Corporate Matchmaking: Polishing the E-Introduction
Aside from its convenience factor, email can be a substantial networking device. But the “substantial” part depends upon how thoughtful your strategy is. Think of how often you’ve used email as a method for connecting two parties; now consider how effective these introductions have been. If the purpose of a particular intro is not well thought through, or it’s unclear to the parties as to why the intro is being made, there may be little or no motivation for the connection to prosper. Truth is, 20+ years into the cyber age, and it’s still the Wild West out there when it comes to e-networking protocol. I have a bit of experience here, and through my failures and successes, I offer you my best insight.
Before clicking send on your next email of introduction, take a moment to consider these guidelines:
When Both Parties would Benefit, Everybody Wins!
Also known as my Adam Smith approach, this is when you send the message with both parties’ names in the subject line. Introduce the two with a line of background about why each is being introduced to the other. Include a website link (or book title, or article link, etc), and a couple of sentences of “set up”. Carefully applied “bait” will increase the chances of connection.
If Just One Party would Benefit
You’re asking the charitable party for a “favor”. Write their name in the subject line, and the beneficiary’s in the CC line. Tell the person in the benevolent seat why they can help the other, and why you see synergies— perhaps a couple of sentences about what the other is involved in, and suggest they connect. Protocol dictates the person listed in the subject line should reach out, but often the beneficiary needs to follow up with an email message to move the process along.
If One Party has Requested an Introduction
Depending upon the situation, you may want to reach out privately to the benevolent party to feel them out, and seek approval. Then put the requester’s name in the subject line, the benevolent party’s in the CC line, and let the magic take hold.
Subject Line: The Value of a Name
If you know Sarah Smith at the Acme Company, and want to reach out to Joe Jones from the same company, bring this up with Sarah Smith, and then use her name in the subject line when you send a “warm email” to Joe Jones.
How to Bow Out
Once your match is made, you certainly don’t need to be part of the continuing email chain that will ensue. When the two parties begin to engage, you can suggest that you are taken off the thread, and will look forward to a report back after their meeting takes place.
When You Make a Connection, and there’s no Follow Up
Don’t take offense: Simply check in with them after an appropriate amount of time. Send a quick note to the beneficiary of the introduction. It could be as simple as “How’d you make out?”
Advice for the Newly-Introduced Parties
Thank the originator, and keep that gem in the loop. This is a valuable person who should be acknowledged and respected. Such a simple gesture will surely be rewarded in the future.