Asking for referrals seems to cause anxiety for many. One of my clients said to me when we were discussing that strategy, "I just can't ask my committee to give me names. I always get these blank looks, or people move their eyes to toward the floor. We just don't get anywhere."
The solution is to be prepared with several names that you think are the ones you'd like to get involved. Then say, "I wonder how we might reach Sara Jones to join our finance team. I know she has a great reputation for being a smart and successful CFO and we could sure use her expertise."
A great example of this is to think about it this way:
1 - Name five stupid things that people do in the world.
2 - Name five stupid things that your children do.
Bet the second one is easier to do quickly than the first one. Why? Because it is specific. When you ask your group for a connection to Sara Jones it's specific. Most of the time somebody will say, "I think my husband knows her." Or, "My next door neighbor works for the same company she does, I could ask her for a good way to meet her."
When you need referrals be as specific as you can. It may mean a bit of preparation on your part, but I bet you have a list of key people you'd like to have involved with your work in some way. Be specific and you'll be terrific!!
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