One of the things I love to do is refer people who are looking for something to someone who I think can help them. The fact of the matter is, I love to connect people. That’s a big part of my approach to networking and I don’t ask for anything in return.

I wish everyone were like that.

Imagine a world where we all made a conscious effort to think about how we can help others to get to where they want to go in their lives. If, when we heard someone saying things that started with: “I’d really like to do…”, or “I just wish I could…”, or “I need to figure out how to…”, we took a step outside of ourselves for a moment and took time to think:

Can I help that person do that? And then actually offer that help.

I think the results could be quite powerful if that was the way everyone worked.

Sometimes I see that referrals come with a catch. As in, “Why don’t you pay to become a member of (insert group or association name here) and then I’ll be able to refer people to you?” And I realize right away that that’s the only way I’m ever going to get referrals from that person. The trouble is that I don’t want to join their group just so that they will say nice things about me to others. I’d like them to say nice things about me anyway, just because I’m great. (And knowledgeable and dynamic and passionate and … well, you get the picture.)

Here’s how I work when it comes to referrals: If I like you, if I think you’re real, if I think you’re honest, doing great work, and I think others would like you too, then I’ll refer people to you. You don’t have to pay me to say that. If I believe in you, I will shout it from the rooftops! No strings attached.

So, yes I’d love referrals if you believe in me, in what I’m doing, in what I have to say, and you think someone you know should know about me. Referrals would mean the world to me.

But don’t tell me there’s a catch.