowledge, provide as much information as you can give AND as much as the context will allow. Think meat, not carbs. And if your asker is taking notes, that means you’re doing something right. If your asker is checking their text messages or flipping through pictures of their pet ferret, you’re doing something wrong. Are your messages low-carb?

8. Help people process their questions. My mentor, Arthur, is an expert at this practice. He’s a consummate counterintuitive thinker. So, when you ask HIM a question, he often responds (not) with an answer, but with a challenge to your question itself. Common responses include, “Are you sure that’s the right question to ask?” “What’s the question behind that question?” and, “I’m not sure that question is relevant – instead, what about asking yourself this…?”

That’s the cool part. By helping you process your own question, he opens up new worlds and new answers that you never would have discovered otherwise. What unexpected answers could you give people to challenge their thinking?

REMEMBER: If you want people to ask you questions, you don’t have to be a Tibetan Mountain Guru.

Just try being more askable.

Stick yourself out there today.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How are you increasing your askability?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “79 Questions Every Manager Needs to Ask,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Now You Can Become as Trusted as Oprah without Resorting to Brainwashing or Jedi Mind Tricks

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 are ten practices to become as trusted as Oprah without resorting to brainwashing or Jedi mind tricks:

1. Trust people first. I learned this lesson at a cupcake during my recent trip to 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. Piece a’ cupcake. And any time I bought anything during the remainder of my trip down under, I used the same technique. Worked every time.

Lesson learned: If you want people to trust you, try trusting them first. Even if you have no logical reason to do so. You’ll discover that when you approach others as (already) being trustworthy, they rarely prove you wrong. Are you willing to ante up first?

2. Lower the threat level. “I don’t want to have to be the first person to trust this guy.” During the buying process, your potential customers are likely to have this concern. Your mission is to prevent this type of emotional resistance from entering their minds.

One suggestion is to collect and share video testimonials of past customers voicing that same concern. Ask the people who trust you WHY they trust you. Better yet, ask them cite specific examples of how you overcame their anxiety with your amazing service. The threat level of your future customers will lower immediately.

Also, you might consider adding a Media Room to your website or blog. By updating a chronological record of every publication that featured, quoted or mentioned you or your company, mass social proof will accumulate. Then, fear will dissipate. How are you going from red to green?

3. I feel like I already know you. Trust is a function of intimacy. And intimacy is a function of self-disclosure. So, I’m not suggesting you reveal your deepest secrets or darkest perversions to everyone you meet. You might scare them into hiding. Ultimately, the question isn’t, “How well do you know your customers?” but rather, “How well do your customers know YOU?”

Therefore: Avail yourself. Be vibrantly vulnerable. Create a plan for slowly and appropriately revealing your truth to the people you serve. How are you using truthfulness to build trustworthiness?

4. Less talkey, more doey. Trust requires evidence, not eloquence. Therefore: The more venues in which you reveal yourself, the more trust you will earn. And the more people trust IN you; the more people will buy FROM you. So, take action: Start a thought leadership blog.

Or, begin posting short, relevant, helpful videos. Perhaps share pictures of you, in your element, doing what you do. Remember: Don’t put your money where you mouth is – put it where you feet are. Most people trust (only) movement. Are you keeping secrets?

5. If you have to “persuade” people, odds are, trust is low. As Margaret Thatcher once said, “If you have to tell people you are, you probably aren’t.” Which makes sense. Think about it: Apples never make health claims. They don’t have to. Snackwells’ poisonous-processed-pumped-full-of-sugar-and-other-crap cookies, on the other hand, do. Because they’re toxic for your body. Of COURSE the box will proclaim their low-fat benefits.

Lesson learned: Be careful not to come off overly persuasive. People can’t trust your words if they’re too busy questioning your motives. Are your efforts to become more trustable working in reverse?

6. Surprise people with your impeccable word. “Wow. He actually did what he said. Didn’t see that one coming.” How profitable would it be if your customers said that about you? How equitable would it be if your customers said that about you …to their friends?

Psssht. You’d have more new business than Netflix. Remember: When trust is at an all time low, the opportunity to floor people with your unexpected integrity is high. How could you surprise people?

7. What will it take to get people to see your name daily? And, what consistent value and promise will be attached to your name when they see it? Those are the big questions. And whether your answers involve blogging, tweeting, or updating your Facebook status, remember the secret: Meaningful Concrete Immediacy. Be relevant, be concise and be actionable.

Still be human, of course. Just remember that “seeing your name daily” will start to get REALLY annoying if your updates include words like “My cat just,” “Waffles for breakfast” or “My idiot husband left the seat up again.” Remember: If you want to become a proven entity, trust comes from constant exposure. What do people think when they hear your name speak?

