Scott Ginsberg has worn a nametag every day for the last 12 years—that’s 4,000+ days of attaching a sticker to his shirt.
But it gets better—he also had “HELLO, my name is Scott” tattooed to his chest.
Is this guy nuts? Listen to the back story before you decide.
It all started in college for Ginsberg, when he had to put on a nametag at an event and made a random choice to keep wearing it. “It was one of those things I did just for fun,” says Ginsberg, now the author of 12 books. “It was not a decision to put it on, but a decision not to take it off.”
It ended up being a valuable and profitable lesson in approachability. “I got a lot of weird looks,” he admits, “but I also got a lot of people who just approached me. I met 20 new people the first day. It broke the ice. It gave people a reason to say, ‘hello.’ ”
And that’s the whole premise of Ginsberg’s career now, as well as his latest book, The Nametag Principle: Do what it takes to make yourself more approachable and more open to what others have to share. The book details ways of living out the ideal, if not the reality, of wearing a nametag every day. Behaving as if you’re ready to meet people can open new and unexpected opportunities for personal growth and career advancement, Ginsberg says, and it can the open door for you to be helpful to someone else.
It’s no small wonder Ginsberg believes in “the nametag principle.” It’s what launched his career. After he wrote his first book in 2001, he ran into a gentleman on a bus who was curious about the nametag Ginsberg was still wearing. Ginsberg told this stranger about his new book, and a few days later, he received a call from the editor of The Portland Tribune, who wrote a four-page feature article on Ginsberg. That article was syndicated around the country and ultimately landed “The Nametag Guy” on CNN. How did it happen? The stranger Ginsberg met on the bus was the Portland Tribune editor’s boyfriend.
So while Ginsberg doesn’t insist you actually paste a nametag on your chest, he does believe in acting as if you’re wearing one at all times. “Have confidence in your identity,” he says. “Find some way to tell the world who you are.”
Ginsberg on Getting Noticed
Tips from The Nametag Principle
Be receptive, just as if you really are wearing a nametag. Smile and extend a hand. As Scott Ginsberg points out, “When people see you as approachable, all sorts of opportunities open up.”
Make people fall in love with you by helping them to fall in love with themselves first. “Give people a front row seat to their own brilliance,” Ginsberg says.
Take notes. This is especially good if you’re a natural introvert. Write down what people say to you, then email them the key and fascinating points they made. If you “puncture their delusions of inadequacy,” you’ll not only have done a good deed, you’ll have made a loyal ally.
Nobody notices or pays for average. Decide what makes you unique and leverage it.