I do a fair number of email introductions. I hope you do too; if you don’t, consider how you could be helping more people by helping them connect with each other.
The company I now work for, IOpipe, is in the Techstars NYC Summer 2016 cohort, and one of the very valuable things I’ve been learning are the various productivity tips. Alex Iskold, managing director of Techstars NYC, has an excellent system for e-troductions, using forwardable emails. Please go read about them. It’s a beautiful system, and I hope to move to it soon.
Until everyone I know learns this system though, I have my current/fallback etroduction system that looks like this:
Subject: Etroducing $PERSON1 <=> $PERSON2
$PERSON1, meet $PERSON2. $PERSON2 is so awesome because $REASONS_OF_INTEREST_TO_PERSON1
$PERSON2, meet $PERSON1. $PERSON1 is so awesome because $REASONS_OF_INTEREST_TO_PERSON2
I’ll let [one of them, generally the person who asked for the introduction] take it from here!
That’s what my e-troductions look like. And here are the 4 tips for being better on the receiving and sending end.
1. Always have double-opt-in for an e-troduction. (for senders)
Do not ambush someone with an introduction. Ever. Double-opt-in means that you’ve cleared the introduction with all parties involved before sending it. If you meet someone at an event, and offer/are asked to introduce them to someone, follow-up with the contact that you offered to introduce them to:
May I introduce you to $PERSON because $GOODREASON?
That’s it. Double-opt-in is so easy! Do it!
2. When someone e-troduces you, respond in a timely manner.
(preferably within 24 hours, to be honest)
This is such a low bar. If I’ve offered to introduce you to someone, or you’ve asked for the introduction, you know the email is coming. Respond to that email.
I recently came across an old e-troduction in my archives. First, the person e-troducing me didn’t get my opt-in (I remember this a year later, by the way. Not bitterly, but it’s known). The introducer set up the email, and then mentioned the introducee:
I’ll let X take it from here.
No response. Ever. :/
Now, this is a common line in e-troductions leads me to my next point:
3. If the e-troduction asks you to pick up the ball, pick it up.
I often add “I’ll let X take it from here” to an email to try to avoid the “Who responds?” question. Sometimes the other person will respond anyway, which is very okay.
But if the ball was put in your court, pick it up. Do not leave the message (that you opted-in to, remember) languishing.
4. BCC the introducer on your reply, and say so.
When you respond to an introduction, BCC the introducer on your reply, to let them know you’ve picked up the ball. This is general politeness. I personally don’t care much about this, but it saves so much time by removing the “Did you get in contact with $PERSON” conversation. Your introducer knows, because you told them.
Thank you for the kind introduction, $INTRODUCER! Moving you to BCC.
–message addressed to person you were introduced to–
Do this, and you won’t be embarassing your introducer 🙂 And do be sure to read Alex’s advice, it’s great!