How to master third-party introductions using email
First of all, I'd like to apologize for being absent these past few weeks. It's sometimes hard to balance work, play and hobby.
Moving on …
This post is a build-on to my past posts regarding networking and sometimes the lack thereof. For the most part, the first step to growing your network is to meet new people on your own. You may also ask for a introductions via mutual connections.
I've found that a majority of third-party introductions usually happen through email. Note: They also happen in person, of course, but this is a post about email connections and communications.
For this post, think about an email introduction as a digital version of how you would want to meet in real life. You'd want a bit of context from your mutual connection, you'd be courteous, and you would jump right into the conversation about how you can work together and/or help each other. These rules can also work in social media communications such as LinkedIn and Facebook.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when making email introductions—no matter which side of the introduction you're on.
If you're introducing:
Get to the point in the first few sentences. State why you think the people should connect.
Tell how you know each person. It's always courteous and helpful to be sure everyone knows how you're connected.
Make the intro, then step out. Offer to help if the two have trouble getting in touch, but once you've made the connection, your job is done. Let the relationship develop on its own.
If you're being introduced to someone else:
Respond quickly. My rule of thumb is to acknowledge the introduction within the workday. But try not to wait longer than 24 hours.
CC your mutual connection on your first note so that person knows you're moving forward after the introduction. Always say thank you.
Offer a suggestion for your next step. If you're looking to set up a phone call, meeting, or other type of discussion, say so in the first note.
Then, talk with the person who introduced you so they know you've connected. They'll want to know.
Try to keep notes short, at least in the beginning. As always, use your networking skills online, too.
Trish Skram is a communications professional who works at Mercy Health System in Janesville and writes about Janesville's professional community. Trish is a community blogger and is not a part of The Gazette staff. Her opinion is not necessarily that of the The Gazette staff or management.