What’s better (a lottery ticket, or new people whom you know)
You might have bought a lottery ticket recently (I did too, by the way.) And you didn’t win. But you can guarantee your chances of making positive connections if you do a better job at introducing your smart friends to each other. Who knows what benefits this might bring? Probably not lottery riches, but definitely the ability to help people connect.
There are three important tenets of a great introduction:
- Give context, both in the subject line and in the initial line of the email. If your contacts don’t know what you’re trying to do they probably won’t even read the email. I get good results by using the term “introduction” or “intro” in the subject line of the email, e.g. “intro: Bob, meet Sue. Sue, meet Bob. Making this subject line relevant helps your friends understand that you’re trying to introduce them;
- Give the “what’s in it for me” (WIFM) value proposition. If you tell Bob,
“You should meet Sue S. Sue is a world-class developer and also has a knack for explaining complex problems to business people. She recently left her job to start a new thing and she’d love your input on understanding the sales cycle to enterprise organizations”All of a sudden Bob knows key things about your contact Sue and can craft a response that matches her needs. If you do the same thing for Sue to tell her about Bob, then you’ve helped her connect the dots about your other friend and you can step away and let them connect (or not connect, depending upon their preference.
- Introduce, and then walk away. Ideally, the people you’re going to introduce are open to the idea of meeting new business contacts; they are outgoing and want to connect; and they will follow through on the request. But that doesn’t always happen. Some of your contacts may require “pre-qualifying” – or asking them if they’re open to the idea of meeting new people; and some people may not like this process at all because it makes them feel obligated to provide favors.
Your best lottery ticket is the smart people or “loose ties” you don’t know yet.
Repeat after me: the goal is to introduce two or more smart people who might benefit more from knowing each other than they benefit not knowing each other. It’s easy – you can practice making introductions several times a week and if you’re lucky, people will start introducing you to their smart friends too.