what would you do?
casting a reality check on real-world conundrums
A Friend in Need
You’re good friends with a speaker who’s
might be a good fit
for her prospective
client, regardless of
my opinion. if i am
for whatever reason, i
would simply say, “i’m
honored that you’ve
asked, but i’m reluctant
speakers unless i
personally know the
decision makers and
understand their needs
for this meeting.”
—Dale Collie, MA,
i would tell my
friend that i love her,
but i need to be honest with her. i’d gently
explain why i am uncomfortable serving as
her reference. Then, i
would offer to assist her
in improving her content and speaking skills.
i also would be willing
to connect her with a
friend or two who
have the expertise to
help her improve her
a great person, but you don’t think she
has the best speaking skills or content.
She asks you to serve as her reference
for a potential client, but you don’t want
to stake your name or reputation on
her skills. How would you handle this
situation? What would you say or do?
i would give my friend honest feedback; for example, “i’m not sure
your content or experience matches the client’s needs. based on
this, it would be difficult for me to recommend you. i would be
happy to ‘see you in action,’ and offer my advice to help you determine a better fit moving forward.” in this way, she won’t think i’m
just speaking off the cuff. She’ll know that i’ll address issues that
can’t be contested. it’s also a great opportunity to focus on improving and developing her skills. hey, we’ve all been there!
—Michael Goldberg, Jackson, N.J.
i would tell the client how long
i have known my friend, and
emphasize the positive aspects
of her character, such as her
enthusiasm or punctuality. if
pressed for a recommendation,
i would avoid answering the
question and reiterate her good
points.the client would have to
draw his or her own conclusions.
i also would make some
suggestions to my friend for
improving her skills and content.
—Graeme Marks, Sydney, Ne w
South Wales, Australia