How do you discover talent, build connections, and develop trusted partnerships? You could spray and pray, but more likely you asked for referrals. You’ve probably made some referrals too. But there’s a problem.

It goes something like this:

“I can’t vouch for them”.

I’ve written this sentence a few times in the past year. It sounds negative, but it’s really not. Here’s why.

At Wavetable our work touches many areas, and clients and friends often ask for referrals - they’re looking for experts in disciplines from film editing to finance, motion graphics to meditation coaching.

Perhaps, like us, you get requests like this. And you want to help out, so you’ll aim to make a connection. It’s good karma. It can be good for business, too.

Sometimes, you can refer people you know well. You’ve worked with them, you’ve seen their work in action. They’ll be able to fulfill the brief. You can vouch.

Other times, you may ask a peer group or community for ideas. Or someone comes to mind  who you’ve spoken with once or twice before.

These links, they’re likely solid. They’ve been suggested by a respected connection, or you got a good vibe on the phone.

But you can’t vouch. You can’t commit. You can’t put your name on the line.

Perhaps you’ve said you’ll vouch for, and it’s gone just fine. Or maybe it’s come back to bite you. And them. No one wins.

What to do?

One simple approach is to offer two kinds of vouch.

The first is the one you’re truly confident in. They’re someone proven. Ready to recommend. You can confidently Vouch. Uppercase V.

The other comes when you’ve got a good hunch and the signals make sense. But they’re only hunches and signals. You wouldn’t - and couldn’t - stake your reputation on it. Buyer beware.

To keep paying it forward, you can still vouch for them, but only with a lowercase v.

Which frees you to Vouch (or vouch) without worry.

Two types of vouch

There's something wrong. Great! Check your inbox and click the link to confirm your subscription.