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!

7 Effective Approaches for Handling The Office Criticizer without Using the Fire Extinguisher

Depending on the situation, you might try any of the following Phrases that Payses to diffuse their negative energy:

1. “You may be correct.” This phrase diffuses the energy behind someone’s attack and avoids threatening the attacker. And by giving an impression of active agreement – not passive acquiescence – you avoid adding fuel to the fire. What’s more, “You may be right” validates a particular part of someone’s argument. Which doesn’t mean you TOTALLY agree with her. But, it does make it easier for the other person to hear your side of the story by way of reciprocation.

2. “I agree with you.” Similarly, this phrase “agrees with thy adversary quickly,” as the scripture suggests. It builds common ground on a point of mutual agreement and aligns you with the other person. That way, you’re both on the same side. Which is how resistance dissipates. Which makes moving toward a solution flow a LOT smoother.

3. “What makes this so important to you?” This gem is especially effective when someone shoots down EVERY idea you suggest. It identifies a person’s motives and challenges them to honesty examine their emotions, which, if they’ve lashed out at you, probably isn’t something they’ve done yet.

4. “I respect your opinion of my work.” My all-time favorite. Perfect for artists and creative professionals. Remember: If everybody loves your brand, you’re doing something wrong. And if you’re not polarizing or pissing of at least SOME people, you’re doing something wrong. Likewise, if everybody loves your idea, it’s probably not that good of an idea. So, next time someone expresses a dislike for your work – especially in an attempt to fluster, insult or embarrass you – try saying this phrase.

5. “How exactly do you mean?” This responds directly to the attack instead of letting it pass unchallenged. Another variation is, “Can you give me a specific example?” Either way, have a paper and pen ready to take notes to demonstrate a willingness to listen and openness to feedback.

6. “You’re right.” Two of the most powerful words in the world. Also, two of the most beautiful words anyone will hear. This Safety Phrase surprises the attacker, short circuits their verbal violence loop and communicates the message that you’re not going to play by their rules. What’s more, it forces the other person to make a new move. Additionally, saying, “You’re right,” contains the following attributes:

a. It’s positively framed. Which redirects the conversation into a productive direction. And that can ONLY help achieve greater resolve.
b. It enters into someone else’s reality. Which demonstrates empathy. Which shows you’ve listened. Which advances the conversation into safer, more productive territory.
c. It increases someone’s pride. Which speaks to their self-esteem. Which makes them more confident about themselves. Which makes YOU feel better about YOUR self.
d. It builds common ground on a point of mutual agreement. Which reduces emotional distance and increases trust. And especially if someone’s really upset, getting her to trust you is your key goal.
e. It validates a particular part of someone’s argument. Which doesn’t mean you’re TOTALLY agreeing with them. But, it makes them easier for them to (then) hear your side of the story.

7. Silence. Lastly, sometimes the best way to reverse the momentum of an overly aggressive or hostile person is to say nothing at all. To just shut up and let them vent. See, in many cases, that’s all they wanted: Someone to listen to them. To honor them. Or, in some cases, that’s all they needed: Someone to serve as a sounding board so they could hear how absurd their words actually were.

Of course, if none of these practices work, you can always grab the fire extinguisher, either for beatings or sprayings. It all depends on how tall the criticizer is.

Good luck.

How do you approach the office criticizer?

For the list called, “26 Rapid-Fire Strategies for becoming the Most Approachable Person in Your Organization,” 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

If they can’t come UP to you; how will they ever get BEHIND you?

Buy Scott’s new book and learn daily practices for becoming a more approachable manager!

Pick up your copy (or a case!) right 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!

What Everybody Ought to Know about Being an Approachable Employee

1. Behavior is the broadcaster of attitude. Don’t bother announcing to people what kind of attitude you strive to maintain. Anyone who’s even (somewhat) perceptive can already tell. And here’s why: Bodies override mouths, verbs outweigh nouns and actions embody mindsets.

Whatever you feel, people can spot. Whatever you harbor, people can smell. And whatever you deny, people can detect. They might not admit it, but deep down, they know something’s going on. Christ, even the DOG is onto you. So, you may as well tell the truth about how you feel. Is your behavior consistent with your stated values, even when no one is watching?

2. Humor is the height of communication. It’s also the only universal language and the great catchall of communication. For example: Funny means listening. Funny means approval. Funny means trust. Funny means attention. Funny means memorable. Funny means engaging. Funny means emotional. Funny means credible. Funny means learning. And funny means influential.

Nothing else in the world covers more ground than humor. And the good news is, everybody is funny. Everybody has endless humor in his life. And anyone can excavate the constant and inherent hilariousness of his daily experiences to improve his communication with others. You don’t need ventriloquize other people’s humor and pawn it off as your own original material.

Learn to leverage you brain’s creative process. Learn to observe ALL your experiences as being humorous. And learn to record them in an easily accessible, organized place. You’ll be the funniest person you know. How strong is your funny bone?

3. Imperfection is the insignia of inspiration. In a 2009 issue of Rolling Stone, Madonna shared the following insight:

“Justin Timberlake is really good-looking and laid back. He’s sort of a Cary Grant. I love him. I love working with him. But I don’t recognize myself IN him. But I can see myself in Lady Gaga. At her concert, she didn’t have a lot of money for her production, she had holes in her fishnets and there were mistakes everywhere. Kind of a mess. And it was nice to see that at a raw stage.”

Lesson learned: Followers and fans can’t see a reflection of themselves in monuments of flawlessness. Are you too perfect?

4. Inauthenticity is the forecaster of failure. Eventually, people are going to find out who you really are. It’s only a matter of time. And while certain people might be able to keep the show going longer than others, putting on an act IS exhausting. Just ask any professional comedian. Everyone (eventually) runs out of steam. And that’s when their truth is revealed.

The question is: How will the people you serve respond to it? And how wide will the gap be between your Truth and their memory? After all, it doesn’t matter what YOU think – it matters what THEY remember. All I’m saying is, it might be easier (and cheaper) to start walking your Truth TODAY. What’s the difference between your onstage performance and backstage reality?

5. Overseriousness is the fountainhead of mediocrity. The only thing worth being serious about is play. Now, understand that there are two components to this philosophy. First: Play as Attitude. This is about approaching everything you do in a playful way. Experiencing the world as a curious child would. Second: Play as Action.

As my mentor and occasional therapist, Richard Avdoian taught me, “Being playful isn’t the same thing as PLAYING.” One is a philosophy, the other is an event – and both are required. So, “playing” is something you do deliberately that has nothing to do with work whatsoever.

Think of it as a mini vacation. Going to a ballgame. Riding a Slip and Slide. Watching a mind-numbing action movie. Walking your ferret. Whatever. Anything that helps you escape from work. Remember: Be playful AND let yourself play. Is your life a playground or a corporate park?

How approachable are you?

For the list called, “26 Rapid-Fire Strategies for becoming the Most Approachable Person in Your Organization,” 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

If they can’t come UP to you; how will they ever get BEHIND you?

Buy Scott’s new book and learn daily practices for becoming a more approachable manager!

Pick up your copy (or a case!) right here.

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.

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?

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

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.

What’s your company’s Open Mind Policy?

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

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.

How are you increasing your askability?

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

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.

What steps are you taking to boost your trustability?

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

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.

How much profitability are YOU sacrificing by being irrelevant?

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

Who’s quoting YOU?

Check out Scott’s Online Quotation Database for a bite-sized education on branding success!

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.


How are you increasing your askability?

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

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

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