Make It Happen
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After arriving at an event and noticing a few people you know – and hundreds that you don’t – what is your first inclination?

a) To make a bee-line to those you know?
b) To introduce yourself to those you don’t?
c) None of the above?

Sadly, more people are choosing none of the above.

In the olden days, this usually meant heading to the bar to get a drink, picking over a few hors d’oeuvres, and then standing at the side of the room, concentrating intently and importantly at your food, all the while noticing others doing the same. When the food (or drink) was finished, you would then start looking for at least one person you knew. People choose the comfortable, especially when networking.

Today, none of the above means something completely different. Today, when confronted with the uncomfortable, a large number of people whip out their smartphone and start checking their email, checking Twitter, checking Facebook and so on.  To the outside observer, this “networker” does not want to be disturbed: they are seemingly engaged in an activity far more important than the real-life interactions at the networking event itself.

The reality is that the smartphone has become no more than a crutch – an addictive snack filled with empty calories.  And ironically, Social Networking has become an obstacle to real world connections, especially when used during networking events.

This week’s action plan: Don’t let yourself miss the opportunity to engage fully with each and every person at your next networking event. Before you begin, put your phone in Airplane Mode. The texts can wait, and voice-mail will take care of any missed calls.

Bonus idea #1: If you know that you will be seeing a few specific people at the event, use your smartphone before the meeting to check out their status, blog posts, latest Tweets etc.  This intelligence gathering can provide some interesting background to your conversation.  Just put your smartphone away before the event itself.

Bonus idea #2: If you really feel the need to hold your smartphone the entire time, take a picture of yourself with each person you network with; later send it to them, and post online.

Bonus idea #3:  Attendees at meetings also will retreat into their smartphones. An airplane-mode meeting will be more productive and engaging.

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to to register.

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)
:  Professional credentials site
.com: Web strategy, technology, and development
:  Interviews with the nation’s thought-leaders


Perhaps you know an Ali or a Hymie.

Ali is just finishing his degree in biology. Hymie is 92, and sits on a stool in a restaurant all day, watching people come and go. Both Ali and Hymie share two things: a back-story and a lesson.

Each summer for the last three years, my wife and I have stayed at the same hotel while visiting the Montreal Jazz Festival. Each time Ali was at the desk checking us in with a smile. Each time asking us a question or two.  Not only did he know his job, he knew that his job was far more than just checking customers in. After three years, we finally asked him about his background, and learned about his studies and aspirations.

Hymie and Randall at Goody's DinerHymie, it turns out wasn’t just a customer: he founded the restaurant, Goody’s, some 60 years ago, and today it is run by the 3rd generation of his family. He doesn’t “sit”, he runs the restaurant , surveying a dynasty, making sure that all is up to his standards. He’s a fascinating person, filled with history, pride – and a sense of humour.

If you are active blogging, tweeting, or posting on Facebook or LinkedIn, you probably appreciate others’ comments, likes, and shares. What we often don’t appreciate, however, is that each person who is reading your post also has a back-story, and they also have a lesson, if only we are open to it – or ask for it.  To be relevant – online and off – we must find a way to tap into these.

This week’s action plan: It’s easier in the real world than online, but this week, look for your Ali or Hymie, and take a few moments to engage them on their terms, not yours.

Postscript: In a previous post, Who is your Mahamood?, I covered another experience that made me think about lasting impressions and the impact we can have on the lives of people you meet.

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to to register.

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)
:  Professional credentials site
.com: Web strategy, technology, and development
Interviews with the nation’s thought-leaders



How great are you? Endorsements and Recommendations

by Randall Craig November 8, 2012

How good are you, really?  While we all may have our own (sometimes inflated) opinions of our greatness, the reality of our expertise – and our personal brand – is always defined by others.  Social Media, for the first time ever, gives us the opportunity to find this out directly. Here are some ideas on […]

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Social Effectiveness: Not about me

by Randall Craig July 5, 2012

Maybe you also have seen this TV commercial. After a service encounter, an attractive business woman (an actress, no doubt) faces the camera, smiles and says, “It’s all about me.” If someone said this type of comment to you, what would you think? If everyone had this type of attitude, we wouldn’t have volunteers, mentors, […]

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The Social Bubble: Finding Your Tribe

by Randall Craig June 21, 2012

Do you actively seek out different opinions than your own, or unwittingly reinforce your personal world-view by only consuming “agreeable” content? While we may think it is the former – who doesn’t have a self image of being open-minded – too often we live in a bubble. The promise of the social web was connection […]

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Is Social Networking supposed to sell?

