Is this an intentional action or an incidental consequence?

When faced with any task, endeavor or project, two questions need to be asked:

1. What needs to be done intentionally?
2. What do I hope will happen incidentally?

First, let’s explore the word “intentional.”

It comes from the Latin intendere, which means, “To direct one’s attention.”

So, it’s the action you take first, along with the attitude you maintain while taking it.

And, in many cases, that which you intend to do is simple, process-oriented and free from agendas.

For example, let’s say you’re going to exhibit at a trade show.

Your intentions might be to have fun, be uniquely visible, develop and maintain mutually valuable relationships, deliver value and listen to the needs of your attendees.

IN SHORT: Journey, not destination; conversations, not sales pitches.

Now, on the other hand, the word “incidental,” comes from the Latin incidentem, which means, “To occur casually in connection with something else.”

So, it’s the consequence of the intentional stuff.

And, in many cases, that which incidentally occurs is organic, serendipitous and reciprocal.

So, let’s go back to the tradeshow exhibit again.

Considering your intentions from the first example, your incidentals might be obtaining new clients, earning money and building your business.

See the difference?

OK, good. Now, here comes the tricky part…

Because your biggest challenge is going to be discerning between intentionals and incidentals.

BUT HERE’S THE GOOD NEWS: This can be accomplished by asking one simple question:

Is this an intentional action or an incidental consequence?

MY SUGGESTION: Write this question on a sticky note and post it where you can see it every day. This will train your mind to distinguish between intentions and incidentals.

– – –

Now, to further your understanding on the distinction between these two words, let’s take a look at four examples:

1. Don’t (try) to make sales.
Instead, INTENTIONALLY … deliver value first, position yourself as a resource and a trusted advisor, communicate your uniqueness quickly and ask well-timed, creative and thought-provoking questions.

Then, INCIDENTALLY, you will make sales.

2. Don’t (try) to be a leader.
Instead, INTENTIONALLY … be an empathetic, active listener; be inspiring, be passionate, be approachable, be consistent with your character and add value to yourself and to others every single day.

Then, INCIDENTALLY, people will follow you.

3. Don’t (try) to get lots of hits on your website.
Instead, INTENTIONALLY … focus your efforts on creating a web presence through octopus (not earthworm) marketing; blog every single day, make your website easy to find, share and talk about; and build remarkability and word-of-mouth-worthiness into every element of your business.

Then, INCIDENTALLY, the website hits will come pouring in.

4. Don’t try to get the media to approach you.
Instead, INTENTIONALLY … validate your expertise through the publishing of written, audio and video content; post pictures of you doing what you do; take small interviews first, create a media room on your website; and establish a unique, opinionated position, philosophy or approach to doing business.

Then, INCIDENTALLY, the media will come to you.

Ultimately, the distinction between intentional and incidental is best summarized by something I (admittedly) learned from an episode of Dr. Phil.

His advice to the panel of overweight guests was, “Don’t dwell on the idea of shedding pounds, but rather, focus on living a healthier lifestyle.”

He encouraged (er, yelled at) them to modify their eating, drinking, exercising and sleeping habits.

That was the intentional part.

And as a result, he said, they would experience increased energy, higher self-esteem, a more positive self-image and, eventually, a loss of weight.

That was the incidental part.

So, whether you’re trying to increase sales, drive web traffic, lead a group of employees – or even shed those unwanted pounds – here’s the secret:

Fo on the umbrella.

Ask yourself, “Is this an intentional action or an incidental consequence?”

Because, as my mentor, Arthur Scharff says, “Seeking destroys the journey.”

What question do you ask yourself before undertaking any endeavor?

Share your best one here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

…only 18 more days until goes ON AIR!

Ball in Their Court Questioning

PICTURE THIS: you’re chatting with someone you just met.

During a conversational lull, you ask the default question, “So Mike, what do YOU do?”

And all of the sudden, his posture weakens. His eyes avert. And his smile fades.

“Actually, um, I’ve been out of work for the past 8 months, so…”


Well, good thing I brought THAT up! you think.

A few minutes later on your way to the hardware store to purchase a crowbar to pry your foot out of your mouth, something occurs to you.

You made assumptions.

That Mike had a job.
That Mike was defined by his work.
That Mike had a career he enjoyed talking about.

None of which were true.

And as a result, your connection was botched.

SO, THAT’S THE CHALLENGE: avoiding assumptive language.

Being curious, not judgmental.

And your job as an approachable communicator is to ask questions that are specific, yet STILL give someone permission to direct the conversation in manner that makes him most comfortable.

Because your NUMBER ONE GOAL in every conversation is to make the other person feel comfortable as soon as possible.

An effective tool you can use is called Ball in Their Court Questioning.

For example:

Instead of saying, “What do you do?”
You could say, “What keeps you busy all week?”

