Week 27: The Art of Email Introductions
The technique I describe this week is what sparked my interest in networking nearly 15 years ago. In my first job out of college at Stanford University, I managed a student leadership group. I called in various campus and community leaders to speak to the group. One of my early connections was with Carol Gelatt, a career coach who gave a presentation on effective networking. Her overview of email introductions had me hooked and practicing this technique has led to some of the best connections I’ve ever made.
Here is how this simple, yet powerful method plays out:
You meet someone at a networking event (let’s call her Sue) and while you are speaking with her, you realize she would be a great connection for your friend Bob.
Option A: Do nothing. Go grab another cocktail and appetizer.
Option B: Tell your new contact about Bob and tell her you think they should talk. You provide Bob’s info to her. That information might go into the trash can as soon as you turn your back.
Option C: You get Sue’s information and send it to Bob and tell him you think they should talk. He may or may not take action.
Option D: Offer to introduce them over email. You send an email that looks something like this:
I’ve copied Sue on this message. I met her at the city networking event and during our conversation, I realized it might be helpful if the two of you connect. Sue mentioned she is interested in [fill in the blank] and I know that is of great interest to you, too.
I’ll leave it to the two of you to connect from here.
And done. That’s it. So simple, yet so easy to overlook or execute ineffectively. I like this approach for three reasons.
- Including both parties on the email gives each of them a stake in the game and option to respond.
- Since you have a relationship with Bob, he trusts that you are making a great introduction and will be more likely to take action.
- If Sue is looking forward to this introduction and doesn’t hear back from her direct response to Bob, she can circle back to you to check in on her behalf.
This week I was the recipient of two email introductions and one LinkedIn introduction. In all cases, I feel excited to connect with these new people because 1) I trust the source of the introduction and 2) the emails included specific reason why they were connecting us.
Think of yourself as a matchmaker when it comes to email introductions. There are unlimited connections waiting to be made – sometimes they need an outside hand to guide them along.
Is this a new technique for you or are you an email introduction master? I’d love to know about your introduction success stories as well as when they have fallen flat. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your story.
If you are enjoying this series, share it with a friend or colleague. If we each take one step to help make our world a smaller place, we might only be one email away from our next meaningful connection.
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