One of the kindest things someone can do is to introduce you to someone in their network or connect you with someone they think you should know. This is usually done through an email. Whether you requested the introduction or it just appeared in your inbox, there’s nothing better than having someone introduce you to a connection. But that leads to the next question – how do you respond to an introduction email? Here are the steps to politely and effectively send your email response.
Your reputation with both people is on the line. To make the best impression, make sure you respond immediately, and the tone of your message is respectful and polite. This is your chance to show your professionalism and an understanding of networking etiquette.
Since you are the one being introduced by a colleague, probably because you requested an introduction, then you will be the one to respond first and as soon as possible. This means send your response within 24 hours of receiving the message.
You have two goals when responding to an email introduction. First, you are letting the sender know you appreciate the introduction and second, you want to set up a meeting with the person you’ve been introduced to.
Research Before You Respond
If you haven’t already thoroughly researched the person you are being introduced to, now is the time to do it. It’s also good to see if they’ve posted any updates on social media that may provide insight into what projects they are working on or what they are talking about on social media so you can make reference to that in your reply.
Check their activity on their LinkedIn profile. Have they mentioned a book or article they’ve read or written? Also research where they worked and what schools they attended. You are looking for something you have in common with the person. Including a commonality or shared interest in your response makes them feel more comfortable.
It may look like this: I see you attended State University. I spent some time watching lacrosse games on your campus while attending Regional College, just up the street.
[READ:How to Network After College]
Say Thanks for the Introduction
It’s a big deal that someone took the time to make an introduction on your behalf. Be sure to thank the person for their introduction.
The proper etiquette for an email introduction response is to put the sender’s name in the blind carbon copy (bcc) and reply all with your message. Putting their name in the bcc line ensures that they receive your response but not future messages from the other person.
Here’s what that looks like: Thanks for the introduction, Sarah! (Moved to bcc.) It’s good to meet you, Jacqueline …
Your ask or your request is to gather information from the person you have been introduced to. Be very clear about the information you are looking for. Don’t say you are looking to “pick their brain” or “learn about their career path.” These are too broad and may scare the person off. Instead, specifically state one or two questions you would like the person to answer during your brief meeting with them, not through email.
Here’s an example: Since you’ve been in the marketing world for 10+ years and worked both on the agency side and internal marketing roles, I’d be interested to hear which you enjoyed most and why. I’m also interested in hearing what digital marketing trends you are watching right now.
Get a Meeting on the Calendar
It’s best to request a meeting — by phone, video or in-person. This makes a lot of people uncomfortable and as a result, some try to use email to ask questions. But here’s why that’s not a good idea: When you try to build a relationship with someone, email or text messages don’t create the same level of trust. There’s something about hearing the tone of someone’s voice or watching their facial expressions that helps build a connection.
Provide several options for dates and times when requesting a brief initial meeting. This shows compassion and respect toward the person’s time and schedule.
Plan on your first conversation lasting 15 minutes. This is short enough to fit into someone’s schedule but just long enough to establish a rapport. Future meetings are always an option and it’s possible the person may agree to speak with you longer. But it’s up to you to ask permission to extend past the 15 minutes.
You can either include a list of several dates and times or some people use a tool like Calendly that let’s the person select a time based on your calendar availability. Be sure you take time zones into consideration.
Here’s how the meeting request might look: Would you be open to having a quick 15 minute conversation in the near future? Here are some dates and times, let me know if any of these work with your schedule and I’ll send you a meeting invite.
Day, Month, Time
Day, Month, Time
Day, Month, Time
If none of these work, let me know what would be better for you.
Keep Everyone in the Loop
The person who facilitated the introduction wants to know what happens, so be sure to circle back after you meet with the person and fill them in. It’s polite to thank them again for the introduction and let them know what happened during your meeting.
It is also quite possible that the person you were introduced to either doesn’t respond or drops the ball during the process. This is another instance where circling back to the person who introduced you can be helpful. You can politely let your colleague know that there was a breakdown in communication and ask if they know what happened.
Equipped with these tips, you no longer need to wonder how to respond to email introductions. It’s simple: Just make sure you act quickly, clearly state your purpose for wanting to meet and provide options for meeting times. You’ll show respect and courtesy, while still making a stellar professional first impression.
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