Instead of saying, “What’s your job there?”
You could say, “What’s your role there?”

Instead of saying, “Did you get hired yet?”
You could say, “What kind of progress have you been making on the job hunt?”

Instead of saying, “Are you actually making a living at this?”
You could say, “How are you moving forward towards your goals?

Ball in Their Court Questioning. (BTCQ, for short.)

And BTCQ is more than just asking open-ended questions.

For someone to engage comfortably with you about topics important to them.

From you looking like an idiot, and from the other person feeling embarrassed.

Framing your conversation with a positive, goal-oriented tone.

And ultimately, when you make these minor changes in your verbiage, you create MAJOR results in your conversations.

So, next time you meet someone new; transform assumptive language into approachable language.

And you’ll never need to use that crowbar again.

How long have you been working in the People Business?

Share your additional thoughts on the nature of this “industry.”

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

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Practice intentional discomfort

When you make yourself uncomfortable, you grow the most.

As a person.
As a professional.

When you make yourself uncomfortable, you learn the most.

About others.
About yourself.
About the world.

When you make yourself uncomfortable, you expand the most.

Because you meet new people.
Because you experience new things.

SO, THE BIG QUESTION IS: Are you practicing intentional discomfort every single day?

Me? I’m kind of a discomfort junkie.

See, I wear a nametag every day. Wherever I go.

(Been doing it non-stop for seven years now.)

And I’ve probably learned the most, grown the most and experienced the most simply by sticking myself out there.

Of course, you don’t need a nametag. Approachability comes in many forms.

So, if you’re a regular attendee to association meetings, networking events, company celebrations – even church or temple – here’s a list of eight ways to step out of your comfort zone:
1. Be someone’s first friend. If you notice a new member, congregant, student or employee, be the first to approach him. Satisfy his basic psychological need of acceptance by simply saying hello.

Do you remember your first friend?

2. Be a greeter. Even if you’re not on the welcome committee, first impressions team or hospitality squad, be a greeter anyway. And don’t just greet people within twenty feet of the door and within twenty minutes of the start of the meeting. REMEMBER: consistency is far better than rare moments of greatness. Everyone is a greeter.

When was the last time you were greeted by a non-greeter?
3. Third party intros. When you meet someone new, introduce them to someone else you know. Make sure to use a “Connector Line” to spark interest and keep the conversation alive: “Hey Mike, have you met Randy yet? He was just telling me about the Stones concert from this weekend!”

Are you including new people into your conversations?

4. Park in the back; sit in the front. Literally and metaphorically. Make small sacrifices so The New Guy, first timers and solo rollers so they can enter your meeting or organization with ease and comfort.

Are you willing to make yourself uncomfortable so a new person isn’t?
5. Embrace the outsiders. Keep your eyes open for people who aren’t being included. Watch for the individuals who seem lost, have wandering eyes, sit alone or “pretend” to be busy with something. You never know, they could be pretty cool! Take the first step to get to know them.

Do you remember when you were an outsider and someone embraced you?

6. Sit with the wrong company. Next time you attend a meeting or networking event, don’t sit with five people you know and work with every day. Find a table with a few open seats and a bunch of strangers … and have a seat! Avoid the temptation to stay within your group.

How can you expand your network by sitting with everyone you know?

7. Stay late. Next time your meeting, workday or event concludes, stick around. Look for new people. Ask them, “So, what’d you think of our little group?” “Did you have fun?” or “How was your first day?” Make yourself physically available (openness of personal space) and personally available (openness of mind and heart).

If you had lots of questions on your first day, wouldn’t YOU appreciate it if someone stayed late to answer them?

8. Extend the event. If there’s a particular person you connected with, offer to keep the event alive. Invite her to join the after-party, or make yourself available for a personal “debriefing.” NOTE: this isn’t something you should to do all the time. Respect yours and other people’s time. However, if it’s appropriate, setting aside a chunk of time to answer questions, offer insider information or address concerns will be HUGELY appreciated.

Don’t YOU like being invited to the afterparty?

NOTE: there IS a flip-side to all of these examples: be mindful of yours and other people’s boundaries. Nobody should fully give his entire self or time to every person he meets. Practice discretion, not snobbery. And remember, a “yes” to something or someone is always a “no” to another.

Still, stepping out of your comfort zone (cliche as it may sound) is a valuable activity.

And it’s not just “something you do.”

It’s a way of life.
It’s a way of business.
It’s a way of thinking.

Most importantly, it’s a way of learning.

Practice intentional discomfort today.

How did you step out of your comfort zone today?

Share your best comfort zone learning experience here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

Are you the luckiest person you know?

Watch Scott’s interview on 20/20!

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Why are you being so nice to me?

PICTURE THIS: You meet someone at a networking event. He’s friendly, approachable, asks great questions; even introduces you to a few his colleagues.

