The Art of the E-Intro

The internet and tough economy have combined to accelerate our ability and appetite for meeting strangers. Not just random strangers, but people who work at companies we may want to do business with, work with or learn from. We can easily search our contacts to find someone to make that intro, and most people are receptive in a way that was unimaginable only a few years ago.

Sure you can whip together a quick:

 “Hi Bob, allow me to introduce Karen. We had coffee this morning and I think you two would have a lot to talk about.”

If Bob really trusts me and has some time on his hands (ha!), he may reach out to Karen. Otherwise he’s left wondering what the common ground might be.

“Is this Karen person going to try and sell me something? Is this intro work-related, or is Cindy subtly fixing us up?”

A great intro leaves nothing to guesswork and inspires a sense of possibility that makes it impossible to ignore. Here is a (modified) Real Life Example with markers highlighting the key features:

Hi David,

(A) I remember your telling me that if I find good talent to pass them your way. I’d like to introduce you to a colleague of mine, Lori Martin. (B) While she’s been highly successful as a medical equipment sales rep, her real passion is early childhood education. She would love to be selling products that ensure every child is kindergarten ready.  Naturally, I thought of you and your tools. (C) Lori is great at turning cold leads hot, always beats her targets, and shares what works with colleagues so the whole team wins. Sounds like the kind of person you like to work with!

(D) I’ve cc’d Lori here so you each have the others’ information.  Feel free to reach out directly.  Enjoy!


Here’s how the “formula” breaks down:

A. Get their attention in a way that warms them up to what’s coming.

B. Share some context about the people you’re introducing. Be specific enough to intrigue them, but keep it brief for efficiency.

C. Throw in a personal observation about their strengths/experience to solidify the reason to connect.

D. Be clear about how to proceed.

One last tip, for the Subject, make it obvious so they know what the email is about now, and when they hunt for it later. E.g. David Meet Lori

Yes, an intro like that takes some time to put together – possibly as long as 15 – 20 minutes, and it shows. Readers learn important details, know why it’s worth their while and even feel a bit flattered.

Don’t whine about not having the time.  Yes, sometimes when you’ve spoken to both parties you can just say:

“Hi Bob and Karen, by now I’ve mentioned you each to one another. I think you’d enjoy meeting and discussing your mutual interest in in-bound marketing. I’ll now leave it up to you two to connect, enjoy!”

But when it really matters, like making sure a job application or proposal gets read, you truly honor your contact and that relationship by making a special intro. Who knows? Maybe one day they’ll return the favor.

What other tips can you offer on the Art of the E-Intro?



  1. Shari Kaplan says:

    Really appreciated this practical, step-by-step tutorial re: a ‘simple act’ with which people often struggle – yet can easily succeed with your suggestions. Thank you for simple, excellent advice.

  2. I can attest to the value of these kinds of intros. Every intro Cindy makes builds three relationships. Thanks for showing us how it’s done!

  3. Oh, Cindy – this is brilliant. It is quite frustrating to get random introductions and then have to determine whether or not I should find time in my very busy schedule to meet this person! A great addition to your article is the blog that I just wrote this week about LinkedIn introductions - Same fabulous philosophy around giving due consideration to how messages are received, perceived and the effectiveness of the message we are trying to convey. Why are we not paying the courtesy of a proper introduction either via email or LinkedIn.

  4. This is a great way to break down the key points to think about when making this type of introduction. This practice can be extended when thinking about the proper way to make an introduction via LinkedIn when you have a business intent in mind. There can be a fine line between approaching someone on LinkedIn for the sole purpose of finding “the buyer” or “decision maker.” The intent of using LinkedIn is not for the purpose of connecting buyers and sellers. However, when used properly, the introduction can be done on a more neutral basis. For example, start your message with “pardon the intrusion.” This works to break down what could be looked at as an improper use of LinkedIn or pushy salesperson. You recognize that you are asking someone who is busy to take the time to read and resound to your note. Secondly, keep it short and to the point. Be honest about your purpose, while at the same time you should include a statement that addresses “what’s in for me” so the reader sees some value in taking the time to respond to your note.

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