My life consists of making intros to various people – for better or worse. I love connecting dots, so it’s a lot of fun and often rewarding, but it can also be lots of back and forth. In the series of “posts that originally were emails I wrote at least 5 times in the last week”, here is some advice as to how to make it work.
Whenever you are looking for an introduction, the key is to make it clean, understandable and directed.
How to ask for an intro in three simple steps:
- Clean: Use a fresh, empty, virgin email with a powerful subject line that conveys your message to the introducer and the next person
- Understandable: A short paragraph describing what you are working on (relative to you/ your company) and what you are looking for and information about the steps you have already taken, and why that did not work (if applicable)
- Directed: Put a specific ask in there so the person on the other end knows how he can help
we are looking for…. because we want to… I tried … but it did not work because… Do you know XYZ/someone at… would be great to be introduced.”
BEFORE you ask for that intro:
- Please check if you can find the solution on the interwebs or the documentation (FB, Google, Twitter, etc have great docs that you will most likely be referred to if your question is not specific)
- Find out if you maybe already know that person. It usually works better if you know them yourself.
When introduced, be polite and humble.
This should be more than obvious. No one owes you a thing – you asked for the introduction in the first place. Afterwards, keep it easy for the introducer and move them to bcc as soon as the introduced person replies.
[EDIT] In my case, I would probably forward the email to the next person, add a little flavor and some witty (bad) jokes, and get out of the way.
Fred Wilson wrote about another technique when making introductions – the double opt in. Basically, it entails asking both people if they would like to be introduced to each other before you make the introduction – otherwise you can leave a sour taste.