October 29, 2009

Bulk view

How I met Jeff Muzzerall

It’s a small world, particularly for those who work to make it smaller.

I helped organize a two-day brainstorming conversation across the organization. One of the participants recognized my name from conversations with his other mentors. He reached out through e-mail and told me how my name had also come up in a conversation with Jeff Muzzerall, the assistant director of the career center for the Rotman School of Management. He wanted to know how I met Jeff.

I told her that it’s a good story. In fact, I was surprised that I couldn’t find a blog post about it in my archives. Perhaps I hadn’t gotten around to telling that story yet. But it’s a good story about stepping forward, so I’ll tell it now.

It was September 30, 2008. Daniel Pink was about to give a talk on “The Adventures on Johnny Bunko: The Last Career Guide You’ll Ever Need.” I arrived early and took the front-center seat (best seats in the house!). I like watching speakers’ pre-talk rituals; I learn a lot from them. I also like seeing if I can sneak myself into get-togethers with speakers. (It worked once, and that means it might work again!)

Daniel Pink was talking to the organizer. As I was conveniently standing around near the front (it’s funny how that works), I heard how the organizer was interested in helping his MBA students prepare for the real world. I volunteered to send a link to Garr Reynolds’ (Presentation Zen) excellent visual summary of Daniel Pink’s talk. So that’s how I got to meet Jeff Muzzerall.

Lesson: Sit up front, and look for ways to give value.