One of the most effective and rewarding ways to expand your professional network is to make introduction
One of the most effective and rewarding ways to expand your professional network is to make introductions or be introduced to someone by a colleague who knows you both. Good introductions of mutual benefit can help build your professional reputation.
Introductions are important because they help people to build rapport and explore shared interests. A well-timed introduction can lead to a meaningful discussion and lasting connection.
To make an effective introduction, you should:
Sense-check whether this will be valuable to them both (it need not be immediately)
Be selective – show that you’ve given thought to whether this introduction will be valuable and relevant to those involved (being a ‘super-introducer’ might de-value your introductions)
Opt-in – make sure both parties will be open to an introduction. In some cases this will be implicit (when you’re introducing to someone you know well enough that they will trust your recommendation because you are sure it’s of interest to them) or explicit (you send an opt-in message your contact before you make an introduction, and let them choose if they want to be put in touch).
Don’t over-promise – not everyone wants to receive an introduction (so don’t promise you can make it happen), and not every introduction will lead to a meaningful engagement.
Follow-up – in two stages: 1) check that you’ve received a response to your opt-in emails so you can proceed with the introduction or not, and 2) ask if the connection was useful or interesting, and whether you can be of more help. This helps demonstrate that you truly care about your network and value what it offers.
This post from Roy Bahat (Head of Bloomberg Beta) explains the art of the “forward intro email” and how getting it right makes it faster, easier and more impactful for your colleagues to introduce you to others.
Read it now
This was aimed at start-ups and their backers, but the principles could apply to any sector or relationship type. Your forward intro email should:
Explain why you want to be introduced, and in a context that’s relevant to the person who will receive the email
Communicate clearly, in your own ‘voice’, and in as few words as you need
Be ready for your contact to send on to the person you’d like to be introduced to.
How to do introductions (via Indeed.com)
How to introduce yourself professionally (via Glassdoor)
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Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) (2021) Expanding your network through professional introductions. Available at www.rgs.org/careersresources/professionalintroductions Last accessed on: <date>
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