After the event you exchange business cards.

A few days later he follows up with a quick email, thanking you for coming. He also offers an open-ended invitation to a future lunch to brainstorm and get to know each other better.


Still, in the back of your mind, you can’t help but wonder, “Why is he being so nice to me?”

Does he have ulterior motives?
Does he want to sell me something?
Does he think I’m going to become his best friend?

Oris he just nice to everyone?

All of these are possibilities. And it’s human nature to be suspicious of people’s motives. Especially when it appears someone has no apparent reason to be so “nice” to you.

PERFECT EXAMPLE: ever since my 20/20 piece, I’ve been getting SWAMPED with phone calls and emails.

Most are from people who are just nice.

Many are from people who are nice AND want to connect.

However, some are from people are very nice … who want me to become part of their downline. Or read their business proposal. Or buy their products and services.


So, based on my experience of wearing a nametag 24-7 for the past 2,430 days, I believe there are three levels of niceness:

1. ULTERIOR MOTIVES: they seek sales, referrals, joining their organization, becoming a part of their MLM company.

2, ANCILLARY MOTIVES: they seek to develop and maintain mutually valuable relationships. “Who knows?” they think, “Maybe somewhere down the line we’ll be able to help each other!”

3. ZERO MOTIVES: they seek to be nice for the sake of being nice. No scorekeeping. No objective. Just being nice.

The challenge is, the word “nice” is a toughie. And there’s a paradox of meaning when you research the word’s origin.

By definition, the word nice means, “Pleasing and agreeable in nature,” “Having a pleasant or attractive appearance,” “Exhibiting courtesy and politeness,” and “Of good character and reputation; respectable.”

Conversely, the Latin derivative for nice is nescius, or “ignorant.”


No wonder “nice” is so misunderstood!

Still, when it comes to approachability, it’s important to see the value in all three types of conversation levels. None are better than the other; they just serve different purposes.

So, next time someone’s “nice” actions appear suspicious; and you ask yourself, “Why are they being so nice to me?” remember these three variations of niceness before you write someone off.

Why are some people so nice?

Share your best “Why are you being so nice to me?” story here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

Are you the luckiest person you know?

Watch Scott’s interview on 20/20!

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10 different approaches for your 10-second commercial

It’s the most frequently asked question, like, ever.

“So, what do YOU do?”

So many answers, so little time.

THE CHALLENGE: coming up with a memorable, concise and brand-consistent message.

However, there’s no one-way to do it! Let’s explore ten different approaches to answering this question.

1. The Lois Creamer Approach
“I work with (target market) who want to (desired outcome) so they can (benefit).”


“So, what do YOU do?”

“I work with small business owners who want to increase productivity so they can spend more time their families.”

2. The Dick Brusso Approach
“I help (target market) accomplish (desired outcome) through (media through which you help achieve that outcome).”


“So, what do YOU do?”

“I help hotel chains boost their customer service numbers through online training programs.”

3. The John Jantsch Approach
“I (verb) (target market) (benefit).”


“So, what do YOU do?”

“I educate furniture salespeople on closing techniques.”
4. The Gitomer Approach
Just say something funny and confident.


“So, what do YOU do?”

“I’m the greatest valet parker in the world!”

5. The Paul Edwards Approach
(Common Problem) + (Reason Why) + (Positioning Statement)


“So, what do YOU do?”

“You know how marathon runners’ backs always hurt after a long jog? Well, that’s because their vertebrae are out of sync. See, I’m a chiropractor and I help marathon runners get their bones back into shape so they can break their personal running records!”

6. The Joke Approach
Say something unexpected and funny to disarm the situation, then follow-up with a real answer.

“So, what do YOU do?”

“As little as possible!”

(Insert gut-busting laughter here.)

“But seriously, my job is to…”
7.The Steve Hughes Approach
Just pretend you’re talking to a five year old.

EXAMPLE: “So, what do you do?”

“I help grown-ups get better at show and tell!”

8. The Benefit of the Benefit Approach
I make (target market) (benefit of the benefit)


“So, what do YOU do?”

“I make customers breathless.”

9. The Jeff Magee Approach
I do three things…


“So, what do YOU do?”

I do three things: write books, give speeches and conduct teleseminars on how to expand your creativity.

10. The Scott Ginsberg Approach
(“Huh?”) + (Value Statement) + (“Aha!”)

“I wear a nametag 24-7!”

“Huh? Are you serious?”

“Yep! And I write books, speeches and training materials on approachability.”

“Ohhhhh,” she nodded. “I get it. Cool! We should hire you.”

Yes. Yes you should. Here’s my fee schedule 😉

What’s your approach to the 10-second commercial?

Share your formula here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

Download Scott’s new book!
Right here, right now, for FREE, no strings.

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