by Randall Craig May 16, 2012

Consider these Tipsheets: there are over 350 of them, and they certainly don’t “sell” anything.  Each week, I give away a small nugget of information, and tie it to an immediate action.  These non-salesy Tipsheets, like the vast majority of blogs, are designed to credentialize expertise and build trust, slowly over time. Interestingly, I recently […]

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Can you ever have too many friends? (yes)

by Randall Craig March 29, 2012

Do you play the milestone game with your Social Media accounts? When you first sign up, you aim for ten connections.  Then 50, 100, 250, and finally the coveted 500 – you’ve arrived.  And then you aim for 1000.  How many is too many? As I look at my own LinkedIn and Facebook accounts, it […]

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Seven Social Media Job Search Steps

by Randall Craig March 8, 2012

Even from the most committed employees, one question comes up over and over again: how to use Social Media to find your next job.  It might be couched in different language (How do I develop professional profile/How do I take advantage of Social tools for support, etc), but the question remains.  How can you use […]

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Access Assumptions

by Randall Craig January 17, 2012

One Billion.  You may think I’m referring to the number of Facebook and LinkedIn users, but I’m not.  I’m referring to the approximate population of India. While on a trip there, I decided to take pictures of local businesses, then compare the “real” with their Social Media presence.  Sadly, I was unable to find more […]

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Who is your Mahamood?

by Randall Craig December 6, 2011

Ever wonder about the impact you made with those you’ve touched? Whether you would be remembered or not? And for what? Every so often, we get a stark reminder of this: someone doesn’t remember you – but you think they should. Or someone comes up to you and reminds you about a special conversation – […]

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Network Strength

by Randall Craig November 10, 2010

How powerful is your network? Or rather, how do you make your network even more powerful than it already is? Try these four strategies: 1) Go Wide: Get more people onto your network list. This is often done at networking events. 2) Go for Quality: Get “better”, more relevant people onto your list. This is […]

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Who’s your Charlie?

by Randall Craig September 1, 2010

One of the most productive ways to see a country, especially where you don’t speak the language, is to hire a private guide. You get an insider’s perspective, a translator, and a driver all rolled into one. And if you are lucky enough to have a tour guide like Charlie, then you might also learn […]

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Respect Your Referrals

by Randall Craig August 17, 2010

One of the most powerful concepts in networking is “Give to Get”: the more you help other people, the more they will help you. Give to Get also has a longer term benefit: the longer you do it, the more powerful your relationships and the more positive your reputation. A great networking question is how […]

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Best of… Networking

by Randall Craig April 28, 2010

Of the hundreds of tipsheets that I have written over the years, I am often asked which are the “best” ones about a particular subject. Not surprisingly, networking comes up over and over again. Over the next several months, I will list some of the most effective tips and perspectives. Today, it’s networking: Give and […]

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Social (Support) Networks

by Randall Craig March 23, 2010

What happens when you are stumped? In the “olden days” of just 3-4 years ago, you would apply time to the problem, researching different alternatives until you had a viable solution. If you were more clever, you’d reach out to your network – working the phone and email until you found someone who could help. […]

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Networking fundamentals

by Randall Craig June 17, 2009

With the change in seasons, the venues for networking may change, but not the fundamentals. Consider these five key networking concepts; are you doing them all? 1) Give to Get: Add value to your network by sending magazine clippings, web links, or other materials to them, without asking for anything in return. This concept – […]

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Network Values

by Randall Craig May 5, 2009

When it comes to networking, the focus seems always to be on quantity. How many cards in your rolodex? How many names in your computer? How many LinkedIn Connections? Unfortunately, in our quest to supersize our network, we often forget about the importance of its quality. Let’s face it: a network of ten people who […]

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Not Yet

by Randall Craig April 7, 2009

Have you ever been asked whether you had a particular skill, and struggled to answer when the answer is clearly “no”? While no one appreciates spin, there are a number of ways to answer, each with a unique nuance: Answer: Yes: If you are part of the Fake it ’til you make it school of […]

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by Randall Craig March 16, 2009

What would it be worth to you if you could have four times more education, five times the experience, or six times the number of available hours that you currently have? How much better might you do if you had four mentors, four coaches, and maybe even a built-in personal advisory board? All of this […]

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Personal Branding Proxy

by Randall Craig February 10, 2009

If you think about the various consumer products that you use, most of them enjoy significant brand equity. Each brand name represents a series of attributes: when you think of IBM, for example, you might think of dependable technology for big business; Apple, on the other hand, might represent sleek, easy-to-use technology for the younger […]

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