I am an open networker and over the years have built a substantial community of like-minded contacts on LinkedIn. Generally speaking, and when asked properly, I am happy to introduce you to someone else in my network. However I have guidelines. These following instructions are not intended to make life more difficult for you but rather to help you achieve your networking goals while respecting the members of my network.
Virtual Introduction Guidelines
- When you have identified someone in my network you would like to meet, use the “Get introduced through a connection” feature on LinkedIn.
- Include a sentence or two asking me to make the introduction as well as any other information you think is important for me to know.
- Separately, type a few sentences outlining your request that I can forward directly to my contact. Your request should:
- Be addressed to the contact you are writing this expressly for him or her
- Be reasonable. Ask for something small a few minutes by phone, a brief email exchange, or an introduction to someone else.
- Articulate the value to the other person for accepting your request. If you are trying to introduce someone to your business products or services, be sure to talk about the benefits to the user. If you are seeking career counsel, promise to respect their time and pay their kindness forward.
- Written with respect and humility, no overt sales messages
- Offer an out. Respect that the contact may not be able or willing to help, let them off the hook gracefully.
- LinkedIn will notify me that your request is pending. I typically handle these requests in batches once or twice a week. If your request is urgent let me know. When I forward your request to my contact, I will delete your note to me and replace it with a personal note encouraging him or her to accept, redirect, or let us know that now is not a good time.
- While rare, I will sometimes decline an introduction request. Common reasons include:
- Not following the guidelines above
- Being overly aggressive with my network, you know who you are and you know what I mean
- I have insider knowledge about a particular contact (ex. they may not be responsive on LinkedIn.) In these instances, I will try to offer an alternate path forward whenever possible.
- Finally, I do appreciate it when my contacts close the loop with me. Was your request accepted? Was the person helpful? Did anything good come from it? Knowing how your request nets out helps me identify those people in my network who “get it” and on the flip side, those who don’t.
Clearly I take these requests seriously (see sample virtual introduction), and that works in your favor. If you have any questions or suggestions on how I can make this process more mutually beneficial, drop me a line.