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Have you ever listened to a presentation, and felt the signal-to-noise ratio could have been improved?  Or have you ever delivered a critical presentation, and felt that you could have done better… but you were not precisely sure how?

Too often we add debris into our presentations.  These are those filler words, unrelated sidebars, and administrative notes that we unwittingly slip in.  They get in the way: debris obscures your point, distracts the listener, and extends the amount of time required to deliver your message.

An earlier post illustrated this, but left the question of how to fix the problem unanswered. Here’s how:

  • Record:  The only way to truly identify debris is to record yourself delivering your presentation, and then have your presentation transcribed, word-for-word.  Print out the transcription, and then use a highlighter to identify any words (or sentences or paragraphs) that don’t play a role in achieving the presentation’s objectives.   There is no getting around this step: if you don’t have your presentation transcribed, you will never see the evidence.
  • Re-edit:   After the debris is identified, re-edit the script of your presentation so that the presentation flows.  Every word needs to audition for a spot in your script.
  • Rehearse:  If the presentation is important, it is worthwhile rehearsing.  The idea is to rehearse so much that the “script” sounds natural.  Once this happens, begin the process again: record, re-edit, and rehearse.  Each time you go through this cycle, the signal-to-noise ratio will improve – as will your impact on the audience.

This week’s action plan:  This week, roll up your sleeves and start making the sharpest point: record, re-edit, and rehearse.

Communications insight:  This technique works is just as effective for day-to-day conversations and any written work.

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

Randall Craig

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


How much does your organization invest in marketing?  Beyond thought leadership and inbound marketing strategies, there is advertising, promotional items, trade shows, CRM, marketing automation, the web and social media.  Any way you look at it, the investment is substantial.

Yet despite this focus, and despite all of this strategy, why is marketing so often ineffective?  Is there a factor that silently gnaws away at this investment, often hidden from obvious view?  The answer, unfortunately, is yes.

Marketing has but one goal:  to build the organization’s brand.  All else, from generating awareness to generating leads, flows from this.

Building the brand means building a trust experience.  It happens at every touchpoint: in person, over the phone, via email, advertising, traditional media, and on the web.  So while the marketing investment might be building the brand up, a particular person’s experience at a touchpoint might be tugging the brand down.

Here is a list of some of the key trust-killers:

  • Disappointing product or technical capabilities
  • Not keeping your promises
  • Poor service experiences
  • Focus on what is best for your organization, vs what is best for the client
  • Personal greediness and ego
  • Social Media narcissism
  • Forgetting key details – such as their name and their priorities
  • Lying, Cheating, Stealing

This week’s action plan:   Trust-killers are the boat anchors keeping your marketing ship from reaching full speed. This week, look at your marketing plan through the trust lens: how much of the plan is focused on reducing or removing trust killers?  And then look in the mirror: is there one thing that you personally are doing that reduces others’ trust in you?

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


Growing Your List (Part 2)

by Randall Craig February 19, 2016

In the first part of this post, we consider the importance of growing all channels – not just email.  In this post, we look specifically at growing your email list – 11 different ways of doing so: Plug the leaks:  Sometimes a list is growing just fine, but the growth is negated by people who leave.  While some of the […]

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14 great reads on building influence and impact

by Randall Craig January 22, 2016

Do your readers read beyond the first sentence or two?  And do they care enough about your ideas to actually act on them?  Writing is a critical engagement skill, so a small investment in time can make your words make a bigger impact. Here are 14 great reads that can increase your effectiveness – and your influence: Link Bait Headlines: […]

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Instant Messaging: Channel of Choice?

by Randall Craig December 31, 2015

When you reach out to your members, clients, suppliers, regulators, or other stakeholders, how do you do it? In the olden days it was the telex.  Today, we choose between courier, the postal service, FAX, and email.  But what about using Social Media: how does this fit in? Or does it? Aside from advertising, there are […]

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Viewpoint: Spoiling the broth with a “bad” post?

by Randall Craig September 11, 2015

It’s amazing how a “different” perspective-type post generates a ton of feedback.   Two years ago I wrote a post on how to become invisible on the web.  The post described how to remove your footprint, guard your privacy, and generally how to avoid being digitally targeted. The post also generated a firestorm of comments […]

