Always have something to give

PICTURE THIS: you plop down next to a friendly guy on the plane.

After a brief greeting, he asks about your work.

“I’m an author,” you say.

“Cool! What kind of books?” he asks.

So you tell him. And he becomes very excited. Obviously, he’s a perfect reader for you.

“Wow, that sounds great,” he replies. “My entire office needs to read your book! You wouldn’t happen to have an extra copy in your bag, would you?”

“Oh, uh … no. Sorry,” you say. “But I’m sure your local Borders has it in stock.”


Yeah. “Oh” is right.

LESSON LEARNED: being in the right place at the right time does you no good…

Until you deliver VALUE.

That’s one of the keys to sticking yourself out there: always having something to give.

As an author, I don’t go anywhere without at least one of my books.

Because you never know whom you might meet.
You never know who might ask for one.
And you never know what business opportunities might arise by one.

Of course, this isn’t just about authors.

This is about ANY entrepreneur, artist, solo practitioner, consultant, writer, speaker, performer or musician … who wants to make a name for himself.

Always have something to give.

See, people need visuals. They need proof that you’re the real deal.

Unfortunately, first impressions don’t take very long. That’s why having something to give the perfect shortcut.

I remember a few years ago, I was chatting with a guy while waiting in line at Kinko’s. Turns out he was an up-and-coming DJ.

When I asked him if he had any of his music handy, he said, “Sure, follow me…”

We walked over to his car, he popped the trunk, and this guy had five boxes of CD’s ready to go!

“Here ya go! I always keep a few copies handy, just in case,” he laughed.

Think that guy is going to be successful?


Because he’s always ready to pitch on a moment’s notice.

Because he always has something to give.

See, Strategic Serendipity is about preparation.

And if you want to make a name for yourself, consider all the potential things YOU could be ready to give!

1. Philosophy cards
2. Tip sheets
3. Demo Videos
4. Copies of your CDs
5. Copies of your books

…all of these items deliver value, support your brand and enable a conversation to go from mundane to memorable.

So whether it’s in person, on the plane or even waiting in line at Kinko’s, remember this:

Being in the right place at the right time does you no good…

Until you deliver VALUE.

Do you always have something to give?

Make a list of 10 potential freebies you could give away at a moment’s notice. Try one a week.

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

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Taking the shameless out of self-promotion

(To watch a video of The Giant Nametag, click here!)

Self-promotion gets a bad wrap.

In fact, it’s almost impossible to talk about the topic of self-promotion without mentioning the word “shameless.”

Which, according to my thesaurus, is another word for “audacious, brash, dirty, immoral, improper, presumptuous and rude.”

Yikes! No wonder people are so hesitant when it comes to tooting their own horns … they’re afraid!

Afraid of being rejected.
Afraid of appearing boastful.
Afraid that they’re bragging.
Afraid of sticking themselves out there.

BUT, HERE’S THE GOOD NEWS: self-promotion doesn’t have to be shameless.

See, our teachers, parents and mentors tell us (er, brainwash us) that self-promotion is bad form.

Not true.

Self-promotion can be a beautiful thing … when done gracefully.

THINK OF IT THIS WAY: you sit down at a dinner table with seven strangers.

Somebody brings up the topic of children.

“Ooh! Look at these pictures! My daughter just graduated from Kindergarten. Isn’t she just the cutest thing you’ve ever seen? Oh, and she got all A’s and the teacher LOVES her and all the other students in class think she’s the smartest kid in the whole school!”




Heck no!

It’s passionate. It’s loving. It’s fun. It’s engaging. It’s authentic.

And you don’t see it as “selling” your kids to the person next to you.

You’re merely transferring your love.

And THAT is what self-promotion TRULY is: a transference of emotion.

Here’s another example.

At a recent Book Expo in New York City, I spent three days walking around the convention center wearing a giant nametag.

Smiling. Waving. Making friends. Giving away free books. Having fun.

Transferring the emotion of approachability.

Now, sure, I was promoting my new book.

But I didn’t lead with that. I led with passion and love and authenticity.

And the word shameless wasn’t even a consideration.

Interestingly, halfway through the conference, a woman approached me with a big smile on her face and asked why I was wearing this huge nametag.

So I told her.

It turned out she was a reporter for the Christian Science Monitor Her assignment was to interview someone for an upcoming article on self-promotion.


We ended up sitting down on the stairs for the next 30 minutes for an impromtu interview!

So, if you want to take the “shameless” out of self-promotion, remember two things:

1. Don’t let your past fears stand in the way.
2. Don’t sell – transfer your love. Enable people to buy.

Because if you don’t make a name for yourself, someone will make one for you.

Does self-promotion have to be shameless?

Share your hypotheses why people are afraid to toot their own horns 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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How to become the Luckiest Person You Know, Part 3

Ever since the 20/20 segment ran last week, I’ve been getting LOTS of emails, IM’s and phone calls about luck.

So, let’s continue our discussion on How to become the Luckiest Person You Know!

