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Why you really need to get out there and start talking to people Featured

8:01pm EDT July 31, 2011
Why you really need to get out there and start talking to people

Scott Ginsberg has worn a nametag every day for more than 10 years. He loves when people ask him why. But he’s confident many would prefer a root canal over most types of social interaction.

“How many people did you go out of your way to avoid yesterday?” Ginsberg says. “How many people went out of their way to avoid you yesterday? That’s the core of what this is all about. Approachability is not who you know, it’s whose life is better because they know you.”

It’s with that in mind that Ginsberg has written “-able: 35 Strategies for Increasing the Probability of Success in Business and in Life.”

Smart Business spoke with Ginsberg about how his book can make you a more effective leader.

Why should CEOs read this book?

This book shows people how to get out there more and have a sense of visibility with people. As a result, they connect with you more on a human level. That’s what makes them work their butts off and their hearts out.

For a CEO, anonymity is bankruptcy. If you’re not visible to the people who matter most, customers, employees and people in your organization, you lose. It becomes this maze of struggle for a lot of executives that you see in a lot of employee engagement surveys and 360 evaluations.

They have an open-door policy, but they don’t have an open-heart policy and they don’t have an open-mind policy. Part of doing that is getting out there and physically talking to people.

Who did you write this book for?

That’s the whole point. I write in a way that meets people where they are. I write stuff as if I’m having a conversation. It’s one on one. I write like I talk. I don’t edit, I just write it once and that’s it. It appeals to people because it allows them to plug themselves into the equations and to think about their business and their world and their relationships and think, ‘OK, what is he saying? How does that apply to me?’

It works that way if you can write it in a way that is democratized and hits people in their own space and kind of rewards them from any angle. Everyone can read it and get something good out of it. Everything I write does that and that’s what readers tell me.

What is your ultimate goal for wearing a nametag all the time?

I want to disturb people. I use that not in a negative way. People don’t really understand what disturb means. It comes from the same Latin word as emotion. So to disturb is to invoke emotion. That’s what I hope happens. I hope that somebody reads a tweet that I write and it disturbs them to a point where they actually go do something.

Or they read the book and it disturbs them to the point where they go have a conversation with someone that’s important to them. Or if they come to a presentation, I hope they leave and decide, ‘You know what, I’m going to go do this. I’m going to start my website or get my blog going.’

I think disturbing is a good goal. That’s kind of what I want to do every day. I just want to disturb people. Comfortable people never change. If I can disturb people enough, maybe they’ll get so annoyed with me and they’ll do something just to shut me up.

How to reach: Scott Ginsberg, (314) 256-1800 or www.hellomynameisscott.com