You wouldn't ask a recent acquaintance to help you move. No matter how nice it would be to have them help, the time and effort involved exceed the levels of that relationship. The same is true for asking them for a personal, face-to-face introduction to someone in their network. It's a lot of work and they don't know you that well yet.
Still, if they offer to connect us, we want something more powerful than them just giving us the other person's contact information. That feels a lot like a cold call. Brrrr.
What lies in between is the e-introduction.
The challenge is that, while most people are willing, most also aren't particularly effective at it. Have you ever received an e-intro that went something like this?
You should meet Greg. Here's his contact information.
Greg Peters -- firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks!Worse is when you don't even see it because you aren't CC'ed on the message.
So that we don't make the same mistakes with the people we are trying to help, let's look at the make up of a good e-introduction.
- Copy everyone. Everyone involved should know what's happening.
- Salute both parties. "Dear Bob and Mike"
- A little boilerplate. Tell them this is an introduction. "I'm making this email introduction because I think you would both benefit from getting to know each other."
- Bio block #1. Tell person #1 about person #2 briefly. Include the reason you think they should get to know person #2. You might also include how you met person #2.
Bob, meet Mike Smith. Mike is the owner of The Dogs Are In The House, a pet boarding facility here in Ann Arbor. I met Mike through at this amazing workshop about good networking practice. The real reason I wanted to connect you, though, is I found out that he shares your passion for Alpine chainsaw juggling. Who knew?
- Bio block #2. Now do the same thing in reverse.
Mike, meet Bob Jones. Bob is an attorney with Jones, Jones, Jones, & Shoppenflueger. In addition, he is the president of the local chapter of the Alpine Chainsaw Jugglers Association. I've known Bob from back when he only juggled knives.
- A little more boilerplate. This depends on how much you want to assist with the connection. For most it's enough to say something like "I've included your mutual contact information below. I'll leave it to you to continue the conversation." If you want to be more helpful, you can offer to set up a meeting for a face-to-face intro or even go so far as to suggest particular days and times which would work for you to facilitate such a meeting.
- Their contact info. Name, business (if appropriate), email, and phone number. Basically the information on their business card, you should be willing to share.
I know this might seem like a lot of work, but once you've done it a time or two, it really doesn't take that much longer than one done poorly. Do you really have to go to all this trouble for your e-introductions? No, not unless you want to be remembered as a great connector.
Oh, wait. That's kind of what networking is all about, right?
Image by Salman Ali Ehsan