8. What could I do to establish instant credibility in this moment? This is a question to silently ask yourself during meetings, on sales calls or when out to lunch. For example, maybe now is the perfect time to share that story about an expensive problem you solved for a client.

Or maybe that article about your website in the current issue of FastCompany would be a worthwhile visual aid during this product demonstration. It’s all about leverage and timing. Are you punching people in the face with your credibility?

9. Pack value into everything. Trust is about being a SOURCE of something for people. More importantly, it’s about delivering the goods consistently and predictably to those people. Your challenge is to answer three basic questions about the value you deliver:

*What are you known for knowing?
*What do you know that people would pay to learn?
*What value are you prepared to give to others so that they will voluntarily give you their money?

Once you uncover those truths about your unique value, you’ll be able to pack it into everything. What are you a source of?

10. Be funnier. In 2009, John Stewart was voted as “American’s #1 Trusted News Source.” Now, keep in mind; John Stewart is a comedian. His show airs on Comedy Central. And yet, he beat out mainstream news veterans like Anderson Cooper, Brian Williams and Bill O’Reilly. Why? Because Stewart is funny as hell, and those other stiffs are not. Period.

As bestselling author Jeffrey Gitomer said in The Little Teal Book of Trust: “The funnier you are, the more engaging you are, the closer the audience will listen, and the more authentic you’re perceived to be. Getting the audience to laugh is tacit approval, and it’s your best change to deliver important facts. At the end of laughter is the height of listening.”

Lesson learned: Just be funny. Humor is the great catchall. If people perceive you as being funny, you’re halfway home. What have you done in the past month to become funnier?

REMEMBER: You can’t make anybody trust you.

All you can do is increase the probability that they will bet on, buy from, follow after, stand beside and tell others about you by making yourself more trustable.

And you don’t even need to use brainwashing or Jedi mind tricks.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What steps are you taking to boost your trustability?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “12 Ways to Out SERVICE Your Competitors,” 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
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

4 Secrets to Retain Relevancy So Customers Don’t Get Bored with You and Buy from Someone Else

As an author, used book fairs are my candy store.

The price is insanely cheap.
The selection is overwhelming.
The smell is mildewy and wonderful.

Is there a better way to spend a Saturday afternoon?

I think not.

Recently, I stopped by the 31st annual St. Louis YMCA Book Fair to stock up on fall reading. And I’m excited to report that I DID NOT find one of my own books for a dollar like I did last year. That was terribly depressing.

What I did notice, however, was that certain books had titles that were so incredibly irrelevant, outdated and poorly chosen, they actually made me laugh out loud. For example:

• Is Stalinism Dead? The Future of Perestroika as a Moral Revolution
• The Omega Strategy: How You Can Retire Rich by 1986
• Start Your Own Mail Order Business
• How to Make $25,000 a Year Publishing Newsletters
• Mastering Pacman: Tripling Your Score on the Game that’s Sweeping the Nation!

By the way, I just finished reading that last book, and am now convinced that I could pretty much annihilate ANYBODY in Pacman.

But I digress.

HERE’S THE POINT: These titles are irrelevant. Inconsequential. Obsolete. Valueless.

And as such, they’re unbuyable, unrelatable and unreadable.

SO, HERE’S THE QUESTION: How much profitability are YOU sacrificing by being irrelevant?

For many individuals and organizations, the answer is “too much.”

So, today we’re going to learn four strategies for retaining relevancy:

1. Publish a steady stream of solid content. You need to be the generator. The source. The origin. The distributor. Now, everything you put out there doesn’t have to be amazing. But if you want to be amazing, you’ve got to put everything out there.

So, here’s the secret: Send a continuous flow of education. Don’t come off as someone who has a sense of scarcity. Whether you leverage RSS, social media, podcasts or ezines, never stop publishing.

Because if you’re viewed as a broker of intelligence and wisdom; an aggregator of valuable content that’s light on the self-promotion and heavy on the actionable practices, your ideas WILL become compulsively readable (or listenable!)

What’s more, as explained in the book Value Forward Marketing by Paul DiModica, “Use Thought Leadership devices that force people to become educated and subliminally teach them how to buy and what to buy from you.”

RELEVANCY REMINDER: Consistently deploy enduring content BY you, and it will become less threatening to do business WITH you. What did you publish today?

