Edification and Setting the Table

It’s always great when we get a referral. The opportunity to meet new people, to make connections, and of course the potential to close some business.

But not every referral is created equal. And while this is true in terms of the actual person, and their level of interest, today I want to shine a light on the process of connecting two people you think might be able to work together.

Over the course of my career as a Coach, I have been connected to many people in a variety of ways. And it’s often over email.

But there is a huge difference between, “Corey meet Bob; Bob meet Corey,” and a more intentionally executed connection.

Anything worth doing is worth doing well. So remember, it’s not just making the connection — it’s *how* it’s made.

We naturally respond to others’ energies. If I borrow your car, and through the normal course of driving it, a minor nick or scratch happens… how I share this information with you will make a difference in how you receive it. If I’m highly dramatic and effusive with my apology, “I’m so so sorry. I can’t believe how this happened. This is so horrible. Please forgive me,” your reaction will likely be different than if I say, “Thank you so much for letting me borrow the car. It was a huge help. By the way, I noticed a small mark on the drivers side door. Please let me know if you notice anything. I’m happy to work out whatever’s needed.”

The delivery impacts how the exchange goes because the other person will likely match what you bring.

With a referral, rather than just flatly give each party the other’s name, tee them both up for each other. It can really “set the table,” for what follows in the new relationship. In many cases it can make or break where it goes from there.

Think about edifying both parties. Yes, you’ll ultimately allow them to discuss what they do, and whether or not they’re a fit for each other. But this is their very first impression. And you get to make it for them!

So share a sentence about what they do, and maybe even a positive quality they have, or how you know them or think they might help each other.

It elevates both parties out of the fray, passes them through a gate of approval, and sets the table for a more open connection. This is the same reason why certain relationships begin at parties or gatherings. If they both know the host, there’s already a partial foundation, and both have passed through a filter.

In addition, give an indicator about the flow of the potential relationship. In other words, do you think Bob is more likely to hire Susan? Or is Susan going to likely want Bob’s services? And maybe it’s an equally weighted partnership! No matter what, if it’s clear to you, bring that into the email.

If you’re unsure, and just think two people could network or explore synergies, share that.

Lastly, always be authentic. If you don’t know one of the parties, then don’t share like you do. But you can pass on anything positive that you’ve heard about them, or something about who recommended them.

So again, don’t just think of who you’re putting together. Consider the packaging.

If you really want to practice “giver’s gain,” take a swing at putting people together. But make sure to do so with clarity and purpose.

It will make for good connections, and great business. And even shine a positive light on *your* communication and leadership qualities. Everyone wins.

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