Networking is one of the most important skills that many people never truly master. In today's increasingly competitive marketplace, it is essential to set yourself apart from the competition, and an introduction through a business partner, friend or college professor can help you stand out.
How do you go about introducing two parties that you know could benefit from meeting one another? Say for example, you have a friend who specializes in economic analysis and you know the hiring manager at a think tank – how should you go about introducing the two contacts, expanding both your network and theirs?
According to the Harvard Business Review, it is essential that you consider both the time and best interests of those you're looking to connect; once you've decided both parties can benefit, you're good to go.
First, be clear with your motive by explaining succinctly and clearly at the very beginning of your email why you are making the introduction. Think about the value that each party brings to the relationship and the potential short- and long-term benefits of the connection. Next, be very careful with the "Cc" button: Unless you are absolutely sure that the recipient is open to the introduction, it's best not to include all parties in the message.
Lastly, make sure that you provide an "out" for the person you're contacting. Most people, including many hiring managers, do not like to be put on the spot or forced into making a connection, so it's best to always give them a way to opt out of the connection. A short sentence like, "I know it's a hectic time of year and if you're busy, please don't worry about it," is an easy way to allay any pressure the recipient could feel.
Ultimately, the email introduction can help friends find jobs and business relationships form – just make sure that you're not stepping on anyone's toes while you play business matchmaker.