They say your network is your net worth. Connect with more people and you’ll find your way to more sales opportunities, more job opportunities, and even more friendships.
Today, the most common way to introduce two people is via email which is great because it’s so easy.
But it’s also terrible because it’s so easy.
We’re Going About Email Introductions All Wrong
The problem with email introductions is that for the most part, we’re doing them wrong. Here’s how most email introductions go.
Lindsay is a friend of mine, and she wants me to meet her friend Erik, so she emails both of us and makes the introduction.
Seems pretty simple, but it’s completely wrong. I have no context as to who Erik is and why we should meet other than the fact that he’s “working on a new startup idea.”
Before I’ve even had time to respond, Erik replies:
Now I have a coffee meeting on my calendar with someone I don’t know and might not even have time (or a compelling reason) to meet.
That’s the first thing wrong with this email introduction. The second thing is that now we’re connected, poor Lindsay is still copied on the email chain.
So when I reply and tell Erik I can’t make Thursday at 9 AM, she’ll get an email.
And then when Erik comes back and tells me he can’t meet at the time I propose, she’ll get an email.
And then when Erik and I finally confirm a time, she’ll get an email.
And then … you get the point.
2 Tips to Improve Your Email Etiquette
The good news is there are two really easy ways to fix both of these email faux pas.
1) Make double opt-in introductions.
I’m a huge advocate of the double opt-in introduction. That’s a fancy way of saying I only introduce two people after I’ve mentioned the introduction to each separately and they’ve both agreed to be connected.
Yes, this is an extra step, but just like sticking to an email marketing list that is permission-based and opt-in only, the quality of these introductions will be much, much higher.
The easiest way to do this is to send a note to each person first, seeing if they’d be open to an introduction:
This is great because not only will you get a yes/no for the email introduction, but the thread now contains all of the necessary context so no one is left in the dark.
Once Joe says yes, all I have to do is forward that email to Kyle:
Or, even better, if Kyle asked for the introduction, he already knows the context and is just waiting on you to get a yes from Joe.
2) Once the email introduction is made, move yourself to BCC.
Moving the person who made the introduction to BCC will make sure they see the first reply, thus ensuring that the introduction was made. However, they will then be taken off the chain after the initial email so you’re not filling up their inbox with emails they don’t need to be copied on.
Just by sticking to these two simple principles, you'll make the world a much better place for email introductions.
Do you have any tips for how to improve email introductions? Share in the comments.
Originally published Jul 10, 2015 7:00:00 AM, updated August 27 2019