Fourteen years ago and fresh out of college, Scott Ginsberg made a truly bizarre decision.
He was going to wear a name tag everywhere he went. All the time. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
“When you wear a name tag, people are instantly friendlier,” he told the crowd at the 2014 TEDx Gateway Arch event in St. Louis.
It was a lark, really. But then he moved to Oregon and told some guy on a bus about his name tag. That guy told his girlfriend, who happened to be a reporter for the Portland newspaper. She called Scott and asked if she could write an article about his name tag.
Then USA Today called. Then the morning TV talk shows called. Then he wrote a book. Then organizations started asking him to speak at their events.
Then he wrote 26 more books.
Today, his unofficial title is “Name Tag Guy.” That’s what he does for a living. He wears a name tag and talks about it. He even had a name tag tattooed on his chest, so that he could wear one every second of every day.
And it all started with a conversation with a complete stranger on a bus.
“How many strangers did you avoid today?” Ginsberg asked the TEDx crowd in St. Louis. “Everyone you meet is somebody’s somebody.”
In other words: Connections work. Networks work. Relationships work.
And one more thing:
“If you don’t make a name for yourself,” he said, “someone else will make it for you.”
We’re at a crossroads here, CPAs. Sure, times are complex. Sure, doing business is harder than ever. But we have access to tools that will make it easier — tools that will help us make connections, build networks, and grow.
Tools that will help us find somebody’s somebody.
When we do that, making a name for ourselves becomes ridiculously easy.
Which leads us to Ginsberg’s final lesson:
“The question isn’t, ’Should I wear a name tag?’” he said. “The question is, ‘What’s my name tag?’”