I LOVE introducing people in my network to one another. There’s just something special about sparking meaningful and lasting connections; it makes me feel accomplished!
However, before going on a matchmaking prowl, there are a few general guidelines to follow for making the most of these three-way encounters.
Not every relationship you try to create will bloom into the reddest rose, which is perfectly fine, but hopefully these suggestions will increase your intro success rate in the long run.
While you may think you’re making an intro for a good reason, and that you’re going to receive endless love and gratitude from both parties, people in your network may not be on the same page. No matter how close you are on a personal level, you should always give them a heads up before initiating an introduction. Being the broker of the awkward encounter when one person ignores the other, or responds with, “I don’t have time for a conversation,” is a crappy feeling to say the least.
To avoid this, ping your network and say, “Hey, I’d love to intro you to ABC for XYZ reasons. Does that work for you?”
Vet the Reason
Some common reasons for making an introduction include: commercial (they work in the same industry, and can benefit from exchanging ideas, or even using each other’s products and services), cultural (they are from the same part of the world, and would like to connect regarding music, food, affinity organizations, etc.), or personal (they have similar hobbies, attended the same school, etc.).
I can find a reason to bring together ANY two individuals in my network, and have been guilty of trying to introduce people for reasons as simple as:
- They both enjoy mentoring college students on careers
- They both play basketball
- They both like attending Jazz brunches
Are these reasons really strong enough, though?
Some good questions to ask yourself before making an intro include:
- Are their products/services similar enough that they’ll find value in the connection?
- Are they competitors?
- Are they reliable, and will they follow up with one another after you are moved to the mystical land of BCC?
Write a Solid Intro E-mail
I’m a huge proponent of structured e-mails, and find that some version of the following format, where I introduce Tom Martin to Jacob Smith (renewable energy startup founders, whom I don’t actually know, and don’t really exist, I don’t think?), works best:
Subject: Introduction – Tom Martin
Part 1 – Intro Tom to Jake: I’d like to introduce you to Tom Martin, founder of Fuel Cells For Dummies. Tom is an electrical engineer by trade and his company focuses on educating Fortune 500 companies on the benefits of using fuel cell technology to power their buildings.
Part 2 – Intro Jake to Tom: Tom – Jake is the founder of Solar Power For Dummies, and is also an electrical engineer. His company helps dummies – both corporations and individuals – find cheap solar panel installation options for their commercial buildings and homes.
Part 3 – Explain why it will be valuable for the two to connect: As you both focus on educating dummies within the clean/renewable energy space, I thought it would be great for you two to connect and exchange notes.
It feels great to play matchmaker, and it may come natural for you to do so without much thought, but make sure you focus on making intros that will be truly valuable for your network and yourself in the long term.
You don’t want to become known for creating flimsy connections that rarely bare fruit. Otherwise, people may start to disregard your attempts, doubting the quality of thought behind them. While it does take some time and practice to become an effective introducer, asking permission, vetting the reason, and writing a good email are a great way to start.
Do you enjoy connecting people within your network? Are there any etiquette guidelines you’d add to our list?