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Email Introduction Etiquette

Lately, I’ve been asked a number of times for email introductions to other people. Person A will ask something like, “Hey Jackson, I know you’ve been talking with Person B, and I’d love to get to talk to them about xyz, or just shoot the shit. Can you introduce me?”

That’s cool, and I know that people ask for and do this kind of thing all the time (I know that Thomas mentioned the other day on Twitter that he does), but it always feels awkward to me. Introducing someone in person feels easy and natural, and I never have any problem doing it, but I’m never quite sure how to go about doing it via email.

For those of you who do, I have a few questions:

  • Do you ask Person B for permission before making the introduction?
  • Is it short and sweet, or do you tell each person a bit about the other in the email?
  • What the heck is the subject line?
  • When you’re the recipient of the introduction, at what point do you remove the middle-man from the conversation?

I’d Googled around a bit looking for guidance, but didn’t find much, so I hope maybe the lazyweb method might actually work better.

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Avatar of M. Jackson Wilkinson

I'm M. Jackson Wilkinson, a technologist, designer, speaker, educator, and writer in San Francisco. I'm the Founder of Kinsights. I'm from Philadelphia, went to Bowdoin College in Maine, root for the Phillies, and love to sing.

Entry posted from Pearson Square Apartment

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Comments

  1. I usually do it passively. First, I’ll make the determination if PersonA “should” be introduced to PersonB. I usually ask why and what’s the proposition. I’ll generally do it in email. I’ll ask them to send me an email stating why they want the meeting and then I’ll forward with a “so and so asked to meet you, I know him from blah blah blah, feel free to contact him/her if you like” I don’t CC PersonA on the email and leave it up to PersonB to respond if they feel it’s worthy of their time. I stay out of the follow up. I don’t presume that PersonB will value knowing PersonA as much as PersonA wants to get to know them. I protect PersonB from being “bugged” directly by someone they may not want to meet.

  2. I’m not the networker you are, but I do make introductions across my current and past lives often enough.

    I have to say, I’m asked to make introductions more often than I bother to. When it is obvious to me that people should be introduced, the particulars of the introduction via email come intuitively. One of the signs that maybe I shouldn’t bother is if I can’t figure out how formally to introduce them or what else I need to say. I definitely don’t have a boilerplate subject line.

    I do often ask the parties, separately, if they’re interested (obviously one usually expressed interest and I ask the other, and sometimes I ask the original party if they’re still interested).

  3. I do introductions like this all the time. I get each person’s permission separately then send an email to both with “e-intro” in the subject line. The only time I don’t get one of the parties info is if it’s a referral (e.g., Party A asked for the name of someone who provides Service B). I usually have one or two sentences with why I’m introducing them (and other pertinent facts) and their contact info. Usually close with “unless you need to cc: me for something specific, I’ll leave it to the two of you to take it from here” to avoid being cc:ed forever.

  4. Good question. I’m pretty careful about introductions because, like it or not, they reflect on you. So, I’m not shy about politely declining when I don’t think it makes sense.

    If I’m not sure, I might send Person A a quick email saying “Person B, who is [a little something about] asked if I’d connect you to talk about [whatever it is — this part is important]. Would an email intro make sense? If not, I’m happy to decline — just let me know.”

    If I feel confident that it’s a good match, I’d send something like this:

    — Subj: Introduction

    Hi Tito,

    I want to introduce you to Jermaine. Jermaine recently appeared on Celebrity Big Brother UK. He was telling me how much he respects your work, and asked if I’d introduce him to you.

    Jermaine,

    Tito is Gary, Indiana’s native son and a Rock & Roll Hall of Famer. He also happens to be the godfather of my youngest!

    I’ll let you guys take it from here.

    Brian —

    Occasionally I’ll send a follow-up email to Person A saying “If these kind of introductions don’t make sense, just let me know and I’ll hold off in the future.”

    When I’m the recipient, I reply to all only on the first response. Usually with something cryptic like “Person B, thanks for the intro!” and then addressing my new pal …

  5. Great question.

    As with some of the others, I like to consider whether this is a good use of both parties’ time before making the intro. If I’m on the fence, I wait for the party who has asked for the intro to follow up with me before making the effort.

    Unless someone has given me carte blanch to make intros on their behalf I always ping them for permission. In making the intro, I make sure: 1 - the subject line says “introduction jane/joe’ so it doesn’t get lost in the sea of mail. 2 - to provide context on the conversation that was had and why the intro is being made 3 - I like to end it with “I’ll leave it to the two of you to follow up directly” so that there’s been a handoff and they can drop me off the cc line.

  6. I had to do this today and both the parties involved are elder to me both in terms of age and their achievements or position. The answers in the comments help me write the introduction email.

    Thank you guys for putting in your answers.

    Regards, Srirang G Doddihal (Brahmana)

  7. Thanks for all the comments. I had no idea how to do a email intro when i got on this page. I just sent my first one!

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