While most people wouldn’t think twice about tossing out a cheap paper nametag after a conference, Scott Ginsberg stared at the garbage can for a beat before coming to an unusual idea: What if I wore this nametag in public for the rest of the day?
Never could he have imagined how the nametag his peers so casually crumpled up after a conference could yield so much for his life and career 15 years later.
“Like most great ideas, it was sort of an accident,” Ginsberg said. “I worked this nametag for the whole day, and it instantly transformed the dynamic between me and other people.”
Your name, Ginsberg said, is the most basic unit of psychological self-disclosure. When you give your name to someone, they give their name back, and creates a sense of approachability.
He was getting so much feedback, he decided he would wear a nametag every single day to see what would happen. What he discovered has meant extraordinary results for the businesses he consults with.
His senior year, the results of this grand experiment were released in his first book, “Hello! My name is Scott: Wearing Nametags for a Friendly Society,” which Scott says went “viral before viral was viral.”
The first major discovery, Scott says, was the instantaneous way the nametag shortened the psychological distance between himself and even complete strangers. Therein, he says, a great question was born that he challenges companies to consider every single day.
“How are you reducing the distance between the people you work with every day? How are you connecting with people in your community?,” he asked.
A nametag, he said, is not very striking at the conferences we attend in our respective industries. But, when it’s 10:30 p.m. and you’re at a concert, it’s strange and evokes attention.
Therein, the second question is posed, Scott said.
“We notice things that don’t fit, and sometimes we look the other way and other times, we want to know more,” he said. “There is a sense of curiosity. That’s the next challenge: How can you heighten a sense of curiosity around your business or brand?”
5 Lessons from Scott Ginsberg
– How a Paper Nametag Can Influence Your Business