2. Implement a system for staying constantly relevant. Consider these questions to help design yours:

a. Where are you customers hanging out? Go there!
b. How healthy is your media diet? Cut out the crap!
c. How responsive are you to “requestions”? Answer them!
d. What terms are your customers searching for? Google them!
e. How are you upgrading your qualifications? Recertify them!
f. Are you dedicated to life-long learning? Rededicate yourself!
g. What publications are your customers reading? Subscribe to them!
h. When was the last time you got new headshots taken? Shoot them!
i. What three industry blogs are you reading weekly? Bookmark them!
j. How many networking events have you attended this week? Sign up!
k. What market opportunities do you need to respond to? Leverage them!
l. How frequently are you updating your online profiles/statuses? Write them!
m. How many of your customers have you taken to lunch this month? Invite them!
n. How often are you asking your customers to help make your business better? Ask them!

RELEVANCY REMINDER: Riches come from relevant, which comes from current. So, no current = No curren-CY. What’s your relevancy system?

3. Build your listening platform. No matter what title is printed on your business card, you work in the problem solving business. Period. So, here’s most effective strategy for understanding which real, expensive, urgent, relevant pervasive problems you need to solve: LISTEN.

Listen everywhere. Use every listening post you can find. Consider how people are reacting to your current thinking. Listen to what your customers aren’t telling you. When you really listen, people WILL describe their truths about you. And those truths will be the key to retaining relevancy in their eyes.

So, whether you use social media, Google alerts, informal surveys, online evaluations, interviews, user conferences, 360 feedback reports, refuse to be anywhere that doesn’t allow you to listen and learn.

RELEVANCY REMINDER: Schedule a listening occasion. Listen very carefully to what people tell you they remember about you. What will building a listening platform earn you the right to do?

4. Discard the inconsequential. In 1997, Scott Adams published The Dilbert Future: Thriving on Stupidity in the 21st Century. Aside from being hysterical, the book also made several predictions that (actually) came true. For example:

“In the future, more people will actively ignore the news because it is irrelevant.”

Wow. Adams couldn’t be more right. Especially when stations like CNN and Fox News continuously air hour-long discussions on inconsequential drivel like “Barack and Michelle’s Date to the Opera” and “Brittney’s Bodyguard Calls it Quits.”

Who. The Hell. Cares.

Answer: Nobody. And that’s why nobody’s watching. So, my question for you is: Do people care about what YOU’RE saying? Are YOUR ideas inconsequential? If so, expect your customers and employees to tune you out instantly.

RELEVANCY REMINDER: Learn the questions to identify and appeal to anyone’s self-interest. Do people wish they could fast-forward your conversations?

In summary, we turn to Marc Ecko, billionaire creator of Ecko Unlimited Clothing, who said:

“You stay relevant by being conscious and not over-intellectualizing things. The biggest trap for creative types is the moment they start becoming introspective it paralyzes them. You can’t operate from a position of fear of irrelevance. You have to operate from a position of strength and confidence.”

REMEMBER: Retaining relevancy isn’t about being a chameleon; but rather, it’s about consciously evolving towards a future you’re both the creator OF and the participator IN.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to start training for my upcoming Pacman tournament.

Blinky doesn’t stand a chance.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How much profitability are YOU sacrificing by being irrelevant?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “6 Ways to Out POSITION Your Competitors,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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

5 Ways be a Boss Employees Don’t Want to Beat with a Stapler

Almost everyone has had a boss they hated.

But not everyone has BEEN the boss that employees hated.

If you’re one of the lucky ones, consider these five practices to make sure you stay that way:

1. Bridge the distance. Open door policies are useless if your heart, mind and ears aren’t open too. That’s the difference between being “approachable” and “accessible.” One is about physical space; the other is about personal being. How are you reducing the distance?

2. Calm the furious. As long as you don’t tell them to “try and calm down.” That only ignites someone’s reactivity. Instead, try saying nothing. Try monopolizing the listening. Perhaps their emotional engine will run out of steam. What could you say to this person that would make things worse?

3. Hear the hesitation. It’s a sign of declining receptivity, and you need to do something about it. Suggestions: Listen first. Preserve people’s self-esteem. Lower emotional reactivity. Publicly celebrate mistakes. Make communication a relaxing experience. How will you become more listenable?

4. Identify the disconnect. Listen for gaps. Then ask people if they noticed them too. What are you listening for?

5. Recognize the resistance. Do what you can to increase receptivity and get this person back on your side. Fill people’s emotional bank account with trustable moments. How are you making them feel essential?

REMEMBER: People quit people – not companies.

Don’t let it happen to you.

Now if you’ll excuse me, my anal retentive, obsessive-compulsive boss is on my back. I gotta go.

Oh wait. I’m self-employed.

Woops.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How are you increasing your askability?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “79 Questions Every Manager Needs to Ask,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

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