First of all, if you’re new here, welcome!

My name is Scott. I wear a nametag 24-7.

Check out parts one and two of this series first!)

OK. Let’s get down to business…

1. Exponentially increase your activity level. Since November 2nd, 2000, I’ve met over 100,000 people. I also seem to be extremely lucky. Coincidence?

LUCK OUT: figure out how many people you encounter on an average day. Then triple it.

2. Don’t stay at home. The best way to be in the right place at the right time is to be in a lot of places.

LUCK OUT: next time you want to sit around and surf the net, read or write, go to Starbucks or something. Increase the probability of an encounter by positioning yourself in a high-traffic area.

3. Practice strategic serendipity. It’s about preparation, observation and relaxation. This is especially important for trade shows, conferences and other high-traffic venues.

LUCK OUT: got an event coming up? Cool! Read this article called 19 Ways to be the One Person at Your Next Conference Everybody Remembers.

Also, watch this:

4. Stick yourself out there. The reason I meet so many people (and, subsequently have so many opportunities) is because a nametag is unexpected. It breaks people’s patterns. It makes them wonder, “Huh?” And especially if they notice a nametag in an unexpected venue, like a concert or a wedding, they’re more likely to approach me.

LUCK OUT: it’s not about the nametag – it’s about making the mundane memorable. Be unexpected.

5. Go to where people are. Identify your perfect customer. Find out where that type of person hangs out. Then go there all the time! Make yourself visible. Consistently deliver value through articles and giving speeches … and let them come to you!

LUCK OUT: learn what association(s) your perfect customer belongs to. Become a member. (Also, take this hint from Samuel Jackson.)

6. What’s in your wallet? Write every one of your goals down on one sheet of paper. Make them specific and attainable. Give each of them a date. Keep this goal sheet in your wallet at all times. Commence luck.

LUCK OUT: try this exercise for three months. See what happens. I triple dog dare you.

7. Kiss your comfort zone goodbye. Practice intentional discomfort. Do something absolutely crazy. No guts, no glory.

LUCK OUT: watch the video clip below to find out the three steps to making a name for yourself!

What is the #1 pigeonhole of your industry?

Share your list of three ways to disarm it 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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9 Ways to Create Strategic Serendipity

It’s not luck.
It’s not chance.
It’s not accidental.

It’s not even serendipity. (Not completely, that is.)

“Strategic” Serendipity means attending an event, conference or other networking-rich venue with an attitude of expectation.

That something great is going to happen.

That opportunity is going fall right into your lap.

That you’re going to meet that one person who changes everything.

Here are 8 keys to practicing Strategic Serendipity:

1. Detach from outcomes. Sure, you have goals. Maybe to sell. Maybe to get in front of the right buyers. However, also try to focus less on the outcome and more on the big picture. Free yourself from agendas. Develop a no-entitlement attitude. And focus on having fun, delivering value and creating a memorable (er, unforgettable) presence.

2. Prepare yourself mentally. Before walking in the front door, spend 15 minutes affirming to yourself, “Today is going to be a great day! I’m going to meet cool people and give them value. Opportunities are going to come my way. I will attract success.”

3. Come prepared. Have every marketing material, business card and any other part of your networking arsenal easily accessible. Wear army pants and bring a backpack if you have to! Expectation attracts; but only if it’s supported with action.

4. Grow bigger ears. Listen to what the world is trying to tell you. Be on the lookout for people, situations and locations that seem to be begging you to approach them. Especially the unusual, unexpected ones.

For example, I once walked by massage booth at conference. The massage therapist saw my nametag and said, “Scott, would you like a massage?” I thought about it for a moment, said yes, sat down and enjoyed my massage. A few minutes later when I rose out of my chair, the woman who was next to me in line turned out to be a reporter for a major newspaper. We struck up a conversation that ended in a 30-minute interview and a 2-page article!

LESSON LEARNED: say yes more.

5. Evaluate your surroundings. If you’re attending an event, conference or trade show, be prudent about geography. Ask yourself the following questions:

a. Where will I be the most visible?
b. What landmark are people constantly walking by?
c. Where are people most likely to engage with me?
d. Who can I meet that is likely to tell his friends about me?
e. Who else is this room could be that ONE guy that changes everything?

6. Stick yourself out there. Don’t plan so darn much. Just show up and be prepared to let new people and situations unfold by themselves. Put out your raft and ride the current. It will take you where you’re supposed to go.

7. Extend every encounter. When talking with someone new, ask if they’d like to continue the conversation over lunch or coffee. Keep the interaction alive. The longer you spend with someone, the more likely you are to discover how you can help each other. Also, find out if there are other events, happy hour or post-conference parties you could attend together.

8. Make your memory happy. After you meet someone, WRITE DOWN (either on their business card or elsewhere) the following things:

a. What she looked like
b. What you talked about
c. A few bits of personal info you can bring up next time you talk
d. How you can help each other
e. What your CPI (Common Point of Interest) is

9. Follow up. Use the information gathered from the previous example in your second approach. Prove your listening skills. Then, deliver something valuable like a link, recommendation or article.