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Testimonials and References

by Randall Craig July 24, 2015

When you make a purchase decision, what is the one thing, more than anything else, that gives you confidence that the other party can (and will) do what they promise? Yes, statements of work, contracts, and case studies all play a role.  But what about references and testimonials? References are those conversations that happen just prior to […]

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Building engagement and community

by Randall Craig May 22, 2015

Engagement and community both seem to be the ultimate goals for those involved in the Social Media game. Yet building it seems shrouded in mystery; ask many successful community managers, and it is a combination of secret sauce, luck, and a strategy that has been built after-the-fact to explain their success. Building engagement and community […]

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Building Downstream Capacity

by Randall Craig April 24, 2015

Have you ever heard the expression “you’re only as strong as your friends?”  No where is this more true than with digital marketing, and particularly with Social Media. Too achieve a particular objective, organizations will often invest in a focused campaign.  It has a beginning, middle, and end.  Its results can be measured.  And when […]

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Mobile Marketing: location, just-in-time, and simplicity

by Randall Craig January 2, 2015

What have been the most transformational marketing innovations in society?  TV and Direct mail/database marketing rank up there.  Email, the web, and social media also do.  And so does mobile – but why? It is too easy to think of mobile as nothing more than a small screen.  Web designers and developers work hard to […]

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17 Ways to Reduce Engagement

by Randall Craig May 30, 2014

Is Engagement at the center of your social media strategy? Likely yes.  But is it possible that you are working at cross-purposes, spending time and resources on negative activities that actually result in disengagement?  If so, you’re not alone. Use this post as a checklist: how many of these seventeen negative activities do you recognize?  […]

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Testing the Social Conversation

by Randall Craig December 27, 2013

Have you ever put your social influence to the test?  Or said another way, do others find you half as interesting as you do yourself?  If you’re not sure, here are seven ideas that might spur some different thinking. 17 Ways to Great Social Engagement: Not sure why your blog and other social media efforts […]

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Thanksgiving sale: Get my books at a big discount

by Randall Craig November 29, 2013

Did the headline really capture your attention?  If you are a frequent reader of my material, you probably recognize that this is not the type of headline that you will usually find. I’ve written many times about how organizations (and individuals) compete on the Price-Expertise-Trust spectrum, and that Trust is by far the most enduring […]

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Lipstick on a Pig: Is this the new Social Media?

by Randall Craig November 1, 2013

You may be one of those unlucky individuals who cannot “do” any social media at work. Not because you don’t know how, or don’t want to, but because your workplace policy prevents you from doing so. Or the regulatory compliance environment means that social media is off-limits. Or you’re just too busy. Don’t feel bad […]

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Powerful Posts or Contrived Conversations

by Randall Craig September 13, 2013

Nobody asked me to write this post, but it is an exceptionally powerful one. Have you noticed that many (most?) Social Media posts by organizations seem contrived? They are sales-focused, or narcissistic, or they’re trying just a bit too hard to be friendly.  It is someone’s day job – a “community manager”  to increase likes, […]

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When Sharing is not a Good Idea

by Randall Craig July 19, 2013

If you have spent any time on Facebook (and now, sadly, LinkedIn), you may have been the victim of over-sharing. You are subjected to pointless, and often narcissistic postings, often from people and organizations that should know better. While the impact on you is wasted time, the posters often don’t consider the brand impact of […]

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Back-Stories, Lessons, Ali, and Hymie

by Randall Craig July 12, 2013

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 […]

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Blog Cluster Strategy

by Randall Craig June 14, 2013

“If you build it, he will come.”  This quote, from the movie Field of Dreams, captures the hopes of many marketers:  write great content on your blog, and an audience will be magically attracted to you.  Thanks to Google this is partially true, but are there things that you can do to help the process […]

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Social Relevance: Improving Your Signal-to-Noise Ratio

by Randall Craig May 17, 2013

No one cares about you – they care about how you can solve their problems. Write for your readers. These two expressions epitomize the most important marketing (and social media) concept: relevance. How often have you seen a post, picture, tweet, or comment that adds zero value? Or where the signal-to-noise ratio is, well, noisy? […]

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Marketing Insight: Improving Web ROI

by Randall Craig April 25, 2013

Does this sound familiar?  You have a website (or two), a marketing budget, and more than likely, a desire to grow.  It doesn’t matter if growth is defined as more event registrations, newsletter sign-ups, leads, or transactions – the problem is that too often, a web initiative doesn’t always pull its weight. There are four […]

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