I have something to share with you that will help you go farther with your business networking connections and your friends. If you want to keep your friends and networking connections very happy and very warm, try this one secret trick:
Before introducing someone to that person, send a message to the person explaining the interaction you’re intending to initiate, and see whether it’s something that your friend or contact actually wants to have happen.
The Introduction Before the Introduction
My friend and co-author, Julien Smith, is in Montreal. If I’m talking to … Joyce, and she mentions she’s going to be in Montreal for a few days, my next step should be to email Julien, mention Joyce and what she’s about, and then ask him if he wants to meet her. Then, he can tell me privately that he’s not interested or not around. This introduction before the introduction saves face three ways. 1.) If Julien’s not interested, he doesn’t have to suddenly juggle a new connection that he didn’t want. 2.) If Julien’s not interested, YOU don’t look like a jerk to Joyce. 3.) If Julien is interested, but can’t connect with Joyce at that time, it saves the connection, thus giving Joyce a better chance later to make a better connection.
See how that works?
The Opposite is Frustrating
I get a lot of emails from person A, introducing me to person B, and saying in the letter that I’m going to love the person’s company or product. Here’s the thing: let’s say I received 11 of these messages over the last 3 days (which is pretty much the exact number of such messages I received). Of those 11, precisely 0 of the products or companies I was introduced to were of business interest to me. I’m sure they were wonderful, and I’m sure they’ll be successful in some way or another, but what I will do with this information is unknown to me. First off, I pretty much never write about companies on here. Second, I don’t consult with startups. So, I’m not really sure what the intention of the introduction is, except that I think some people think, “Well, he’s got quite a following, so if he mentions you, then you’ll be set for life.” It really doesn’t work that way. I’m only influential about things that people who spend any amount of time here already care about. If you don’t see me writing about it much, it’s probably not going to be a hit with my crowd.
Use That Business Secret
I promise you that the value of your business connections and professional relationships will flourish once you start parsing that introduction in the manner mentioned above (or similar). It will save face for all involved. It will give everyone a discrete chance to consider the opportunity at hand, and it will lead to better potential pairings than a blind email.
Oh, and for those of you saying, “Who cares? It’s just an email. Delete and move on.” No one likes to be ignored, and no one likes to be politely brushed off. This is a chance to avoid both fates.
What do you think? Do you see yourself having an opportunity to use this?