Remember that time when you were on the receiving end of an email introduction that you really didn’t want? You likely felt obligated to reply and to carve out time to spend with the third party because of your relationship with the introducer. Or perhaps you just didn’t want to appear rude, so you replied begrudgingly, hoping the third party wouldn’t and you could save face. Or, maybe you chose to ignore it and pretend it was never received, and hope no one inquired further.
Regardless of which of those describes you, you shouldn’t have been put in that position, no matter the good intentions. And you certainly shouldn’t put anyone else in that spot.
Here’s why: two of our most valuable resources are our time and our network. Whether it’s you who’s making a blind introduction, or someone else making one for, or to, you, that third party is blind-sided and hasn’t given you any buy-in.
Rather than to create tension, make yourself look bad or have people dreading your misguided emails, here are some simple tips to consider to make email introductions where everyone wins (because at their very nature, they’re wonderful gestures of good faith and hope in what can sprout from a new, unexplored point of connection).
Get Buy- In
It’s as simple as sending a quick email, or making a quick phone call with a macro-level overview of why you’d like to make the introduction. Present either the value to them, and/or the reason why you’re asking that they do you a small favor and speak with the other person.
You end up looking great, because it shows that you respect their time, as well as that you were thinking of them. When you offer to connect someone, it’s a sign of good faith in who they are, so it should be taken as a compliment.
Additionally, it gives you an opportunity to reconnect, even briefly, with both parties. It’s always a good idea to find touch points with your network. Few things are better than reaching out because you have value to add by making an introduction, or by asking if they’ll speak with someone because of the value they offer, and you’ve noticed that.
By giving someone a heads-up and a chance to say yes or no to the proposed introduction, each party gets the chance to do her homework about the third party, and/or to say no gracefully. Should that be their response, take it at that, and don’t push. That’s their right, and kudos to them for drawing their boundary so clearly.
The only time I think it’s okay not to get buy-in from all involved parties is if you are so certain that there is obvious and unquestionable high value for all parties involved, and you know the person who is getting the blind email so well that he or she would never question your judgment.
Position Both Parties For A Win
Once you have agreement from all involved parties, position them both for a winning kickstart to this new relationship by crafting your email properly. Make it concise, and the subject line clear (example: Sandy meet Sandra).
Give some background on who each person is to set the stage. Go into more depth by putting each person on a pedestal, and singing their praises in a way that they cannot for themselves. Explain that each party is aware that this introduction was forthcoming, and has some background, which allows for you not to have to go into too much detail.
Next, share clearly why you’re making the connection, and what potential value you see coming out of it.
Instruct them on next steps (example: Sally, please reach out to Sandra to set something up). If one person is in more of a “taking” role, I prefer to ask her to move the ball forward. If it’s more of an equal footing, say something as simple as: “I’ll let you two take it from here. If there’s anything I can do to facilitate the connection further, please let me know.”
Also, linking to their Linkedin profiles or websites never hurts .
If you’re looking for a tool to assist you with this, check out Entro for making three-way email introductions. Additionally, Entro sends an automated message asking how it went after they connected.
Close The loop
It’s ideal that each party replies within 24 hours, so that it’s obvious that each party respects the other, and is appreciative of and looking forward to, the connection. You should always CC the introducer to let him/her know that the connection is seen, appreciated, and that you’re moving it forward. The introducer should always be moved to BCC either at that time, or at the latest, once the third party replies as well.
If you’re the recipient, it’s your responsibility to follow up with the introducer after the connection has been made, to thank her and briefly fill her in on what happened.
This also allows you to direct her gently for even greater value connections by letting her know how it went. If you skip this step, the introducer has no idea what happened, and may think you didn’t follow up. This could result in her losing trust in making introductions for you.
Pay It Forward:
Those who give more than they take come out on top. Be on the lookout for other people with whom you can connect your new contact who would add value to them based on your conversation. And of course, follow these guidelines to keep the triple-win nature of introductions alive!
Bonus: Here’s a sample email introduction to use as a template.
Sandra Meet Sally, Sally Meet Sandra
I’m thrilled to connect the two of you, and thank you both for welcoming the introduction with open arms!
Sally- as I mentioned when we spoke, Sandra (hyperlink to her LinkedIn profile) founded XYZ, LLC (hyperlink to company website) and is working on a new project launch that dovetails perfectly with your work. Outside of that, like you, she’s an avid snowboarder and yogi.
Sandra- to quickly recap from our chat, Sally’s (hyperlink to LinkedIn profile) company (hyperlink to company website) is working on something that has direct synergies with your work and interests.
I’m confident that the two of you will enjoy meeting, talking shop and all things yoga and mountainous!
I’ll let you two take it from here. If there’s anything I can do to facilitate the connection further, please let me know.
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This article was originally published on Forbes.