Steps for an Effective Negotiation: Asking for a Referral

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Another alternative plan when making the request for an accommodation is to ask for a referral from the staff member with whom you are meeting. Just like asking for suggestions, you would only need to use this step in special situations. For example:

  • If you and the staff member were not able to agree on a solution to your needs for an accommodation, so you need to ask who you should talk to next.
  • Maybe you and the staff member did agree on a solution, but it involves talking to a third party.

There are three steps to asking for a referral:

  1. Asking who else you can talk to, or agreeing about contacting someone the staff member suggests.
  2. Asking for the necessary information to contact the referral.
  3. Asking permission to use the staff member’s name when talking with the reference.

Asking for a Referral: Step One: Who Else?

  • If you need to ask for the name of somebody else who might help you, the first step is to directly ask the staff member for the reference, which means asking for the name of the person or persons who might be able to help.
  • If you and the staff member have agreed on an accommodation but it requires somebody else (for example, someone to caption a video), then you also need to ask for the name of that person.

For example:

  • “Do you know anyone else who can help me on this requirement?”
  • “Thanks for suggesting we get the library resource center to help with the captioning. What is the name of the person I need to talk to?”
  • “Do you know of anyone else who can offer me some help so that you do not have to worry about not being able to help me with my accommodation?”

Asking who else is important for two reasons:

  • There may be some instances in which the staff member you are speaking with is not able to fully ok your accommodation. Therefore, you need to meet with another staff member who will be able to help you obtain the accommodation.
  • If you and the staff member have agreed that a third party will be needed in order for you to get your accommodation, you need to know exactly who that third party is in order to make progress on getting what you need.

Asking for a Referral: Step Two: Asking for the Necessary Contact Information

  • After you receive the reference from the staff person you will want to obtain the reference’s contact information. When getting the reference’s contact information you want to receive their:
    • First and Last Name
    • Position and Title
    • Mailing Address and Phone Number
    • Email Address
    • Information about how they might be helpful

For example:

  • “Do you have an email address and phone number for Mr. James Smith?”
  • “Is that the correct spelling? J-A-C-O-B-S?
  • “When do you think would be a good time to contact Dr. Thompson?”
  • “So, that’s Mr. Smith and he is the Director of Disability Services located in the union?

This step is important because:

  • You need enough information to be able to follow up and meet with this referral to discuss your accommodation. Let’s say the staff member tells you to meet with Mr. Smith and you later discover there are five Mr. Smith’s at your institution. You have no idea who you are supposed to talk to! Having enough information to follow up is critical.
  • You also need to evaluate whether or not this referral will be able to help you.

Asking for a Referral: Step Three: Asking for Permission to Use the Contact’s Name

It is important when asking for a referral to ask the staff member permission to use their name when talking with the referral. This is a brief statement that asks if it is OK to use the staff member’s name when meeting with the referral.

For example:

  • “May I use your name when I contact Dr. Summers?”
  • “Is it OK if I tell Ms. Robbins that you gave me her name and number?”

Asking for permission is important for several reasons:

  • It shows the staff member and the referral that someone else tried to help you
  • It provides the referral with information about who you initially met with and why that meeting occurred