A quick way to be truly appreciated. So how does it work?
Which of the following scenarios is more powerful?
1) You meet someone at a networking event, and introduce yourself and what you do.
2) You meet someone at a networking event, and while you're talking, an unexpected 3rd person joins the conversation if only to say how much they appreciate what you do.
That's the power of vouching for someone.
At a local Internet conference a few years back, I struck up a conversation with one of the speakers after their talk ended and the auditorium had emptied. I liked what he had to say, and was surprised to learn that he was also from my original hometown of Montreal.
As we were chatting, another attendee came into the auditorium, immediately noticing us near the door. The attendee came over and immediately told my conversation partner, the event speaker, how much he liked JobMob. I in turn introduced him to the speaker.
The speaker was clearly impressed.
That's how to vouch
Here's why the vouching worked so well.
Our conversation took place at an Internet conference, and the attendee (the “vouch-er”) was recommending a website (this one).
While it's debatable whether an opinion can really be true or false, if it can be confirmed by reliable sources, it's probably true.
The attendee's vouching was really what he thought and not the result of some preconceived marketing plan, and there was no incentive involved.
I hadn't beckoned to the attendee, who clearly came over of his own volition because he felt so compelled to share his opinion.
The speaker had already met the attendee earlier at the same event, so the attendee was a (somewhat) known entity whose credibility could be trusted. The fact that I – the “vouchee” – was present and actually knew the attendee also gave him credibility. Being present also gave me an opportunity to reinforce the recommendation.
How vouching is win-win-win
The vouchee – obvious, this is the person on the receiving end of a recommendation.
The voucher – people simply appreciate people who honestly vouch for others in an unsolicited way, as if they might turn around around and vouch for them too at some point. This builds the brand of the voucher as someone worth knowing.
The listener i.e. receiver of the vouching – they've just met not one, but two people seemingly worth knowing.
Vouching works best in person, but can also be effective online, such as on social media:
Question of the article
Who have you vouched for recently? Or, what's your most memorable vouching story? Tell us in the comments.
I originally published a version of this article on the terrific Personal Branding Blog.