HERE’S THE CHALLENGE: with Strategic Serendipity, you won’t always know when it worked.

Defining the ROI of something like this is tough.

But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work.

JUST KNOW THIS: when you develop an attitude of expectation, prepare yourself mentally AND physically, and when you stick yourself out there, they WILL come to you.

“They,” meaning people.
“They,” meaning opportunities.
“They,” meaning new business.

Because it’s not chance. It’s not luck. And it’s not accidental.

It’s Strategic Serendipity.

And it works.

How do you create serendipity?

Share your best story here (and lessons learned) 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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19 ways to become the ONE person at the conference everyone remembers

(To watch a video of The Giant Nametag, click here!)

Just got back from my first ever BEA experience.

Here’s what I learned:

1. Attitude. In a sea of thousands of people all trying to get noticed, you have NO choice but to be unforgettable and remarkable. So you better begin with the attitude of approachability. That you’re going to stick yourself out there.

2. Detach from outcomes. Sure, you have goals. Maybe to sell. Maybe to get in front of the right buyers. However, also try to focus less on the outcome and more on the big picture. Free yourself from agendas. Develop a no-entitlement attitude. And focus on having fun, delivering value and creating a memorable (er, unforgettable) presence. Because sometimes, when you care the least; you do the best.

3. Go beyond free. Every booth, vendor, exhibitor and company is going to give something away for free. So, before you attend the show, brainstorm a list of the Top 50 Most Common (and Annoying) Free Giveaways. Don’t do any of them. Instead, pick something cool, remarkable and consistent with your brand that people will actually KEEP. Otherwise, you may as well just tell the attendees, “Here, YOU throw this away!”

4. But don’t go overboard on free. You don’t have to give away something for free to EVERYBODY. If they don’t want it, don’t force it. REMEMBER: approachability is a two-way street. Consider offering a free item that’s so good, people actually come up to YOU and say, “Ooh! Can I have one of those?”

5. Smile. The whole damn time.

6. Wave.To every single person.
7. Use disarming approaches. Six words: “Hi, I don’t know anybody here!”
8. Practice strategic serendipity. Say yes a LOT more. Spend time with people in areas and around things you wouldn’t normally approach. Break your patterns.
9. Don’t pick and choose. Talk to everybody. Even your non-buyers and customers. Even the food service people. Even the janitors. Even the information booth guy. Even the conference planners. Especially the conference planners. Because you never know. And consistency is far better than rare moments of greatness.
10. Dress it up. If you can find some sort of costume that’s consistent with your brand, do it. I wear a giant nametag to my conferences. Nobody misses me. Does your appearance stand out or blend in?

11. Achieve The HVA. Which stands for 1) “Huh?” 2) Value and 3) “Aha!” Attract people to yourself (or booth) with curiosity. Spark their interest. Then deliver your value statement. Then get them to say, “Ah! I get it! That’s cool…”

12. Speaking of curiosity. Do something that encourages strangers to approach you and say, “So, what’s the story behind that?”

13. Strike the match. Do something that make people say, “Dude, did you see that guy who…” Generate inner-conference buzz.

14. Make music, not noise. Everyone else at your conference is going to be making NOISE. With their annoying, boring promo materials and free toys that nobody wants or cares about. You need to make MUSIC by getting people to smile, laugh, say hello, start talking, have fun and deliver remarkable value.
15. Interact; don’t interrupt. Everyone else at your conference is going to be INTERRUPTING the other attendees. Take this! See this! Have a free cookie! They say. Instead, consider INTERACTING, not interrupting people. Making friends. Strike up conversations. Talk about business later. Lead with your person; follow with your profession. Open your conversations with topics OTHER than business, sales, the weather, traffic and the like.
16. Just chill. Stressed and hurried are not approachable adjectives. Separate yourself from other attendees by not appearing overly needy and desperate for business. After all, it’s hard to sell with your tongue hanging out! Just chill. Relax.
17. Attract attention. Notice it says “attract,” and not “draw.” Major difference. Your job is to be remarkable and cool and fun and valuable. If so, people that see you will follow these six steps:

a. Smile and point at you.
b. Nod in agreement.
c. Think or say, “Nice!” or “That’s cool!”
d. Grab their friend’s shirt and say, “Jimmy, you’ve got to check out this guy over here…”
e. Approach you.
f. Tell everyone about you.18. Find the cameras. Photographers, press folks and bloggers LOVE to capture images and videos of cool, fun, remarkable stuff. They also like to share those images in their publications and on the web. So, ask yourself the following three questions:

a. Are you worth videotaping?
b. Are you worth taking a picture of?
c. Are you worth blogging about the next morning?
19. Be a rock star. Do things to enhance your celebrity status. Bring a friend to follow YOU around with a camera all day. Give a speech. Hold a pre or post event party.

How do YOU become unforgettable at conferences?

Share your strategies 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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