Matchmaking vs. Networking

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

In a recent conversation with a coaching client, he underlined the priceless value of a connection I had made for him.

Indeed, last year, I referred to him another client of mine, who had great skills in fundraising and partnerships creation, and more importantly, was completely aligned with the values of my client’s organization. She, like him, has high standards for quality, a great work ethic, and she felt disappointed by the low bar set by most organizations in this field (Yes, you need to set the standards, not follow the existing ones). When I met her, she told me that she was looking to serve another project, as she was transitioning out of her current position. I instantly knew she would be a great fit for my first client, and accepted to make the introduction.

That is the power of matchmaking.

Matchmaking is different from Networking.

In networking, you would simply introduce two parties together, letting them figure out whether there can be some common interests.

Matchmaking is a different game.

In Matchmaking, you already see what kinds of value-creation opportunities there could be. Also, you know that people connect 10 times more deeply if they match in terms of their values (Yes, you Start with Why).

In Matchmaking, you have no attachments to the outcome of the introduction conversation, but you might secretly know (not “believe”) that it is a match.

In Matchmaking, if you sense that a connection has great potential for the future, but is not ready yet, you get to help one or several of the parties to work to become ready. This is what Rich Litvin did, for instance, when Christina Berkeley (one of his clients) wanted to coach a top NASA executive. Rich had a friend working at NASA, but as Christina asked:

“Could you introduce me to him?”

He replied:

“Hell No!”

Instead, Rich challenged his client to do all the work, the research and the preparation, so that she did not put the top NASA executive on a pedestal anymore. A year or so later, she was ready, he made the introduction, and the NASA executive signed up for coaching with Christina Berkeley (video of the story here).

In Matchmaking, you think on the long term.

In Matchmaking, you slow down to speed up.

In Matchmaking, you think about the value each person could get from the connection, before you decide whether you will make the introduction.

One of the most valuable things my client said he got from this matchmaking, is that I did all the filtering out for him. He said that if he had to do that on his own, it would have taken him a lot of time and energy to connect with people, schedule all the calls, interview them, compare their profiles,  and select the right person. Thanks to my introduction, the whole process was greatly simplified through one thoughtful and meaningful connection.

Matchmaking with people who reach out to you

Matchmaking also works when people want to connect with you directly. By challenging them, you help them gain more focus, insight, and make sure that their intention is clear when they connect with you. You save both of you some time. So much time is wasted in useless connections, for lack of intention and preparation.

For instance, one day, I wanted to connect with a person who had done miracles in fundraising. I sent her a LinkedIn message.

Here is an example, of what not to do, based on my own experience:

(I changed the names to keep confidentiality)

Hi Barbara,

When I asked Bob Wonders about a great fundraiser, he pointed out to you. I saw your sincere video on your website, and would love to know what you are up to these days. Could we connect to have a chat?



As you can see, my request is unspecific, and the contact has no clue why in the world she would have a reason to connect with me.

What could she get from that connection?

She can’t even know if there is a way she could help me (I didn’t ask explicitly for help).

Here is the reply I received:

Thanks for connecting. I’m open for a chat. I’m in the eastern time zone. What works for you over the next two weeks? And I’m the meantime I’d love to know…

1. If you could ask only one question, what would it be?

2. What do you imagine you’ll hear yourself say as we conclude our conversation?

With anticipation,


I felt challenged and confused.

And, most of all, I saw that she was playing that game at another level.

That made me respect her even more.

I replied:

Hi Barbara,

So glad to hear back from you, and I love your questions ! Would you like to book a 60 minute meeting? Here are my availabilities for the next 2 weeks:

[link to my calendly]

As for your questions:

1. What is the most important thing in your life right now? (thank you for that question, it helped me reconnect with my intention)

2. I don’t know, but I’ll answer this question:

Here is what I would love to hear myself say:

“Wow, I’m so glad and grateful we connected. I didn’t imagine X would happen, but now I understand better why we connected.”

With gratitude,


Barbara replied:

Thanks for your reply. I may be open to scheduling time with you, however it’s not clear to me why you’d like to connect. You noted that Bob directed you my way with a recommendation re: fundraisers. Are you raising funds? What do you want to know about with regard to generating resources? In other words, why are we talking (emphasis mine)?

I pasted our conversation to this point to show you that despite my long message above, Barbara still had No Clue why we would be talking ! I boldened her great question at the end of her message to summarize the whole point. I didn’t paste the exchange of messages we had afterwards, as it doesn’t support the purpose of this article.

Here is the takeaway:

I could have been much clearer if it was clear in my head what I really wanted from this connection:

  • Is it to interview her on great fundraising skills?
  • Is it to connect with her to see whether there are ways I can support her as a coaching client?
  • Or whether she can support me as a client?
  • Or an opportunity that I would like to discuss with her?
  • Or anything else?

In the end, I noticed that I didn’t need to even spend 30 minutes on a call with her to receive the insights I was looking for. She answered my questions by a LinkedIn message, and that was it. I was complete. She saved me 30 minutes of my time (not even talking about hers!), and gave me this great teaching on matchmaking, with a simple LinkedIn message.

How about you, what are 3 things you can do to improve your Matchmaking skills right now?

If you could connect with anybody on the planet, who would you LOVE to connect with?

Why would it be beneficial for both of you to have a conversation together?

%d bloggers like this: