The Art of the Email Intro

Like many of you I get introduced to at least a couple of people per week via an email intro, and probably send out just as many if not more intros to various people.

A good intro goes a long way, and when people hook you up with the right contact at a company, it can save you a ton of time and open up some real opportunities.

Having said that, I’m always amused and sometimes a bit confused by the weird email intro or the odd email intro etiquette that goes on.

So I thought I’d blog a few dos and dont’s that I think are helpful to keep in mind:

Don’t use a real generic subject line like “intro”. Everyone is swamped with email, so it’s easy to just skip a generic email, especially when reading on a mobile device. Do use something like “Company X meet Company Y” or “Person X meet Person Y”. Makes it simple and easy to scan.

Don’t forward a really long and obtuse email thread inserting a new person in at the end with “do you know anyone ?”. That creates work for the person you are asking for help from, and is just messy. Usually reading the long forwarded threads also reveals a ton of stuff you probably should never have seen in the first place. Instead, craft a new clean email.

Don’t ask for an intro to someone but provide no context. If you are asking for an intro, at least provide some kind of hint as to why you want the intro, what’s the angle, and what the person being intro’d should expect. That way you can quickly write up an intro note without having to guess or be really vague.

Don’t keep the thread going on forever with me CC’d.. After I make an intro for someone, I don’t really need to be on the thread as you and the new person decide on a coffee shop and a date, and then change and reschedule it a few times 🙂 Fine to keep me on there for one back-and-forth so I know the email went through and isn’t stuck in a spam folder. After that, if it’s strategic in some way or an FYI, put me on BCC or just forward one of the notes.

The flip side, do make sure to acknowledge the intro. I have a couple of people who I’ve sent opportunities to, and each time they’ve failed to CC or BCC me – and I’m always following up to see if they got my email.

Anyone else have any tips ?

4 thoughts on “The Art of the Email Intro

  1. Great post Raanan. I will admit, I think have sent my share of ‘intro’ subject line headers. I will try to refrain from doing that in the future.

    The one that made me laugh is the one where you are kept on the thread after the intro is made. How come you are never kept on the thread when there is something “really” compelling being discussed, like a multi-billion dollar M&A deal!

  2. maya says:

    GUILTY! of the first one – good advice, I will work on that. Isn’t it funny when people keep you on the cc line? I was on the cc line of people planning a WordCamp for a year after I introduced 2 people. You’d think after a year they’d have forgotten who I was or why I was still in the thread. I was on the back and forth about date selection, meetings, site selection, volunteers for 12 months. The WordCamp didn’t end up happening.

  3. There certainly is an art to an email introduction. The person getting introduced has to carry a lot of the burden of the next step in an email introduction… something that I recently commented on in my blog. Email etiquette is critically important to make the introduction productive.

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